Flight attendant on ‘the only way’ to skip airport queues – but only some passengers can

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British tourists have reported hours-long queues to go through the manual passport control checks at some EU airports. Is there a way to avoid them?

The flight attendant, who wished to remain anonymous, said “the only people who can skip the passport queues are the passengers with assistance”.

He explained: “When you request assistance, you are the first to board the aircraft and you get to skip all the queues.”

But who can request assistance at the airport?

The Civil Aviation Authority states “if you’re a passenger with a disability or reduced mobility you are legally entitled to support, commonly known as ‘Special Assistance’, which is free of charge, when travelling by air”.

“Special assistance is available to passengers who may need help to travel such as the elderly, those people with a physical disability, such as wheelchair users, and those who have difficulty with social interaction and communication, such as those with autism or dementia.”

The crew member explained any elderly passenger can request special assistance but most don’t use the free service.

He said: “We have passengers with assistance on almost every flight but to be honest, a lot of people that should definitely ask for assistance don’t do it.

“Sometimes because they don’t know how, they think they have to be ill to be eligible or simply because they are embarrassed.

“When a passenger asks for special assistance at the airport they will provide with wheelchairs if needed, and the staff will escort you to the gate and take you on the electric mobility aid wherever you need to go around the airport.

“Assistance passengers also have priority so they are the first ones to board the aircraft and they skip all the queues.”

The flight attendant recommended “if you are over 60 and you find walking around the airport and the whole travelling experience exhausting, definitely request assistance.”

“Why not,” he said.

“You don’t have to have a disability to request assistance, anyone can do so.

“This is the only way I know passengers can skip the passport control queues.

“Families and people with babies are the first ones to board the plane but with a few exceptions in some airports, they don’t get priority at passport control.”

The former flight attendant shared another way British tourists can avoid the long passport control queues at EU airports.

He said “if you travel with a group of people and someone has an EU passport, don’t go straight to the e-gates”.

“Always ask the person who is helping and redirecting people just before passport control if you can go with your friends as you are travelling together.

“Most people will say yes and let you skip the queue.

“And of course, if you are married to an EU citizen, you don’t need to queue! You can always go with them and have fast-tracked access.”

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