Thursday, 4 April 2013

The British Q

One of the things that make us British is queuing. I think that we are famous for it.

I am writing this blog tonight at 26,000 feet on a metal tube with wings and two loud turbine jet engines with approximately 150 other people. This gives me the perfect opportunity to write about queues as a British airport is the ideal place to experience the population of our fair isles queuing.

http://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/fx_files/24238/2/queue_line_2.jpg

Queues permeate themselves throughout an airport but never more so at the gate of low fly airlines. It is commonplace for these airlines to call the gate even before the aircraft has landed and before you can say 'boo to a goose' a queue has formed.

Of course it's at least twenty minutes before the flight is due to board and many passengers swap a comfortable seat for a lengthy standstill in a non moving queue. However, there is an innate instinct hard wired into most Brits that means when we see someone start a queue in this situation it is customary to join it immediately.

There used to be a legitimate reason for joining such a queue at these airlines as seats were not allocated therefore if travelling as a group and wanting to sit together it was worth trying to be the first to board. But now the seats are all allocated there appears to me to be no real advantage to standing in an uncomfortable line waiting to hand over your boarding card. It's not like the plane is going to leave without giving you a chance to board. They even shout your name out over the tannoy.

What I really want to know is if people will queue for something they don't know what they are queuing for. Is it possible to start a queue, for instance in a shopping centre, for something completely worthless. How many people would you need in the queue before people just start joining just because its a queue and they can't help themselves.

When I can get the internet again I think I will do a bit of research. I bet someone has tried this...

 

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