A few days ago His Majesty King Abdullah paid a visit to the Queen Alia Airport where he voiced his dissatisfaction with its lack of progress.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is not the first time I visited the airport. Every time we take measures to facilitate procedures for travelers, we return and find the same obstacles again,Ã¢â‚¬Â the King told officials at the airport during a visit.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Some procedures are unjustified and create obstacles, although they can be solved through simple and immediate decisions.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Monarch gave airport authorities seven days to agree on one body that will be in charge of Ã¢â‚¬Å“solving all the problems as soon as possibleÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Now this was over 2 weeks ago so naturally one must ask what’s happened since then. Well the very next day the head of the airport stated that they were in the process of implementing a few reforms. Luckily I got to travel exactly 1 week after the King’s visit and I did in fact notice the difference; my return to Amman a few days later validated my assessment.
Security was very lax. A month before the line up was much longer and we had to take off belts and be scanned manually. Queues were much shorter even though the people behind the counter that process the ticket and give you the boarding pass are still just as dumb as ever. I think the e-checking machines have been removed and because I was forced to use them once upon a time, I think it’s because of their massive failure to even scan a foreign passport.
Usually, as a Jordanian, you have to pay duty taxes of 20JDs, but the man behind that counter brushed me along. I almost insisted though, telling him I didn’t want to wait at passport control for 10 minutes and then be told to go back and pay the tax. But he said there was no need and waved me in. Passport control took exactly 5 seconds to stamp my passport and wave me in as well.
Once I got to the gate, security of course asked me where the little ticket for the duty tax was. I told him there’s no way I’m going back now after I made sure I didn’t have to pay it, and he said it was fine and waved me in. Going through the ‘checkpoint’ the metal detector went off but they waved me in towards my gate.
On the way back…
Passport control was a very similar experience, with a 5 second round of stamping and a ‘welcome to Jordan’. This was followed by the two guards that are always situated at the top of the escalator. They usually look at everyone’s passport but this time they were both sitting and chatting when I showed them mine, and they just waved me in instead. I was thinking to myself at this point that at least they could’ve pretended to look.
And for the first time ever in my history with Queen Alia Airport, my baggage was not lost and in fact arrived moments after I approached the baggage carousel. Although that probably had little to do with any “reforms” and more to do with sheer luck (and the fact that I wasn’t flying RJ). They also had these flat screen TVs that I’ve never seen before that give out tourist information on sites in Jordan and what not.
So essentially what’s happened is quite simple:
Make things go faster by basically removing the burden of security out of the equation!
Now who would’ve thought of that?