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5:34pm on Wednesday, 1st September, 2010:

Bad Line


I'm typing this at Stockholm airport, where I have a 3-hour layover until my Visby flight.

I was at the front of the plane (in the middle of a 3-seat bank) so got to Passport Control fairly early. There were five lines: two marked EU and three marked Any Nation. Most people were joining the EU line, but the Any Nation lines accepted EU people too so I joined the shortest one of those. There were four people ahead of me, including one person at the desk itself speaking to the border official.

The line didn't move for 15 minutes.

Actually, it was worse than that: it moved backwards because a person in a wheelchair was brought through to queue-jump by some airport official. The other lines moved quickly, irrespective of whether they were EU-only or Any Nation, but my line just stayed still while the woman at the desk filled out forms and answered questions. I would have abandoned my line, but the other lines were still very long and the woman at the desk could have finished at any moment. When the line eventually did move, the other lines all had about 4 or 5 people in them too.

Hmm, not quite the worst queue I've been in at an airport (that was in the mid-1990s when, tracelling with Roy Trubshaw, we kept switching lines and immediately having done so the one we left flowed freely and the one we joined seized up — we ended up last through); nevertheless, if I didn't know I had a 3-hour layover I might have been worried.

Or, if the check-in staff at Heathrow had denied all knowledge of my connecting flight from Stockholm to Visby, that might have done it, too...

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Copyright © 2010 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).