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.

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Warning: Irish Rail website gives false information

Irish Rail Logo

If you’re planning to travel by Irish Rail, don’t trust the timetable information given out by it’s website. On a recent trip from Drogheda to Portadown, the actual outgoing and return times were between 5 and 10 minutes earlier, due to timetable changes made up to 6 months before. It’s all very well getting consultants to redesign your website , like CIE did recently , but if your organisation can’t keep it up to date , what’s the point?

There’s no excuse for giving out inaccurate information. Translink , the company that operates the northern half of the Dublin-Belfast Enterprise service, manages to display the correct train times. Incidentally , Translink is also publicly owned , so the ‘shrug shoulders it’s just public service’ excuse isn’t valid either.

Get your act together , and display accurate times, or don’t give out any information at all. I made the train , but how many people have been caught out by this? Bluire has found more reasons to be angry with Irish Rail.

Update: Red Cardinal has shown that at least the ex-CIE group of companies are consistent, with Bus Eireann showing an appalling web design for their site.

Update 2: Ken reports about a recent webchat with Irish Rail. Interesting reading.

Update 3: And I thought I had problems. This is much worse.