Has anyone missed the boat?

I don't know whether anyone else has ever mentioned this before, but has anyone, travelling by car, ever missed their cross Channel ferry booking at Calais due to delays at the French and UK Border Controls? Twice recently, I have arrived at the port well within the latest P&O time for me to check in for my sailing to Dover at P&O's check in booth, only to find a long queue of cars waiting at the single lane open at the Border Controls.

I have no complaint with either the French and UK Border officials. They were working as normal, but the sheer volume of cars meant that everyone was queuing up to get into the port. I was lucky both times, as I managed to check in with P&O a few minutes before they had to close the bookings for the ferry, on which I had a reservation. In one case, I was the second to last car to board the ferry, but there were still a lot of cars behind me in the queue and there must have been some people who missed their sailing time. I spoke to the P&O staff on board at the Information Desk and they confirmed that car drivers do miss their sailing times due to this kind of delay.

I realise that border controls are necessary, but it really is inconsiderate. I was crossing over to the UK just for the day and so time for me was crucial. I cannot believe that, when queues are beginning to form close to the latest check in time, they can't be a little more flexible and open up another lane, which would easily solve the problem. The last time that I was there, I could see several UK Border Officials standing around looking like they were doing nothing in the distance.

Anyway, I am just curious if anyone else has experienced this problem or, in deed, missed the boat due to it! (Moan over for the day!)


That doesn't surprise me, Elizabeth. However, I've never had any problems with Eurotunnel being held up by Border Controls.

While we are at it, on a different tack, my big complaint with Eurostar is that the number of trains stopping at Calais-Frethun, (my nearest Eurostar station) for London has decreased over the years and the timetable has become more and more inconvenient for UK-bound travellers now that it is the trains from Brussels rather than those from Paris which stop at Calais-Frethun to pick up UK=bound passengers.

Not restricted to P & O terminal either - I've had the same problem at Eurotunnel including one morning being delayed because the French Interior Minister came to inspect the terminal! I was not a happy bunny.

Hi, Elizabeth!

No, you are right. The staff on the P&O Information Desk said that P&O has complained to the Border Agency, but they don't take any notice of them either. I was thinking of writing to the MP at Dover, but I am not sure what good that will do. It's just that if you go over for a specific purpose like me for the day, if you miss your sailing, it really does make life difficult. I live close to Calais, so I pop over to the UK quite a bit, but it's always for a reason.

At least, I know I am not the only sufferer. Thanks Elizabeth for letting me know!

Yes this has happened to me more than once and I did miss the boat - much slapping of the steering wheel and gallic gestures etc. Like you I had turned up before the latest check in time to find only one lane open which was coping until the inevitable problem with one car (bit like me always choosing the wrong lane in the supermarket queue) and then nothing moved for about 15mins although there seemed to be plenty of other staff in sight. Don't think making representations to Border Agency would have any effect at all - or is that just being too cynical