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09 August 2017

Last week there was a big problem at Spanish airports due to stricter passport control rules that were put in place. The queues were up to four hours long thanks to the tougher security rules, and the queues were expected to be even worse as the summer holiday break continued through August.

But there has been a change of plans in the Spanish airports – in order to beat the queues, it seems as though the Spanish authorities are not even checking passports, and nothing is scanned. People are simply able to walk through passport control without being stopped at all.

This was a far cry from the vigilant checking that was carried out earlier in the week, when it was deemed that anti-terrorist measures put in place meant that the passports of those outside the Schengen free-movement zone had to all be checked against databases, which is what was taking the time. The British Government has accused the Spanish airport authorities of not realising how much time this would take, and of not bringing in enough staff to cope with the problem. The checks were taking up to four minutes, whereas a normal check would just take a few seconds.

Things have changed dramatically though. In Palma, where there were huge holdups taking many hours to get through, the cover of a passport was looked at, but it wasn’t even opened. The reason given for this change was that there was simply not enough time to do the recommended checks, and the fact that they would have been checked at the country of departure meant that everything should have been in order. It is quite a change from the last few days, and it is another worry. Whereas there seemed to be too much security, now it might be that there is not enough.

People are, however, pleased to get out of the airport quickly. But is it enough now? This is worrying a lot of people, who were expected to wait for hours, and instead were through security in just two or three minutes – if that.

Authorities have said that the Spanish passport controls must have been working on the basis that the airline had already recorded all the information it needed by checking the various important UK databases at UK airports – so there is no need to check it by the Spanish authorities. 

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