“Do you have an appointment?” – Gupta Rajan, The Terminal
Gatwick Airport has the world’s largest self-service bag drop zone. The investment in technology is designed to speed passengers through the check-in and bag drop formalities, allowing Gatwick to handle greater numbers of passengers by increasing peak check-in capacity from 3,000 to 4,350 passengers per hour.
It’s 6am, 27th December 2016 and Gatwick is brimming with passengers most of whom look eternally befuddled punching the buttons on the checkout screen. The man behind me in the queue has a thinning Mohawk, flopped un-styled to one side. Clearly it’s too early in the morning for holding wax. He’s chuntering away behind me, “Come on twats, come on twats,” And with good cause.
A Father and Son in front are holding up the entire show. The sons bag is overweight and the machine fires a penalty warning, PAY £35 TO CHECK IN BAG. Neither him nor the Dad have means of payment so the entire queue is detained whilst they wait for another family member to rescue the situation. In the meantime, the Dad checks in his bag and then in a unique display of paternal altruism, abandons his son and heads to the departure lounge.
“There goes Dad of the year,” the man behind me scoffs.
At last the payment is made and the son can check his bag in. Only the machine barks at him once more to provide a boarding pass. A panic arrives in the boy’s face and he frantically pats down each pocket before tunnelling his way through his bag. He whips out his phone.
“Dad have you got my boarding pass …. You have ….”
In his blinkered crusade to catch his flight to cunt island, Dad has made off with his Son’s boarding pass and the queue audibly groans. In fairness to Gatwick the self-service only opened in 2017. And although it the check-in process can be completed in less than two minutes, it still can’t account for the stupidity of humans.
The Dad finally returned after five minutes, walking, holding a coffee.
“I’m gunna hang one on this fucking Dad,” I hear behind me. The man is somehow voicing the entire conscious of Gatwick South Terminal.