I’m a fan of using status or small amounts of cash to queue jump. But there has to be a purpose.

Bag drop with the masses isn’t fun. If the priority lane for getting rid of your 20kg of nuisance gets you to the comfort of an airport lounge faster then fair play.

Express security clearance is less convincing. At Manchester Terminal 3 for example the airport expresses feckless late passengers without charge at the expense of those who’ve formed an orderly queue after getting to the airport on time having paid a few quid each in advance to speed through. I did enjoy using it by mistake at Dublin last year though!

The one I really struggle with is priority boarding. If it’s included with other things like leg room or hold luggage I’ve no problem with it. The one major benefit, I suppose, is getting your hand luggage located within thirty yards of your seat.

But the experience usually entails going through the gate first and then standing next to a locked door for twenty minutes staring at your aircraft while somebody hoovers inside. You could still be sat in a more comfortable seat pre-gate.

During that twenty minutes a couple of hundred other passengers pile in to queue behind you, triggering claustrophobic corridor attack! When that locked door eventually opens you find yourself at the front of a free for all and the sudden realisation that if you’re slow stowing your hand luggage the whole flight is going to be delayed and it will be your fault.  A sense of panic sets in!

But you are sat down a few seconds ahead of everybody else. Yes, you paid for the privilege of standing up longer than everybody else and now you’ll be sat in your tiny aircraft seat for lordy knows how long. But it will be a few seconds longer than every other passenger.  Unless you failed to get a window seat – then there’s no point getting yourself comfortable as two other passengers are going to need you to move!

British Airways has a different approach.  Ensure half your passengers have status, thus ensuring two rucks firm for boarding.  The first one being for supposedly priority passengers!

Worth every penny?  Worth being loyal to a single airline?  Not really.


A Tribute