For goodness sake, stop queuing!

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Old Jun 25, 19, 4:12 am
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For goodness sake, stop queuing!

Two 'queuing incidents' in two days. First, the usual boarding queue at an outstation airport. A huge line of people forming and blocking the gate, obviously less than 10% of which were going to be entitled to board when boarding starts. Predictably, this results in confusion, when boarding is called, the people wrongly queuing of course do not want to get out of the queue for fear of losing their place in the queue so they keep blocking and people who should be boarding in the queue don't know if the people in front of them are people who should be there or people who are just sticking to the wrong place to be "in the queue" when their parallel queue will be boarding much later. They also can't go and ask 40 people ahead of them if they are in the boarding queue or not, especially as they would then lose their own place in the right queue. Stupid.

Then today, at an airport with flights to all three London airports (those who know me will have long identified it), check in opens 2 hours before each flight and a LCY flight is leaving 35 minutes before the next LHR one, but of course, people bound for LHR have long been queueing and are blocking a way as part of a queue which is not even moving. People join the queue thinking that there is a (not unusual) computer problem and the queue is in fact so long that when check in staff meekly shout "London City?" people at the back of the queue can't even hear them. I did so told the two young women in front of me whom I knew were going to City too that as we are going to LCY we can move forward as it seems that most other people are going to LHR which is not open. I ask them to ask every few people if they are going to London Heathrow to make sure we don't pass legitimate queuers but not a single one as we move forward, except that one of the men they are asking starts talking to the two poor American girls as though they were dirt telling them that this is not where the queue start. To which I am answering that his queue has not started yet, at least not in front of the check in desk as our flight is open and not his. The two poor girls had stopped behind him ready to be intimidated by this self-appointed check in blockader of sorts.

Many people behind us whom I later saw were bound for LCY did not dare to "jump the queue" except that this is not jumping "the queue" as it is just jumping a queue that should not be there in the first place and waited, absurdly, for over an hour whilst the check in counters were empty since no other LCY passenger (eligible to check in) dared to move forward.

So for goodness sake, people, queue in a place that does not prevent people people who will need to reach what you are queuing for before you. If you cannot work it out, then please, stop queueing because right now, you are merely depriving people who should be going before you of their legitimate access which, as it happens, you do not have because your group is not boarding or your flight is not checking it yet, and as people can't just quiz 20, 30, 40, or 50 people in front of then who might or might not be in the right queue, your behaviour encourages anarchy and people just deciding that they will assume that nobody in the queue is legitimate (typically not true) and therefore cutting the legitimate queuers as well as the blockaders like you. Queuing in the wrong queue is not being disciplined
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Old Jun 25, 19, 4:15 am
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This is entirely the fault of the check-in agents' and gate agents' inability to manage the check-in and boarding processes. You can't blame passengers for not knowing what's going on.
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Old Jun 25, 19, 4:26 am
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Originally Posted by Misco60 View Post
This is entirely the fault of the check-in agents' and gate agents' inability to manage the check-in and boarding processes. You can't blame passengers for not knowing what's going on.
I'm blaming both. Not the people at the back of the queue but I'm afraid that those at the front of the queue know perfectly well what is happening. In the first case, the agents had also made several loud announcements asking people to "remain seated until your group number is called" only to be copiously ignored. In the second case, the boards above the check in desk clearly showed LCY OPEN and LHR OPENS AT XX.XX.

This is not an either/or situation. I fully agree with you that I would prefer agents to get rid of the blockaders, but it does not make the said blockaders innocent victims who just don't understand what is happening. I have absolutely no doubt that at least some of the people at the front of the queue went to the check in desk and were told that check in for their flight is not opened yet and many more who can just read and will if only because they are board of queueing saw that another flight had an open check in and not then, and it is obvious that they were blocking the way. Some agents are better than others, though in a way, when BA subcontracts they put in place people who don't really care whether things go smoothly or not. Either way, people should be self-disciplined, and the truth is that many people feel entitled just because they are in "a queue" and are conveniently ignoring the fact that they are making a nuisance of themselves towards people who could move forward unlike them.

As for the gentleman (if such is the word) who talked to the two poor young women in an arrogant and unpleasant way, I really cannot find him an excuse that he did not know what was happening.
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Old Jun 25, 19, 4:28 am
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Fortunately, your airport has a decent view of the queues from the Lounge, so no need to scramble downstairs.

However, if it's where I'm presuming, people do tend to take a lot of handbaggage so perhaps that's the rush to board.

If it's any consolation, at CMB they board UL flights from the rear. Despite shouting Rows 25-31 ONLY, literally everyone charges at the single entry door!

M
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Old Jun 25, 19, 4:33 am
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Originally Posted by msm2000uk View Post
Fortunately, your airport has a decent view of the queues from the Lounge, so no need to scramble downstairs.

However, if it's where I'm presuming, people do tend to take a lot of handbaggage so perhaps that's the rush to board.

If it's any consolation, at CMB they board UL flights from the rear. Despite shouting Rows 25-31 ONLY, literally everyone charges at the single entry door!

M
The check in incident is there indeed! The boarding was another airport. And indeed, the airport we both use a lot has both very full flights and people with a lot of hand luggage, though the large C cabins mean proportionally more hand luggage space per customer on average!
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Old Jun 25, 19, 4:36 am
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
The check in incident is there indeed! The boarding was another airport. And indeed, the airport we both use a lot has both very full flights and people with a lot of hand luggage, though the large C cabins mean proportionally more hand luggage space per customer on average!
True, but heaven forbid someone has to put their bags more than 1 row behind them...

Anyway, moving away from handbaggage tribulations!

