Transfer at Dubai airport: everything a tourist needs to know

Dubai Airport is one of the most modern and largest in the world. This is a real city in which life is in full swing and through which tens of thousands of tourists pass every day. The place is certainly interesting, but only for inexperienced travelers, transit at Dubai airport can be a real quest. In this article, we will deal with the main nuances that you should know about if you have to transplant in this hub.

In total, Dubai Airport (DXB) has three passenger terminals and one VIP terminal. Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 are connected by the transit zone and can be reached from the city by the red metro line. Metro stations are right in front of the terminals and are accessible from the arrivals area. Opening hours: from 6:00 to 22:15 daily.

But you need to get to Terminal 2 by bus, both from the city and in case you need to drive from one terminal to another. Shuttles run between all terminals approximately every 10-20 minutes, but do not be reassured.

The fact is that the airport in Dubai is really huge. Even if you do not need to make a transfer between terminals, you can easily get confused there. And if you have planned a second flight from another terminal – be prepared for the fact that:

  • The road between terminals 1 and 3 can take up to an hour (even though they have a single transit zone);
  • The road between terminals 1 and 2 or 3 and 2 takes up to 2 hours at all (it takes only 20 minutes to take the shuttle, more time is spent waiting for it, customs control and registration for the second flight).

The transfer from one terminal to another can also be delayed due to luggage. Therefore, we advise you to inquire in advance with the carrier or at the check-in counter if it is possible to check in your baggage immediately to the final point (then it will be transferred to the desired plane without your participation). But there is such an opportunity only if both flights are operated by one airline or partner carriers.

Also, when connecting in Dubai, it is important to remember that the flight to Dubai must arrive no later than 3 hours before the departure of the second flight, since passengers must arrive at the boarding gate no later than 45 minutes before departure.

Free food at Dubai airport

If you are flying with Emirates on a long-haul flight in Dubai (more than four hours) or your flight is delayed, you are entitled to meal vouchers at the airport’s fast food restaurants. Nothing fancy, of course, will be offered – mostly hamburgers or pizza and a drink for them, but the bonus is still nice.

You can claim your free meal voucher at the Emirates Information Desk in Terminal 3 by showing your boarding passes.

Also, effective December 29, Emirates no longer requires a PCR test for passengers traveling through Dubai to countries that do not require a negative test upon arrival.

Free strollers at Dubai Airport

Oddly enough, there are not so many places for children’s leisure at Dubai Airport. But, for example, there are special children’s toilets and free strollers that can be borrowed from special Emirates racks in all terminals.

By the way, if you want to put your child to sleep, go to gates B27-B28. There are comfortable sun loungers that you can use absolutely free of charge.

Free shower at Dubai airport

Of course, during a long flight, I really want to freshen up. The Dubai airport took care of this and even gave the opportunity to use showers for free. They are located in the washroom near Gate 120 of Terminal 1.

There are also paid shower rooms near Gate 117 of Terminal 1. For some reason, there are no signs on them, check the information desk for details and prices.

Now let’s take a closer look at terminals.

Terminal 1

It is also the Sheikh Rashid terminal, the most popular and capacious one. Serves over 120 airlines worldwide (40 passport control desks and 60 gates). It is in Terminal 1 that Dubai Duty Free shops are located, as well as many restaurants, a business center, a business-class lounge (open, by the way, for everyone), prayer rooms and even a five-star hotel.

There are also five check-in counters for transit passengers. They are located in the arrivals hall and are marked with the letters A and B (for Emirates passengers), C and D (for passengers of other airlines) and E (for those arriving at Terminal 2).

In order not to get confused in Terminal 1, download its map in advance.

Terminal 2

It serves low-cost airlines and charter flights. It is here that the Arab air carrier Flydubai is based and here the airline opened a two-story business lounge with free Wi-Fi and meals. There are also duty-free shops, restaurants and cafes here, but much smaller. There are comfortable lounges for first and business class passengers.

You can download the map of Terminal 2 of Dubai airport here

Terminal 3

The newest terminal, built in 2008 and fully opened only in 2011. Emirates airline is based here. For the convenience of passengers – waiting rooms, two business lounges for business class passengers of Emirates airline, prayer rooms, restaurants, a fitness center, duty-free shops, five- and four-star hotels.

Terminal 3 has three check-in counters for transit passengers, they are marked with the letters G, H and J.

Familiarize yourself with the Terminal 3 layout in advance so as not to get lost and then rush like a saiga on your flight.


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