One Airport Has A Creative Way Of Underreporting Security Line Wait Times

European airports have been a disaster this summer. The Dublin airport doesn’t want to be embarrassed by long security wait times. They argue they’re better than peers with creative measurement. The claim: that 99% of passengers make it through security in less than 30 minutes, and no one takes more than 45 minutes. That’s a lot of waiting, but much better than some other airports. How do they deliver this result?

  • The lines have been awful at times, stretching outside of the airport
  • Time spent in line outside the airport doesn’t count.

You’re not “in line” until you’re inside the airport. So any time spent waiting in line outside the airport doesn’t count. That’s just waiting in line to get into the line.

Put another way, it depends on what the definition of “line” is.

Passengers complain about interminable waits, yet the airport isn’t lying that everyone makes it through the security line within 45 minutes, because the rest of the time they’re waiting is time spent getting to the security line.

The airport – which has been engulfed in controversy over lengthy queues this summer – said security wait times only extend as far as the terminal building in T1 and from the top of the escalator at T2.

If queues extend beyond this, “this queue time is not captured”, the DAA said.

Does the line extent from the terminal door to the security checkpoint – or from the first person in line at the checkpoint to the last person in that same line?

Ultimately reporting security wait times matters so that passengers know how early they’re going to need to show up. The breaking out security wait time reporting, and wait time to get to the security line, and not reporting the latter provides passengers with misleading information which may cause them to miss flights.

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