Airport Guide: Dubai International

Abu Dhabi Airport Guide

Dubai International Airport is the primary of the two international airports serving the city of Dubai, the capital city of the Emirate of Dubai. The airport plays a significant part in global aviation and is the busiest airport in the world for international passenger traffic. The important of the airport continues to grow, so make sure you know everything you need to about Dubai International Airport with our guide!

The airport has undergone continuous expansion, and passenger numbers have doubled in a decade. A substantial part of this growth is down to Emirates, the flag carrier airline of the United Arab Emirates. Emirates account for over half of the passengers that pass through Dubai Airport. The airline has its own terminal at the airport, allowing connecting passengers to have shorter connection times. With 63% of all passengers at Dubai Airport transiting to a connecting flight, a low-stress experience airport is imperative.

Dubai Airport’s location is conveniently close to the city centre for many business travellers, but the hotels and tourist spots are mainly further south down the Persian Gulf coast. Nonetheless, Dubai is a well-connected city, and even those travelling through the airport for a connecting flight could consider exploring if they have a long layover.


Dubai International Airport At-a-glance

Official Website:

Airport Code: DXB

Terminals: 3

Address: Dubai International Airport,
United Arab Emirates

Gate Checker: – Click your flight number to find the departure gate

Terminal Checker:

Contact Number: +971 4 224 5555

Timezone: GMT+4, no Daylight Savings Time is used

Lost Property Contact:
For items lost in Terminal 3, also consider contacting Emirates:
Emirates Phone: +971 4 0505 7584
Emirates Email:

Map: – An interactive and searchable 2D map.

WiFi: Free WiFi is available throughout the airport. The network name is ‘DXB Free WiFi’. 

Apps: Dubai airport launched an official app called myDXB in 2012 but have since removed it from the stores. There are no official apps available for the airport, though if you are flying with Emirates, you may consider downloading their app on iOS or Android.

Dubai International Airport Facilities

Dubai Airport Guide - Wall Art

With the city of Dubai itself having a reputation for luxury, it should come as no surprise that the airport matches the city with amenities and facilities for passengers to enjoy. Shoppers, in particular, will feel well looked after, although their wallets and purses may be considerably lighter by the time they leave the airport. Dubai Duty Free is one of the largest single airport retail operations on the planet and in 2014 accounted for a staggering 5% of global duty-free sales in airports.

Of course, away from duty-free, passengers can spend their money at any number of international brand outlets. The expression ‘spoilt for choice’ is very apt when at Dubai Airport. Of course, travellers need a break once they’ve shopped until they drop and the abundance of fast food and restaurants, and cafes and bars will allow eating and drinking options to recharge. If a change of pace would be of interest, a fatigued passenger could instead look to the G-Force Health Club in Dubai International hotel offers jacuzzis, saunas and steam rooms, as well as a massage and spa.

Though not quite as extravagant as all of the above, a Dubai Airport guide should also cover the expected airport offerings. ATM’s, currency conversion, a family zone (including a basketball court and trampoline park), pharmacies, luggage storage, prayer rooms and baggage wrapping services are also available. For those who would like a breather, there are a wealth of lounges to relax in, or a Zen Garden to wander around too.

Sleeping is possible on-site at Dubai Airport. For passengers in Terminal 1 or 3, three sleeping options are airside (i.e. after security). Dubai International Hotel is the most luxurious option for passengers in transit who value comfort over cost. Rates are available for 1, 3, 6, and 12 hour stays at the time of writing. On the other end of the spectrum, igloo-style “Sleep’n fly” pods, tubes, and small rooms can are purchasable on hourly rates. More information is here.

For Terminal 2 passengers who are unable to get airside at Terminal 1/3, the Holiday Inn Express and Premier Inn hotels are the closest options. They are just 2 minutes from the airport and have free shuttle buses from Terminals 1 & 3 (a free airport shuttle is available from Terminal 2 to the others). The best rates for all hotels can be found at or and searching for Dubai airport.

Shower facilities are available at the spa facilities and airport lounges for paying/eligible customers. For others, Terminal 3 offers free showers at two locations, for those who are airside (i.e. after security) in the terminal. Passengers looking for the free showers should navigate to Gates A1/24 B13/19 or Gates C18/22. For passengers at Terminal 2, there are no shower facilities.

