The Dublin Preclearance Lounge
The Dublin Preclearance Lounge, officially known as 51st&Green (a play on the concept of Ireland as the 51st state of the USA) just opened a few weeks ago. I visited this past weekend prior to my terrible flight on American Airlines. Overall it is quite an impressive lounge with the best views for plane spotting I have ever seen.
First you have to understand a bit about US Preclearance (and yes, that is how they spell it). Basically the idea is that US Customs and Boarder Protection has moved some of their facilities off site to foreign airports. Currently they are in Canada, the Caribbean, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi).
At these airports, before going to the gate to catch your flight to the US you go through US Customs and Passport Control. The benefit is that as soon as your plane lands, you walk out the jetway and in to the terminal to your next flight or to go home. It front ends the stress and time of this ritual of entrance in the USA.
At Dublin there are 5 airlines that fly direct to the US — United, Delta, American, Aer Lingus and Ethiopian. 4 of these airlines fly out of the Preclearance area in Terminal 2 (Ethiopian does not). After going through Dublin airport security you make your way down stairs to the Preclearance security. The odd thing is that there are no metal detectors but you still have to put all your luggage and shoes through the x-ray machine (even if you are Pre√). It’s like security lite.
Next you go through customs; if you are a Global Entry passenger there are kiosks for you (but only 5 so be prepared to wait… the crews use these too). And voila, welcome to America!
The Preclearance section is essentially a terminal of its own. There are a few shops and the Dublin Preclearance Lounge which is located at the farthest end. Keep walking past all the gates and you will see a glass door just past gate 406.
I asked at the desk and the staff said that the ONLY people that are allowed to use the Dublin Preclearance Lounge are those that are flying Business or First Class. However, looking online it looks like those with Admirals Club memberships can access the Dublin Preclearance Lounge (not sure if this would include those with the Citi Prestige Card), as well as Delta Sky Club members (not sure about United Club members).
As you enter you walk down a long white ramp to the check in desk. The lounge is managed by the airport itself. Wifi is free and unrestricted, no need for a password.
Farther down are the showers; two stalls for men and two for women. Nothing super fancy but will get the job done.
The toilets are the next room you come to in the long ramp.
Finally you are in the main part of the Dublin Preclearance Lounge with 270 degree views of the runways at the level of the runways. It is quite striking, I can’t think of another lounge with quite the same vantage point. The walls, floors and ceilings are all bright white and modern with tons of windows. It is a very clean look.
The main portion of the lounge is tiered; the lower section has seating as well as the coffee stand/bar and buffet. The upper sections are seating including tables, chairs and couches. There are lots of power outlets on and in the furniture, however they all use the UK plug so come prepared. No USB ports however there are a bunch of Qi wireless cell phone chargers and some of them even work.
There is a kids/family room area as well. I assume that is what it is, or maybe a conference room since I didn’t see any toys.
I was there early morning and the focus of the bar was on coffee/espresso. The buffet had some decent meal options should you need a bite before boarding. There was self serve soda, juice and water. There were additional snack stations around the lounge as well.
There were a large number of people staffing the lounge and all were friendly and quick to clean up.
While it is not a place I would go out of my way to visit, if you have access and need to kill some time, the Dublin Preclearance Lounge is a good place to relax and watch some planes.