Sir, – I would like to add to Antoine Ó Drisceoil's letter (May 16th) about navigating the check-in system at Dublin Airport.
In late April, I flew to Vienna from Dublin, and as the flight was at 5.55am, I got the midnight bus service from Limerick city. We arrived at Terminal 2 at 2.30am, given that we were strongly advised to check in at least 2½ hours before departure.
On arrival at Terminal 2, there was no evidence of Aer Lingus staff and all the automatic check-in machines were not in operation. I was advised by a member of security that the system would be working from 3.15am or thereabouts. At that time I checked by bag in and delivered it to the automatic dropbox conveyor belt.
Unfortunately my bag got jammed on the inner conveyor and I could not clear it as I had no access to it . It took me another 15 minutes before I found an Aer Lingus member of ground staff.
I told him my problem; he never acknowledged me but grunted that he would free it in a few minutes. I waited for him to do so and when he approached my 10kg bag he caught it by the runners and threw it 10 metres or so onto the belt.
I was astounded and called out to him to let him know I was shocked at the way he had mishandled by luggage. He ignored me and went about his business. At that time I could only see one other member of the Aer Lingus staff and I went to him to express my concerns. He showed a distinct lack of interest and advised me to send an email to customer service.
After I got through security, I made my way to find a restaurant or bar to get some breakfast. There was absolutely nothing available and I had to wait until I was on the flight and I availed of the trolley service.
If I was an Austrian tourist returning from a holiday in Ireland, I wonder what impression I would form of the facilities and staff at Dublin Airport. I do not think I would be in a rush to return to the country of a hundred thousand welcomes.
I have to stress that the flight crew were extremely friendly and efficient but front-of-house Aer Lingus ground staff need to smarten up and remember that first impressions can leave their mark.
Like Mr Ó Drisceoil, I will desist from using Dublin Airport for the foreseeable future. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Your correspondent Nick Folley (May 18th) suggests that politicians should reduce the number of passengers at Dublin Airport in favour of the southern capital.
Unfortunately this simply will not work.
Not too long ago all transatlantic flights from Ireland were required to make a stop in Shannon, a fact widely recognised to have radically reduced the number of available services.
In 2005, Dublin Airport had around 1.2 million transatlantic passengers per year.
The corresponding figure for 2019 was 4.2 million – an increase of 350 per cent, despite passenger numbers increasing by a much smaller 78 per cent in the same period.
Airlines are not charities; they will by default operate their aircraft wherever they believe that they can get the best return for their investment.
If the powers that be were to impose a limit on Dublin, the most likely beneficiaries would be airports in other countries.
One need only look at the recent decision by Aer Lingus to set up a base in Manchester as evidence of this. If the market were big enough, it would be served. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Clíona Ní Ríordáin's (May 18th) suggestion of bringing a book to pass the time while delayed in the madness that is Dublin airport is a wonderful idea.
Might I suggest One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or perhaps Waiting for Godot. – Yours, etc,