Being imaginative to reduce border entry queues
As I said yesterday, in all the discussions about the delays in border entry queues at airports, very little has been suggested as a way of resolving the problem. The announcement, yesterday, of eighty more staff is not a solution merely a sticking plaster. As passenger numbers grow, an alternative method of screening and checking passengers is needed.
We need different thinking rather than just considering more staffing at booths.
So here are some ideas from CD-Traveller.
Consider Ireland and passengers going to the United States. In Ireland, passengers go through passport controls before they leave the country not when they arrive in the US. When they do arrive, they enter the United States via the domestic flight system, just walking off the plane, collecting baggage and leaving the airport. Could we consider that? The biggest destination for passengers from the UK is to Spain. Could we not arrange a similar arrangement with that country so that returning passengers to the UK go through controls in that country? It would reduce our queues by at least 10%. In return we check this end for entry to Spain.
But let’s take it further by installing a passport checker on all short-haul flights. Over the flight time, that person should be able to check everybody’s passports. Surely a portable laptop could be configured to check the files, and, using the wifi that will become available on any flight soon, complete the formalities and log them back into the main system. With long-haul flights this idea might not be commercially viable since the officer could be sitting down doing nothing for hours
Here’s another possibility. Create an app for smart phones which allows us to forward a thumbprint, an iris recognition or something like that which corresponds with the record that has already been forwarded to the country concerned. A member of cabin crew is tasked with confirming that the person matches the passport and sends a confirmation code that only they know. Shouldn’t this at least be trialled amongst EU members states where a greater degree of trust exists? At least it would remove a good percentage of travellers going through border controls at airports.
So there are three ideas which CD-Traveller will forward to Damian Green, the minister responsible and David Cameron.
What other suggestions have readers got? We’ll send them along with ours.