It is not every day we get to take back half an hour of our lives. According to Dublin Airport, from today passengers should present at the airport just two hours before a short-haul flight and three hours before a long-haul flight, 30 minutes later than they were asked to arrive yesterday.
It follows six straight weeks of improving queue times at the airport, with passengers getting through without having to queue more than 45 minutes for security.
This week, queue times have rarely gotten longer than 20 minutes.
Arrival advice times are now within 30 minutes of what was the norm three years ago. Most people were able to arrive an hour and a half before take-off and breeze through.
Before Covid, if security queues went beyond 30 minutes, emergency procedures were triggered.
Baggage drop instructions remain unchanged, somewhat confusingly, telling passengers to allow another hour to check in a bag.
In reality, baggage is not DAA’s business at all, responsibility lies with the airlines, and drop times can differ between airlines and route types. Aer Lingus and Ryanair run efficient, self tag facilities at the airport which process passengers quickly. Long- haul airlines and flights to big European hubs have more complicated procedures.
For weeks now, the airport has been asked by airlines to change their arrival advice, in one case publicly by Aer Lingus CEO Lynne Embleton.
Airline check-in personnel found themselves under pressure from early arriving passengers and in some cases were not even open on time.
The question now is, will people listen to an advice desk that has let them down badly twice in the recent past?
Passengers have been turning up six or seven hours early for flights, understandably reluctant to risk the loss of a long-awaited family holiday.
Even last week, when it was clear security queues had stabilised from the meltdowns of late March and late May, more than 50pc of passengers were arriving more than the required three-and-a-half hours before their flights. Back in 2019, about 20pc of passengers arrived too early.
Early arrivals delayed the solution which DAA was solving by throwing numbers at their security team. An extra 30 personnel a week were cleared, bringing numbers to 800, ahead of pre-pandemic levels (it was 535 in March, 248 were let go during Covid).
Unmentioned bureaucratic delays with staff clearances were quietly tackled.
It still took time to tweak the rosters for a rush hour that arrived earlier than expected. In mid-June, peak queue times were running up to five hours ahead of peak departure times.
The politicians who hauled Dublin airport executives on front of an Oireachtas committee to know what they were doing about queues might ponder the average wait times at hospital A&E, which is 11 hours at last reckoning.
Maybe the DAA could come up with a few ideas how to shorten those.
What should we do with those precious extra 30 minutes? We can reminisce on when things used to be much worse, and then when things used to be much better. Those with long memories will recall those Noughties summers before Terminal 2 was built at Dublin Airport.
Queues were worse. Online check-in was not a thing. Passengers, bags, trolleys merged into each other in one great congealed mess. And everyone had to squeeze through one badly designed terminal – 23.4 million a year in 2008 and 23.2 million in 2007.
The global financial recession and the opening of Terminal 2 in 2010 changed everything. We forgot how bad it was. Even if the walk to gate 412 was a tad long, it was shorter than what Irish passengers had to endure at Heathrow before 2014.
Passengers will, no doubt, find other uses for their extra half-hour, like pondering when they may be able to park their car without bringing mortgage deeds for their home.
And visiting the oft-tweeted toilets, although, according to DAA, better performance on security will allow for a bigger focus on cleanliness.
And Hallelujah: we now have an extra half an hour to spend in the queue for coffee before takeoff.