Anorak News | Pees & Queues

Pees & Queues

by | 8th, January 2004

‘BRITONS wishing to visit their cousins on the other side of the Atlantic already have a checklist of things to take with them.

Passengers are already banned from doing their laundry in the plane toilets

Among them are a healthy appetite, an AK-47 and assorted other weapons to help blend in with the local populace and a smile with which to answer the question, ”Do they speak English in England?”

But to that they will soon have to make a few additions – the patience of Job to cope with flight delays and cancellations, a capacious bladder and a visa.

On the day when British Airways was forced to delay Flight 223 to Washington yet again, the Telegraph reports that the US is set to reintroduce visas for anyone entering the country, even for the shortest holiday.

Not only that, but visas will have to be applied for in person, with the procedure including fingerprinting, photographing and a face-to-face interview.

The rules, which will only apply to people with passports issued after October 26 this year, ”are expected to cause chaos”.

The problem stems from the USA Patriot Act passed in the wake of 9/11, which insists that after that date all 27 visa-waiver countries must issue ”biometric” passports or passengers will have to apply for a visa.

But almost none of the countries are expected to be able to meet the deadline – including (ironically) the United States itself.

Having queued for hours to get your visa, having waited days at Heathrow for your flight to take off, you may be forgiven for wanting to sit back and have a few drinks on your way to the land of the freedom fry.

Mistake. The Times reports that US authorities have ordered that airlines entering its airspace to ban passengers from queuing for the toilet.

The directive says the crew must make announcements every two hours telling passengers not to congregate outside the toilets or in any other location.

But the paper says British Airways has no intention of ordering passengers back to their seats.

”Queuing is a great British tradition,” said a BA insider. ”How on earth are we supposed to organise trips to the loo?

”Should we make people put their hands up or have a ticket system like at the deli counter at Tesco?”

Or should we sell off seats with toilet privileges at a premium? Aisle, window, toilet..?’

Posted: 8th, January 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink