12 Jun 2009

Telling you A LINE

On Wednesday, due to a family emergency on her mother’s side, I had to take Punks to the airport for her flight to Trinidad.

We went to the airport with a friend whose wife was also travelling to Trinidad and who agreed to look after Punks until my sister picked her up at Piarco.

Upon arrival, we followed the instructions given to us at time of our last minute booking. That is, to go to the agency’s counter and pick up our (our is figurative to mean my friend’s wife and Punks) tickets. Thereupon we made our way to the check-in counter at section J of Gatwick Airport.

At section J, there was the usual queue, which was roughly in the form of a long ‘S’.

We joined the queue at the end, and within a few minutes there were about 20 persons behind us. Keep in mind nearly 300 persons were all told to check in at the same time, so you know that they would all arrive more or less at the same time, or within a few minutes of the given time.

As the line progressed forward, rather slowly as we took more than an hour to traverse the distance to the front of the queue, I noticed, and counted, 16 persons jumping the line at the first bend… where the barriers were open. Now, you may ask why am I so sure of this number? Well, I counted, partly because I was observant and partly because I wondered how long before someone protested the activity of the line jumpers.

No one ever did, until I reached the bend and refused to give way. Incidentally, the guy behind me was a massive body builder about 3 times my size, so I don’t think anyone was going to mess with him!

The 16 queue jumpers were at this time all arguing with the check-in staff, as they wanted to check in with the printed email they received at time of online booking, and not wanting to go (as we did) to the agency to receive the proper printed ticket. Obviously, this held up the queue.

Anyway, the interesting thing I observed was that no one protested when the line was jumped, and all of the queue jumpers were of one ethnic group!