Airport change on flight to Tenerife 'took me by surprise'

Photo shows Tenerife Airpot
-Credit: (Image: Birmingham Live)

Since Brexit, UK holidaymakers have had to get used to a long list of new procedures when visiting Europe.

Even though it came into effect in 2020, tourists are still grappling with such changes, especially since new ones seem to keep popping up at the last minute. Reporter Emily Chaplin recently experienced a new airport step while flying to Tenerife in Spain - and it took her by surprise.

Read below for her thoughts on the new finger printing system at Tenerife Airport that is now being enforced in Spain, as part of the new Entry/Exit system (EES), as reported by Birmingham Live.

'An unexpected request'

As we disembarked from the airport shuttle and navigated through the arrivals doors, weaving our way towards Tenerife Sur's passport control, we were unsure of what to expect. The only thing standing between me and a chilled glass of sangria at an all-inclusive hotel buffet was this final hurdle, so I was keen to clear it as swiftly as possible.

Our journey through Birmingham Airport security had been surprisingly smooth earlier that day, but I was aware that Spain's entry requirements for UK tourists had altered post-Brexit, with seemingly countless rules to adhere to.

The Foreign Office website states that Spanish border control officials can request passengers arriving from Britain to present a return or onward ticket, proof of travel insurance, confirmation of a hotel booking and evidence of sufficient funds for their stay - reportedly £97 per day.

I was equipped for the first three requirements, but the euros in my wallet fell short. However, holidaymakers who are asked for proof can provide bank account statements instead. From my online research, it seemed unlikely we would be asked, so I was hoping we'd sail through without any delays.

As we approached the front of the queue, I noticed another checkpoint separating us from the stern-faced officer stamping passports behind a desk. Another airport staff member was ushering passengers towards one of four self-service kiosks, repeatedly instructing them to place their passports in the designated slot, look into the camera and press a finger on the fingerprint scanner.


People at passport control in line
The reporter was required to scan their fingerprints -Credit:Birmingham Live

I was aware that the EU's new Entry/Exit System would soon require biometric scans for travellers flying to Schengen Area countries like Spain and Greece, but this isn't due to launch until autumn. Then I noticed the logo emblazoned on each kiosk - policia.

These were police scanners, presumably cross-checking passengers' details against Spain's criminal records.

Of course, this wasn't a problem - we were holidaymakers on a girls' trip, not criminals on the lam - but it was unexpected. It felt strange knowing my fingerprints would be stored somewhere, and I wondered about the use and location of my data.

A recent study by the Co-op revealed that one in five UK adults surveyed confessed they would be 'put off' travelling to Europe under the new Entry/Exit System, with just under half stating they disliked the idea of their fingerprints and facial scan being captured. While it wouldn't deter me from holidaying, I could understand why some might find the concept unsettling.

The scan was over in a matter of seconds, and we breezed through passport control with nothing more than a friendly 'hola'. There was no mention of return tickets, insurance, booking confirmations or spending money.

Within the hour, we were settled into our hotel, tucking into paella and sipping on fruity wine.

However, with the introduction of the Entry/Exit System this October and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System implementing a new travel permit for Brits half a year later, holidaymakers will soon have to adapt to more changes. By this time next year, the process of jetting off to Europe will look quite different, so it's crucial to stay informed about the upcoming changes.

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