Dubai Airport Guide

dubai airport guide

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

Featured Review

dubai airport
Terminal 1. Photo by Dubai International Airport

by Miniman1207
"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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Dubai Airport Information

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.

Airport Lounges

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):

» Buy a Lounge Pass

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Airport WiFi / Internet

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).

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Airport Hotels

There is a hotel inside Dubai Airport in addition to other hotels near the airport:

  • Snooze Cube - Located inside Terminal 1 at Gate C22, these 10 soundproofed compact rooms come with bed, TV, music selection, and internet. Rates start at AED 75 (about $21 USD) per hour for single cube and AED 100 (about $28 USD) per hour for shared cube. Minimum 2 hour stay required.
  • Dubai International Hotel - Located inside the transit area of the airport. From Terminal 1, access the hotel in Concourse C. From Terminal 3, access the hotel in Concourse A & B . 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. This hotel is for transit passengers.
  • Holiday Inn Express - (2 min from the airport) Located opposite Terminal 3. Free airport shuttle bus runs every :30 on the hour to/from Terminals 1 & 3.
  • Premier Inn Dubai International Airport - (2 min from the airport) Located opposite Terminal 3. Free shuttle bus runs every 30 minutes to/from airport terminals 1 & 3 and the Dubai Metro.
  • TIME Grand Plaza Hotel - (3 min from the airport) A well-equipped budget hotel near the airport. No airport shuttle.

To find a cheap room, there is a list of hotels near Dubai Airport on Tripadvisor that can be sorted by price.

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More Services, Facilities & Things To Do On A Layover At The Airport

  • ATMs / Cash Machines - Yes, in Terminals 1, 2 and 3.
  • Baby Care Rooms - Yes
  • 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) • Terminal 3 (Arrivals - near Baby Changing area/washrooms). Hours: open 24 hours. Rates: from AED 20 - 25 (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.
  • Medical Centre - First aid and emergency medical attention is available at two locations: Terminal 1, below Gate C13 or Fox 7 • Terminal 3, between Fox 22-23, Level 0.
  • Mobile Charging - Information not available
  • Pharmacy - Boots (Location: Terminal 3, Departures, B Gates) • DDF Pharmacy (Location: multiple locations in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 Departures).
  • 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.
  • Rest Zones - there are two quiet zones that provide reclining chairs to nap in between flights. Locations: Terminal 3, Concourses A and B, near Gates A1 • A16 • A21 • A24 • B1-2 • B7-8 • B10-11 • B14-23 • B25-27 • B29 • B31-32. Rate: Free. Pack some warm clothes and headphones. This airport gets cold and noisy.
  • Showers - Showers are available in the Business and First Class lounges. There are also free shower facilities at the following locations: Terminal 1, between Gates C18 - C22 • Terminal 3, between Gates B13 - B19 and Gates A1 - A24.
  • Smoking Rooms - Locations: Terminal 1, Gates C9 and C23 • Terminal 2, near the Departure area • Terminal 3, Gates A2, A23, B7, B27.
  • Tours - There are tour operators that offer short city tours in the Arrivals Area. (submitted by a reader)

Airport Transportation: Getting Around


Taxis are available 24 hours a day from the official taxi ranks located at each terminal. The most recognizable taxis are Dubai Transport Corporation’s cream-colored taxis. Taxis with pink trim have female drivers. Taxis are metered, with a flag drop of AED20 from the airport. Limousines are also available for hire from the airport.


Two Metro lines connect Dubai International Airport with the city. These lines run every 10 minutes from Terminals 1 and 3, starting at 5:50AM daily (5:30AM on Thursday and 1:00PM on Friday). Services end at 12:00AM nightly (1:00AM on Thursday and Friday). Metro tickets and rechargeable NOL cards can be purchased at the airport. Designated carriages are available for women traveling alone or with children. Try a front “Gold Class” carriage for a scenic driverless front window view. All Metro stations have taxi ranks and busses available for onward travel. Many hotels are conveniently located near a Metro station.


RTA public city buses can be found in the bus stands opposite all three terminals. The new SkyBus service runs direct between the airport and many of the area hotels. Passengers will need a NOL card to ride any of the RTA buses, including SkyBus. NOL cards can be purchased at the airport, the Hotels Information Desk, RTA bus drivers and all RTA metro and bus stations. For more information, visit the RTA web site.

Inter-Terminal Shuttle

Passengers needing to travel between Terminals 1 and 3 may do so by using the airport’s free 24-hr shuttle bus or the Dubai Metro, which runs between both terminals as well. Passengers with connecting flights are automatically transferred as a courtesy.

Hotel Shuttle

Some hotels in the area provide courtesy airport shuttle service. Ask your hotel about shuttle service details and availability.

Car Rentals

Al Wefaq, Budget, Diamondlease, Europcar, Fast, Hertz and Sixt operate onsite in Terminal 1 Arrivals. Payless can be found in Terminal 2 Arrivals. Hertz and National are located in Terminal 3 Arrivals. Avis, Dollar and Thrifty are the only three car rental agencies located in the Arrivals area of all three airport terminals.

Airport Hours

The airport is open 24 hours.

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Dubai Travel Resources

  • Dubai Hotels - search for deals, check availability and read reviews

Last Updated: 06 October 2015

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 during your stay. To report errors, or to add/change any items quoted in the guide, email me.

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