Dubai comes to Dublin

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.
Martin Moodie

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A couple of hours ago I arrived at Dublin Airport, though you could be forgiven for thinking it is Dubai International Airport.

Dubai Duty Free signage is everywhere – on the luggage belts in the elegant new Terminal 2, and very prominently on the doors and walls as passengers exit to the arrivals hall.

I’m here for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby which takes place tomorrow. Dubai Duty Free has been sponsoring the famed horse racing festival since 2008 and this month extended the agreement until 2015 with a further two-year option thereafter.

The event brings inestimable global exposure for the Dubai Duty Free brand and the emirate of Dubai. Today the retailer hosted a golf tournament and tonight it is holding a black-tie charity ball to raise funds for the Irish Autism Society.

I transited through London Gatwick Airport on my return from Las Vegas McCarran International Airport’s new Terminal 3, where The Nuance Group/Las Vegas was doing absolutely roaring trade on its first full day of business at the Nevada gateway.

So good in fact that a long queue had formed by peak time in the early afternoon. Nuance will want to fix that with more points of sale but it is, as they say, a quality problem to have.

Gatwick (below) was also teeming with people as the summer holiday season swings into action.

Here’s an airport doing a lot of things right, as evidenced by the excellent signage below which gets customers interacting as well as promoting the airport’s commercial offer.

I also loved the high-profile promotion for new pink sparking liqueur Nuvo and one of the best foreign exchange outlets I have seen in the airport world, run by Moneycorp (below).

Two quibbles today. One, I could not find anywhere to charge my iPhone (the two F&B outlets I went into had no such facilities). Secondly, and more seriously, how dare Aer Lingus go from saying ‘Please wait’ on the FID screens (which it did right up until the scheduled flight time), with no gate specified, to ‘Gate closed’.

It was no such thing, of course, but, not knowing that, I had to abort my planned purchase of a Hugo Boss polo shirt, and sprint down the terminal to gate 14 only to find a queue of some 70 people moving at snail-like pace towards the desk.

When I asked why the screen had said ‘Gate closed’ as opposed to ‘Gate closing’ or (I was tempted) ‘Gate may close before midnight if this airline can finally learn how to process passengers properly) I was told (by a very friendly and also displeased Aer Lingus staff member) that it was a ‘new policy’, something with which her colleague concurred.

Really? To say a flight is closed when it is not? Even ‘Gate closing’ would have been taking liberties. I waited at least another 20 minutes to board the flight. And I was not last in the queue.

The passengers were not only lied to but they were denied the opportunity to continue shopping or spending in the food & beverage outlets when, because of a late-arriving flight, there was plenty of time to do both.

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