M
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Old Jun 25, 19, 4:38 am
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In a post-Brexit world you want to lessen one of the few areas of truly unrivalled international excellence (queueing)?
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Old Jun 25, 19, 4:41 am
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This is actually queuing to queue, which is mad.

Brits love to queue, and have all sorts of weird and imaginary hierarchies in place to make it suitably complex for their emotional needs. easyJet and Ryanair start this process when the aircraft is 100 miles from the airport, and no-one seems to complain. Detaching oneself from this process is quite liberating. Just turn up when the red FINAL CALL thing goes up, you'll be on swiftly, and at stage they will just have to find somewhere for any baggage. I appreciate it's not a good way of working as far as the ground agents are concerned. Nice is excellent, like Newcastle, in that you can sit in the lounge and watch it all play out whilst sipping coffee.
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Old Jun 25, 19, 4:42 am
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Originally Posted by Kgmm77 View Post
In a post-Brexit world you want to lessen one of the few areas of truly unrivalled international excellence (queueing)?
is it going to be like queuing in Soviet Russia where people joined queues in the vain hope there was something good at the end of it?

also this:


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Old Jun 25, 19, 4:42 am
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
I'm blaming both.
You certainly have a point but, ultimately, I would probably agree with Misco60 that the only way to address this is through well-designed boarding processes. The problem about blaming both is that you end up arguing against human nature.
If somebody in group boarding 4 has been spending the last 20 minutes queuing, you might get them to stand back when groups 1-3 are called but they will still want to be the first to board when group 4 is called and you won't therefore get them to go back to their seat until group 4 is called. The only way to address this is to have a boarding process that, among other things, clearly separates out different groups in different locations/queues.
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Old Jun 25, 19, 4:44 am
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What the OP has identified is in my experience most commonly seen at Boarding. People crowding the gate area, other people standing behind them assuming (sometimes wrongly) that they are going to board first and those people who are at the front and not boarding first not making any effort to move out of the way when boarding commences, leaving people behind them to wonder what is going on. It's all very inefficient.

I agree that it would help if the gate agents managed this more closely, but to be fair some gate layouts are simply not conducive to this.

By way of example I was at AMS the other day when they announced in the lounge that our aircraft would soon be ready for boarding. They are normally quite good at AMS in getting those timings right, but on this occasion (it was a delayed aircraft) the announcement was made far too early in my opinion ( I accept that something may have occurred in the meantime to increase the delay which the lounge staff would not have known about) and we all ended up waiting for around 30 minutes at the gate. By the time boarding commenced a crowd had formed at the gate and it was very busy. Where else are they supposed to go if they've all been ordered to the gate? To be fair most passengers seemed to be fairly considerate in terms of where they positioned themselves, but I'm not sure what (i) the gate agents or (ii) the passengers could have done on this occasion to make it easier. The gate area is not very big and there are only so many places that passengers can fan out to before they are no longer near the gate and able to understand when the flight is boarding.

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Old Jun 25, 19, 4:45 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
Just turn up when the red FINAL CALL thing goes up, you'll be on swiftly, and at stage they will just have to find somewhere for any baggage. I appreciate it's not a good way of working as far as the ground agents are concerned. Nice is excellent, like Newcastle, in that you can sit in the lounge and watch it all play out whilst sipping coffee.
As msm2000uk says the issue with that is that your hand luggage might then be sent to the hold though (happened to me in the past). In the second case, however, the blockade was at check in, not boarding so once you’re at the airport there is no redeeming feature. Much nicer to wait in lounge with a glass of champagne than behind a ghost ‘queue to queue’ (like the term!)
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Old Jun 25, 19, 4:49 am
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Originally Posted by Kgmm77 View Post
In a post-Brexit world you want to lessen one of the few areas of truly unrivalled international excellence (queueing)?
no, no, I’m still happy for people to compete for sheep of the year, but only at the entrance of the right farm!!!

[and also to refrain from being mean\aggressive to someone until you’ve ascertained they don’t have a right to go before you.]
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Old Jun 25, 19, 5:30 am
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"like Newcastle, in that you can sit in the lounge and watch it all play out whilst sipping coffee..."

or a beer!

I was forcibly stopped by a CE passenger entering group 1 lane at LHR because he thought I was pushing in.
In fact the queue of G3/G4 people had blocked his view of the empty G1 lane.
I find most airports the same, no control of priority or groups.
I've never seen anyone turned away at the point of scanning/presenting their BP because of wrong group.
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Old Jun 25, 19, 5:40 am
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I see it as "who is in the best position to do something about it" and by "do something" I mean get the correct passengers in the correct queues, with as little conflict as possible. It's a tall order indeed, but the answer here is "gate/check in staff." If the person in uniform gives clear directions, it leads to less conflict between passengers. It shouldn't be up to the passengers to argue among themselves.

It makes me angry when I see self-important "businessmen" pushing aside women at the gate because the businessman assumes the women aren't in Group 2. It makes me angry when I get pushed aside by self-important businessmen because I have a backpack and therefore can't be in Group 1, in spite of my first class boarding pass and GGL status. We all have stories like this. But who is best to manage it? Am I supposed to push back when trod on, or do I turn the other cheek? Am I supposed to defend those women the businessman pushes past? (Yes, by the way.) It's not that the check-in agents can solve all these issues, but when they can - as in the OP's post - they have a duty to do so. And at the gate, perhaps they could speak out and welcome those in Group 1 and turn back those not in Group 1. In the check in lobby, if they need to speak up, they have a duty so to do.

I know I know.... it would never happen at an out-station. But wouldn't it be nice....
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