Another e-mail on sour-faced officialdom at airports:Surely a discussion between Americans and Europeans about the relative awfulness of the immigration experience is the definition of pointless - neither of you can possibly know what the other is talking about. As someone with neither an EU nor a US passport, my experience has been that Heathrow is worse than any of the US airports I've arrived at (although London City is almost pleasant, and 'London' Stanstead about average).I used to joke about the UK's "Prevention of Tourism Act" when lined up with Japanese and US visitors just dying to inject money into the local economy but being detained by a hostile and suspicious line of questioning from the unsmiling and sloppily-dressed officials. (I don't use the joke so much now...)I'm willing to believe that my experiences are conditioned by who I am (what I look like, what passport I carry etc.) - but then, so will everyone's. But to condemn the US experience as uniquely unpleasant just does not match those experiences.MORE: A slightly different angle, as the Atlantic Review picks up a Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung piece about America's service culture:This combination of the pioneer spirit of helping your neighbour and the business practice of taking customer service seriously has developed into a type of openness which I would not hesitate to characterize as the realization of Kant's categorical imperative.Then again, did Kant ever have to get through JFK on a busy Friday afternoon....?Before I forget, the Review will be running another of its blog carnivals of German-American Relations on December 11. Start scribbling now.