For all the talk of the current government and their silent partners, the xenophobic PVV lead by that fake blonde, Geert Wilders, it seems the folks at Schiphol are rolling out more ways to make it easier for us weary travellers to transit passport control when entering and leaving Holland.
I have been a user of their iris scan service, Privium, for a number of years and I LOVE it. I’ve said before that there are only two Dutch companies that I would rank and which I enjoy using, and that’s KLM and Privium. I’m hesitant about fully adding Schiphol to that list (more on that later) but this latest move certainly puts them into the running.
So what exactly have they introduced to deserve such high praise from this grumpy frequent flyer Irishman?
Well, what they’ve just rolled out is a “Self-Service Passport Control” for all passport holders from EEA (that’s the EU countries plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Citizens from these countries will be able to pass through these new “e-gates” using their biometric passports and facial recognition to pass through immigration.
As a current Privium user, I can’t help but think that this new e-border solution might result in a drop off of Privium clients. Mind you, the fact that almost every Privium client is a frequent flyer and that they generally have their shit together when going through the security checks means that the dedicated security screening line for Privium, along with the parking, the lounge and the friendly and efficient staff are still worth my annual subscription.
But one other thing might worry the general public, and that is the fact that anyone with an EEA passport (genuine or an extremely good forgery) can pass through immigration unimpeded. In an era where-in the Netherlands has become extremely xenophobic, the extreme right may seize upon this new initiative and try to shut it down, citing that anyone an now enter the country without any checks to determine if they are a genuine visitor. Given that fact that we Irish have been the victims of forged Irish passports in the past, and that the Irish passport is the passport of choice amongst most spooks, with Russian and Israeli spies using Irish passports to get in and out of various countries to carry out their covert black ops, it’s no wonder that people may think that this is not really a good idea, and thus roll it back.
Meanwhile elsewhere in Schiphol-land, they have decided to make the weary travellers plight even worse. Whilst speeding up our entry and exit through immigration, some bright spark has come up with a ridiculous idea which foreces drivers, who are simply picking up passengers, to use a mandatory car park, whereby they have to park the car and wait there for their passenger. OK, so they get the first 15 mins of parking for free, but you can no longer use the original pick-up area anymore. Their rationale, when I questioned them, was that this pick-up area is simply too busy and too congested. My answer to them was simple….start slapping parking fines to the wankers who leave their car and do not wait by the car. That will soon stop people from parking there for +30 mins while they wait for a delayed flight to arrive and sort out the congestion problem fairly lively.
Sadly, my suggestion fell on deaf ears…which is weird, because in Holland they love to find ways to screw you out of money. Maybe they think that this 15 mins free parking will actually result in people staying one or two mins extra, allowing them to charge you for a full hour, as is the case with almost every Dutch car park. Knowing the Dutch as I do, I won’t be surprised to find out that even when everyone clearly sees that this idiotic idea doesn’t work out, they will refuse to admit their mistake and carry on regardless.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to take the bus to and fro and try to relax in the sumptuous comfort of the Privium lounge before I have to deal with the grannies and screaming babies and the “once a year” travellers that regularly cause my blood pressure to rise as they fumble with their passports and boarding cards or their 20 bags of clinking bottles from Duty Free in the overhead bins.
Who said travelling isn’t fun? 🙂