Dubai International Airport (IATA: DXB) is the largest hub in the Middle East and the home base of Dubai's flag carrier Emirates and its low-cost airline FlyDubai. It has grown at such a furious pace that the present terminals are bursting at the seams, especially during the peak hours around midnight. The airport is unique in having non-stop flights to all inhabited continents, operated by Emirates, some of which are among the longest non-stop flights in the world.
Dubai Airport is in the Deira district in the northern part of Dubai. Originally established in the late 1930s, this giant airport is the premier air gateway to the United Arab Emirates, the busiest airport in the world for international passenger traffic and the Middle East's foremost hub airport. The national flag carrier Emirates is the main airline in Dubai and offers the best connections.
The airport has three terminals and a fourth is scheduled to open in 2015. All terminals are numerically named.
- Terminal 1 is the main terminal, used by most major airlines and long-haul flights.
- Terminal 2 serves regional flights (mainly the Persian Gulf and South Asia region) and low-cost flights, including all FlyDubai flights.
- Terminal 3 is used by Emirates and Qantas. It is the second largest building in the world by floor space.
Most airlines have a designed area within their terminal. E.g. Lufthansa group (Lufthansa, Swiss Int'l Airlines and Austrian) use Terminal 1F as check-in.
Getting between Dubai Airport and various parts of Dubai and Sharjah is relatively quick and easy.
Most visitors opt for public taxis from the airport, which use the meter and start at Dhs 25. They are readily available just outside arrivals. They are on the left when you come out of terminal 1. A trip to Dubai Marina may cost around Dhs 100. If you look rich or Western, the taxi dispatcher may steer you towards a line of black limousines beyond the main taxi rank. If so, decline politely and take one of the regular taxis.
Terminals 1 and 3 each have a station for the Dubai Metro Red Line; they are in Zone 5 of the line. Trains depart every 10 minutes between about 6am and 12pm, except Friday (between 1pm and 1am).
Buses serves all three terminals. There are buses just opposite the exit gates after baggage claim, the most useful for visitors being lines 401 and 402 (Dhs 3), which go to the Al Sabkha and Al Ghubaiba bus terminals respectively. Tickets cannot be bought from driver so you'll have to buy NOL card before stepping into the bus.
All terminals have extensive parking lots.
Terminals 1 and 3 are directly connected to each other via the airside (no immigration needed for transfer) and are models of modern airport design. Terminal 2 is on the other side of the airport and, despite recent renovations, is still reminiscent of developing-world airports, with long check-in lines, queue jumping and every second passenger checking in 70 kg of luggage.
Free shuttle buses between the three termicals run every 20-30 min. However shuttles to Terminal 2 are sporadic at best, so a 30 min taxi ride may be your only option. A low-cost option for traveling to Terminal 2 is to catch the metro to a nearby station, such as Abu Hail metro station, and from there catch a 5 minutes taxi to Terminal 2.
Despite being one of the world's largest airports, DXB has relatively few amenities or things to see. Waiting is an essential part of DXB. Due to its stellar growth, facilities and infrastructure are always stretched. Expect queues for pretty much everything during peak hours (around midnight) and uncomfortably crowded waiting areas. The upside is that many people sleep in corners and below the benches, so the atmosphere is not dominated by pushy business travellers. If you are tired and have to wait, ensure you have an alarm set to avoid missing your flight.
There are a number of VIP lounges at the airport for the use of business and first class passengers, as well as holders of certain credit cards.
There are plenty of fast food and fine dining restaurant located in all three terminals of the airport.
- Chowking Orient Restaurant
- Mezze Express
- Nestle Toll House
- Taste of India
- The rupee room Express
- Cho Gao
- Jack’s Bar & Grill
- Le Pain Quotidien
- Moet Champagne Bar
- Wafi Gourmet Restaurant
- Caviar House
- Heineken Lounge
- Ocean Basket
- Red Carpet Cafe & Seafood Bar
There are plenty of coffee shops and drink establishments located in all three terminals of the airport.
The airport is famous for its duty-free shopping. However, prices in the airport's duty-free stores are equal or higher than what you can find in the many malls of the city. Alcohol here is very cheap, though. Alcohol is also available at an inbound duty free store situated in the baggage reclaim area. The amount of alcoholic beverages and beers should not exceed 4 liters of alcohol beverages, or 2 cartons of beer (each consisting of 24 cans, not exceeding 355 ml for each can or its equivalent).
All three terminals have free, 30 minute Wi-Fi access, although coverage and speed can be spotty at times. There are standalone computer terminals at all terminals with access to the Internet.
There are three hotels located within the airport complex. A 300 room five-star hotel in Concourse C of Terminal 1, a 4 star hotel and a 5 star hotel in Concourse A of Terminal 3. DXB is within the Deira district of Dubai which offers a wide range of hotels.
- Dubai Creek Golf Club is 5-10 minutes by taxi or 15 minutes by Metro plus walk.