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.
Most of the world's international airlines have their regular flights for Dubai. The national carrier Emirates also operates regular flights from Dubai International airport to more then 70 destinations around the world.
Dubai International airport is really huge in size and passengers have to travel a lot in order to reach the arrival / departure terminals. But with the help of electronic walk ways it becomes easy to walk around.
The airport building is very beautiful and big decorated palm trees have been planted inside. Duty free shops, five star hotel, cafes, food courts, health club, business centre, internet cafes, business and first class lounges are also located inside this huge airport. Pint 19 bar, The Irish Village pub, Safar restaurant and Wings coffee shop are also located at departure levels of the airport.
Emirates, the national carrier is one of the world's best airlines. Their services, food, and aircrafts are simply excellent. That is why i always prefer to travel with Emirates. http://www.emirates.com
Dubai airport is the airport to end all airports: as soon as you land you have a taste of what's lazing ahead of you... luxury. This airport is simply amazing, all shining and glittering - and it's also one of the best places to go shopping. Everything is tax fre and, it seemed to us, much cheaper than in town.
Worth of note: the souvenir shop... everything costs next to nothing. So i guess it's a good idea to buy your souvenirs at the very last second of your stay.
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.
Dubai is becoming one of the world’s main hubs for air traffic. The main driving force is Emirates, the airline of the emirate of Dubai. This airline has become a global player in the recent years and has always some good offer for flights to Dubai. If you are flying with Emirates via Dubai to any other destination, it is easy to plan a stopover of two or three days in Dubai.
The airline has flights from most of the large airports in Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia. As of 2007, flights to the Americas are only offered from New York, Toronto, Houston and Sao Paulo. The service of this airline is known to be among the best in the world. Even economy class passengers can enjoy better meals and more entertainment than on the classic carriers. Emirates has a perfect safety record with no hull loss since its founding in 1985.
Due to the madness of international air fare calculations, we found ourselves using a very little-known Iranian carrier, Kish Air, to get ourselves half-way reasonably from Muscat to Dubai and back. This meant that we found ourselves in Terminal 2, which, quite unlike the gigantic Terminal 1, is small, intimate, and a real pleasure to use.
For whatever reason the local airport authority has relegated odd-ball airlines such as Air Kazakhstn, Turkmenistan Airlines, Mahan, and several others to this other location. The cynic in me suspects that they don't want nationals of the former Soviet Union and others of , shall we say, remoter regions mixing with the general -- and much wealthier -- traveling public. Whatever the reason, we were very pleased. We didn't have to walk miles, fight the crowds on the moving sidewalks, or make our way through the tunnel between the old original terminal building, where check-in usually takes place, and the new behemoth.
As for Kish Airlines, it was actually pretty good. Friendly staff and a quite comfortable -- if slightly aging -- Fokker F50 made for very pleasant flights.
Emirates Airlines is the national carrier for the U.A.E. and is one airline that I frequently use when I travel around these parts. The Dubai-based airline boasts of many destinations, a modern fleet and world class service. Most of the aircrafts are quite new, especially the long haul and the ones for major destinations.
The entertainment onboard is also first class, offering the latest movies & other entertainment. However, I was on an Emirates flight from Dubai to Vienna and the TV didn't work at all on my 6-hr journey
The online booking facility is also easy & convenient to use. The frequent flyer program is called Skywards and it's quite good in terms of earning & spending miles.
Frankly, I prefer an asian airlines e.g Malaysian Airlines or Singapore Airlines because they give better service & hospitality
the airport is spacious and modern, but overestimated: long queues at check-in, long walkway from check-in to departure hall, long walkway to gates, narrow+crowded walkways from aircraft to baggage claim, long waiting for luggage, one crowded greeting area, traffic chaos at pick-up due to construction work and a duty free that might be big in area but has no greater selection than any other.
The airline might have set the standards only a few years ago, but business-class-seats and entertainment system have been surpassed by others, food in economy was quite dissapointing and the mostly english stewardesses have developed a certain arrogance towards their customers. But the departure lounge, in spite of dealing with masses and lacking a sufficient number of internet accesses, is fantastic!
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.
I have travelled to Dubai from Cairo and Khartoum. It goes without saying that travelling by Emirates is the best way to fly because of their up to date aircraft and friendly service.Having your own private screen is better than trying to see the overhead screen.
But, I had no complaints to make when travelling by Egyptair either. My most interesting trip was by cargo plane, sitting in a small compartment behind the cockpit. No windows, no service, no seat belts, and just a huge empty space in the body of the plane where normally passengers would sit.
On arrival in Dubai there is a long passenger conveyer track or walk to the immigration area; though arriving from Khartoum we had a long bus ride [almost an hour] to get to Immigration. There the queues are quite long , unless you have a fasttrack card, but once at the desk there is no problem if you have a visa or are travelling on a passport that allows free
entry. Nowadays anyone can have 96 hours without a visa. My British passport gives me 60 days.
The luggage may have arrived on the carrousel, or come soon after you reach it.