LONG DELAYS Plane-crazy queues at Dublin airport put staycations in fast lane
No place like home for holidays
The mile-long queues at Dublin Airport this week made me secretly quite relieved that the farthest I'm going on holiday this year is Cavan - from Meath.
Just a summer ago, already more or less grounded for 12 months, most of us would've happily squeezed into the dreaded middle seat of the back row of an embattled Boeing 737 Max flown by Otto the blow-up autopilot, just to flash something other than our Covid passport.
But viral video footage of holidaymakers snaking all the way from security to the check-in desks and back again at the country's biggest hub in recent days was enough to have anyone begging Taoiseach Michéal Martin to reintroduce the 5km rule.
In a moment of vindication for the preppers who rock up to the airport already slathered in mosquito repellent in shorts and flip-flops, on Wednesday, Ryanair warned passengers to turn up for their flight three-and-a-half hours early amid chronic security delays - especially bad news for the others who try to beat the baggage fees by wearing all of their clothes à la Joey from Friends.
Vowing to take "immediate action", DAA apologised to "valued customers" for the headache, "particularly those who missed a flight as a result", resisting the urge to add "and who complained loudly about it on Twitter" at the end.
What a shame they don't seem to value staff in the same way, after it emerged potential security staff were being offered €14.14 an hour and just 20 hours - or €283 - guaranteed a week.
At least Fáilte Ireland won't have to spend a red cent promoting staycations this summer, after splashing €2.5m to encourage families to "Make a Break For It" at home over the past two years.
Widespread reports of 90-minute waits to have your ticket beeped and tiny toiletries scanned before even making it airside, where you can look forward to having the back of your seat kicked for a further 90 minutes, are also certain to do more for domestic tourism in 2022 than all eight episodes of Kathryn Thomas RTÉ jolly No Place Like Home put together.
For a €50 flight to Fuerteventura, no-one is expecting glammed-up air hostesses, gourmet meals and never-ending leg room like the 1960s' golden age of air travel portrayed by TV show Pan Am.
But when the budget experience starts before you even get to the boarding gates, suddenly biking it to an AirBnB in Bettystown - which, incidentally, would only take two hours from Dublin Airport - doesn't seem like such a bad idea.
Certainly TikToker @NorthernBlondeAbroad, who has been documenting her bid to visit 12 countries in 12 months on flights costing no more than £30 return, is a much braver woman than me.
I can't wait to add a few more stamps to my passport,but until the biggest bugbear is being sat next to a screaming child or armrest hog though, Cavan it is.
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