OUR gate had finally opened when one of the passengers flared up in anger at a Ryanair employee, calling her “B***h”.
It was an ugly and unsavory moment, but she dealt with it resolutely and he was immediately denied promotion.
“Fair play to her,” a group of women in their 20s said quietly to each other afterwards.
These are the best times and worst times at Dublin Airport Terminal 1.
On the one hand, after a hiatus of over two years, international travel is back for most of us, heralding new horizons and a welcome change of scene.
On the other hand, certain aspects of the experience are hardly recognizable. How could it be any different?
We couldn’t wait for the smooth old pre-pandemic operations to be put on hold whenever we decided to resume travel.
Safety and staffing issues are paramount, with giant screens showing advertisements asking you to “join our team”.
Then there is the strange and unsettling experience of being thrown once again into the crucible of airport life, which in many ways is the polar opposite of pandemic life with the quiet, sheltered existence many of us have both enjoyed and endured for the past 26 months or so.
Always the earthiest of Dublin Airport’s two terminals, Terminal One somehow feels noisier, dirtier and a bit more confusing than before – but only because we’re out of practice and out of touch. We need time to reorient ourselves.
A roar had risen a few hours earlier, echoed by a group of young men drinking beer and playing music from a telephone.
An elderly couple from Lisbon looked over with anxious frowns until the group moved on, followed by a bride-to-be sprinting up the corridor in her veil, white miniskirt and hen party T-shirt with a pink garter around her thigh.
Three other people rushed towards the Lisbon gate trying to steady their full beer glasses.
“It says end call,” the woman shrieked with laughter.
The Honesty Box’s water bottle shelves had been completely emptied and it was now just a display case for a row of empty wine and beer glasses and empty cans.
Back in the dining area, a tropical breeze of body heat wafted from the Garden Terrace Bar.
Inside it was like one of those medieval bacchanalian scenes – tables stacked with glasses and plates, roaring laughter.
In another downstairs pub, a group of women celebrated their return to heaven with an ice bucket containing two bottles of Prosecco.
Everywhere you looked, the party was in full swing.
Going to the loo made you wonder if you had taken a wrong turn when you came across trolleys with soft drinks waiting.
There are signs everywhere that the cleaning staff, security staff and cabin crew are working at capacity beyond human limits.
The usual infrastructure of the airport experience creaks. Just don’t arrive hungry. Or thirsty. Or need a seat. Or toothpaste. Last week someone queued 50 minutes to buy sunscreen.
Pack a refillable water bottle—but you might still have to queue at the “hydration station.” Go old school and bring a sandwich. You can laugh if you want, but you’ll see.
I was thinking about buying a magazine but there were 17 people in the slow line outside the store. There were 20 people in line at the Tap+Brew Bar, 10 people in the front of the queue for the coffee shop.
The lines at Burger King were hard to believe.
“There’s the duty free,” a woman marveled at her companion as she walked through the dazzling range of goods. “Look, that’s the vodka Mark has.”
“They’re trying to get rid of it, would you check it out,” he said, pointing out the special offers.
On the plus side, you’ll likely spend more time queuing anywhere than at security – which wasn’t half as bad as I feared on the day of my trip.
First impressions upon arrival at the departure gates were not good, as staff grimly shouted, “Boarding passes ready,” while another picked up the chant and added, “If you have FastTrack, you’re in the wrong place.”
Everyone was stuck behind the electronic gates until the next group was let in, but then the line suddenly split into three and two men in front of them worried about who would be the fastest. “You owe me a double,” one said as his play paid off.
After preparing for the worst, I was through security in just 22 minutes.
“I’ve lost the talent for travel,” I told the guard as I picked up a third tray for my belongings. “Don’t worry, everyone has,” she said.
https://www.independent.ie/news/the-scenes-passengers-can-expect-as-they-travel-through-dublin-airport-this-weekend-41601948.html The scenes passengers can expect as they travel through Dublin Airport this weekend