Dubai is so close to the UK you could almost go there for a long weekend! A flight from London is only 6.5-7.5 hours - a breeze if you are used to 24 hour flights to Australia as I am ; )
Around 80 different airlines currently fly into Dubai, making it an important transport hub in the Middle East. Our first visit to Dubai was a short one - just a couple of hours spent in the airport, on our way to Sydney. That time we were flying with Emirates, Dubai's international airline. On our first 'proper' visit to Dubai, in Dec 2007, we flew from London Heathrow with British Airways. As mentioned, the flight was very manageable at around 7 hours.
Upon arrival, although it was around 1am local time, we faced long queues at passport control. Yawn. At least that meant only a very short wait for our luggage. Exiting the airport after 2am, I was astounded by the number of people there to meet arrivals - the majority seemed to be holding signs from various hotels/tour operators. We were supposed to be collected by our hotel, and spent several minutes scouring all of the signs looking for our names or the hotels name. Hmph..... in the end I had to ring the hotel and they were most apologetic, apparently the car coming to collect us had broken down. Oh well, we jumped in a taxi (there were plenty of them) and the hotel reimbursed us on arrival.
Our return flight back to London didn't depart until 3am. We arrived at the airport around 12.30am and loved the fact that there was hardly any queues at all for check-in and security. Once through to 'airside', the duty free shops were packed full of shoppers, and we joined the throngs - I can never resist duty free lip gloss and chocolate.
The only negative thing about the airport on the departure side was that there were hardly any seats to sit on, unless you went through to your depart lounge. We had no choice but to sit on the floor for a while at around 2am, as our gate hadn't opened yet.
IMPORTANT UPDATE October 2008: The brand new Terminal 3 (known under its nickname "the baguette") is opening on 14th October, and will handly Emirates Airlines flight exclusively.
If you will be travelling on Emirates Airlines, remember that you will be arriving/leaving from Emirates' very own new TERMINAL 3.
You can store your bags at Dubai International Airport, Terminal 1.
Go to the "Arrivals" area, next to the taxi stand. There you will see an office called "DNATA Baggage Services". Price is 10 Dirhams (approx. 3 US Dollars) per bag for 12 hours.
For more information, call this number & ask for "Baggage Service":
Tel: +971 - 4 - 224 5555.
WHILST YOU'RE WAITING...
TIP: sit closely to any of the first class lounges (on the floor if you have to) and take advantage of the lounge's WiFi Internet ;-)
--> News Article, Gulf News Aug. 2006:
"Dubai's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) launched free wireless Internet service at Dubai Int'l Airport. The service allows passengers free access to internet on their laptops, PDAs & smart phones. Passenger can assess the system in select areas in both the Arrivals and Departures areas. The service is being expanded, and should be available through the entire airport by the end of the year 2006 & beginning 2007."
TELEPHONE NUMBER FOR FLIGHT INQUERIES:
Call +971-4-206 6666 to find-out about scheduled departures & arrivals.
UPDATE 2008: Short-Term PARKING now costs a ridiculous Dhs 20 per hour!
Most of you will probably be looking for the infamous Duty Free area. Others maybe for the Irish Pub (at Gate 23). Prepare before your trip & have a look at the website's virtual airport map:
They also have some pretty useful "Travel Tips" to first-time visitors to the United Arab Emirates (i.e. distances, currency, emergency numbers, etc.) Click here: http://www.dubaiairport.com/DIA/English/MainMenu/Traveler+Tools/Travel+Tips/
Dubai International Airport is impressive, no doubt about it, and it has also grown and changed immensely since my initial arrival in 1998. It's huge, it's tacky, it's badly layed-out, it's designed to make you walk for miles in the hope that you'll buy something, and it's actually pretty cool if you don't have to stop-over too often. The initial wonder & amazement wears-off quickly, especially if you're waiting at passport control queues for over 1 hour!
Visit visas are issued to individuals intending to stay over 30 days in the United Arab Emirates. GCC nationals (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar & Saudi Arabia) do not need visas.
The list below contains further countries that automatically obtain a free 60-day visa on arrival at an airport:
1. Hong Kong
2. Ice land
3. South Korea
4. United States
8. New Zealand
11. United Kingdom
24. San Marion
>> All others must apply for a visit visa BEFORE you arrive at Dubai airport.
UPDATE JULY 2008: new visa laws have been implemented from 29th July onwards. Please check the local news for updates: http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/08/07/25/10231692.html
>> Check this link for essential regulations before travelling to the UAE: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tp/137842/
Click here for Flight Information Schedules: http://www.dubaiairport.com/DIA/English/MainMenu/Flight+Information/
The Dubai International Airport is located south of Deira, in the Al Garhoud district, 4 km southeast of Dubai.
