When will all airports have automatic passport control?

Last updated: 19 March 2014

I’m from the UK but live in France and travel a lot for work. My recent trip back to the UK brought home the potential delights of an automatic immigration/border control experience. Living in the Schengen area, I enjoy the benefits of borderless Europe but last week I had to make a trip back home to the UK (which is not part of the agreement).

Not a great British breakfast

First I had the joys of crossing Marseille in rush hour (which apparently has the 8th worst traffic jams in Europe according to TomTom) and then arrived at airport security at the same time as various flights outside the EU. This was slow but understandable with the regulations and volume of passengers but then I arrived at passport control with hundreds of people needing their visas checked and documents stamped. This made me think “why don’t we have the choice of an eborder gate for EU citizens with ePassports?” If this had been an option I would have had time to have a French croissant rather than a a British muesli bar and instant coffee on the plane.

I reconciled myself with the fact that I could use one of the unmanned gates upon arrival at Gatwick to beat the queues. However for some reason they were all closed so I had to wait in line once again. In the end it was no real hassle but my day could have started just a little better if I’d been able to take advantage of this automatic border control technology.