Only fifty years ago a desert landing strip, today Dubai Airport is the second busiest international passenger airport in the world. Set to jump one rank higher and overtake London Heathrow in the busy stakes, Dubai Airport has the capacity to handle a whopping 75 million passengers a year. The airport itself is state of the art with numerous lounges, Zen Gardens and even a five-star hotel on the premises. If you arrive early before you flight or want to make the most of your stopover, don’t miss sampling the many flavours of the Middle East at one of Dubai Airport’s well-regarded restaurants.
Dubai International Airport Quick Facts
Distance from CBD: 36km
Number of airlines: 125
Number of destinations served: Over 250 Number of terminals: 3
Number of runways: 2
Check-in is a breeze at Dubai Airport. Options includes a choice of both self-service, at the desk and online check-in. Counters usually open 180 minutes before an international flight but you can check in much earlier online and at the self check-in counters. At Terminal 3 you’ll find 120 check-in counters, while there are a whopping 221 at Terminal 1. To ensure you fly through both the airport and the skies, have your tickets, passport and baggage all ready for handling when you arrive at the airport.
The weather will do it enough so don’t let a heavy piece of luggage make you sweat while you are in Dubai. The Dubai Airport offers a full range of baggage services including porters, which you’ll find at the terminal entrance and at baggage claim carousels, and free trolley hire. If you want to secure your luggage you can take advantage of the baggage wrapping service, while Emirates offers a delivery service to locations in the UAE. For as little as AED20 per 12-hour period, you can also have you baggage stored. Short-term storage facilities are located in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.
Banks, money exchange & ATMs – you’ll find them all at Dubai Airport. There are numerous facilities throughout Dubai Airport so it’s easier just to keep an eye out rather than follow directions to one particular provider. Many of the money exchangers are open 24/7 and provide reasonable exchange rates by airport standards.
Internet Access / Wi-Fi
Idles minds (and fingers) are in luck with Dubai Airport offering 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi. It’s easy to connect, simply select the “DXB Free Wifi” or "DWC Free Wifi" networks and you’ll be on your way. If you have a bit more time to kill or want some more freedom with data usage then you can also use the premium Wi-Fi service for a small fee. To connect, select “Boingo Hotspot” and follow the prompts.
Ideally located on the arrivals level in Terminal 1 and hotel level of Concourses A and B in Terminal 3 you’ll find the Dubai International Hotel’s business centre and meeting rooms. A comprehensive range of services such as photocopying, lamination and faxing is all available for a fee. If you’re too weary to do it yourself, check into a room for a sleep and take advantage of have the handy secretarial service do the work for you. Lounges
If you want to enjoy the perks of an airline lounge but aren’t eligible for entry, for a fee or for free, you can still take advantage of one of the airport lounges at Dubai Airport.
With two lounges in Dubai Airport’s Terminal 3, Marhaba Lounges offer buffet food and drinks, shower facilities and Wi-Fi. Open 24 hours every day of the week, inexpensive entry makes these lounges an excellent and popular way to relax before a flight. Just note that you will have to pay a little extra if you want to take shower. Found in Concourse A between Gates A2 and A3, and at Concourse B close to Gate B21, discounts are offered if you book in advance.
If you want to have a quick catnap but don’t want to pay for an airport hotel, you can take advantage of the reclining chairs in Dubai Airport’s Quiet Lounges. Located in Terminal 1 near Gates C23 and C9, a good idea is to bring some headphones or earplugs because the lounges aren’t as quiet as the name suggests.
Spanning the whole length of the terminal, both Emirates lounges at Dubai airport are huge! With integrated duty-free shopping, board your flights directly from both lounges that are open twenty-four hours a day. You’ll find the business lounge on the 4th floor with the first class lounge being located on the 5th floor.
If you are traveling internationally on an airline other than Emirates and Qantas then Terminal 1 is where your airline will be based. Classified as the main terminal, Terminal 1 is used by over 100 airlines and was recently upgraded meaning more ease checking-in and arriving. If you are weary, the terminal is home to numerous hotels and located next to C22 you’ll even find Snooze Cubes that can be rented per hour. There’s also a plethora of duty free shops and restaurants to help you spend your last dirham.
