SEF demands withdrawal of airport’s “smile machine”

Border control agency SEF has been left grim-faced by airport authority ANA’s attempts to find out how passengers feel about the time they have to wait to enter the country via passport control.

ANA recently installed a “smile machine” – encouraging people to rate their experiences at Lisbon’s busy Humberto Delgado airport.

ANA introduced the machine two months ago after it become aware that the number of people who have to wait over an hour in the last year to get through passport control have increased during certain months by 500%.

SEF views the attempt at regulation as “ridiculous” and “overly simplistic”.

According to Diário de Notícias, it is not just demanding withdrawal of the smile machine, it is going to court to make sure this happens.

Said an official source: “There are specific ways of monitoring” inspectors’ performance – and a smile machine is certainly not one of them.

Indeed, the source said there are no smile machines available for people to record their opinions of security forces in supermarkets, or commercial spaces, so why should there be at the capital’s airport – particularly when it deals with huge influxes of people from all over the world.

SEF may not be aware that London’s Heathrow has a very similar smile machine (see image).

The agency source continued: “The number of long-haul flights have increased” this year, which means “more people are arriving, particularly from third world countries”.

Airline routes too are “more complex” than they used to be “requiring elaborate risk analysis”.

“New international realities have also seen a significant increase in the number of requests for asylum”.

Humberto Delgado airport has recently seen a number of attempted ‘break-outs’ by non-European passengers intent on entering Schengen Space (click here), and MPs are discussing the possibility of opening a new terminal in Montijo (click here)

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