When you escape the queues of life, life puts you in longer queues

Colm O’Regan is trying to be Zen about queues. 

When you escape the queues of life, life puts you in longer queues

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised, when you escape the queues of life, life puts you in longer queues. But there is one queue that I cannot abide.

It’s the queue where we’re not all queuing for the same thing. I bet everyone one of us has a traffic-light junction in mind where the people going right block the people going straight on or vice versa.

And it sticks in our craw. It’s like the Sean Quinn’s Greed Insurance Levy. You’re paying for someone else’s choices. And one place where the disproportionate rage rises in me is the queue in the jet bridge when you’re waiting to board the plane.


I fantasise about an Irish rugby international second-row or lock 8 clearing out the ruck to allow me, the scrum-half, to fling a wristy pass or just sit down and read my Cara.

I try and avoid this by delaying for as long as possible before going on to the plane but I always lose my nerve and board too early.

The main reason not to be last on the plane is your hand-luggage. Because by the time you get on, some one who’s brought options for clothes as opposed to “a few spare underpants and a the only trousers that was clean” has filled the hand-luggage space above your head.

If you can’t put your hand-luggage above your own seat it’s usually stored fifteen rows back and you spend the deplaning process — a word that should be banned, you are not getting a plane surgically removed from an orifice — gazing forlornly back along the plane to an unsympathetic passengerhood.

Smarter people than me are trying to figure out faster ways to board a plane.

Apparently there’s the Wilma method where the window people board first, then the middle, then the aisle. But it can separate families.

I have an idea. I’m throwing it out there for someone to run with and give me idea-money in a monthly stipend when it takes off.

It requires computers or holograms or something but here goes. You project a map of the plane onto the ground near the gate. But it’s not the exact map.

It’s an schema of the seat numbers in such an order that it is algorithmically worked out to be the fastest and least “standing in the aisle-iest” while still keeping families together. (I haven’t worked out the lighting logistics yet. What do you want from me? I’m a visionary not a details man. Some lad who does apps can finish it off.)

By gate closing time you stand on the light-label on the ground that corresponds to your seat number.

If you’re not there in time you stand in a holding bay where you are passive aggressively glanced at by all GOOD passengers.

Everyone in position? Board the plane. No one blocks anyone and more importantly no one blocks me. And if you still block other passengers while stowing your luggage the aisle we get the most paranoid Trumpian TSA official to escort you off.

I think it might be my best idea yet. Queue applause.

More in this section

Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

logo podcast

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on

IE logo

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence

News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up