Queue areas are areas in which people queue (first in, first out), i.e. wait in line for something, e.g. checking out the groceries or other goods that have been collected in a self-service shop, in a shop without self-service, at an ATM, at a ticket desk, in a taxi stand, etc.
Queuing is a common phenomenon in a number of fields, and has been extensively analyzed: see queuing theory.
Highly organized queue areas are commonly found at amusement parks. Their rides only have a fixed capacity of guests that can be served at any given time. If more people come in than can be served in a given length of time, a line begins to form, and thus amusement parks feel the need to control those lines in some manner or other. This leads to the development of formalized queue areas - areas in which the lines of people waiting to board the rides are organized by railings, and may be given shelter from the elements with a roof over their heads. In some amusement parks - Walt Disney World is an example - queue areas can be elaborately decorated, thus potentially shortening the perceived wait for some people in the queue, by giving people something interesting to look at while they are in line.
Some of the longest queues can be found at the terminals for cruise ships, where elaborate security precautions are necessary in order to prevent hijackings, stowaways, and terrorist attacks. Also, it is customary to photograph passengers at the gangplank for souvenir photos. Due to such precautions and other customary activities, one may expect a long wait at cruise terminals before embarkation.
Sometimes there are not separate lines for each service point (with the FIFO principle applicable per line only, with people often regretting to have chosen "the wrong line"), but one common line.
Sometimes two people who are together each wait in a different line, and later the one in the slower line joins the other.
Line or queue jumping or cutting in line is the frowned-upon practice of moving ahead of one or more people in line without their permission.
Instead of physical queueing there may be virtual queueing. In a waiting room there may be the system that one asks and remembers after whom one is, or one reports to a desk and is called when it is one's turn, or one takes a ticket with a number from a machine. It applies at the doctor/hospital, and at offices where many people visit, e.g. townhall, social security office, labor exchange, post office, etc. Waiting rooms often have seats, but not always.
Waiting rooms without maintaining an order of arrival or of being served are in train stations, bus depots, airports, and other public transportation terminals. Some waiting rooms are restricted to ticketed passengers, especially at airports and in depots of major cities.
See also Human positions.