For some people who are not used to travelling the airport can be very stressful. Read my top airport tips below and get your holiday off to a great start.
- Weigh your luggage before you go!
- Passports, visa and all the important stuff.
- Check terminals, car parking, roadworks.
- Get to the airport early.
- Use the fast track.
- Security screening
- Executive Lounges
- Before you board.
1. Weigh your luggage before you go!
Before you go you should make sure you weigh your luggage to ensure you are within the weight limits for the particular airline you are travelling with. You don’t want to be one of those people at the top of the queue taking clothes out of one bag and placing them in another.
You will also want to avoid any excess baggage charges, as not only are these exorbitant, but usually you have to queue up at the ticket desk to pay them and then re queue to check in. This can be very stressful if you are short on time and the security queue is very long.
2. Passports, visas and all the important stuff.
I think it goes without saying to make sure that your passports are valid, but you will also need to check the regulations of the country that you are travelling to. Passenger locator forms, as well as proof of vaccination may be required, and some destinations require that your passport is valid for 6 months after your return date.
This is becoming more and more common with some European countries applying this rule as well as the USA and many long haul destinations.
If travelling to the USA make sure you have your ESTA in place, it is compulsory for everyone travelling to America now. Log on to https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/
I always recommend printing your documents, as well as keeping a digital copy, just incase they are mislaid.
3. Check terminals, car parking, roadworks
You should check with AA road watch to ensure your planned journey is free of road works, sometimes the airport website will also have this mentioned in their news section.
Check which terminal you are departing from. As a general rule, Aer Lingus and long haul flights go from Terminal 2, and most other airlines from Terminal 1, but you need to check your travel documents to be sure.
Allow plenty of time if using the airport car parks, especially the long term ones, as some of these are 20 minutes from the airport terminal. The DAA airport website is very useful and have many top tips, details of airlines and their terminals, plus the latest car park deals are available here.
4. Get to the airport early.
There are many new restaurants open in our airports now now including Diep le Shaker, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and the fantastic food market – Marquette. Depending on the time of your flight it might be an idea to go to the airport early. It will stop you worrying about traffic, queues etc and allow you some time to enjoy a nice meal before you depart, or check out the shops at The Loop.
5. Use the Fast Track
If you are short on time or have a particularly early flight – use the Fast Track facility. It’s a fantastic service that caters for a variety of travellers. If you don’t want to queue at security you can pay from €7.99 – €12.99 to use the fast track service. You also get a voucher for a free coffee, which can be purchased in many outlets before you board.
Where possible always check-in online. Even if you still need to check in a bag, it usually guarantees you a shorter queue and seats together on the aircraft. If travelling with Aer Lingus use the dedicated self check-in kiosks to weigh your own bags.
If you are travelling within Europe, you should arrive at the airport two hours before your flight departs, irrespective of whether you have checked in online or at the airport.
If you are travelling long haul this is should be increased to three hours. If travelling to the USA you will need to go through emigration at Dublin or Shannon airport, and therefore check-in times are 3 hours before departure. Remember you will still need to go through security even if you have checked-in online and in busy periods these queues can be long.
7. Security screening.
Security is where everyone’s stress levels increase! I think it goes without saying not to pack sharp implements, but even kids toy guns, razors etc should never be in your hand luggage. Ideally pack all liquids in your checked baggage, but if you need to have them in your hand luggage, make sure that there are no liquids over 100ml, as they will be confiscated.
Some things are evidently liquid, like drinks and perfume, others are less obvious, like gels, pastes, lotions, toothpastes, hair gels, face creams, liquid cosmetic, deodorants and shaving foam. Any liquids that you have not checked in, and are below the 100ml limit should be placed in one clear plastic bag and separated from your bag on the trays provided.
Medication is allowed, but you may have to demonstrate that it is for medical purposes – I recommend a note from your doctor stating this. Similarly with baby’s bottles – you may have to drink them to prove they are indeed what you say they are.
Remember to remove outer jackets, belts, shoes, laptops from cases when you reach the passenger security screening area as this will speed things up.
8. Enjoy the Executive Lounges and additional facilities available
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You can use the Executive Lounge in Terminal 1 for up to two hours (regardless of what class of ticket you have) with complimentary drinks, snacks and newspapers from only €20 if booked online. The luxurious 51st &Green Lounge in Terminal 2 is €30, or complimentary if travelling business class.
There are also other genie services where you can book a family care attendant or chaperones if someone is travelling alone and needs help. All of these are available to book on the Dublin Airport Website, www.dublinairport.com.
9. Before you board
When you make it through the screening area, check the flight information screens to see which gate your flight is departing from. Sometimes gates can change for operational reasons.
If shopping in Duty free on the way out, make sure to use Shop and Collect system – they take care of your purchases and you don’t need to worry about the extra weight in your luggage, you simply pick them up when you return.
Take advantage of the ‘honest’ airplane water stops that are scattered around the terminal. Put €1 in the box provided, so you will have water when you board and stay hydrated for your journey.