When Natalie, Jack and I were in Ireland last month, we were offered a chance to test out an airport service that’s perfect for single parents, the elderly or anyone who needs help or is worried about arriving, departing or transiting to a foreign airport.
The representative from Airport Gateway met us in our Dublin hotel lobby right on time. From the moment he took our luggage out to the car, I could feel my airport stress level (which usually shows up the night before a trip when I’m traveling with my family) slowly diminish. All of sudden I didn’t have to worry about a thing or plan our next move. When we were picked up in a shiny new Mercedes van, we didn’t have to lift one of the oversized bags that Jack travels with. It was so nice not to have to worry if our bags were going to fit in a too-small taxi or Uber trunk.
When we arrived at the airport we were handed off to another Airport Gateway representative who was waiting curbside with a luggage trolley. After our bags were unloaded, we were whisked to the airline’s (Aer Lingus) special check-in desk. That saved us an unknown amount of time standing in a long coach line. Yes, we were flying economy.
Once we were checked in, we were escorted through the airport through the fast track lane of the first security check point (for USA departures there’s two). We then walked through the Duty Free shops as it’s the only way to get to the gates (brilliant marketing like in most international airports). Of course, we did indeed stop to buy some of my favorite chocolates (Lily Obrien’s). I would’ve bought them anyway since they had a deal—two boxes for €12—but when you buy the Fast Track pass you get 10% off all Duty Free goods. Score!
We then went through the U.S. security line, where unlike the first one we needed to take our shoes off. However, there was no metal detector so we were able to keep our belts on. But all large electronics had to come out.
Next up was U.S. Customs. That’s right: Ireland is one of the few countries that have pre-clearance in a foreign land which helps alleviate some of the congestion on U.S. soil. When passengers land in the U.S., it’s as if they’re flying from a domestic destination. They no longer need to go to customs or get their bags if they are connecting.
Our Airport Gateway representative told us this was the end of the line for him because he wasn’t allowed to go through U.S. customs. But he gave us detailed instructions regarding where to go—plus a pass to the lounge. FYI: There was no line at U.S. Customs, but it’s not always like that according to our agent. We used Global Entry, which is to the left and we were through within minutes.
Good to know:
- Getting access to the lounge is an extra fee (I believe €35 per person in Dublin).
- There was another small Duty Free store after U.S. Customs and I bought some more Lily Obrien’s to give to the flight attendants. I was able to use the 10% discount again.
- Mention promo code ‘JJET’ and receive a discount when transiting through airports in Ireland and the UK.
The Airport Gateway service was fantastic and we truly felt like celebrities having an escort through most of the airport process. It would’ve been even better if they helped us on the plane but it still saved a lot of time and stress. It’s nice to travel through an airport and not have any worries.
It would be even better for arrivals. I probably wouldn’t pay for it for myself, but I would definitely consider it if Natalie and Jack or my 88-year-old dad were traveling somewhere they never been (since their representatives meet you planeside). Right outside the plane door and whisk you through the airport, customs, baggage claim and deliver you to your hotel.
Prices vary but start at €120.
FYI: The company was founded in 2016 and is part of Emerald VIP Services Holdings whose portfolio includes Emerald VIP Services, an Irish based global concierge, executive transportation and aviation services provider with offices in Europe, Africa and Asia. For more information on AirportGateway, visit airportgateway.aero.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.