Date: October 17, 2015
In the Middle East, we’ve been watching a number of airports make improvements in hopes of rivalling Dubai – a constant and ever-opulent first place winner. Indoor palm trees, sparkling floors, miniature high end shopping emporiums and ultra-relaxation facilities are quickly becoming common-place in the region, as each airport vies to outdo the other. Although its unfortunate that free and unlimited Wi-Fi, and other budget-friendly features have yet to become commonplace, the efficiency with which you can navigate these architecturally magnificent terminals is keeping travellers happy in the meantime. So, whether or not you splurge to play squash on a layover, enjoy your stroll through a number of terminals lead the way in extravagant airport experiences!
These are the Top 10 Best Airports in the Middle East based on overall airport experience as determined by voters in our 2015 Airport Survey:
1. Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates (DXB)
It’s no great surprise that Dubai International Airport takes the title of best airport in the Middle East yet again. Terminal 3 and the exclusive Executive Flights Terminal are especially beautiful, immaculately clean, pleasantly efficient and riddled with extravagant entertainment options (think: pools, gyms, gardens). Together, they lift DXB’s overall ranking to a world-class status. However, travellers should be warned that Terminals 1 and 2 most definitely lack the elaborate opulence. Catering to budget airlines and some international flights, delightful rest chairs, efficient air-conditioning and sparkling bathrooms are exchanged for cramped quarters and a generous amount of armrests, much to the chagrin of those who end up there. It is also worth noting that in all terminals, free and unlimited Wi-Fi is still a thing of year’s past – passengers must pay for usage beyond the initial free half hour.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • 30 Minutes Free WiFi • Free Rest Zones • Free Showers • Transit Hotel ($) • Sleep Pods ($) • 24 Hour Food Options ($) • Health Club with Swimming Pool, Jacuzzi & Gym ($) • Luggage Storage ($). For more information, visit our Dubai Airport Guide.
Photo courtesy of lewi1985 on Instagram
2. Doha Hamad International Airport, Qatar (DOH)
After opening a new airport in 2014, Doha Airport is hanging onto its second place ranking. Travellers continue to rave about the free fast Wi-Fi and computer desks, the free storage lockers, the comfortable seating areas, the 24-hour restaurants and the overall ease and efficiency of navigation. However, at a year and a half old, some of the traveller amazement at the much-improved terminals is wearing off. Voter praises were matched with complaints about the not-so-silent silent rooms, limited food options, the long lines for the showers and the shortage of recliner seats. Overall, Doha has room to grow but remains a fantastic alternative to Dubai for extended layovers in the Middle East.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounge ($) • Free WiFi • Quiet Rooms • Transit Hotel ($) • Fitness Center with Swimming Pool, Gym, Squash Courts ($) • 24-Hour Food Options ($) • Luggage Storage ($) • Showers ($). For more information, visit our Doha Hamad Airport Guide.
Photo courtesy of nai2tok on Instagram
3. Amman Queen Alia International Airport, Jordan (AMM)
Welcoming, sleek, convenient and efficient, Queen Alia International is a new addition to our list of best airports in the Middle East. The new terminal has improved the passenger experience by leaps and bounds, providing travellers with free Wi-Fi, comfortable seating areas, quiet rooms, showers, 24-hour food options, pay-to-use lounges and an attached airport hotel. The vaulted ceilings and multi-story windows walls happen to make this place a pretty stunning place to hang out as well. That said, what is most noted by travellers passing through is the extremely helpful and pleasant staff! Looking forward, voters would like to see more baggage storage options here – though, that is a comment that holds true for the majority of airports worldwide.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Quiet Rooms • Showers ($) • 24 Hour Food Options ($). For more information, visit our Amman Airport Guide.
Photo courtesy of touma2302 on Instagram
4. Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel (TLV)
When visiting Ben Gurion International, keep in mind that the terminal’s strengths are far more obvious once you have cleared the notoriously long and surprisingly frequent security lines and checkpoints. These time-consuming processes tend to detract from what is otherwise a pleasantly light and airy terminal, filled with sandstone-inspired columns. Free and unlimited Wi-Fi, mall-like shopping and dining options help restore traveller morale, winning Tel Aviv a top five spot in the Middle East once more.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Luggage Storage ($). For more information, visit our Tel Aviv Airport Guide.
Photo courtesy of scheiman1 on Instagram
5. Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport, Lebanon (BEY)
Beirut’s sole commercial airport is a contentious fifth place on this regional best airports list. The airport earns points for being clean, small and efficient. However, it takes quite a bit of heat for its high prices, dated décor and cramped quarters during periods of high traffic. Amenities tend to be fairly limited – highlights include prayer rooms, showers within the 24-hour Cedar Lounge, a sprinkling of (pricey) restaurants and shops, and 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi. The airport does say that more amenities will open in the years to come, which will likely secure BEY a more confident spot on this list.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • 30 Minutes Free WiFi • Showers ($). For more information, visit our Beirut Airport Guide.
Photo courtesy of vamakho on Instagram
Top 10 Best Airports in the Middle East
Below is a list of the Top 10 Best Airports in the Middle East as voted by travellers in our 2015 Airport Survey:
- Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates (DXB)
- Doha Hamad International Airport, Qatar (DOH)
- Amman Queen Alia International Airport, Jordan (AMM)
- Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel (TLV)
- Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport, Lebanon (BEY)
- Erbil International Airport, Iraq (EBL)
- Muscat International Airport, Oman (MCT)
- Bahrain International Airport, Bahrain (BAH)
- Abu Dhabi International Airport, United Arab Emirates (AUH)
- Al Najaf International Airport, Iraq (NJF)