top tips for dublin airport

10 Top Tips for Travelling Through Dublin Airport

Car parks, fast track, travel apps and dining options – my top tips for travelling through Dublin airport should help you on your way.

Travel is certainly back with a bang, with Dublin Airport recently reporting that almost 9.5 million passengers passed through the airport in the first four months of 2023. It is unlikely that we will have the long security queues that we saw last summer, but there are many more things to consider ahead of the busy summer season. My top tips for travelling through Dublin airport should help you get your holiday off to a flying start.





1. Check-in online and save your documents

check in online when traveling with Ryanair

I think it goes without saying that if you can check-in online, do it. Ryanair insist on it, and will charge you to print a boarding pass at the airport. It is not compulsory with most other airlines, however, I would highly recommend it to save valuable queuing time.


Most digital boarding passes have a small box on them saying ‘Save to Wallet’. When you click on this it should store in the wallet on your phone – the same place that your bank cards are stored when using your phone to pay for goods. This has been a game changer for me, once I open my wallet my boarding pass is there!


If this facility isn’t available, then I suggest you screenshot Boarding Pass and Visas and save them in the ‘Files’ folder of your phone. This should be a small icon on your home screen that you can find quickly.

Most digital boarding passes have a small box on them saying ‘Save to Wallet’. When you click on this it should store in the wallet on your phone – the same place that your bank cards are stored when using your phone to pay for goods. This has been a game changer for me, once I open my wallet my boarding pass is there! 


If this facility isn’t available, then I suggest you screenshot Boarding Pass and Visas and save them in the ‘Files’ folder of your phone. This should be a small icon on your home screen that you can find quickly.

While I love the convenience of having documents on my phone, I also recommend printing your documents. In the unlikely event that your phone is lost or stolen, or the more likely event that the battery runs out, at least you have them to hand. Paper documents are also easier for people who are not tech savvy.



2. Suss out baggage rules in advance and buy an AirTag

Sarah Slattery Dublin Airport

Baggage rules vary between airlines, and you may be surprised to learn that rules and allowances have changed since you last flew. Aer Lingus will allow you to check-in a 10kg bag free of charge for instance, and will charge you to bring it on board.

It is important you check your airlines baggage policies before you get to the airport.

Read: The Ultimate Holiday Checklist – All you need to know before you go


If travelling with kids, most airlines allow you to bring a buggy / stroller as well as one piece of equipment, i.e car seat, booster seat or travel cot, separate to your baggage allowance. Aer Lingus insist that infants cabin baggage must be included in your own allowance, while Ryanair allow an additional 5kg, free of charge if travelling on an adult’s lap.

Read: Top tips for travelling with kids

Read: How to pack light for a week in the sun and bring hand luggage only


If you are checking in a bag, or just want to know where your luggage is at all times, then it makes sense to use a tracking device. The Apple AirTag looks like a large coin and can be placed in your suitcase or backpack when you travel.


holiday checklist - buy an Apple AirTag 
The AirTag sends out a secure Bluetooth signal that can be detected by nearby Apple devices which send the location of the AirTag to your iCloud account so you can see exactly where you case is. The notifications are anonymous so your privacy is protected, and your luggage will be traceable via the Apple app.


Priced at just €35 for one coin, and €119 for a pack of four, these are a good investment if you are concerned about lost luggage. Samsung have a similar device called a Smart Tag, and Tile is another alternative that works with any mobile device, but does not have the same precision finding as the AirTag.

Read: How to prevent lost luggage when travelling, luggage tips
Shop single here
Shop 4 pack here



3. Pre book car parking and travel insurance in advance

With the sale of QuickPark car park last summer, Dublin Airport’s car parking spaces were reduced by over 6000. I was unable to secure parking over the February mid term break, and Dublin Airport have issued various statements confirming that car parks are likely to be booked out during peak season.

Make sure to book the car park in advance to guarantee space, and to secure the best price.


Most travel insurance policies have a moratorium in place, so you need to make sure you have booked travel insurance at least 14 days before departure if you want to be covered for cancellation. I have used for many years and always received good service.

See more here



4. Use the Click and Collect Shopping Service

Did you know that The Loop guarantee that fragrances are 20% cheaper than downtown prices, and skincare and make up products are 15% cheaper than downtown prices? These savings apply to all passengers, regardless of whether you are flying to a duty free destination.


To ensure you avail of the discounted prices when travelling, and to save you valuable time, I recommend you use Click and Collect service online before you go. You can use this service as far as three months from your flight date!

This is a free service available to all passengers travelling within the EU – note it isn’t available to passengers travelling to non-EU destinations.

The Loop airport shopping in Dublin airport

Simply order 3 months – 12 hours before your flight departing from Dublin airport, and your products will be ready for you to pick up at the Airport Shopping Collection points. You will need to have photo ID with you, as well as proof of purchase, when collecting your goods. See all collection points here.



5. Go to the airport at the right time. 

tips for travelling through dublin airport during covid-19

The latest advice from Dublin airport is to arrive no more than 2 hours before your flight for short-haul travel, or 3 hours before you flight for long-haul travel, even if you have checked in online. However, if you have a bag to check in, or are parking in the long term car parks, you may want to add another hour on to these times.


