I would hazard a guess that queuing wouldn’t be in anyone’s fun list of ‘best 5 things to do’. Though apparently the English are quite good at queuing like discussing the weather. Speaking of which, summer finally arrived, yay!
Waiting in a queue to interact with a person at a counter is tolerable. Whereas waiting in line to interact with machine, not so much. We’ve become more self-sufficient wanting more self-service and more demanding on wanting everything bespoke and wanting it now.
Some queues are worth being in than others. For example, at Wimbledon in the afternoon, paying peanuts to get a Centre Court or Court 1 seat as those debentures and corporates have had their fill of lunch and watched a spot of tennis before heading off. Great for us tennis fans but passport control queues at immigration is definitely not in the same calibre that Wimbledon is.
So there we all are, politely waiting at immigration as the long single file line snakes round, round and round. I counted eight 180 degree turns once. And I’m specifically talking about London Heathrow Terminal 5 that have a number of machines for us EU chipped passport holders. 15 machines to be exact. Does red X and green arrow sound familiar? And if you have an older, worn passport which you know never works at the machine because it has failed the last 10 trips, you still have to queue to get a failure, do not pass go, at the machine before you can go to a human immigration counter.
And, thanks to capitalism, the ‘customer experience’ of these machines differ from airport to airport. I find it ironic that we are programming people to interact with machines differently in order to achieve the same outcome.
Self-service implies a speedier service and machine imply greater reliability. I’ve never seen all 15 machines work at LHRT5. They had 5 turned off when I was there on Friday. Perhaps the machines were feeling unwell or on strike? And at Schiphol Airport, 6 machines were out. That’s half of their automated self-service passport control capacity. Bring back people, they are more reliable!!
(This article was tapped up while standing in immigration queues.)