Inside Dublin Airport: Bewildered passengers queue for hours not knowing if they’ll make flights

‘It was crazy...I was just glad to get out,’ says woman travelling with two small children

Bewildered airline passengers found themselves standing with their luggage at the bottom of the ramp up to the entrance of Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport on Sunday, not knowing if they had a hope of making their flights.

While DAA’s online guidance and radio advertising over the weekend was still advising passengers to come to the airport 2.5 hours before a short-haul flight, and up to 3.5 for long-haul, many passengers found it was taking almost three hours just to reach the door of the terminal.

Rebecca Boughton had arrived with her two small children for a 10.45am flight to Lisbon just before 8am.

“The car parking ticket had 7.58am on it, so we thought we were fine, but after two and a half hours of standing outside we had only reached the front door of the terminal.”


No information was provided to passengers queuing outside the terminal building, she said, and some had become agitated by the time they reached the doors.

“It was very orderly until we got near the doors but by that time it was getting very stressful with people pushing trying to get through the doors.”

Once inside she discovered her flight had been delayed until noon, but the check-in desk had already closed.

“There was no one on the desk to even ask what we could do. I was flying with my daughter who’s four and my six month old baby – it was an end of maternity leave trip, we were meeting my mum out there who flew out of London ‑ it was just crazy when we got inside, so by the time I got to the closed check in desk, I was just glad to get out of the place.”

She says she can’t understand how the airport authorities didn’t anticipate the passenger numbers.

“It’s not like getting a tube in London; they know the number of flights and the number of people on the flights they should be able to plan for that.”

Ms Boughton and her family have been accommodated on the 10.45am Lisbon flight on Monday morning. “I’ll be leaving at the crack of dawn, or even earlier!”

Where previously Terminal 2, which deals with the majority of longer flights, had escaped the chaotic queues of Terminal 1, it too on Sunday had passenger lines snaking around the building. Here, passengers again reported a lack of communication from airport authorities.

“We’ve already been inside to check in our bags, then after that the queue starts inside but goes outside, before you get back inside. We’ve been in this queue for about an hour now,” said Paul Hughes, who arrived with his wife and three children for his 4.40pm flight to New York shortly after noon.

“We saw the queue outside so we went up to someone at the door to find out what was going on, and it was then we were told that was the queue for people who had already done the bag drop, and we had to go inside first. But if we hadn’t asked, we would have presumed we should have been joining the end of the queue, because there was no one there to tell us anything different.”

Kelly Huie, a doctoral student in Queens who was travelling home to Manhattan, was also queuing for the 4.40pm New York flight.

“I came down on the bus from Belfast I got here just before noon and I’ve been in line since,” she said, standing outside the terminal building at close to 1.30pm.

“It’s impossible to tell if I’ll make it or not, the line winds and squiggles around inside and outside, so you can’t tell how long it is, and we haven’t been given any information, either now, or any alerts on my booking. The only reason I know anything was going wrong here was that I checked Twitter on the bus. It’s a mess.”

Peter Kinsella, who works in finance and travels to London regularly for work, said the situation was a “national disgrace”.

“I arrived at 9.30am for a 12.30pm flight ... I spent over two hours in a queue just to get to security, let alone get through it. There’s no sign posting, nobody telling people what to do, just a complete lack of communication,” Mr Kinsella told the Irish Times from Terminal 2.

“I’ve been to 60 countries in the world and this is the worst I’ve ever seen ... my flight has been delayed by about an hour which is basically the only reason I’ll be able to get it ... It has to be called this, it’s a national disgrace.”

On Sunday morning the DAA advised passengers they may need to rebook their flights due to prolonged queues and issues around check-in and security screening at its terminals.

In a tweet the authority said: “Due to significant queues inside the terminal for check-in, bag drop & security, passengers queuing outside the terminal may not make their flight & may need to contact their airline to rebook.”