I flew to Boston from Dublin Airport on its busiest day of the summer – here’s how I got on

Ever since I booked a very expensive flight to Boston three months ago, I’ve asked everyone who has traveled the same question: How bad is Dublin Airport?

And so it was with great anxiety that I boarded my 5.30am bus from Cork ahead of a 1.30pm flight on Saturday morning. After walking and telling the driver where I was going, his response wasn’t much help: “It’s tough up there.”

I arrived at Terminal 2 just before 9am, still over four hours early for my flight, and thankfully.

There were no queues outside but barriers were in place and security told people to enter through a specific gate for their airline. The one closest to me laughed as he walked towards the door labeled “No Entry” for Delta.

As a US citizen, I was fortunate enough to be able to travel freely to see my family during the pandemic, and the scenes at Dublin Airport were hard to believe after the calm I had witnessed there over the past few months. last two years.

The days of empty terminals are long gone, going through security with five other people and getting to know the American preclearance guards.

A frequent traveler and perpetually late, I’m not one to overreact with timing, but this is a place where it seems absolutely necessary to heed the advice to arrive at least three hours early for an international flight .

As my bags were dropped off within 15 minutes, I felt so sorry for everyone who had booked with Aer Lingus.

Lines for check-in and baggage drop-off stretched halfway up the building, but a good system seemed to be in place.

A man I spoke to had passed the premium line in 15 minutes and a group of students said they progressed through the bag drop line after about 20 minutes.

However, one family I spoke to about three quarters of the normal check-in queue had already been there for over an hour.

I cleared security in about 25 minutes and thankfully didn’t witness any of the “triages” the airport had planned during the chaos of the past month (I had only heard of the word triage only ‘watching Grey’s Anatomy, so he was especially happy about that).

One of the employees I spoke to at security told me that things had calmed down since the last month and people were getting out of it within an hour. The story is different in Terminal 1, however.

“It’s always busy, 24 hours a day. It’s not as bad as before, but you want to line up for security at 11 a.m. for a 1 p.m. flight just in case,” he said. .

The person checking my bags had a similar tip: “At this time last year, we were actually sitting at home because it was so quiet and now it’s so crowded, all the time.”

Queues at Dublin Airport on Saturday July 2. ‘A frequent traveler and perpetually late person, I’m not one to be overly dramatic with timing, but this is a place where it seems absolutely necessary to follow the advice of arriving at least three hours early for a international flight.’ Photo: Martha Brennan

When I had last walked through this terminal a few months ago, the queues in the departures lounge had almost matched the mile-long check-in queues outside security. This time was no different, with travelers seeming more eager to get to the Starbucks espresso machine than they were to their doorstep.

After waiting 20 minutes for a coffee – my pro tip from Dublin airport is to strategically queue only at Butlers, where they have coffee, scones and toast, rather than waiting an hour at the restaurant upstairs for an overpriced toast – I finally found a seat in the sitting area.

I overheard a group of Americans nearby complaining about the queues and lack of food options – apparently one person even ordered their Burger King online to pick it up and it still worked out quicker than joining the queue.

Water filling stations have reopened in the building, but beware, they are hidden near the toilets and of course there were queues for both services.

After another pit stop there, I descended to US pre-clearance, preparing for another line. This one took the longest, well over half an hour, and it’s especially important to allow time here.

A flight change caused a lot of panic among some passengers, who were not allowed to skip the line even though their plane was suddenly about to take off.

As with my trip in January, it was almost impossible to find a place to sit near the only restaurant near the doors. Carnage was pretty much the only word I could think of – especially at 11:30 in the morning.

Several flight delays didn’t help as our flight was delayed almost an hour due to an apparent lack of ground staff.

I overheard a group of girls telling their families that Dublin was ‘the worst airport ever’ when we arrived but we spent an extra hour on the tarmac in Boston so we’re clearly not the only ones to have problems.

I was just grateful to have come this far and to have arrived in Boston tired but in one piece and, most importantly, with baggage.

Almost 17 hours after leaving Cork (for a seven hour flight), a hug from my dad never felt so good.

Although I’m already a little dreading my return to Dublin Airport – where my friend waited two hours for her bags earlier this week to find them dumped on the other side of arrivals – overall my trip to through the troubled system went fairly well.

A cup of tea at the airport still costs an arm and a leg, sure, but some things will never change.

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