Before the country went broke, they opened a new terminal at Dublin Airport last year, cunningly named ‘Terminal 2′ (the first one was called ‘Terminal 6′, no it wasn’t, just joking, it was ‘Terminal 1′).
Last year when I arrived in Ireland I arrived at T2 but never departed through it before.
It’s all very nice and new and all that, BUT (at least when I was there) there were no signs telling you where to go. (This may be a deliberate government conspiracy to try to curtail the numbers of their people emigrating again now that the country is a busted flush).
So just in case you ever need to use it, here’s the story.
You arrive at departures (as you usually do at airports when you want to go somewhere, which hardly anyone apart from me seems to find the least bit odd).
Then, if you have 3 suitcases (like me) or more, you try to find a trolley. Then you go to the airline desk and dump your checked bags and get a boarding pass.
Not too bad so far.
Then you dump your trolley.
And then the fun starts.
You look for a sign for departures.
There ain’t none.
After a while you talk to other equally bewildered travelers and eventually the temptation to take the escalator to the next level becomes overwhelming.
But when you get to level two, you might as well still be on level one. Not only are there are no signs for departures, but there isn’t even a sign to let you know you are on level two, not one.
Level two is actually the ‘arrivals’ level, but nobody tells you that.
People look hopefully into other people’s faces in the vain notion that maybe a map will magically materialise or that some poor soul has come through all this before and knows what to do. But no. The intrepid travelers who know what they’re doing have blazed ahead a long time ago, and their trail of breadcrumbs have been obliterated by the wee man sweeping the floor.
So after another pause, in the expectation perhaps that some men will come along and put up a new sign, the adventurous explorer instinct kicks in again, and, consequences be damned, you find another escalator and valiantly head for level three!
Yes, you guessed it, no signs, you might as well be on level two or back on level one again.
But although nothing, or no one tells you, actually this turns out to be the right place.
This is the departure level – except you find out later you don’t actually depart from here, they just call it that for fun.
But for a moment you are happy.
Then a bloke with a uniform was spotted, expectant smiles break out on faces everywhere, and the poor soul is assailed by frustrated travelers.
Fearing for his life, he cracks almost immediately and divulges that we have to go along to the right and we will eventually find security. Which we all did, shoes off, laptops out, all the usual caper.
Then when you have that done, you go to the departure terminal and wait for the flight to be called.
Don’t be stupid!
Then you realise that nothing more is happening on level three, and now, getting to know the system, you find another escalator and you start the journey back down earthwards again.
Eventually, if you’re US bound like me, you make it to US Immigration and Customs, having first of all sat down somewhere to fill out the necessary forms.
But first, you have to go through security???
“But I’ve just spent the best part of an hour trying to find security and then getting processed through it,” I say incredulously to the guy at the conveyor belt contraption that takes your stuff through the x-ray machine! (I’m actually saying, “For f*** sake get this place organised”, but thankfully that bit never makes it to my gob. (For me that takes a LOT of will power).
But the security man tells you that this is the airline’s security check, which is different in that it is the same as the other security, just done by different people – you’re now about to enter US territory, so the yanks like to stamp their own brand on things as always.
So I start to talk to this bloke while others are in the queue to go through.
He starts off by saying “Good morning young man.”
I’m now a bit tired and can’t make up my mind whether he’s being polite or taking the piss, so I blush modestly and enquire if he normally wears glasses and has perhaps forgotten them this morning.
He laughs and says rather seriously, “We have to stick together.” (He’s about my age and folically challenged, so I know what he means and agree wholeheartedly.)
So I start to take off my watch.
“It’s ok,” he says.
Then I go for my shoes.
“Never worry about that,” says he with a small dismissive sweep of his hand.
Then my jacket?
“Naw,” he says shaking his head.
Then in a last ditch effort to be searched for some damn thing I confess to having a laptop in my bag and start to open it up.
“Aw gowann ahead,” he says.
And I bid him farewell and walk uneventfully through the detector thingy, (is it even switched on???) not sure whether I am fortunate, ) or just not important, ( .
It’s actually a strange phenomenon. I’d never come across it before. And it’s highly dangerous.
We all complain regularly and bitterly about the way we are processed through security at airports, most of it, it has to be said, completely ineffective and unnecessary. Yet when we are excluded from herd we somehow feel a bit let down. Psychological conditioning at its most deadly perhaps!
Anyway, back at the airport.
On the bright side, US Immigration and Customs at Dublin Airport is, as always (in my experience anyway) fairly efficient and friendly - unlike quite a number of US airports where they make you feel as welcome as comedian Billy Connolly’s proverbial ‘fart in a space suit’.
So that part was ok.
Then with all my approvals in place, I make my way to the departure gate.
Was the rest of the journey uneventful?
There’s more to come, if you’re interested. .
Have you had similar experiences? Send them along. Let the world know what is happening before it is too late.