Last year I wrote a blog about the standard of customer service at the “passport control” desks at Manchester Airport and complained about the surly, unwelcoming response I got from the person who I handed my passport to with a smile on my face and a “good evening” greeting. He made no eye contact with me other than a cursory glance and muttered something under his breath, gave me my passport and dismissed me.
I also mentioned that the designer of the uniforms had taken a leaf out of Heinrich Himmler’s book and his propensity for all black uniforms which now adorn the passport control officers making them look disturbingly like junior members of the Waffen SS.Last week I flew to Vilnius in Lithuania and went via Arlanda Airport in Stockholm on the outward journey. I exited the plane and headed for the passport control and quietly awaited my turn at the desk. I was summoned forward by a young lady who I greeted with a “good afternoon” to which she smiled and responded “good afternoon and welcome to Stockholm, I see that you have brought some very good weather with you.”
After perusing my passport and putting it through her machine she handed it back to me with a smile on her face and said “thank you.”
As I walked into the departure hall I thought to myself “I wonder if it would be possible to get the passport control officers from Manchester to come to Arlanda to see how it should be done?”
Yes, I know they all have a difficult job to do, but a little courtesy costs nothing and it is remarkable how you walk away with such a positive image of the country with those few words of greeting.