Q is for Queuing

Welcome to the A to Z challenge, a blog post everyday of April apart from Sundays, covering every letter of the alphabet. My theme is travel, that thing that we haven’t been able to do over the last 12 months, so it seemed appropriate to reminisce about past travels we’ve taken, looking forward to when we can travel freely again. Okay we’re up to the second most difficult letter of the alphabet for me, and we’re not visiting a tourist destination, instead I’m talking about that thing you can’t avoid but can be horrific depending where in the world you are. That’s right today we are looking at the art of queuing. For some strange reason, people in the UK talk about queuing as if they have it down to an art form, but as a foreigner in the land, I’m not so sure they do. In certain circumstances they definitely do it well, think Wimbledon Tennis Championships where in a normal year they even have a section on the website for queue etiquette. At a family friendly music festival people are very nicely behaved and line up perfectly when waiting for food or drinks as seen below.

My beloved hates a queue and has even been known to come home from the shops empty handed because the queue was too long. Shows how much he loves me when he will queue to get a coffee for me.

If you’re ever coming to the UK and you are planning on using the trains or London underground, that is the one area that Brits do not believe in any form of queue – it’s everyone for themselves in the rush to get on. During one of the London Underground strikes, I tried getting the train to the nearest stop to my work so that I could then walk the rest of the way. Let me tell you that a strike turns people into characters from Lord of the Flies. My first attempt to get onto a train was met by a man shoving me backwards off the train so that he could get on instead!! I then decided that it didn’t matter what time I got to work, as long as I got there in one piece – It ended up taking me 3 hours to travel what normally took me 1.5 hours. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not Brit bashing, it just amuses me that they often talk about how good they are at queuing and it isn’t always the case. Queues in airports are part of travel that you really can’t avoid, but I’m sure it could be made more pleasant. This is where most people, whatever their nationality, show their eagerness to queue. As soon as the voice comes over the loudspeaker saying that a plane is ready for boarding, people rush to get in the queue, almost as if they think that the plane will leave without them. We tend to sit until nearly everyone has boarded and then wander onto the plane, having not stood for ages in a line. We have had some interesting experiences in other countries, the photo on the left looks like we’re animals in a shed, and it felt a bit like that too. The picture on the right is probably the most frustrating queue we’ve ever been in – we had a stopover in Singapore just to change planes, but we had to get off, go through the terminal to another gate, and go through security checks all over again, without any chance to sit down anywhere. Queues in airports are, to some extent, made worse from lack of research. Before travelling to another country we always check to see if there are any obscure rules and regulations that might slow us down. An example of this is when we had a holiday in Turkey. Luckily I checked the Turkish Government site and discovered that when we arrived in the country we had to pay an entry fee which is fine, but even though I was living in the UK, as an Australian I had to pay my entry fee in US dollars – my beloved had to pay in UK pounds. Strange rule but thankfully we didn’t slow the queue down. Another time we definitely chose the wrong queue when travelling within Australia. Because of a problem with planes we had to board an international flight to travel from Sydney to Queensland, which meant that all the domestic passengers had to show some form of photo ID for the flight. This didn’t bother us as we had our passports with us, but the person in front of us obviously didn’t have any other photo ID because she was using her passport too, which turned out to be her undoing. The official looked at her passport, then looked through it again, then he asked her if she had another passport. When she replied no, he told her that her visa expired 4 years ago and she should have left the country, and then he led her away to a room somewhere, and we joined another queue. How about you, do you love or loathe a queue? Thanks for stopping by and make sure you visit other bloggers who are crazy enough to be doing the challenge with me – Click Here to visit the master list of participants. Stay safe and have a good day. Previous A to Z posts: 2018 – Q is for Quatervois 2017 – Q is for Quaich 2016 – Q is for Quirky

6 thoughts on “Q is for Queuing

  1. The worst queue I was ever in was actually outside of London. We went for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary celebration and had to stand for what felt like hours in a large open area packed in tight with no real room to move . I was never so happy to see an auditorium open. But, it was worth it. I’ll do a queue for something I really love. I have however left a store if the queue was too long. I guess in that case I didn’t love whatever I was going to buy enough. Weekends In Maine


  2. In Singapore there is a lot of discipline in public places when it comes to queuing…People make sure they wait for their turn … what usually surprises me is that sometime people are ready to wait in long queues to grab their favourite meal …or to get a place at their favourite restaurant … if there is a queue I would wait for my turn but given a choice that does not need a queue , I would pick that one



  3. Your post made me think of when I went to Italy… I read a book “Italianissimo: The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best” and it said, “For Italians, the concept of forming a line is tedious and boring; the etiquette of waiting has no place in their lives.”

    I’m glad I read that prior to going, because it helped me understand why, when I was standing in line, it never seemed to grow shorter… because of the throngs crowding in at the front. LOL

    Well, you know the saying, “When in Rome…” so I tried to incorporate what the book suggested… join in the fun because “jiggling into a line can be an excuse for a conversation, a commentary, or just letting off steam — all infinitely more rewarding than simply waiting one’s turn.”

    Here in the U.S., though, I stay in line.


  4. I think airports are for queue madness. I don’t know how people keep their patience there. I certainly have less patience there but I’m sort of used to lines since I always have to wait in line whenever I used a public restroom.

    Have a lovely day.


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