Check in: what are people doing?

I’d really like to know this. When I check in for a flight, I hand over passport and boarding pass, mobile or paper, they scan it in, tag the luggage, maybe if they’re feeling flash they give me a new boarding pass (though rarely in the pointy end sadly) and off I go. It takes about a minute. Or if I mention the weather maybe 70 seconds. It’s done, I’m off, the next person checks in.

But when I’m in the queue you see people there for 10 minutes routinely. What on earth are they doing? Of all the things in life, checking in for a flight has to be one of the easiest. Yet it seems to resemble the process of buying a house for a fair old chunk of travellers. How on earth would they cope with something really complex – buying a meal for example? That menu is dreadfully confusing sometimes you know.

I really don’t get it. How can it take so long? Are they checking each individual seat for comfort? Asking the names of every crew member?

Can we have a separate queue for those who know they will take seconds to check in and another for the rest? One not called Business Class?

I think I’m on to something here.