This is immigration, not a nightclub queue.

What a bizarre encounter at immigration. The MSG and I were returning from a quick weekend break and were queuing behind two girls.

It was difficult not to listen to their conversation and phone calls as they were broadcast at megaphone volume to everyone. They were going out to party ’til three in the morning, confirmed by their shrieks of “oh my gawd, oh my gawd, how cool!”

The volume of course rose even further as the one started boasting about the fact ‘they’ll be measuring me up’ for the ‘shoot’ she was doing the next day; a boast she repeated in case anyone within two miles had missed it.

Yet it was her friend who caused the strange stir: I’d mentioned to the MSG it seemed odd as she had an American accent, and we were in the European Union queue. Dancer woman went through no problem, but the US woman was told “I’m sorry maam, but you need to go in the other queue”.

“What?” she said, feigning shock, “I didn’t see a sign, I was busy” (yes she’d been shouting loudly on the phone) as they walked through.

He replied, accurately, “there’s a seven foot tall sign with all the flags of the European Union on it and another one saying go the other way”.

Quite unbelievably, she then gave him a look and carried on walking; straight through the gate, to be told she’d have to go round. Then, she tried on the charm, seeing if she could sweet talk him with an “awe come on, let me go through”, he shook his head, she tried again, this time with a pout, apparently flabbergasted to be refused by anyone as if it was the door for a sheeshy restaurant.

As we were next in line, and there were mutterings coming from another 100 tired people behind, I loudly said “this is immigration, have you heard of global terrorism and drug smuggling – go to the other queue.” From her I got a mouthful of abuse as she finally skulked back, from the immigration official, I got a thank you and a smile.

Having been through US immigration a couple of times myself, often an intimidating process, I wonder what they’d have done there if it was the other way round.

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