In 2008, Dubai International Airport was the 20th busiest airport in the world and, with over 35 million international passengers, the 6th busiest international airport in the world, in terms of international passenger traffic.
You can watch my 3 min 44 sec HD Video Moscow Dubai flight part 3 with Dalali Hay Wadi – Groupe Salah,
2 min 19 sec HD Video Dubai airport Sharjah evening ride with Ame Laarouss – Noujoum Saf,
4 min 13 sec HD Video Dubai Good Bye! out of my Youtube channel with Tigran Ghamkochyn - Go.
You can watch my high resolution photo of Dubai on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 25° 15' 10.81" N 55° 21' 11.82" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Al Maktoum International Airport.
- If your plane docks at one of the gates and you have children with you, I would advise to use one of the Emirates-strollers. You'll see them lined up in a cupboard on your left side as soon as you leave the gate and enter the airport building.
- Then follow the "Arrival" signs until you reach the lifts/escalators that take you down to the arrival tunnel. The arrival tunnel is approximately 500 metres long. You can either walk through it or wait for a ride on the small shuttle car that takes you to the end of the tunnel. If you have kids or seniors with you, I would advise to make use of that.
- At the end of the tunnel you'll see the visa-collection counters on your left. If you are visiting Dubai for less than 60 days and hold one of the "privileged" nationalities you don't need to wait at the visa collection, because you'll get a "visa on arrival" at immigration directly. Here's a list of those countries: http://guide.theemiratesnetwork.com/living/visa.php
Otherwise you'll need a pre-arranged visa which your sponsor should've deposited at the airport. You have to collect that from the visa-collection then.
- After passing the visa-collection, you need to go to the eye-scan counters, which are located right next to the visa collection. After that the lift/escalator takes you up to the main arrival area. Proceed to immigration where your passport/visa will be checked. If you have kids with you, they should give you priority.
- After immigration, go to the right side where your hand luggage will be screened. Then move on to the baggage collection. There are 10 baggage collection belts and you have to check the screens to see where the baggage from your flight is.
- After collecting your baggage, you pass customs. They'll only stop you there if you look "suspicious" which has never happened to me. :)
- Then you'll go through a small hall to reach the exit door. On the other side you'll see hundreds of people waiting. If someone is at the airport to pick you up, that person will be standing there. Otherwise just keep walking straight to the Taxi waiting area and take a cab.
Air Arabia is the first Low Cost Airline in the Middle East and flies to and from Sharjah Airport which is between 30minutes and 1 hour from the centre of Dubai depending on traffic. Air Arabia serves destinations in India, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrian, Yemen, Kuwait, Oman, Sudan, Russia, Khasakstan, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia and Iran. If you need to fly around the region check them out, you could save some money.
Dubai’s international airport is a very modern one and its home carrier Emirates is doing the best to fill it.Unfortunately, Emirates is doing its job far too good so that the airport is always crowded, no matter at which time of the day. That’s why construction works are going on to expand the current structures.But even this is not enough so that a second airport is currently being constructed at Jebel Ali to the east of Dubai city. Right now,I would like to recommend to be early at the airport. Expect long queues at the check-in desks and security control areas. The process is not going really slow like in other places I have seen, it’s just that there are far too many passengers. The distances are also quite long and the security checks numerous, so please plan at least an hour from check.in to your gate or you may be denied boarding just because you arrived too late at your gate. After you have passed all the checks and controls, you’ll find a huge,crowded building with many shops, restaurants and all facilities you will expect at any airport. Toilets and showers are always clean, but also always crowded. The same goes for the shops, most of which are open 24 hours. As I said, it doesn’t matter at which time of the day you are arriving or departing here. The airport is always full and traffic does not stop just because it’s night.
One of the most messiest airport I have ever been to. Yes, it's glitzy as befitting a country with money to burn but aside from that, it's really quite jaw dropping, in a not so kind way.
Terminal 1 is home to all the International Airlines, including Emirates.
Arrival meant a L...O...N...G walk towards customs and baggage claim. There were confusions among passengers with regard to visas and many a times, custom officers had to turn back passengers who were not clear on arriving procedures. Passengers from certain countries (I shan't name them) were cutting queues at will, irking other passengers and the custom officers were turning a blind eye to these antics. Officers wore very stern expressions; almost military like. I know we aren't allowed to abuse airport personnel these days but really, a smile wouldn't hurt!
In Departure, check in counters are behind baggage checks stations so imagine the queue clogging each entry point as everyone submits their baggage, big & small, for X-ray checks. The security is not doing enough to keep non-passengers out. Stern stares and heated shouting seemed to be about the only ways security was employing to keep non-passengers out as hordes of families and friends seemed determine to accompany passengers in.
