Dublin Airport’s (Reasonably Priced) VIP Terminal

Many airports offer VIP services for those who are willing to pay a pretty penny.

For example, The Private Suite at LAX is probably the most exclusive such facility in the US. They have a separate lounge that’s not part of any of the terminals, and then you’re driven to the plane in a private car. But it’s also really expensive, and for non-members a single visit costs $2,000-4,000.

Arguably there are a couple of experiences in commercial aviation that also offer this sort of a VIP level of service. For example, the Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt is completely separate from the rest of the terminal, so you can pull up directly to that, and then be driven to your plane in a car. Being able to skip the main Frankfurt Airport terminal is a blessing.

While LAX is at the very high end of what these services cost, there’s one more reasonably priced service that readers have emailed me about several times before, so I figured I’d write about it.

Dublin Airport has a VIP Terminal where they offer “Platinum Services,” which seems to be a similar concept to what you’ll find at LAX. Here’s a video about the service:

Booking their departure service comes with the following amenities:

  • Dedicated car park and private terminal entrance
  • Meet and greet on arrival
  • Private check-in and private security
  • Dedicated private suite
  • Complimentary drinks and refreshments with choice of options from our food menu
  • Chauffeur service to your aircraft

Their brochure contains the pricing for this service:

As you can see, the service for one person costs 204EUR (including the 23% VAT), or a two person bundle costs 312EUR. If you use the service as a couple on your honeymoon you’ll even receive champagne, chocolates, and a gift.

I plan on checking this out the next time I travel through Dublin, as I think it would make an interesting review. The one catch is that if you’re departing on a US-bound flight, they don’t have US immigration officers in the lounge (and Dublin Airport otherwise has a US pre-clearance facility). So you’d be driven to the immigration facility and would be escorted, and couldn’t be driven directly to your plane.

I’m not being paid to write this post, and for that matter I’m not suggesting this is some amazing thing that everyone needs to take advantage of. However, given what they’re offering (and in comparison to what other similar services charge), I think the pricing is pretty reasonable, and this is one that’s at least worth being aware of.

If you’re traveling for a special occasion, this could be a fun way to enhance your journey.

Has anyone used the Dublin Airport VIP Terminal before, or plan on doing so? Anyone know of any other reasonably priced airport VIP services?

(Update: I swear on my life this is a coincidence. I wrote this post, and as I was getting ready to publish it, I see that Travel Update also just wrote about airports that have VIP services, and included Dublin Airport. So I figure that’s at least worth acknowledging, even though it wasn’t my source or inspiration here.)

Comments

  1. Dublin has the most unpleasant immigration officers of any European airport I’ve been to so anything to avoid that would be great.

  2. @James, I haven’t been to Dublin but Gatwick is pretty bad for immigration officers. I’ve been through Heathrow a bunch of times, mostly to just go outside for a cigarette and I am honest about this to the officer – not once have I ever been given a hard time. But landing in Gatwick earlier this year, I wasn’t prepared for the grilling I received. I was asked questions like why I had earlier UK stamps in my passport, how long I stayed each time, why I had gone to other countries based on the stamps in my passport, etc. I was eventually allowed to pass but based on my prior experiences at Heathrow I always thought entry into the UK for a Canadian was pretty trivial.

  3. @James Irish travellers coming home are generally well received. You frequently get “welcome home ….First name of passenger”. However a number of my non irish friends have had some negative experiences with the immigration staff as you´ve stated.

    My friends received the VIP pack as a wedding present and they used it at the start of their honeymoon. They had nothing but good things to say about it. Apparently the food, beverages and staff were all great.

  4. @James – really surprised you’ve found that – were you by chance there when they were on their semi strike? (they legally can’t go on strike so were having a weird go slow for a period)

    Normally find them just lovely

    They do now also have the automated machines in Dub immigration – same as UK airports

  5. @James, really surprised at that, always perfectly pleasant to me but maybe that’s as I’m Irish, in fact it’s often sad by Irish people that the nicest thing about coming home is interacting with the immigration official.

    Hopefully it hasn’t put you off visiting us again.

