After record queues, Dublin Airport boss warns that next weekend will be even busier
The images across social media and the news channels of queues snaking around the outside of Dublin airport today have caused widespread concern.
The Dublin Airport Authority issued a statement earlier today saying that “due to significant queues inside the terminal for check-in, bag drop & security, passengers queueing outside the terminal may not make their flight & may need to contact their airline to rebook. We sincerely apologise for the obvious frustration and inconvenience this may cause.”
But many of the expected 50,000 passing through the airport today pointed out that staffing problems have been an issue since March, and that it was simply unacceptable.
Bernadette Phillips took to Twitter to express her frustration.
“It isn’t “may” cause, that should be IS causing. More than frustration and inconvenience. It is absolutely hugely stressful, heartbreaking, disappointing and unacceptable. Knowing how many are travelling requires planning to accommodate that. Disgraceful Dublin Airport.”
Hundreds echoed Bernadette’s feelings.
“Here 5 hours before my flight and still sceptical if I will make it or not!” wrote Jaydeep Badra. Ralph McCurry shared a picture of the crowds inside Dublin Airport. “Three hours of queuing to this point. Garda called in now to man the doors. Just witnessed a stampede. I saw more order during the evacuation of Kabul last August. Get a grip down here please. Is anyone in charge??!…anyone?!”
Such was the disappointment with the situation, many on social media took to offering suggestions to the Airport Authority for how they may deal with the current disorganisation.
“Couldn’t #DublinAirport use those coloured lines like they do in factories or hospitals? If your flight is say, between 12 – 3 pm use the red line, and 3-6pm use orange and 6-9pm use green etc? Something simple like that?” pointed out Sara McDuff.
Head of Communications at DAA Kevin Cullinane said they are “deeply sorry” for the disruption caused to passengers who have faced long delays with some missing their flights.
Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week, he said they were aware that this was going to be a busy weekend with 50,000 passengers departing, and there was “clearly” not enough staff to deal with the numbers.”We have to put our hands up and say we got that wrong. We wish we had more staff available.”
But ironically, it was RTÉ presenter Phillip Boucher Hayes who seemed to throw fuel on the fire when it came to people’s frustration.
“Another way to think about delays at airports”, he tweeted. “We are in a climate emergency, since a vote of the Dail in 2019. If you’re on an international flight you are in the 4% of the global population that will ever do that in their entire lives. Check your privilege.”
It’s fair to say that his comments caused a furore.
“Hope there’s nobody queuing at Dublin Airport today who is trying to get home to a sick relative or for a family funeral. The privilege of it all,” wrote Mark Coughlan.
A bitter Twitter argument ensued.
“Those are flights taken out of necessity not privilege. That’s why I said ‘check’ your privilege. If you’re in need of a service that’s not being provided you’ve every right to be angry. If you’re on a skite with the lads maybe think again.” Hayes tried to clarify.
“On a skite with the lads”. Aghhhhh now I see what’s bothering you, the ‘wrong people’ travelling.” Linda Devitt clapped back, while Jackie Frost replied with a fair point: “Why the distinction here, both have a right to travel and enjoy life which was unfairly and over cautiously denied for the last few years.”
Sirriam O Maille weighted in too: “Philip, I’m a big fan of your work, particularly your radio journalism. But there’s a time to hold and a time to fold. Explaining = losing. Airport travellers, whatever their motive for travel, are entitled to expect to be able to catch their flight, privileged or not.”
Head of Communications for the DAA, Mr Cullinane also warned that next weekend will be even busier with around 100,000 passengers arriving and departing. However he told RTÉ that they will ensure they have the “optimum” number of workers in place.
“We are still advising passengers 2.5 hours in advance of a flight and if they have a bag to drop allow for additional time.” For long haul flight he said the advice is 3.5 hours.