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Airport queues: where has it gone wrong?

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20th October 2014


Queues can leave operators confused and passengers stressed, angry and equally baffled. The airport has been performing well, a robust plan was in place, everything was working fine last week or last holiday season, so why is the airport now experiencing queues and congestion, and why are they already trending on Twitter?

Any point where a passenger interacts with an airport process or facility is a potential point for a queue: most commonly, as we all know, at check-in, passenger security, immigration and baggage reclaim.

Getting it right should be as easy as supply and demand, but the number of factors that come into play show how easy it is for things to go wrong.

The diagram below brainstorms many of the elements that play a role in creating, and resolving, queues.


Where do queues come from?

Airport queues diagram

Amongst this complex web, where do you start in identifying the root cause of airport queues? The answer does not have to be the costly options of building more facilities, opening more lanes and putting on more staff.

With the right insight – spending time in the operation and measuring and analysing the right areas of the operation – finding the root cause may not be as complex as it seems.

Coupled with a practical, methodical approach to solution development and a proactive implementation team, it is possible to experience the benefits of change swiftly. Which means there is still time to get solutions in place to avoid queues this Christmas season!


Over the next few blogs we look at some of the questions that can be asked in conducting root cause analysis of queues at your airport, and consider some of the short-term and longer-term changes that can be made to resolve these issues. In the meantime, if you have any questions about relevant solutions for your airport at this busy time of year, please contact

Blog 2:

Airport queues: root cause analysis

As simple as supply and demand?

Blog 3:

Airport queues: finding an effective solution

Blog 4:

Airport queues: planning, planning, planning

Categories: Blogs, Operations Improvement, Operations Planning

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