In this section you will find traveller airport reviews as well as our Dubai Airport Guide with info on WiFi, lounges, facilities and services....and yes, even the names of some airport hotels in case you decide that sleeping in the airport is not for you!
If you are traveling with emirates and you have to spend more than 4 hours in the airport you get a meal FOR FREE. They don't advertise or tell you this but there is a sign near the McDonald's. [ see more info about this below ] - amy groves
Terminal 1. Photo by Dubai International Airport
"I was on a trip to china and actually chose to get tickets with 'Emirates' (awesome flight with great service and personal tv yet cheap) just to see DBX airport. As everyone else, I had read the review by Sysman (57 likes) and was excited to experience a night (around 12 hours) in DBX. Unfortunately it was not at all that good. The free meal is true though (if you are flying with 'Emirates' and have to be in the airport for more than 4 hours. Go to the 'information' closest to burger king (around gate 202/204). You can get Thai, McD or sandwich/pizza. Wifi sucks but at least you don't have to sign up for anything to get it. In Sysmans review the lounges of the airport are glorified, but there are no free lounges for anybody flying on economy class. The 'quiet lounges' signs that can be found around the airports are lies, the lounges are either being redesigned (the area seems to be under maintenance) or they simply do not exist anymore. It generally seems that other than the actual free meal, there are no free meals in this airport.
Sleeping: I've explored the airport pretty thoroughly and this is what I think you should know:
The airport is shaped like a gigantic turd. There is really just one street up and down the airport (with some exceptions) and although it seems like there are multiple floors, but they are brief and seem more like optical illusions. This shape means that there practically aren't any corners (no coziness) :(
Exceptions: Now in the fanciest part (gates 201-232) there are extra lanes on each side of the main street, and this is where the comfy chairs are situated. There are a lot of them and I'm sure that if you look around and have a bit of patiens you will find one at least at night time (I got one in a sec). It's actually quite ok and not at all as noisy as on the main lane, but there is no privacy and if you are sometimes a bit of a pussy when it comes to the security of your belongings (like me), you should go to the area around gate 136-150 (like i did). The chairs are not that nice and the floor is hard although there is a rug on it, but this is the only abnormality in the airport (it has corners ^^). It is like a pimple on the turd-shaped (or if I may) penis-shaped airport. It takes you away from all the stress and noise of the airport though you can't avoid the announcements. But in the morning it is just as crowded as the rest of the airport (at least that is how it went for me)."
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In this guide we may refer to locations as "landside" and "airside". Landside is the public area of the terminal located in the non-secure zone, before security. Airside is the secure area of the terminal that you must reach by going through security.
If you are an economy class traveller, you can enter these lounges at Dubai airport either by purchasing a day pass or through a membership program. Visit the individual lounge page for more details (ie. facilities, hours, pass and membership information):
- Business Class Lounge - Location: Terminal 1, Airside, between Gate C8 and C10. Hours: open 24 hours. Showers are available. Lounge Access: Book Online (£28.00) • Priority Pass.
- Marhaba Lounge - Location: Terminal 1, Airside, between Gates C23 and C25. Hours: open 24 hours. Lounge Access: Book Online (£32.00) • Priority Pass.
- Marhaba Lounge - Location: Terminal 2, Airside, opposite Gates F3 and F4. Hours: open 24 hours. Lounge Access: Book Online (£26.00) • Priority Pass.
- Lounge B - Location: Terminal 3, Airside, Concourse B, Departure Level, East Side, next to Gate B26. Hours: open 24 hours. Lounge Access: Book Online (£28.00) • Priority Pass.
- Marhaba Lounge - Location: Terminal 3, Airside, Concourse A, between gates A3 and A2. Hours: open 24 hours. Showers are available ($). Lounge Access: Book Online (£32.00) • Priority Pass.
- Marhaba Lounge - Location: Terminal 3, Airside, Concourse B, east end of Level 4 on the north side of the concourse, near gate B21. Hours: open 24 hours. Lounge Access: Book Online (£32.00) • Priority Pass. » book lounge
Quiet Lounges - there are two lounges that provide reclining chairs to nap in between flights. Location: Terminal 1, airside, near Gates C23 and C9. Rate: Free. Pack some warm clothes and headphones. This airport gets cold and noisy.
