2016 Best & Worst Airports Survey Vote

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.- amy groves

Airport Overview

dubai airport
Terminal 1. Photo by Dubai International Airport

Welcome to Dubai, the world’s third busiest airport!

To help you plan your layover or overnight sleepover, we are here to give you the low-down on what travellers have reported back to us during their time at Dubai International Airport.

What to expect

  • Many flights leave in the wee hours of the morning, so expect to see a lot of folks trying to catch some Z’s.
  • The airport is huge, and expanding rapidly, so be prepared to walk. The main terminals are T1 and T3, home of Emirates Airlines, and they are connected by transit and inter-terminal shuttle (see Airport Transportation below). T2 is home to budget airlines and is connected by bus, about 20 minutes away.
  • The airport is cold, so bring a warm sweater and travel blanket!
  • The cool, modern architecture, and 24/7 shops and eateries will keep you entertained for a long time.
  • WiFi is free for 60 minutes, but often runs too slowly. After that, you’ve got to pay up. See more WiFi information below.

Where to Sleep

  • Traveller reviews indicate that it is not uncommon to see people sleeping on the floor due to lack of free sleep options.
  • There are chairs everywhere, but most have armrests, so you won’t be comfortable.
  • The few reclining chairs are always full so if you see one, snag it! For a list of locations, see Rest Zones below.
  • The airport’s open layout means you won’t have much privacy. Bring earplugs because the airport is loud.
  • A few of the lounges have GoSleep sleeping pods ($).
  • Because so many flights leave in the middle of the night, you won’t get kicked out for trying to snooze.
  • For uninterrupted sleep, there is a transit hotel and Snooze Cube sleep cabins inside the secure area of the airport. See our Airport Hotel section below for more info.

Good to know

  • If you’re flying Emirates and have a layover longer than 4 hours, you get one free meal at select restaurants. Collect your voucher at the Transfer Desk H2 (Location: Airside).
  • Showers are free, though the cleanliness may be questionable. For locations, see our Showers section below.
  • Economy class passengers can find comfort in one of the lounges that are accessible with a lounge pass or Priority Pass membership. See our Airport Lounges section for locations and rates.

For more information about the services and facilities available, scroll down to continue exploring our Dubai Airport Guide. Consider sending us your Dubai Airport tips to help us keep this information up to date.

» Read all Dubai Airport Reviews Write a Review Rate Airport

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 lounge 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, Concourse D. Showers are available. Hours: open 24 hours. Lounge Access: Book Online (£28.00 - up to 3 hours or £35.00 - up to 5 hours) • Priority Pass.
  • Marhaba Lounge - Location: Terminal 1, Airside, between Gates C23 and C25. Showers are available ($). Hours: open 24 hours. Lounge Access: Book Online (£35.00) • Priority Pass.
  • Marhaba Lounge - Location: Terminal 2, Airside, opposite Gates F3 and F4. Hours: open 24 hours. Lounge Access: Book Online (£29.00) • Priority Pass.
  • Lounge B - Location: Terminal 3, Airside, Concourse B, Departure Level, East Side, next to Gate B26. Hours: open 24 hours. Lounge Access: Book Online (£28.00 - up to 3 hours or £35.00 - up to 5 hours) • Priority Pass.
  • Marhaba Lounge - Location: Terminal 3, Airside, Concourse A, between gates A3 and A2. Showers are available ($). GoSleep sleeping pods are available ($). Hours: open 24 hours. Lounge Access: Book Online (£35.00) • Priority Pass.
  • Marhaba Lounge - Location: Terminal 3, Airside, Concourse B, east end of Level 4 on the north side of the concourse, near gate B21. Showers are available ($). GoSleep sleeping pods are available ($). Hours: open 24 hours. Lounge Access: Book Online (£35.00) • Priority Pass.

» Buy a Lounge Pass

[ back to top ]

Airport WiFi / Internet

Free WiFi is available at Dubai Airport for 60 minutes. Connect to the "DXB Free WiFi" network. You can purchase additional time through Boingo: AED 19.95 / $4.50 (1 hour) or AED 29.95 / US$ 7.95 (full day) when connecting to a mobile device or tablet. From a laptop, the rate is AED 29.95 / US$ 7.95 (full day).

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).

[ back to top ]

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.

[ back to top ]

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
  • Children's Play Area - Location: Terminal 3, Airside, near Gates B7 and B8.
  • Currency Exchange - There are foreign exchange counters open 24 hours in Terminals 1, 2 and 3 (Airside).
  • Food & Drinks - All food and beverages concessions are open 24 hours including: McDonald's • Baskin Robbins • Costa Coffee. See also Meal Vouchers below.
  • Free Meal Vouchers - If you are flying on Emirates and have an 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 voucher is valid at a select number of restaurants.
  • Gardens - Need a little peace and quiet or want to reconnect with nature? Zen Gardens, an indoor oasis are near gates B7 and B27 in Terminal 3.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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 Hours

The airport is open 24 hours.

[ back to top ]

Airport Transportation: Getting To/From The Airport


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 Shuttles

Some hotels in the area provide courtesy airport shuttle service. Ask your hotel about shuttle service details and availability. Here are some hotels that offer airport shuttle service: Holiday Inn Express Dubai Airport   •   Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai   •   Premier Inn Dubai International Airport.

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.

[ back to top ]

Last Updated: 15 March 2016

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 mentioned in the guide, please email us at guides@sleepinginairports.com.

Have you been to this airport?

Write a Review Rate this Airport

Share this Page with your Friends!

The Guide to Sleeping in Airports has been online since 1996

Airport Guides

airport adventures

Airport Lounges

airport lounges

Airport Hotels

airport hotel