Checking-in is another round of waiting though less painful. Then it was another round of security checks before you enter the DFS and gate areas. And you thought that would be the end of the nightmare. Wrong. I have never seen so many people literally littering the pathways, sleeping, chatting and smoking away. It felt like a refugee camp rather than an International Airport. I was half expecting to see folks cooking their meals right there and the UN coming in with relief packages.
Cafeterias and eateries were tucked into inconvenient corners. Money changers were actually more centralised than them.
If DXB's aim is to pack as many passengers into a terminal, then I must applaud that they are doing a great job.
This is more of a note to myself rather than a tip. Someone asked if there was left luggage provision at Dubai airport in a forum post recently and I could not remember. There is definitely a cleary marked left luggage facility in terminal 3 and I would assume probably in the other terminals, too.
Dubai International Airport (http://www.dubaiairport.com/diainternet/) (DXB) is the largest hub in the Middle East and the home base of the UAE's flag carrier Emirates (http://www.emirates.com/). The airport is famous for its duty-free shopping (http://www.dubaidutyfree.com).
When flying from Dubai, travellers should be aware that security is very tight, with up to three baggage screenings before boarding. The baggage-handling system has also been known to break down on occasion, causing considerable delays.
Emirates passengers are also required to be at the gate lounge 30-35 minutes before departure, in order to ensure that the flight departs on time. Late arrivals at this point can and will be offloaded from the flight.
The Dubai International Airport was built in 1959 by order of the late ruler, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, and was the first airport to be built in the UAE. At that time, the airport only contained one runway, which length was 1.8 km (1.12 miles). The airport is 4 km (2.5 miles) south-east of the city center and is positioned at latitude 25° 25 N, longitude 55° 36 E. The Dubai Airport is the fastest growing airport in the Middle East and has been nominated the best airport in 2002 and 2003 by a survey carried out by IATA (International Air Transport Association).
The Dubai Intl. Airport is continuously developing and currently has 2 terminals and accommodates 100 airlines, which connect to over 140 destinations. The airport has a meet-and-greet assistance service known as Marhaba Services [(4) 224 5780].
Terminal 1 (Sheikh Rashid Terminal or Concourse 1)
This terminal is the main heart of the Dubai Airport and was reopened in April 2000 as the second stage of the airport expansion program, which began in 1997.
The terminal was built to reduce the congestion of Terminal 1 and was opened in May 1998.
Love this airport. This place is a huge transportation hub yet everything runs smoothly from check in to security and to boarding. I have nothing bad to say about it and that surprises me. I also enjoy how they have palm trees, plants , flowers and little garden oasis areas throughout the airport. These little touches make it feel less like an airport and a bit more human.
The airport also has plenty of things to keep you entertained while waiting for a flight. There is extensive shopping; everything you could imagine is for sale here. Food options are plentiful from quick serve restaurants to bars, sit down meals and private lounges.
During a long layover Liz and I relaxed in the Diners Club Lounge and did some duty free shopping. Time does fly when you're having fun.
Sharjah Airport is twenty times easier to navigate and clear customes than Dubai airport. Air Arabia and a few others operate from there; lots of odd destinations can be reached from here inexpensively.
This will be my tips of the Arrival Area of the huge Dubai International Airport, I will have separate tips for the departure and shopping areas of it.
The Dubai International Airport is the busiest airport in the middle east and is the third busiest airport in the world for international traffic and is a major contributor to Dubai's Economy. The Airport has 3 huge terminals of which terminal 3 is used exclusively by Flag Carrier Emirates Airlines and Partner Quantas Airlines of Australia. The Terminal 3 of the Airport also houses the Largest Airport Terminal Building in the world!.
The Arrival areas are located far from the airplane tubes and you need to ride the computerized tram to get to and from the plane to the arrival areas. there are several immigration areas in the different terminals which are equipped with face scanners and a huge baggage handling areas that have several baggage carousels for the passengers arriving to get their baggage.
address is at Al Twar, Al Garhoud District, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Have to say Dubai International Airport is quite impressing. It has even got awards for its Arabic architecture.
Was happy with Emirates Airline as well. The flight from Zurich to Dubai was very good, but the plane from Dubai to Perth was a bit older, I think.
Dubai airport is one of the best airports i have been to in this world.
It's very well equipped in terms of shops and places to eat and there are a couple of good spots for those of us who like to have a pint of beer while we wait for the plane to leave.
One of the places that serves alcohol is also a smokers bar, so the smokers are taken care of aswell.
That bar is up on the second floor by the way.
If you are flying Emirates and in transit for more than a couple of hours then they will give you a voucher for a free hot meal and a soft drink at some selected restaurants.
Just go to the Emirates counter and show your boarding card and they will give you a voucher.
I have done that a couple of times myself and it was a very nice service.
If you have a long transfer and want to get a bit of real sleep then you also have a company that rents out little cabins by the hour where you can catch some sleep if you have to wait overnighyt for instance.
All in all a very good airport that i like being at.