Ever since travel started to become normal once more after the Coronavirus pandemic, British tourists have been caught up in long queues as they try to enter Spain and other EU countries—and they are far from happy about what appears to be the luck of the Irish.
Many have taken to social media to complain that the Irish are getting “preferential treatment.”
Last week I actually heard one disgruntled Brit accuse the authorities at Alicante airport of “racism” towards Brits after she was held up in a queue, and angrily watched Irish travellers who were on the same flight sail through without any checks.
The problem was highlighted at the end of April by The Mirror, which reported that “Spain airport sees Irish tourists given ‘preferential treatment’ as angry Brits watch on.” It was referring to Malaga airport.
It went on to explain:
Since Brexit, British tourists are only allowed to stay in the Schengen area (a free movement area without border controls that includes 26 countries including Spain but excluding Ireland) for 90 out of 180 days and must get their passports stamped when they leave or could face being refused entry on another visit. Meanwhile, Irish citizens benefit from EU-wide passenger rights for travel into, out of, or within the EU by air, rail, bus or coach or ship.
According to a Dublin Live report, travellers have been sharing pictures from Malaga Airport which has been sectioned off into two separate passport queues. One is sealed off with black tape and signposted with a union jack for ‘all passengers’. The other is enclosed with green tape and shows an Irish tricolour and EU flag while labelled for ‘EU citizens’.
A Twitter user said:
Sitting in Malaga Airport to return. What a joke! A huge queue for UK passengers stretching all the way back to duty free exit…whilst the lane for EU empty.
Preferential treatment for the one flight to Ireland. Travellers beware.
A third wrote:
Queues for passport control are ridiculous. Allow an extra hour after security for the passport control.
The Mirror report came after up to 3,000 passengers missed their flights at Madrid Airport over the Easter break. There are now fears those scenes could be repeated throughout the summer.
Those doing all the whinging can’t seem to get it into their heads that, having chosen to leave the EU, Britain placed itself on a long list of foreign countries, and its citizens are required to follow the same rules as those coming from all other non-EU countries.
Bottom line: The Irish are not getting “preferential” treatment because—lucky them—Ireland is an EU country, and long may it remain so!
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