Sunday, 11 July 2010

Get to the gate on time

It was once called being a little odd, why would you want to be standing at the departures gate an hour before the plane is even due to land.

Today, with the low-cost airlines and the scrum of boarding (or Self Loading Freight as some in the airline industry refer to the passengers) there appears to be nothing wrong with running straight from the front of the checkin queue through security and to the gate to be the first to board.

The airlines appear to have everyone so well trained now that you end up with the bizarre scene I witnessed today at Cologne airport.

As the flight was back to the UK, outside of the Schengen zone, you have to pass through a passport check before you leave Germany. This means that the gates for the flights to the UK are the other side of some passport booths and a screen.

Once checkin had opened the first waves of passengers flooded through only to be stopped in their tracks at passport control by the total lack of any border police.

And there they stood, for the next 45 minutes, not bothering to wander through the terminal building, not bothering even to sit in the very pleasant restaurant right by passport control that I had settled myself into.

Then, 30 minutes before we had to be at the gate, a border police officer got into a booth, and within a couple of seconds a 60 person, at least, queue had formed for people to file through, so that they could wander down to the departure gate, where there were no facilities.

I finished my meal and drink and was about the one before last customer to go through, as the police officer who checked my passport appeared to finish his shift as soon as he had seen me through.

Perhaps there might be a happy medium between rushing for the gates and waiting to be final called.

Oh yes, it’s speedy boarding...

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