Locator forms, fast track, travel apps and dining options – my top tips for travelling through Dublin airport should help you on your way.
We have all heard about the issues with queues at Dublin airport, but let’s hope that things can only get better! However, it is vital you get to the airport at the right time, with the necessary forms filled out before you travel. There are many more things to consider, but my top tips for travelling through Dublin airport should help you get your holiday off to a flying start.
1. Check travel restrictions of the country you are going to well in advance
Thankfully the Digital Covid Certificate has helped us to travel easily within the EU. However, it is important to be aware of the latest travel restrictions of the country you are travelling to. Thankfully more and more countries are dropping Covid-19 restrictions, however boosters or pre-departure tests are required for travel to many countries within the EU if initial vaccination is over 270 days.
If travelling outside the EU, many countries including the USA require a negative test, even if fully vaccinated. Recovery Certs can be very useful, and can replace the need for a negative test in some cases. Please check the DFA website for the latest travel information.
Passenger locator forms are still required to be filled out in advance for some countries. Many countries will only accept these online, and some require them to be filled out up to 48 hours in advance. Therefore it is vital you check the entry requirements a few weeks before you travel, and again 72 and 24 hours before departure.
2. Check-in online
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.
Aer Lingus ask you to use the Verifly app, to ensure you have all the correct documents. While this is not compulsory for travel, you are not able to check in online to the USA unless you have uploaded your documents to Verifly – see more on Verifly below.
3. Save your documents to your wallet, or app on your phone, and print them
There is nothing worse than scanning back through tons of holiday photos when you are trying to find the screenshot of your Digital Covid Cert or Passenger Locator Form. Make good use of the tech that your phone has – you will thank me later!
Many boarding passes and passenger locator forms 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 and passenger locator form is there!
If this facility isn’t available, then I suggest you screenshot your Digital Covid Cert, Passenger Locator Form or Boarding Pass 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.
Verifly is an app that you can download to ensure you have all the correct documentation for your trip. The app is quite cumbersome to use, however, it is very handy for nervous or first time flyers.
Once you have uploaded all your documents, you get a ‘flight pass’, telling you that you are good to fly. This cuts out any worries or stress that you might be feeling about travelling with the new rules and regulations. You can only get a flight pass when all the correct documents are uploaded.
Another advantage of using Verifly is that you only have to show your Verifly app when checking-in or boarding. You won’t need to search for any other documents, as the airline knows once you have a flight pass, the correct documents are uploaded to the app.
Some airlines will also allow Verifly passengers to board the aircraft first, and Aer Lingus have dedicated check-in queues in Dublin airport for people who have a Verifly flight pass.
While I love all this new tech, 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.
4. Pre book car parking and travel insurance in advance
I was amazed that when I went to book the Dublin airport car park over the October bank holiday weekend that it was fully booked. I recommend booking the car park in advance to guarantee space, prices are only going one way this summer so the chances are the earlier you book, the better price you will receive.
Most travel insurance policies include some sort of Covid cover now, and should cover expenses if you contract Covid abroad. However, most policies have a moratorium in place, so you need to make sure you have booked travel insurance at least 7 days before departure.
I always use Multitrip.com and they currently have Covid cover included ( check Ts & Cs ), but always check with individual policies for more details.
5. 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.
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.
To give you some shopping inspiration I have selected some travel exclusives currently available at The Loop that I think you should watch out for, as well as some of my personal favourites beauty buys in this post:
6. Check-in early or pre-book an Executive Lounge
The latest advice from Dublin airport is to arrive no more than 2.5 hours before your flight for short-haul travel, or 3.5 hours before you flight for long-haul travel, even if you have checked in online. However, if you have a bag to check in, you should add another hour on to these times. Ryanair’s bag drop facility opens 3.5 hours before departure so you can check-in your baggage at this time too.
Aer Lingus bag drop opens at 3 am and you can check in anytime from this time. They have also 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.
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If you fancy splashing out, one of my top tips for travelling through Dublin airport is to book an executive lounge. You can book two hours in the lounge in Terminal 1 for €25, which includes complimentary drinks, snacks and newspapers / magazines. The more luxurious 51st&Green in Terminal 2 is €35 for two-hours if pre-booked online.
7. Use the self-check in and bag drop facility
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
The Fast track lane is supposed to get you through security within 10 minutes – although I have heard of queues here for over an hour here recently too. 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. Currently Fast Track is only available to book on the Ryanair website.
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
The Dublin Airport website and app shows the latest times queue times at security. While I have been told these are underestimated at the moment, it can be useful to see which Terminal has a longer queue. You can also to check the average queueing time at the time your fight is due to depart a few days in advance.
In case you have forgotten – you can not bring any liquids over 100ml through security in Dublin airport. 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.
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.
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
It is important to note that some airlines are not offering a full inflight service at the moment. I have found food is very limited on most flights recently, so it is a good idea to bring 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, as there are usually limited supplies.
There are many dining options available in Dublin airport, although at peak times queues can be long. I found recently that Terminal 1 had a wider selection than Terminal 2. However, bear in mind you can walk from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 in less than 10 minutes.
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 have a good meal deal, €5.95 for a drink, snack and sandwich, or you can always bring a packed lunch like the old days!
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.