Yesterday I had the privilege (and I use that word advisedly) of landing at Manchester Airport after my visit to Lithuania. As my colleague and I trundled along a corridor heading for passport control we looked at each other, sighed and wondered what delights awaited us this time.
At a previous landing we arrived in the passport hall to be confronted by hundreds of passengers stood in a line but with very little activity as the passport desks. We later discovered that a group of Italian teenagers had arrived without the appropriate documentation and instead of shepherding them to one side of the hall so that other passengers could pass through they kep them all at the front………resulting in utter chaos (the words “piss up and brewery” come to mind here).
Anyway as we got into the hall we could see the line of desks manned by immigration personnel and no queues (yippee!) so we breathed a sigh of relief.
When it came to my turn to have my passport checked I walked forward with a smile on my face said “good evening” and handed my passport over. The gentleman behind the screen, dressed in an all black paramilitary uniform took the passport, screened it and then cursorily handed it back to me with a muttered thank you. No good evening back, no smile, complete indifference…………I felt like saying “this is the UK where we have standards, did no one tell you that if someone greets you it is good manners to offer a greeting in return, after all we are not a bloody third world country”
Meeting up with my colleague in the baggage area he said “they just remind me of Oswald Mosleys Blackshirts fascist uniform from the 1930s” and I nodded in agreement.
For the life of me “who came up with the idea of this uniform?”……….going through immigration control can be stressful but to have it manned by a blackshirted militia is hardly welcoming to either UK citizens or international travellers.
And whilst I am here I would ask that the airport authority get rid of the bloody obstacle course that faces passengers trying to enter Terminal 1, by which I mean the “duty-free” area that seems to cover a space the size of Wythenshawe, it is hell on earth filled with shops that no one in their right mind would buy from as you can get same goods cheaper on any city high street.