Free WiFi is available at Dubai Airport for 30 minutes. Connect to the "DXB Free WiFi" network. You can purchase additional time through Boingo: AED 19.95 (mobile devices) or AED 29.95 (laptops) for a 24 hour period. Additionally, internet kiosks are located beside Global Link (Gate C16) and Connect. These touch screen kiosks can be operated by those who have a Etisalat internet account or by swiping a credit card. Additional internet kiosks can found opposite the DCA First Class Lounge (Gate 9) and the Irish Village (Gate 23).
There is a hotel inside Dubai Airport in addition to other hotels near the airport that offer a free airport shuttle:
- Dubai International Hotel - located inside the airport on the third level of the Sheikh Rashid Terminal. Access from Concourse C in Terminal 1 and Concourse A & B in Terminal 3. If you arriving at Terminal 2, do not exit the terminal or go through immigration. You will have to go to the Transfer Desk and use the free inter-terminal shuttle.
- Holiday Inn Express - opposite Terminal 3. (Shuttle Hours: a two minute shuttle bus departs every hour on the hour from Terminal 1 and 3).
- Premier Inn (Shuttle Hours: 24 hours - departs every 30 minutes).
- Snooze Cube - Located inside Terminal 1, these compact rooms come with bed, TV and internet. Rates: $16 per hour
To find a cheap room, there is a list of hotels near Dubai Airport on Tripadvisor that can be sorted by price.
- ATMs / Cash Machines - Yes, in Terminals 1, 2 and 3.
- Car Rentals - Asia Rent a Car • Autolease Rent a Car • Avis • Budget • Cars Rent a Car • Continental • Diamond • Dollar • Europcar • Fast • Hertz • Patriot • National • Sixt • Thrifty • United. Location: Arrivals section of each terminal.
- Children's Play Area - Location: Airside, between Gates 12 and 14
- Currency Exchange - There are foreign exchange counters open 24 hours in Terminals 1, 2 and 3(Airside).
- Food & Drinks - Thanks to a few readers, they tell me that there are a few food and beverage concessions that are open 24 hours including: McDonald's • Baskin Robbins • Costa Coffee. See also Meal Vouchers below.
- Health Club - Passengers can use the swimming pool, jacuzzi and gym on an hourly basis. Location: G-Force, Airside, Fees range between Dhs 15 (approx US$ 5) and Dhs 30 (approx US$ 8). Massage services are also available.
- Information Desk - "one above each end of duty free airside T1. Landside has dedicated "May I help you?" staff walking around in blue polo shirts". (submitted by a reader)
- Luggage Storage & Lockers - Short term baggage storage is available in two areas of the airport: Terminal 1 (Arrivals - near RTA Taxi Area) and Terminal 3 (Arrivals - near Baby Changing area/washrooms). Hours: open 24 hours. Rates: from AED 20 (up to 12 hours)
- Meal Vouchers - If you have a 4+ hour layover, you are eligible to receive a free meal voucher. To receive the voucher, go to the Transfer Desk H2 (Location: Airside). The vouchers are valid at 5 restaurants. Thanks to @legalnomads on Twitter for this information.
- Prayer Rooms - Four rooms - two for women and two for men - have been dedicated for offering prayers within the Concourse and two in the Arrivals terminal.
- Showers - Showers are available in the Business and First Class lounges. Elio sent me an email to let me know that there are free showers located at Gate B13. You need your own towels.
- Smoking Rooms - Location: Airside, Concourse 1
- Tours - There are tour operators that offer short city tours in the Arrivals Area. (submitted by a reader)
Airport Transportation: Getting Around
The airport operates a free shuttle bus between Terminal 1, Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. They run every 10 minutes (approx).
open 24 hours
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Dubai Travel Resources
- Dubai Hotels - search for deals, check availability and read reviews
Last Updated: 17 February 2014
The information in this Airport Guide is based on information collected and/or received from the airport's and their web sites. The information above is subject to change without notice. Use it for informational purposes only to help you du ring your stay. To report errors, or to add/change any items quoted in the guide, email me.