View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Thursday, March 15, 2007

U.A.E.: The Biggest…the Tallest…The Fastest?

The other morning on my way to work in Asia I discovered another record that this fledgling nation must possess.

When my taxi driver dropped me at the Dubai International Airport I observed it was 6.40am. After clearing the first baggage scanner I noticed inside that the Emirates Airline had added to their line of ‘Self Check-in Stations.’ I inserted my Skywards Card, was instantly recognized, assured of my booking, granted the option of changing my seat and in no time I had received my boarding card and was heading toward the ‘Quick Drop’ Baggage Counter for a two minute weigh of my bag and its labeling.

I checked the time and it was only 6.50am. With only my briefcase in hand I strode toward the immigration hall and was waved on at the next check point. There were long lines leading to immigration officials peering cannily at the travelers and stamping their passports.

I spotted the sign saying ‘E-Gate and Crew’ and the line was non-existent. I inserted my Skywards Card again and the gates immediately spread open. I placed my index finger on the finger print recognition panel and, hey presto, the next doors opened. I was almost through. One more ridding of my metal objects and once through the final scanner, I was scuttling down the flight of stairs like a steeplechase runner.

As I paced down the long concourse, unassisted by the travelator, I was silently extolling the wonder of ‘Self Check-in Stations’ and ‘E-Gate’ technology.

As I ascended the escalator to the Duty Free Shopping Hall the clock on the wall declared it was 7.00am. From the taxi drop to the Duty Free shops it only took me twenty minutes. It doesn’t always happen like this but surely the Dubai International Airport must hold the record for delivering the fastest check-in process in the world.

Geoff Pound