Dublin Airport is actually a great airport to travel through with kids, whether you’re transiting through or arriving / departing. It’s actually a comparatively small, compact airport and easy to get around. With the two terminals linked by an air bridge, it only takes 5 minutes to walk between the two. The DAA are great at getting into the spirit of the season, and you’ll find lots of fun decorations and events on depending. Since setting up shop at Dublin Airport I’ve noticed a few things that as a parent of small children I’d like to share . Here are 6 things you might find useful to know when traveling through Dublin Airport with the kids.
- There is a separate “family lane” through Departures wide enough to fit a buggy, which allows you and your family a bit of space away from the madness of the security queues. Effectively like your own Fastrack channel, look out for the small signs with a picture of a buggy on them.
- The DAA offer concierge services, ideal for those traveling alone with children who need an extra pair of hands to get through the airport. It works both ways – you can be met at the air bridge or at Departures and helped with whatever you need. (FYI, this service is also available for elderly or infirmed who might need help or the use of a wheelchair.) See www.dublinairport.com for details, Oh and Stork Exchange customers receive a discount so holler if you need the code!
- The Car rental yard at Eastlands, where you collect the car, is a shuttle bus away and are not the most child friendly of places. During peak seasons expect queues at both airport desks and the pickup yard. Simple solution; one parent takes the little ones to the airport play area (Terminal 1, Level 3) while the other parent does the paperwork, buses down and picks up the car, then drives up to the departures ramp to collect everyone. The play area is essentially a small soft play frame, with seating for adults, coffee shop and McDonalds, baby changing and toilets nearby. Kids have had a play and stretched their legs, nappies are changed, hungry tummies are satisfied and parent remains sane!
- You can request to collect your car at the terminal – some car rental companies will charge a fee, others won’t but if you argue you’ve lots of bags and children and would greatly appreciate the extra customer service etc…
- I will put my hands up now and declare I have a vested interest here ….BUT equipment such as prams and car seats are at risk of damage if checked into an aircraft hold… Be very careful, especially with car seats, as damage done might not be automatically apparent. On arrival remove the car seat cover and check for any cracks or signs of stress in the frame of your car seat. If you have to choose between what equipment to check into the hold, pick the pram, at least it’ll be obvious if it’s damaged.
- Friday and Saturday are busy days in terms of families traveling, and you are more likely to have full flights and queues everywhere on those days – ticket desks, check in desks, especially car rental desks, buses. No big deal, but in busy season (school holidays, August Bank Holiday, Christmas) we are talking serious queues. If at all possible, try travelling on a Tuesday or see Tip 3 for the play centre!
Dublin Airport with the kids doesn’t have to be a stressful experience at all – don’t forget children usually love watching airplanes taking off and landing, and will be excited whether you are collecting visitors or travelling yourselves.