Curious Questions: Why do the British love to queue?

After a summer of stoic queuing in planes, trains and automobiles, Country Life has identified five reasons why patient queueing is the British tradition that we secretly love to love.

This summer, the British might be enduring a toxic mix of spiralling inflation, Saharan temperatures and chaotic travel disruption, but there has been one silver lining: we have been treated to a feature of life we love even more than warm beer and the sound of leather on willow — we have experienced a bumper crop of queues at check-in desks, ferry terminals and service stations selling cut-price petrol.

A heightened sense of national pride

On holiday, the queue for a ski lift/vaporetto/taxi is one of the few places where it’s still OK to take pride in your Britishness. The more nonchalant and brazen the incursion by some expensively turned out continental, the more fervent our belief that as long as the British remain happy to form an orderly queue, all will be well on our sceptred isle.

It’s a bonding experience

Nothing beats queueing for creating an instant sense of esprit de corps among complete strangers. Moaning breaks down social barriers, a phenomenon multiplied several times over when there’s an individual to demonise, usually a Chief Executive of AN Other-Corporation Plc who we can take great pleasure in Googling to read tabloid claims about their sprawling villas in Marbella and previous misdemeanours.

It’s truly democratic

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If you need evidence of the benefits of levelling up, look no further than a queue. It doesn’t matter how elevated your social status, you’ll still need to stand in line like the rest of us. At airports, Club Class passengers who buy the right queue barge will know that wheeling your Tumi hand luggage to the front of the queue is nothing but a hollow victory. It’s worth slumming it in economy merely to avoid the ignominy. Or failing that, just be British and patiently wait your turn.

The feel-good factor

Whoever it was who stated that it’s better to travel hopefully than to arrive, might also have been referring to queueing. It’s an incontrovertible fact (not yet subjected to clinical trials) that complaining about queues can release more endorphins than scoring a litre of petrol that is 5p cheaper than it is down the road.

A great way to meet new people

Who needs Tinder, Grindr or Telegraph Dating when queues offer such a golden opportunity to make new friends?