Airports can be stressful at the best of times. However, we’ve put together all of our best Dublin Airport tips and tricks to make your airport experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
This is a guest post by the lovely Robin Toner who is a student and also works in Dublin Airport. Robin is travel crazy and always has a flight booked at any given time. She loves blue skies, architecture and all things Italy! You can follow her adventures on Instagram – @ca_bhfuilim .
As an avid adventurer and barista in one of Dublin Airport’s many shops, restaurants, cafes and bars, I have picked up tonnes of valuable tips that will change the way you approach flying.
Not only will these tips make your airport experience more seamless, but they can also save you money in the long run. Which means you’ll have more money for your next trip!
Dublin Airport – Everything You Need to Know For a Smooth Trip
Firstly, let’s tackle the age-old question of ; ‘How long to leave before a flight’. Well, as an employee of the airport I am very familiar with how long it takes to whizz your way around Dublin Airport.
When it comes to security it can be difficult to tell exactly how long it will take, usually the wait time is shown on screens beforehand, but on average it takes less than 20 minutes total. However, at peak times be prepared for it to take up to 45 minutes.
Security in Terminal 1 (the best terminal) is normally busier than Terminal 2 as more flights depart from T1 than T2. So if you’re flying from T1 in peak season be prepared for those longer wait times at security.
Tara’s Top Tip – You can check the length of the wait for security live on the Dublin Airport website HERE.
From security in Terminal 1, the furthest gates are the 100 Gates (usually occupied by Ryanair) and take about 20 minutes to get to. Gates 200-220 take about 15 minutes to get to and finally the 300 gates take 5 minutes to get to.
*READ NOW – The BEST Ryanair tips and tricks *
In Terminal 2, the furthest gates from security (excluding flights that require USA border preclearance) are 330 and 300, both taking 10 to 15 minutes to get to. The 400 gates are a breeze away at 5 to 10 minutes away.
If you are flying to the USA from Dublin you will usually be departing from T2. Which means you will go through USA border preclearance in Dublin Airport before you get to your gate. This is very convenient but can be time consuming depending on the day.
There is another security check before USA border preclearance that usually takes less than 10 minutes. However, the queue for USA border preclearance can take up to 45 minutes on a bad day, or 5 minutes on a good day.
So, if you are flying to the USA it’s best to head straight to USA preclearance after making it through normal security in T2 just to be safe. There are food and drink options and places to pick up souvenirs after USA preclearance so you won’t be stuck.
All of the gate areas in Dublin airport have some form of coffee dock/stand, so if your rushing skip the heavily crowded restaurants/cafes of the main corridor and head for your gate. If the flight hasn’t boarded yet, take those extra few minutes to treat yourself to your favourite coffee or snack minus the long queues.
So overall, apart from flights to the USA, it should only take 40 minutes to navigate through any part of the airport, if you’re strategic and it’s not peak season.
However, flights tend to board 30 minutes or more prior to the departure time listed so make sure to pay attention to the boards and be at your gate on time. Don’t be that person who holds up your entire flight
**We here at Where Is Tara? are firm believers in giving yourself LOTS of time in the airport before a flight, so we always stick to the standard recommended times of 2 hrs for a European flight and 3hrs for a long haul flight. Though we do cut it a little closer on the European flights is we’re travelling hand luggage only and have checked in online.**
Food and Drink Hacks
When we think of airports, we all think of the extortionist prices (captive audience!). However, Dublin Airport does offer €1 water bottles on shelves near security. And now they are even trialing more environmentally friendly options like cartons of water.
But I noticed the wastage from constantly using plastic water bottles and wanted to reduce my personal plastic consumption. Thankfully Dublin Airport provides hydration stations across the airport, allowing people to refill bottles for free.
They can be spotted near restrooms or near gates, there is definitely one beside Boots in Terminal 1 and also at gate 304. So next time you’re heading through Dublin Airport make sure to bring your own refillable bottle. It will save you money and it’s better for the environment.
As a passenger, I was never satisfied with the food options available in Dublin Airport, let alone their prices! During my time as an employee, I have noticed and tried some very successful dining alternatives.
For starters (no pun intended), it is perfectly acceptable to bring a homemade meal in a lunchbox through the airport, as long as it doesn’t contain liquids. You can eat it at your leisure on the plane or as you wait at the gate. This will save you money and satisfy your taste buds.
Also, for snacking, bringing instant pot noodles are a great idea for any trip, most restaurants, cafes or on board cabin crew will give you some hot water for them.
