How to fix Dublin Airport – and save the Irish Taxpayer Billions

Recently had to pop over to London to do some work for a ‘well known’ UK client. More details (maybe) later.

Dublin Airport is a mess. It’s more like Ellis Island, even at 5am in the morning – a seething mass of humanity trying to leave Ireland. At least it was better than the last time, with 100’s of school kids going out on ski trips. Did I smell that bad when I was a teenager?

DAA Logo
It’s going to get worse before it gets better, as the Terminal (‘due 2009’) is bound to get delivered late, overbudget , if it ever gets delivered at all. Here’s how to fix the mess in the meantime, and save billions.

  • The Aer Lingus Web Check In is excellent, and free. It means you get to the Airport , and walk straight into the (one) security queue, no messing about. Suggestion: Make everybody check in online for free. We know you can use the web – it’s how you bought your tickets.
  • Now that the half the check in desks are no longer needed, clear the floor space so that you no longer have to fight your way to the security queue.
  • Share check in desks. Other airports do it. It means that all Desks have a short queue, rather than the Ryanair queue snaking around the building.
  • Move all the Restaurants to airside (i.e. after security). Nobody goes to the airport as a ‘day out’ anymore. Change the restaurants so that they can be used only be people that have gone through security. This is half done already – all it would mean is moving the glass partition wall on the top floor of the aiport.
  • Get rid of a few shops and make more space for Security. Security is slow, as you often have to wait for people to put on their shoes, belts , coats etc on. If there was more space, these could move aside and let more passengers be screened by the same number of security personnel. If I want shopping , I’ll go to Dundrum.
  • Let people pay for FastTrack Security. No, its not fair, but neither is life. Let people with more money than time ‘buy’ a fast track security pass (e.g. as part of buying your ticket online). Use this money to open a new ‘priority’ security gate. The profits could go to having more security people on the existing gates.
  • Stop fast-tracking Z-List celebrities. I know of one family (who child was about to explode with a full nappy) only get taken to the head of the security queue because they were behind a minor actor who was (once) on Coronation Street. How does this help the Irish Economy?

A lot of these things are simple. Even the more complicated things could be sorted out with a couple of meetings and a couple of million thrown to whoever complains. Far cheaper than the cost (and delay to the Economy) of a new Terminal.


  1. This is typical of the rants you hear about dublin airport. The fact is the airport is too small. Nearly every single problem would be solved if it was a lot bigger.

    But clearing the floorspace is a massive task. You have to remember that there is a huge labyrinth of baggage belts underneath any check in desk. Removing them would cost huge amounts of both time and money. It would cause more problems then it would solve. And I can assure you there’d be uproar with aer lingus losing desks.

    The restaurants landside(before security) do very good business and are the mainstay for the staff in the airport.

    The security areas are big enough to deal with off season passengers but i agree during the summer and late december the q’s can be monstrous. They should be a lot bigger.

    Onto your next point. People can pay for fast track security with a business class ticket. But having a seperate priority q would come with a whole new set of problems, such as having to expand both departure gates to about double there size. You wouldn’t be able to fit it in beside the normal gates, it would have to have its own snake. Also the building work to do this would be immense. Escalators, shops, check-in desks and toilets etc. would all have to be moved.

    We’ll have to put a stop to those z list celebrities! But you do get some major ones going through the normal gates. Gwen stefani was a recent one, standing in q like everyone else! But the majority of them arrange with the airport to be fast tracked in advance or to go through the vip section.

    Now i can understand why anyone would be annoyed with most things at the airport, but is any airport ever perfect? Sure there’s some good ones, like amsterdam for example, but every airport has the same disease… q’s!

    I used to think dublin airport was the most backward and badly run airport i could imagine. That was until i started travelling. Q’s at any american international airport just to drop off your bags after check-in, are ridiculous. South african airports/airlines are unbelievably bad. Take a trip to johannesburg and then you’ll see just how good dublin airport is by comparison!

  2. Scott,
    I agree that the airport is too small. There again 1 Billion Euro (more or less) allows you to move a lot of conveyor belts. They did it once (when expanding to the current size). They should be able to do it again.
    I appreciate that the staff have to eat somewhere. DAA could do what Dell in Bray did when they got too big – they stuck a few portacabins in the carpark (or terminal roof, where there is currently an unused carpark) and put eating facilites for the staff there.
    I’m sure Dublin Airport compares favourably to (name your 3rd world country), but I think we easily can do much better than at present.

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