Airport Shower

Luggage storage is purchasable in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. Again, Terminal 2 is left out although passengers can catch a shuttle between the terminals. The luggage storage facilities are open 24 hours a day. At Terminal 1, they are near the RTA Taxi area in the arrivals hall. In Terminal 3, they are near to the arrivals hall baby changing room. Fees are per 12-hour period, not daily. It costs AED 25 per 12hrs for regular-sized luggage and AED 30 for oversized luggage. The airport defines anything over 21 x 24 x 11 inches as oversized.


Dubai International Airport Terminal Layout

Geographically, Dubai Airport is a relatively simple design with two runways sandwiched by the terminals. Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 are the long-haul and international terminals and represent most of the accessible passenger space at the airport. They are south of the runways and tunnels connect both. Terminal 2 meanwhile is north of the take-off/landing strips, and only roads link to the other two. Terminal 3 is significantly bigger than Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 effectively handles all international traffic for airlines other than Emirates and Qantas. Three levels split the terminal with departures and check-in facilities on level 1, arrivals and baggage claim on level 2, and concessions on level 3. Passengers can freely move between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 only when they are in the departure area using the automated people mover trains, although they will need to pass through security. When landside (i.e. before passport control/security), the metro or free shuttle bus is the best way to transfer between the two terminals.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 is home for budget airline flydubai and other short-haul and budget airlines. Though it is smaller than the other terminals, there are still options for passengers to choose from when waiting for their departure. It is a modern terminal and has undergone renovations to expand passenger capacity. Due to its smaller size, passengers praise its efficiency for getting through. However, the metro doesn’t connect to the terminal like at T1 and T3. Passengers will need to utilise a shuttle bus to the other terminals, or a taxi to the nearby Abu Hail metro stop to make use of other terminals’ facilities.

Terminal 3

Emirates Plane

Terminal 3 of Dubai Airport is where all the glamour is. Emirates and Qantas fly exclusively from the terminal, and the terminal is the second largest in the world with regards to floor space. Three concourses split the terminal, with Concourse A being physically separate but connected by an automated people mover train. Concourse B and Concourse C are under the same roof. When entering the terminal from the road/rail links, Concourse A will be the building to the right, with Concourse B to the right when passing through security, Concourse C to the left, and Terminal 1’s concourse, Concourse D, being in the building to the left. The four concourses can are accessible to all passengers who can get airside. 


Dubai International Airport Connections

Dubai International Airport has numerous connections to the city of Dubai, ranging from luxury chauffeur driven cars to local cheap bus routes. Passengers visit Dubai for many reasons, and it’s essential to check the location of the destination as the business sector is separate from the hotels. Some passengers may need to self-transfer to or from Dubai World Central (DWC) Airport, Dubai’s other international airport, also. 

Bus: The extensive local bus routes connect to all three airport terminals allowing passengers to reach almost anywhere in the city for a low cost. The bus stops are opposite each terminal, and they provide air-conditioned transport to the centre and hotels. Passengers must buy a Nol card before travelling as cash is not accepted on public transport. 

Ticket options with Nol come in colour types, and Silver and Red tickets are usually best for tourists. A silver ticket costs AED 25 and allows transport on the metro, bus, and water bus while a red ticket costs AED 2 and allows passage on one transport type at a time with the price increasing depending on journey length. A red ticket day pass is AED 20 and allows unlimited travel for the day on the bus. It would take 1hr15 minutes to reach Al Ghubaiba bus station by public bus.

Metro: The Dubai Metro system is a fast and convenient way to travel around Dubai from the airport. However, there are only stations at Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. Terminal 2 passengers would need to make use of the free airport shuttle bus between terminals, or take a taxi to the nearby Abu Hail metro stop to join the metro. Note passengers are only allowed two items of luggage per person, so packing a backpack full of any shopping may be required if travelling with hold luggage. Trains frequently arrive with a seven-minute waiting time being the longest passengers should expect to stand for. 

Dubai Metro

Dubai Metro has only two lines, so even newcomers should find travel straightforward. The red line services the airport, and it will take approximately 25 minutes to reach the Dubai Mall Metro Station. Like the bus service, payment is by the Nol card and travellers must purchase a card at the station before they travel. Refer to the bus section above for more information on Nol ticket types. Trains do not run on Friday mornings.

