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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Leah Farrell/
airport chaos

Flying out of Dublin Airport? Packing light could save you some time

DAA has vowed to prevent a repeat of last weekend, but if you’re still worried, here’s some packing advice.

IF YOU’RE FLYING out of Dublin Airport this Bank Holiday weekend, you’re probably anxious about getting through bag drop and security on time.

Lengthy queues at the airport last weekend resulted in around 1,000 people missing their flight, and while operator DAA has vowed to prevent a repeat of that, travellers might be wondering how they can avoid the worst of the delays.

If you can skip the check-in luggage and manage with just a 10kg check-in bag, you’ll be able to avoid the bag drop queue and head straight to security. Editor of Air and Travel Magazine Eoghan Corry says that 10kg suitcases are surprisingly roomy: “The main thing is just [to] use the bag – for clothes, push them out to the corners.”

Shoes, Corry says, can push the weight of a case up significantly, so consider if you can make do with just the pair you wear to the airport. Pack what you will wear, not what you might wear: don’t pack for “eventualities”, Corry advises.

“A lot of people forget they have shops in other countries,” he laughs. “You can find almost everything cheaper [abroad] than you can in Ireland.”

“Rather than think in advance: ‘Oh, I might need this’, go out assuming you don’t need it and if you do need it, you’re in a position to buy it and bring it back.

Hairdryers and straighteners are among the worst offenders for items tossed in a suitcase in case they’re needed. Check if your accommodation is equipped with them already. The same goes for laundry facilities: if you can wash it abroad, you can wear it twice and pack fewer clothes.

DAA has said it will introduce “holding areas” outside the terminals for passengers who arrive earlier than advised. These areas will have bad weather cover, seating, and toilets in the holding area as quickly as possible following trialling of this system over the June Bank Holiday Weekend.

And while you might try to avoid getting caught in the rain in these holding areas, remember that if you bring a coat you’ll need to pack it away. Corry says: “We have a great capacity for bringing coats, big coats, with us, which very often we wear to the airports and from the airports in Ireland and never use when we’re abroad.”

Check-in bags

If you do have to check in a suitcase, Aer Lingus has advised passengers to check in online, before coming to the airport. If your flight leaves between 5:30am and 8am, you can drop your bags off the evening before, between 4pm and 7:45pm.

The advice to passengers due to fly out of Dublin Airport over the coming period is to arrive at the airport at least two and a half hours before the departure of short-haul flights to Europe and the UK and at least three and a half hours for long-haul flights.

If passengers have checked luggage, they are advised to add an hour to those timings.


DAA has been taken to task by the public and politicians over the queues, with Higher Education Minister Simon Harris warning that there will have to be “consequences” if DAA’s plan to resolve the situation doesn’t work.

“It’s a plan that involves proper triaging of people at the airport and that has to be done, by the way, in a respectful and dignified way. This idea of leaving people, particularly people with care needs, older people, like that’s not, pardon the pun, fly,” said the minister.

When speaking at the Oireachtas Transport Committee on Wednesday, DAA CEO Dalton Phillips was repeatedly asked whether he could “guarantee” that people wouldn’t miss their flights this coming weekend. Philips said that he has a “high level of confidence” this would not happen.
“If passengers will heed the two and a half hours, I’m confident with our plans,” he said.

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