Some countries (cough, cough USA) make it more difficult than others to transit between international flights. Additionally, a handful of countries now have U.S. border preclearance facilities (Aruba, Bermuda, Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, UAE [Abu Dhabi]). I recently connected through Dublin Airport, which offers both an easy transit and preclearance for U.S. bound passengers, and proffer the following transit guide.
International Transit in Dublin Airport
Dublin makes it supremely easy to transit in a sleek, modern, user-friendly airport. Getting off my United Airlines flight in Terminal 2, I followed the signs directing me toward flight connections. I expected to have the re-clear security, but there was no initial security re-check nor any later security re-check for connecting flights within Europe operating out of Terminal 2.
I stopped at the Aer Lingus transit desk to pick up my boarding pass for the afternoon flight, headed around the corner where my boarding pass was scanned by a friendly agent, then was directed around passport control and into the main terminal, which offers two levels of restaurants, bars and duty-free shops.
U.S. Preclearance in Dublin Airport
About 70 minute prior to flight departure I was advised to leave the lounge and head to preclearance, which serves as U.S. passport control and customs for all flights to the USA. I did not leave till about 55 minutes before which turned out to be more than enough time. The great thing about airports with preclearance is that upon landing in the USA you are treated like a passenger on a domestic flight — you exit the aircraft into the gate area and can proceed out to the curb or baggage claim with no further passport checks. That’s great in airports like Boston, Washington, and New York where immigration lines can drag on for hours in the non-U.S. resident line.
The facility itself in Dublin is no different than most other U.S. airport immigration facilities. Just follow the signs and you will proceed down an escalator and into a large hall. You will go through security first, a neccesity only for U.S.-bound passengers. Past security, comes passport control. Global Entry kiosks are available and when I went through (around 3pm) all booths were staffed by U.S. immigration officials. The process was smooth and I was through in two minutes.
What If I Have To Change Terminals In Dublin?
Dublin Airport has two terminals. Airlines serving Terminal 2 include:
- Aer Lingus
- Etihad Airways
- US Airways
- American Airlines
Airlines serving Terminal 1 include:
- British Airways
- Turkish Airlines
- Aer Arann
- Air Baltic
- Adria Airways
- Air Canada rouge
- Air Southwest
- Air Transat
- Blue Air
- Cimber Sterling
If you are transiting between terminals, you will have to re-clear security and if necessary, passport control. In the baggage claim area is a covered walkway between the two terminals — the distance is quite short, but allow yourself time if you have to go through passport control. Depending upon the time of day, it may take as little as 15 minutes or as long as 90 minutes.
Even if you must change terminals, Dublin is a great airport to connect in. My transit experience within Terminal 2 was flawless and the U.S. Preclearance facility was so much more convenient than having to endure immigration and customs in the USA. Preclarance alone makes Dublin (and Shannon) a much more attractive U.S. gateway than many other European airports, but the airport itself, clean, modern, with free wi-fi, good lounges, and nice shops and restaurants make “Dub Hub” a compelling airport to fly through regardless of what airline.