Car: Europcar, Hertz, Avis, Thrifty and the usual car hire companies operate from all three terminals. Find their booths in the arrivals area of each terminal. The airport’s convenient location between the highway E11 and highway E311 allows those who opt to drive themselves quick access north and south through the Emirate, and the wider UAE.

Taxi: Taxis are available to hire from outside every terminal thanks to the state-owned Dubai Taxi Agency and their cream vehicles. An AED 25 charge applies to airport journeys with per kilometre costs of around AED 2. If you see any taxis that have pink wheels, these are to denote female taxi drivers. Depending on traffic conditions, expect a 25-35 minute drive to Burj Khalifa and a cost of 52-65 AED.


If you are one of the many passengers who are only stopping over in Dubai as part of a connecting flight, the airline would already have ensured that the connection time will be ample enough for you not to miss your flight. In the case of Emirates flights, the minimum connection time published is 60 minutes. That would be for Emirates to Emirates connections in Terminal 3. Other intra-terminal connections would be a similar minimum. However, for those self-connecting (i.e. those who purchased two separate tickets) and travelling with baggage would need to clear immigration to collect their luggage and re-enter the departure lounge which could add another 60 minutes.

For passengers travelling between terminals, it will take between 5 and 30 minutes to walk from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3, depending on which gate you require. For those travelling to and from Terminal 2, expect a 20-minute (free) shuttle ride that could hit traffic. As you may need to wait for the arrival of the shuttle, allow an additional 40-60 minutes if you have to travel between Terminal 2 and the rest of the airport.

Dubai Airport Guide - Terminal


Dubai International Airport Lounges

With Dubai Airport and Dubai itself being full of luxury, it should come as no surprise that passengers can enjoy an abundance of airport lounges when travelling. Terminal 3 is, without doubt, the terminal to be for anyone looking to relax in a lounge, in part thanks to Emirates. With passengers able to transfer airside between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 without issue, travellers can explore even more lounges also. Unlike some airports that have a budget airline terminal, those departing from Terminal 2 still have a couple of lounge options.

Terminal 1 Lounges

Marhaba Lounge (this lounge has paid-for shower facilities)
Located on the Arrival level. Board the train to boarding gates level then take the elevator or stairs on the left to Arrival Level, turn left and then right.

Ahlan Business Class Lounge
Located on Level 2, Concourse D

Sleep ‘N Fly Sleep Lounge (this lounge has paid-for shower facilities)
Located opposite Gates D6/7, Concourse D

SkyTeam Lounge (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located in the arrivals area, Concourse D

Lufthansa Business Lounge (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located on Mezzanine level, above duty-free, Concourse D

Lufthansa Senator Lounge (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located on Mezzanine level, above duty-free, Concourse D

Ahlan First Class Lounge (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located on Level 2, Concourse D

British Airways Galleries Lounge
Located on level 1, past duty-free, up the escalator on the left side, Concourse D

Terminal 2 Lounges

Marhaba Lounge
Located opposite gates F3/4

flydubai Business Class Lounge
Located in the departure area

Terminal 3 Lounges

Plaza Premium Lounge (this lounge has paid-for shower facilities)
Located on level 4 between Gates A2/3. Concourse A

Dubai International Hotel (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located on level 6, between Gates A1/24. Concourse A

Marhaba Lounge (this lounge has paid-for shower facilities)
Located on Level 5, between Gates A2/3. Entrance is in the perfume section of duty-free. Concourse A

Dubai International Hotel (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located past security, using the elevators near Gates B14 or B22. Concourse B

Lounge @ B (this lounge has shower facilities)

Located on level 2, next to Gate B26, inside Cadiz Tapas Bar. Concourse B
Marhaba Lounge (this lounge has paid-for shower facilities)

Located on level 4, near Gate B21. Concourse B
Marhaba Lounge (this lounge has paid-for shower facilities)

Located between Gates C21/23. Concourse C
Emirates First Class Lounge (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located on level 4, between Gates A1/24. Concourse C

The Emirates Business Class Lounge (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located on level 5, between Gates A1/24. Concourse C

Dubai International Hotel Lounge
Located on departure level, next to Gate B26. Concourse B

Emirates First Class Lounge (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located on level 4, between Gates B16/18. Concourse B

The Emirates Business Class Lounge (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located on level 5, between Gates B16/18. Concourse B

The Emirates Lounge (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located near Gate C8. Concourse C

The Emirates Lounge (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located near Gate C28. Concourse C

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