Ryanair’s bag drop facility opens 3.5 hours before departure. Aer Lingus bag drop opens at 3 am and you can check in anytime from this time. The security lanes are open 24 hours in Terminal 1 but only open at 4am in Terminal 2, so if you have an early flight from T2, there is no point arriving before 4am…


Aer Lingus have re-introduced Evening Before Check-In. If your flight departs Dublin Airport between 05:30 – 08:00 in the morning, you can check in at the airport between 16:00 and 19:45 the evening before.
Each passenger needs to present themselves to check in and drop off bags, but if you are travelling with immediate family, one member of the family can check in and drop bags for the group the evening before.

Passports/ID cards are required for all passengers travelling, and must be presented the evening before. Kiosk Bag Drop is also available for all passengers availing of this service.



6. Pre-book an Executive Lounge

Sarah Slattery at Dublin airport lounge
51st & Green Lounge, Dublin airport

One of my top tips for travelling through Dublin airport is to book an Executive Lounge – it will get your holiday off to a nice start! Contrary to what many people think, lounges are not just for business class passengers.
You can book two hours in the lounge in Terminal 1 for €30, which includes complimentary drinks, snacks and newspapers / magazines. The more luxurious 51st&Green and East Lounges are available from €42 for two-hours if pre-booked online.

*Special offer – for anyone travelling between 14:30 – 19:30 Monday to Sunday, from July 14 until September 30 2023, there is a special price of €30, normally €42, for pre-booked East Lounge entries.



51st & Green is available for passengers travelling to the US but despite the name, the East Lounge is available to all passengers, regardless of destination.

I recently visited The East Lounge and can recommend it – the breakfast was particularly good – so if you were thinking of buying breakfast in one of the airport cafés – this might be a more relaxed option. 

See more here



7. Use the self-check in and bag drop facility

top tips for travelling through Dublin airport - use the self check in kiosks

If checking in a bag, use the bag drop facility, which can reduce the queuing time dramatically. Not all airlines have this facility, so it is best to check with the airline you are travelling with, before you arrive. Note Aer Lingus and Ryanair both have self-check in and bag drop in Dublin airport.


Some airlines like Aer Lingus, will allow you to check in your cabin baggage for free – in fact they charge you to bring it on board now. Checking in cabin baggage means you won’t need to worry about having liquids under 100ml, and with the bag drop facility, queuing time should be saved.

If you are not checking in a bag, go straight to security.



8. Fast Track or Family Lane

fast track at Dublin airport
The Fast track lane is supposed to get you through security within 10 minutes. It can be useful if you have an early flight, and you can also avail of a free coffee (when booked on the Dublin Airport website) when you reach airside.


Top Tip: However, it is important to know that Fast Track only opens at 4am in Terminal 1 and, 5am in Terminal 2, so if you have a 6/7 am departure time, you may plan on arriving at the airport earlier than that, in which case purchasing Fast Track is a waste of money….

Prices range from €7.99 – €12.99, depending on times, availability etc, so it can be expensive if travelling with a family.  

There is a dedicated Family / Assistance lane in Dublin airport that should be quicker to use than the general security queue. However, it is a little like the mother and baby spots outside a supermarket, it is not designed for use with older children.

We were told recently, that only families with toddlers and buggies, or people needing assistance were allowed use it, so discretion is advised. 



9. Be prepared for security

tips for travelling through security at Dublin airport

Luckily we haven’t seen any lengthy security queues this year and this is unlikely to change, even during the peak summer months. If you want to check the latest security times, you can do so on the Dublin Airport website and app.


In case you have forgotten – you can not bring any liquids over 100ml through security in Dublin airport – unless you are lucky enough to get into one of the lanes where the new 3D scanners have been installed.

Place all liquids that are under 100ml in a small clear plastic bag. If you arrive with a large clear plastic bag you will be asked to put your liquids into the official airport bag. If they don’t fit, you will have to leave them behind.


Leave water bottles at home – you can pick up a bottle of ‘plane water’ to bring on board with you when you go through security – it only costs €1. Alternatively bring an empty bottle and use the water dispensers that are airside.


Don’t worry if you don’t have the right size, you can pick one up before you go through security. Take off watches, jackets, and check there is nothing in your pockets, and if so place them in a security tray. Phones, laptops, and electronics should be placed in a separate tray, and the laptop needs to be out of its sleeve.

Shoes with heels, buckles etc will need to be removed. I usually wear runners to avoid that.



10. Dining in Dublin airport, and inflight service

tips for travelling through Dublin airport - use the many dining options available.

Food options can be limited on flights, so it is worth considering bringing a snack on board with you. If the airline you are travelling with has an inflight service – check on their app to see if you can pre-book a meal. I often pre-book breakfast, and at least I know I will get it on board. 


There are many dining options available in Dublin airport, although at peak times queues can be long. There is generally a wider selection available in Terminal 1, but bear in mind you can walk from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 in less than 10 minutes.

WH Smith meal deal at Dublin airport

I personally like Marquette in Terminal 1. They have a superb choice of hot and cold breakfasts, salads, wraps and hot food. If you are looking for something handy to bring on your flight, allow me to suggest the Cajun Chicken Wrap – €6.75!
However, there are cheaper ways to bring food on board – WH Smith and Boots have good meal deals, €5.95 for a drink, snack and sandwich, or you can always bring a packed lunch with you!


I hope my top tips for travelling through Dublin airport will help you get your holiday off to a great start. Please note these tips are guidelines only. Delays can happen, and travel restrictions and requirements can change at any time.





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