When you consider the packing (of not just clothes and toiletries, but also medications), the lugging of suitcases and the long security queues, not to mention possible flight delays, it’s no wonder that some people living with arthritis can be anxious about their airport experience.  

However, with some careful planning and fore thought, it is possible to have a stress-free and comfortable journey. As well as packing healthy snacks, portable ice or heat packs and luggage with wheels that are easy to manoeuvre, it’s important to think about how you’ll navigate yourself through the airport comfortably.  

Airlines are required to offer pre-boarding, wheelchair or motorised escorts through the airport for passengers who request it. Simply contact or notify your airline, travel agent or tour operator with details of your assistance requirements in advance of the departure of your flight. If you are not checking in baggage, you can also avail of new artificial intelligence systems that have launched in terminal one of Dublin airport to assist with luggage that you will carry on board.

New Robots Arrive at Dublin Airport  

Robotic recruits have been introduced to terminal one in Dublin airport in  a bid to help those with additional needs who need assistance with their luggage.  


Services Support Officer, Peter Boyd, recently took part in the trial of the new AI robot baggage handlers. There are currently four robots in the trial phase, including Handler Bing – “Could he BE any better at carrying bags?” – and the one Peter used which was Bilbot Baggins – “We’re going on an adventure”. 


The adventure begins after security where two iPads are mounted at waist height in a clearly marked section. A robot is called with the click of a single button and you can track the robots progress from the charging area to the pick-up point, which is an average of two minutes. 

 Once the robot arrives, the passenger opens the doors, places their hand luggage into the trays, keys in their gate number and the robot begins the journey to that gate. There is room for two 10kg hand luggage bags and one smaller item on the top shelf.   


The robot moves at 0.7m per second which is a comfortable pace to keep up with. The robot is constantly scanning for obstacles or passengers walking in its path so, with adjustments and stops to let people pass, the robot doesn’t ever get away from you and it travels at a slow enough speed (the speed may reduced even further in the future to take into account those using mobility aids).  


Walking through the airport you are met with interested looks and fascination from young and old alike. Just like the wheelchair service or the golf cart service provided in the airport, if you need to use the robots, they will be a great support for people with arthritis and mobility issues. 


At present, the robots go directly to the gate without stopping and will continue to do so for the full trial beginning in June. There are many potential extras that could be added to the software in future iterations. Pausing the robot for bathroom or shop visits for example might be one consideration. Another is scanning boarding cards to ascertain gate numbers, so that if a gate is changed the robot will automatically update the route to the new gate.

For now though, this is a very positive service and support for those in need of additional support. Anyone travelling through Dublin Airport Terminal 1 over the summer can avail of the robot baggage handlers once they are through security and headed for their gate. 


The team in charge are eager for as much feedback as possible to maximise the potential support the robots can offer and hopefully have more available, not just in Terminal 1, but to also map Terminal 2 in the future as well. 

Find out More 

For more information, contact[email protected]. 

And don’t miss our useful blog detailing 12 Essential Items to have in your carry-on case and advice on How to Take the Sting out of Travelling Abroad.