It’s not every day that we can take back half an hour of our lives. According to Dublin Airport, from today passengers should arrive at the airport just two hours before a short-haul flight and three hours before a long-haul flight, 30 minutes later than they were asked to arrive yesterday.
It follows six straight weeks in which airport wait times have improved, with passengers getting through without waiting in line for more than 45 minutes for security.
Wait times have rarely been more than 20 minutes this week.
Arrivals consultation times are now within 30 minutes compared to what was the norm three years ago. Most people were able to arrive and fly through an hour and a half before take-off.
Before Covid, emergency measures were triggered when security queues were longer than 30 minutes.
Baggage check-in instructions remain unchanged, somewhat confusing, telling passengers to have an additional hour to check-in a bag.
In reality, baggage is not DAA’s business at all, it is the responsibility of the airlines and drop times may vary by airline and route type. Aer Lingus and Ryanair operate efficient self-tagging facilities at the airport, which allow passengers to be processed quickly. Long-haul airlines and flights to major European hubs have more complicated procedures.
For weeks, airlines have been urging the airport to change their arrival notices, in one case publicly by Aer Lingus CEO Lynne Embleton.
Airline check-in staff came under pressure from passengers arriving too early, and in some cases didn’t even open on time.
The question now is, will people listen to an advice center that has failed them twice in the recent past?
Passengers show up six or seven hours early for flights, understandably reluctant to risk losing a long-awaited family vacation.
Even last week, when it was clear that security queues had stabilized following the meltdowns in late March and late May, more than 50 percent of passengers arrived more than the required three-and-a-half hours before their departure. In 2019, about 20 percent of passengers arrived early.
Early arrivals delayed the solution, which DAA solved by throwing numbers at their security team. 30 additional staff were laid off weekly, bringing the number to 800, above pre-pandemic levels (535 in March, 248 laid off during Covid).
Unmentioned bureaucratic delays in staff clearance were quietly addressed.
It still took some time to optimize rosters for a busy hour that arrived earlier than expected. In mid-June, peak queuing times were up to five hours ahead of peak departure times.
The politicians, who have dragged Dublin Airport executives before an Oireachtas committee to know what they are doing about queues, could be reflecting on the average wait time in the hospital’s emergency room, which is 11 hours by the latest estimate.
Maybe the DAA has some ideas how to shorten these.
What should we do with those precious extra 30 minutes? We can remember times when it used to be a lot worse, and then when it was a lot better. Those with long memories will remember the summers of the noughties before Terminal 2 was built at Dublin Airport.
Queues were worse. Online check in was not a thing. Passengers, bags, trolleys merged into one great frozen mess. And all had to squeeze through a poorly designed terminal – 23.4 million a year in 2008 and 23.2 million in 2007.
The global financial recession and the opening of Terminal 2 in 2010 changed everything. We forgot how bad it was. While the walk to Gate 412 was a bit long, it was shorter than what Irish passengers endured at Heathrow before 2014.
Passengers will no doubt find other uses for their extra half hour, such as thinking about when they can park their car without bringing mortgage deeds for their house.
And visiting the oft-tweeted restrooms, although according to the DAA better performance in safety will allow for a greater focus on cleanliness.
And hallelujah: we now have half an hour more to wait in line for a coffee before the start.
https://www.independent.ie/news/dublin-airport-after-getting-its-wings-clipped-improved-security-times-sees-daa-ask-passengers-to-arrive-30-minutes-later-41914270.html Dublin Airport: After wings were clipped, DAA is asking passengers to arrive 30 minutes later due to improved security times