Flustered passengers have been granted a reprieve from lengthy summer queues, after Newcastle Airport introduced a security fast-track service. The new scheme, which costs just £3 per visit, will allow pass holders to skip the traditional security avenues in favour of a streamlined ‘Fast Track’ lane.
Since the beginning of this year, airport security has endured seismic changes to protocol, the rapid installation of peculiar machines, and more column inches than a footballer’s wife, but for all their fancy computers, airports have done little to still the beating heart of the uninitiated traveller.
Airport bosses are always looking for ways to turn security proceedings into a minor inconvenience, a few minutes of boredom on either side of that holiday in sunny Spain.
Intrusive cameras may not have been the best way to win over the public, but airport security is slowly becoming sufficient to tackle all but the most sophisticated threats. The trick now is to make it faster, and more responsive to customers’ needs.
Traditionally, fast-track services were reserved for people who can afford to purchase a business-class ticket. Gatwick, for example, has an executive queue-jump scheme, as does Heathrow. Newcastle’s new £3 service is an important step forward for travellers, but it is by no means the first airport to extend fast-track services to the public.
Leeds Bradford and London Luton, for example, have operated a similar service for a number of months. The main exception is that Newcastle will allow children under-5 to use the fast-track service for free, providing that they are not checking-in alone. The fast-track service is located inside two kiosks close to the security search area.