Yes, you read the title right… an indirect flight that will actually save you time and stress. Really? Oh yes.

If you travel to the US you’ll know that clearing customs and immigration can be incredibly time-consuming and it’s really hard to predict how long it might take (usually 2hours + in our experience). But what about if you could clear customs quickly and easily before you arrive so you can head straight to the office or your hotel as soon as you get there?

How?

Dublin and Shannon airports are one of only a handful of airports outside North America that offer a US Preclearance facility. Customers pass through US Customs and Immigration in Ireland and then the flight lands in the United States as a domestic flight and everyone can bypass New York passport control.

What are the benefits?

  • You arrive as a domestic passenger which means a faster journey through the airport.
  • If you are transferring on to a US domestic flight, you don’t need to change terminals. This allows shorter connecting times meaning you can reach your final destination earlier.
  • Plus, your baggage can be checked to the final destination so no need to pick it up and re-check in.

Isn’t it more of a pain to get to Dublin or Shannon?

If you live in the UK your two best options are British Airways and Aer Lingus.

If you travel British Airways you should be thinking about their London City to JFK anyway. It’s the closest you’ll get to a private jet experience at commercial prices.

With 32 spacious seats across eight rows, the one cabin aircraft offers comfort, space and privacy. The service gets outstanding feedback and it’s well worth a try.

Other features include:

  • your own seat that converts into a 183cm (6ft) fully flat bed
  • a personal iPad featuring the latest films and television programmes
  • luxury bedding and an amenity kit designed by The White Company
  • UK, EU and US power sockets for laptops and other devices

The US immigration and customs is cleared during a 50-minute re-fueling stop in Shannon and then you have the rest of the journey to relax.

Aer Lingus offer all customers travelling to the US pre clearance at either Dublin or Shannon. If you want to travel somewhere other than New York and not in Business Class, it’s well worth taking a look at the flights they offer. Their promotional material currently advises that their pre-clearance will save you at least 2 hours and with connection times of 1 hour 15 minutes, that’s still a good time saving.

Want to use the lounge?

If you’re wondering whether to choose Dublin or Shannon, this might help your decision. Dublin airport has opened a US Preclearance lounge called 51st &Green. Located after US Preclearance and beside the US departure gates, it is a ‘world’s first’ as it is the closest airport lounge to an active runway. It’s €39 per person to enter, although it is complimentary with all business class tickets.

The practicalities

The pre-clearance facility, operated by U.S. personnel, is located on the ground floor level of Terminal 2 at Dublin airport and in the departures lounge in Shannon airport.

Duty free goods including cigarettes and alcohol can’t be sold on board flights which pre-clear U.S. customs and immigration.  For further details please check U.S. CBP pre-clearance prohibited and restricted Items before arriving at the airport.

For more information on the service at Dublin airport visit their website here and for Shannon airport visit their website here.

 Interested in how it works? This video gives a good insight: