Flying can be a very stressful experience for some given the ever-increasing number of regulations that travelers these days are required to follow. To ensure your travel experience is an enjoyable one, be sure to follow these helpful tips.
This post and page contain affiliate links and I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.
Here are 14 things to do before taking a flight to Ireland.
Use Your Airline’s App
To speed things up at the airport, it’s a good idea to check in using your airline’s app.
Be sure to download it ahead of time and then check to see that the details of your reservation are correct.
Once you’ve checked in, you’ll receive your electronic boarding pass, making the whole process quicker and more efficient.
If you are flying to Ireland with Delta, you will automatically be checked in 24 hours in advance of your flight.
Get Your Airline’s Credit Card
To gain additional airline perks, you should apply for your airline’s credit card.
Such perks might include waiting for your flight in a cushy lounge as opposed to a noisy terminal, priority boarding, free check-in of bags, premiere seat selection, and more.
Two worthwhile credit cards to consider include the American Express Delta Gold card and the Virgin Visa Signature card, which costs $49 annually and that offers $150 off a companion ticket every year you’re a cardholder.
Virgin does not fly direct to Ireland from the U.S., but you can get there via London.
Sign up for Your Airline’s Frequent Flyer Program
There are definite pros and cons to this. However, if you fly consistently with one particular airline, it can be worth it.
If you are flying with American Airlines, be sure to sign up for that airline’s AAdvantage program. If you are using Delta Airlines, SkyMiles is its frequent flyer program. MileagePlus is the frequent flyer program of United Airlines, and the Aer Lingus frequent flyer program is known as AerClub.
Choose Your Airline Seat
If you want to lessen the chance of being assigned a seat next to the toilet or any other undesirable area of the plane, you might want to check out Seat Guru, which offers a detailed seat map based on your particular flight.
Comply with the TSA-Approved Carry-on Luggage Rules
Liquid products like creams, perfumes, after-shave, hairspray, or any other similar items must be in containers weighing less than 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters), as per the TSA’s Liquids Rule.
If you’re traveling from a U.S. airport and you’re caught with containers that are heavier than that, they’ll be confiscated by TSA agents.
In addition, they must be placed in a see-through bag that is no larger than a quart.
Sign Up for TSA PreCheck® & Global Entry Programs
If you want to avoid long lines at the airport, you might want to think about applying for the TSA PreCheck® and Global Entry programs.
TSA PreCheck® provides expedited security screening benefits for passengers departing from U.S. airports.
Global Entry is an additional benefit giving passengers expedited customs screening when coming back to the United States.
You can apply for the TSA PreCheck® program and Global Entry through the Trusted Traveler Program.
The price for both is $100 since the TSA PreCheck® Program is integrated into the cost of Global Entry. Residents of Mexico and Canada can apply for other similar entry programs to the U.S. through the above website.
Bonus Tip: You can actually get a refund by using an approved credit card.
Some of the cards that participate include the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, the Capital One Spark Miles for Business card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card, the Platinum Card from American Express, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card, the IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, and the United Explorer Card.
Weigh Your Bags
If you’ve purchased a ticket to Ireland that allows for carry-on luggage only, make sure that you are within the airline’s specific requirements when it comes to weight and other dimensions.
For example, the Aer Lingus Saver fare, which is the cheapest one, allows for cabin luggage with a weight limit of 10 kg (22 pounds) and measuring 21.65 X 15.75 X 9.05 inches.
One piece of hand luggage is also allowed. This could be a handbag (pocketbook) or laptop measuring 10 X 13 X 8 inches.
There is no additional charge for cabin luggage on flights originating in the U.S.
However, the airline recently changed its free cabin baggage rules for flights throughout Europe, which means that passengers wishing to bring their carry-on luggage with them on the flight must now pay €5.99/£5.99.
A free hand luggage service is available too, but you must check the bag in with the rest of your luggage.
By clicking on the Amazon links below, I may earn a small commission from the Amazon Associates Program. However, you will not incur any additional costs by doing so.
Make Sure Your Gadgets Are in One Place
Since most people travel with an assortment of gadgets these days, from earplugs to charger cables, cameras, smartphones, and other cords, it’s a good idea to keep them all together. I suggest you put them in a practical travel case so that nothing gets lost.
Get the LoungeBuddy App
If you don’t normally have access to a private lounge at the airport and just want to relax before getting on your flight, you can avail yourself of this luxury by downloading the LoungeBuddy app on your phone.
For $25 you can book a private lounge at several airports around the world. This is especially useful for passengers going on long-haul flights or who have long layovers between flights.
Don’t Forget Your Neck Pillow
Whatever the length of your flight, a good neck pillow will make the journey that much easier. Don’t leave home without it.
Bring Hand Sanitizer
Even after the pandemic has ended, hand sanitizing and other hygiene methods will still be important, so be sure to pack one in your bag. Face masks may still be required, so be sure to bring that too just in case.
Have a Valid Passport
Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after the date of your travel.
In fact, I advise that you check several weeks prior to travel. U.S. visitors can enter Ireland visa-free for tourism or business-related purposes for up to three months.
U.K. citizens will need to show a passport or some other form of photo ID when entering Ireland, as per the new Brexit rules.
EU nationals and those who fall under the European Economic Area (that includes members of the EU as well as Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein) do not need visas to enter Ireland but must show a passport or some other form of identification when entering Ireland.
Citizens from Australia, Canada, and New Zealand do not need visas either, but must, like the others, produce a passport to gain entry.
More information about acquiring a visa to visit Ireland can be found at Ireland’s Department of Justice and Equality.
Exchange Currency Before You Arrive in Ireland
Before you go, it’s a good idea to get the proper currency.
Ireland operates on the Euro, like the rest of the EU. Northern Ireland, however, uses the British Sterling.
There are currency exchange facilities at all of Ireland’s major airports, but I advise that you have at least $100 worth of foreign currency (Euro) on you when you get to Ireland for incidentals.
Purchase Travel Insurance
In addition to the usual delays, including cancellations and lost luggage that you might incur while traveling, other circumstances like getting sick or injured while you’re on vacation are a possibility (hopefully not likely).
In that case, travel insurance is a good idea. If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s to be prepared.
Have you implemented any of the above tips before taking a flight, either to a domestic location or abroad?
Is there anything that should be added to this list?
Be sure to let me know in the comments, and as always, feel free to sign up for my free e-newsletter where you'll get additional tips on traveling to Ireland on a budget.