Opened in 1998 and already expanded a number of times, Terminal 2 are used by budget airlines and those mainly servicing countries in the Persian Gulf area. With 37 check-in counters, the terminal’s spacious boarding area and gates allow several flights to board at the same time. Since this terminal is barely used by long-haul flights, facilities such as lounges are limited in Terminal 2. Thankfully Terminal 1 is only a short walkway trip away.
Used exclusively by Emirates and now also Qantas, Terminal 3 lays claim to being not only the largest airport terminal in the world but also the largest building in the world based on floor space. Housing five Airbus A380 gates and 180 check-in counters, you won’t have to wait long in queues at Terminal 3’s two concourses. If you have some time to spare inside the huge multi-floor terminal, check out the large retail areas, unwind at one of numerous lounges or catch some rest at an airport hotel.
Getting between terminals at Dubai Airport is a breeze with a free 24-hour shuttle bus connecting terminals. Unfortunately getting to and from Dubai Airport by public bus is a little more complex as you cannot pay the driver with cash. Instead you’ll need to get your hands on a Nol card, which you can purchase at the Airport Metro Station. Some good news for Emirates passengers is that passengers in Economy Class can take advantage of a free bus service between Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. You’ll find bus stops on the Departures Level outside Entrance 3 at Terminal 3, and at Terminal 1 on the upper level between the arrivals and departures buildings. Remember the local etiquette that the first three rows of seats on a bus are reserved for lady passengers.
Both Terminal 1 and 3 are served by Dubai Metro’s Red Line that can be accessed directly via air-conditioned walkways to departure and arrival areas of the terminal. Quick, affordable and frequent, as with the bus you’ll need a Nol card to ride the train. Fares in Dubai depend on how far you travel but are all very affordable by Western standards. The train runs from 06:00 until 23:00 Saturday to Thursday and 14:00 until midnight on Fridays. Hours are increased during Ramadan.
Offering maximum flexibility, taxis are a popular way to get to and from Dubai Airport. Very affordable by Western standards, you’ll find taxi ranks located outside each one of the three terminals and usually a couple outside any major hotel too. Most drivers speak English and, unlike some countries in Asia, the cabs all have functioning metres that calculate the fare by the distance. While the metres may work, make sure the air-con is also working before you agree on a taxi! Hire With desert temperatures, Dubai isn’t the sort of city you’ll want to traverse on bike or foot. At Dubai Airport you’ll find just about every major hire car company including Avis, Budget and Hertz. Just be wary that every individual Emirate in the UAE has its own set of road rules that you should make yourself aware of before exploring the country. Note also that citizens of Australia do not need an International Driving Permit to drive in the UAE.
24-hour car parking at Dubai Airport is available at all of the terminal buildings and both short and long-term parking is catered for. Rates do vary between parks so if you are on a budget the cheapest of the car parks is Car Park B at Terminal 1, which is free for the first fifteen minutes, and both car parks at Terminal 2. Keep your car park ticket with you because you have to pay your fee before returning to your car at one of the numerous handily located pay stations. For lengthier stays take advantage of the long-term car parking options at Dubai Airport. Situated just 5 minutes from Dubai Airport’s terminal buildings, you don’t have to brave the heat to get to your flight from the car park thanks to the complimentary bus service that runs to and from each of Dubai’s airports terminals.
As a major travel hub for the Middle East, Dubai International Airport is serviced by a wide range of airlines. The following airlines reach Dubai International Airport. Don't see the airline you are looking for? Talk to a consultant to book your Dubai flights with your preferred airline.
The following airlines reach Dubai. Don't see the airline you are looking for? Talk to a consultant to book your Dubai flights with your preferred airline.
Tired travellers are spoilt for choice with Dubai Airport home to numerous hotels. As well as the many hotels located in the area near Dubai Airport; within the terminals you will find offerings from Holiday Inn, Premier Inn and the luxurious Dubai International Hotel. Another option to catch some sleep is to use the Snooze Cube, located inside Terminal 1. Compact rooms with a bed, TV and Internet, the Snooze Cube can be rented on an hourly basis. To book your Dubai accommodation, search below or view more accommodation options.