FEBRUARY 2016 – Know before you board

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It has been a whole three months since you last went on holiday! That is sooooh last year. Believe us, everything has changed in the meantime..

SECURITY At Dublin, 4am has become the new 5am. Dublin air-port has brought forward the security shift times to 4am in a bid to beat the early morning gridlock at the airport with the 15 machines in Terminal 1 under particular pressure. Queues at T2, which is used by Aer Lingus and long haul operators, have also intensified. The situation may be eased by the introduction of automatic tray return in 2016. Queue times for security at Dublin airport are regulated and penalties kick in if they extend beyond 30 minutes, so they do their best to move you along. If you are running late, present staff with your boarding pass and they will fast track you. For speediest through-put, use the queues to the right of the security area.

T2 has all the trendy destinations, Emirates and Etihad alternating on gate 407 the first on the right after you have descended Ireland’s longest escalator. Gates 401-6 downstairs are blocked off for much of the day by US pre-clearance. Heathrow and Gatwick flights are always on the next nearest gates. If you are flying to the Canary Islands prepare for a long walk to the last of the 400 gates. Even this is preferable to the walk from T2 back to the 300 gates at T1 for some Aer Lingus flights.

T1 Trans-Atlantic flights using T1 include Air Canada, ASL, Ethiopian and Westjet. Lufthansa, BA, SAS and some Aer Lingus flights are to be found at the 300 gates. City jet and the charters are to be found at the 200 gates. These are a bit tricky as arriving and departing passengers are mixed here, which means you cannot return to the main shopping area if you have passed through to the gates. Ryanair are at the 100 gates, a long curved walk from the terminals but there are retail and food options at the pier. Prices are the same as in the Loop.

MOBILE Ryanair has now gone mobile so the charter operators are the only ones still using paper boarding passes.

APPS Dublin Air-port app shows gate numbers, check in numbers, baggage belt and an estimated time to clear security. Passbook allows passengers to store any number of mo-bile boarding passes directly into the app, meaning that they do not need to have actual printed copies of their tickets: Air China, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Lufthansa, Qantas and United are among those signed up.

FAST TRACK DAA has a membership system allowing parking in the short term car park and fast-track. Book on the website. Fastrack does get crowded at peak times 5am-8am and DAA are adding capacity to fast track in T2 from January and T1 from July. There is also a separate VIP service which can be bought by commuters to celebrate a special occasions such as honeymoon.

SELF-TAG Aer Lingus are planning to roll out self-tagging.

CHECK-IN Aer Lingus have the most, 29 check-in/bag-drop desks at T2. The number of desks dedicated to check-in versus bag-drop vary on a daily basis de-pending on passenger loads however we tend to have more bag-drop than check-in.

SHOPPING The Loop shopping area on the approach to the 300 gates has been up-graded with a sleek new curved aisle and the approach to the food hall has been extended with more dining options.

LOUNGE There is also a great relaxation area in T1 as you approach the food hall with free wifi and lots of power charge points and another near security with window views of the apron. The Terminal 1 Anna Livia lounge has been extended to bring together the former Anna Livia lounge and the BMI executive lounge into one large unit. The extended lounge has seating for 110 customers with facilities bringing it into line with the south side lounges in T2. Economy passengers to use the facility for a walk-in price of €20 for three hours. Etihad have the best lounge in the airport off the walkway from T2 to T1, Aer Lin-gus have a two storey lounge next door while the Anna Livia lounge in T2 is accessible to Priority Pass holders, Construction has started on a new lounge airside of US CBP.

US CBP The US border area has been re-up and four more officers deployed at peak. Since ESTA the only form to be filled is a customs declaration. Passengers travelling on an ESTA and US Citizens can use 18 self-service Automatic Passport Control kiosks reducing the time they spend with an US Officer to less than 30 seconds. All of Aer Lingus’s US-bound flights, including after-noon flights, now pre-clear in Ireland. The Ethiopian service to Los Angeles does not use CBP.

BUSES The departures road to Terminal 1 has been upgraded. Air-coach, Airport Hopper, Ardcavan, Bus Eireann, Citylink, Gobe, Gold-line, John McGinley, Kavanagh, Dublin Coach N7, Wexford Bus and Dublin bus routes are located at the back of the multi-storey car park and the coach park opposite T1. There are notices in the terminal locations by zone. If you arrive to T2 it is quickest to exit by the left hand doors and walk to buses outdoors.

PASSPORTS The self service immigration gates at Terminal 1 are simple once you have used them once, scan in your passport, then advance to the next gate and look at the cam-era. They are only valid if you have a chip in your passport and you are over 18. The next step in passport technology is biometric but the bad news is that it is not going to happen for many years until all 28 EU countries can agree a standard.

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