Why don't we queue politely any more? | Blaise Tapp

Life in the 21st century moves quickly. Everybody is in a hurry and every new innovation is faster than what came before.

Saturday, 9th November 2019, 12:39 pm
Blaise Tapp wonders what happened to the British way of patiently queuing. Picture: Shutterstock.

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Us Brits were once famed for our polite patience – we were taught to queue for everything and liked to complain that citizens of other nations were not so fond of waiting their turn.

But that isn’t often the case these days, especially when it comes to any form of travel. The departures lounge of an airport should be a source of excitement.

But, rather than being an oasis of joyous calm, airport waiting areas often possess a bear-pit like quality.

Even though the passengers know which seats they are sitting in, boarding a plane resembles the start of a January sale when travellers go out of their way to make it to the front of the queue.

But this unseemly spectacle could soon be a thing of the past after it was revealed that London Gatwick is trialling a new boarding system.

The trials have focused on boarding people with window seats first, starting at the back, then the middle then aisle seats, although those wishing to sit together will be seated a row at a time, starting at the back.

It has been a success so far, shaving up to three minutes off the process of boarding an entire plane – a saving which matters when you are a budget airline and your business model is based on quick turnarounds.

The same airport is also trying out the use of screens to tell passengers when it is their turn to board.

While this sounds like a welcome development, it is a sad state of affairs that an airport has had to intervene, when all it really takes is a bit of patience and good manners.