  6. One of the big plusus of transiting through Dublin is the US pre-clear.

    You’d have to leave the VIP lunge 2 hours early to be sure of making your flight. All the while slumming it with the rest of us.

  7. @James so wrong…Ireland has some of the nicest immigration officers. Have you ever been to USA and London and pretty much anywhere else? Sounds like you have a bone to pick there, but I find such a subjective comment (not the first time) irrelevant and taking away from OneMileAtATime…

  8. Immigration officers in Ireland have always been great to us. In fact Stansted was the worse ever! Not necessarily to us but just watching the grilling of one family after another. Made me wonder if they want people to visit.

  9. Please please please combine it with a Ryanair flight if you try it! I’d wonder if you have to pay an extra €6 for priority chauffeuring….

  10. Maybe it’s because I’m Welsh but I’ve never found a nasty Irish immigration official. Most of them are really friendly. The UK, on the other hand…….

  11. Just to pile on, I’m American and have never experienced rudeness on the part of Irish Immigration. Quite the opposite, actually. They are sweet.

  12. Does anyone have more specifics about how this works for a US pre-clearance flight? Do they have you wait in the lounge until right before boarding, then escort you through US CBP right before the flight, or do they just take you to CBP earlier which still requires waiting for a period in the terminal?

  13. Even though I mentioned my experience at Gatwick to provide counterpoint to James’ assertion of Irish immigration officers, he did say, EUROPEAN. So for those mentioning Philipines or Abu Dhabi or USA you kind of didn’t actually understand what he wrote. Frankly, I believe James as he has much more experience with European immigration than me. But, nevertheless, Gatwick still sucks.

  14. @Aztec could it have just been that one time? When I went with my family, the officer was the nicest I have encountered compared to the horrible ones at JFK T1. My British colleagues recommended Gatwick over Heathrow. Hopefully, you will have better experiences next time around at Gatwick.

  15. Almost every airport within a major city has an on demand service for celebrities, government officials, or rich individuals who value time and privacy.

    3rd party meet and greet services tend to be available when the airport doesn’t provide their own official services.

    Prices for services very with some being reasonable at several hundred Euros per person to others costing several thousand Euros.

    A few notable mentions:

    Munich Airport VIP Wing: Has a seperate terminal – similar to Lufthansa FCT – in which guests can dine on demand or at a buffet before being drive to their plane

    Frankfurt Airport: Provides VIP services which includes being personally met at the aircraft and being driven by luxury sedan to the VIP. From there you can enjoy your champagne and caviar all while clearing immigration and customs before you’re driven by another limousine into the city.

    New Istanbul Airport: Will have its own luxury VIP terminal.

    Delta: Offers VIP airside Porsche transfers and lounge visits to guests who are connecting onto either a Blade helicopter or a Delta private jet.

    Air France has a vip service that can be purchased that includes access to their First class lounge with a chauffeur transfer to and from the aircraft.

    Air China also provides VIP services to their Elite members and revenue first class passengers.

    Other airports to offer services are:
    Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Dubai, Johannesburg, Sao Paulo, CDG, Seoul

  16. Rarely have to experience UK immigration given the common travel area from Ireland but when I have they tend to be pretty sour (especially Stanstead and Gatwick) . Immigration staff in T2 in Dublin tend to be much more pleasant than those in T1.

  17. I’ve used the VIP facility in Dublin two years ago and it was excellent. I was in Dublin for an event and they had a discount offer, so I only paid about $150 rather than the full price. However, I’d happily pay full price.

    The services were all as described. Even though I landed at 6am they were quite insistent that I try the local whisky before leaving. With the early arrival it was great to be escorted to immigration for formalities, relax in my private suite while they collected my bag and have a shower before leaving the terminal. Some of the service would be redundant if there’s an arrivals lounge where you’re going or you have only hand luggage. But it was great for me that day.

    I’d do it again and, in fact was just trying to book the (somewhat more expensive) service in Stockholm last night but they seem to have problems with their site.

  18. Even though I mentioned my experience at Gatwick to provide counterpoint to James’ assertion of Irish immigration officers, he did say, EUROPEAN. So for those mentioning Philipines or Abu Dhabi or USA you kind of didn’t actually understand what he wrote.

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