Tara’s Tips – I always bring my own snacks from home in my carry on bag. If you are dining/drinking in the airport try the ones near your gate as the queues are normally much shorter than the places in the main concourse.
You can see the full list of food and drink options at Dublin Airport HERE.
No matter how many times I have flown with cabin baggage, it always seems to cause a problem for me. From having to unload all my belongs in search of my liquids to having my whole life spill out when asked to open my bag for a random security check, I’ve been through it all.
Only after going through security every single day for work have I eventually figured out a solution. There is one simple packing tip that will make airport security a borderline stress-free scenario.
Put all your liquids in that small plastic bag and do not let it exceed one bag (rookie mistake). Then place that bag in your personal bag, i.e. your handbag or at the top of your backpack. Definitely do not put it in that carry on suitcase (unless there’s an easy access pocket on the front)!
This is how employees get through security in record times every day. Put your bag of liquids in the most easily accessible place possible. It also makes for speedy makeup or moisturiser application on the plane!
Tara’s Top Tips – Choose the queue with a majority of adults (if you have a choice), they’re usually quicker that families with small children (ruthless but true).
Always be nice to the people at security and listen to what they’re saying, getting frustrated or angry won’t get you anywhere faster.
Dublin Airport only makes you remove shoes if they’re clunky or have a heel at normal security, but all shoes have to be removed at USA preclearance security. Wear shoes that are easy to remove.
Wait for the trays to stop moving before grabbing one from under the table. You shouldn’t be in that much of a rush.
I always grab a few of the free liquids bags and shove them in my bag so that I have some for next time, or to put wet/smelly clothes in while I’m away haha.
General Dublin Airport Tips
Dublin Airport isn’t cruel when it comes to accommodating the needs of travellers. For example, to cater to the many business travellers it sees daily there are various sections of the airport equipped with desk seating areas including plug sockets and USB charging points.
There are also designated charging areas at a lot of the gate areas, though more so in the newer Terminal 2 than Terminal 1.
Take advantage of these to top your phone battery or to download that Netflix movie for your flight using Dublin Airport’s free Wi-Fi service (though that’s probably against the free Wi-Fi policy).
If you have a long lay over make sure to book yourself into one of the airport lounges with prices starting from €25 depending on the lounge. Lounges include free Wi-Fi, food and drinks and more. When you think about how much you’d spend just wandering around the airport, a lounge is definitely worth it.
Forgotten to send a postcard? No problem, post that postcard or letter using one of the green post boxes scattered across the terminals.
The Loop Duty Free at Dublin Airport
There are so many services available in The Loop that people have no idea even exist.
Depending on your destination you can do “Shop & Collect” which means you can buy to your heart’s content in the airport without having to worry about carrying it around with you or whether or not your bag will still fit in the overhead locker. All your goodies will be right there waiting for you to collect in arrivals once you land safely back in Dublin.
You can every book in to have your make up done in MAC in Terminal 1 or T2. So if you’ve got an event, meeting or hot date at the other end of your flight, you’ll land looking stunning.
It costs €25, but that’s redeemable in products. So really, it’s free if you spend over €25. Call +35319446431 (T1) or +35319440754 ( T2) to make an appointment.
Got some time to kill? Head to Bobbi Brown for a few little lessons in “how to”. There are several options like “How to do the perfect smokey eye” and “How to do your brows”. You don’t need to make an appointment and it’s completely free of charge. Just pop in while you wait for your flight and learn something new.
Treat yourself to a free hand and arm massage at Jo Malone. You’ll be spelling stunning the whole way to your destination. To book an appointment call +35319446434 (T1) or +35319440411 (T2).
Maybe your hair got messed up during security and you need a bit of quick fix. Look no further than Aveda (my fav) in Terminal 1. They have 5 “Quick Fix” treatments available for all sorts of hair from frizzy to curly. And guess what, it’s COMPLIMENTARY. They even give you some lovely calming tea.
Of course, with the “walk up” services, you may have to wait or come back depending on if they’re treating a passenger already, how busy the airport is and what time of day it is. But it is certainly always worth asking!
Tara’s Top Tips – If the charging points near your gate are full and you have time check out the desks towards the end of the terminal or near a gate that doesn’t have a flight departing from it. There won’t be so much competition for space.
Of course, bringing a portable charger would be optimal, but that doesn’t work for your laptop.
Most airport free Wi-Fi will block you if you try to download a movie or any big file. I usually get around this by initiating the download on my data, then, once it starts I switch back to the free Wi-Fi and it doesn’t seem to flag it up then. *Ssshhh* Don’t tell them I told you!
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