As an example, journey times to and from the Burj Khalifa should take no more than around 30 minutes with the Palm being more like 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes.
The airport’s location allows sensible use of your time for short stop-overs in Dubai.
Dubai Airport Terminals
The main departure and arrival facilities are made up of three terminals numbered 1, 2 and 3.
The terminal you will use is dependent upon your origin, destination and which airline you’re flying with.
Major airlines use terminals 1 and 3 with terminal 3 being used exclusively for Emirates Airline flights and now also Qantas. Since the Emirates and Qantas agreement Qantas now operates through Terminal 3 and is the only airline other than Emirates to use this terminal.
Terminal 2 is used specifically for flights coming in from with airlines from Iran and the CIS (former Soviet) countries. Also worthy of note, terminal 2 is the home terminal for flydubai and other low cost carriers.
It's worthy to note that the Dubai Airport terminals versus concourse labelling can be a little confusing.
The terminals are labelled 1, 2 and 3, but also labelled them as concourses A, B and C. Logically you may say that T1 is Concourse A but this isn't the case.
Concourse A = Terminal 3
Concourse B = Terminal 3
Concourse C = Terminal 1
This was done so that the gates can be named with a letter and 2 numbers. Studies show it's easier for travellers to remember their gate this was, for example, A17 rather than 317.
Concourse A of Terminal 3 in Dubai was built specifically for their A380 operation. Since Dubai can be a very busy airport, particularly at peak times, this was built to cope with the sheer volume of passengers that just one A380 can bring.
Dubai Terminal 1, Concourse C
If you’re travelling to Dubai on a full service airline other than Emirates, such as British Airways, United Airlines etc. this is where you will arrive or depart from.
Terminal 1 is a large terminal with good facilities including:
You can read more about lounge access with the link below.
Airport Lounges - Terminal 1
There's also a plethora of shops and duty free to enjoy as well as a large selection of food and beverage outlets. If travelling during Ramadan you are likely to find the hours of sale for alcohol to be consumed within the airport are restricted.
The customs, immigration and security procedures are clearly marked and relatively stress free.
Dubai Terminal 1 Arrivals
Dubai Terminal 1 Arrivals
The arrivals procedure into Terminal 1 is quite simple with baggage reclaim, immigration and inbound security screening easily taken care of. Further down this page see Dubai Customs for an explanation of the inbound security screening at the airport. This is relatively unique to flights arriving in the Middle East.
After clearing customs as you're walking out of the airport there are a host of hotel and tour company desks as well as rental car companies. It's best to make sure you catch the service you need before walking outside the airport.
Dubai Terminal 2
For people traveling low cost through Dubai with someone like flydubai, or for charter flight passengers, then you will most likely be using terminal 2 in Dubai. This terminal is the most basic of the three and is aimed specifically at servicing passengers for low cost airlines. Expect a short bus ride to the aircraft so be at the gate early. Click the link below to visit our dedicated page.
Airport Lounges - Terminal 2
Dubai Terminal 3, Concourse A & B
This terminal is for people traveling with Emirates. It is considered the most luxurious of the three terminals, unsurprisingly since Emirates takes such pride in their customer service. It is the largest airport terminal in the world by floor space. Take a look at our dedicated Dubai Airport Terminal 3 page.
Airport Lounges - Terminal 3
If you’re new to traveling into or through the Middle East then there are some things you need to be aware of. It’s easy to become concerned with stories heard about the region, but with a few sensible precautions, clearing customs is a stress free process.
Expect your hand baggage to be X-Ray scanned as you enter the country. After you clear immigration you will next face an X-ray machine. This process is not like clearing airport security on the way to your flight. You place your hand baggage through the machine and collect at the other side.
Proceed to collect your check in baggage and then walk through the usual customs check point that you’ll see at all international airports.
The procedure in brief:
Have your hand baggage scanned as you proceed to collect your checked baggage
Collect your checked baggage
Proceed through the customs checkpoint
Customs Allowances: These are taken straight off the Dubai Customs website. Double check the website to ensure you’re aware of your allowances.
“Gifts whose value does not exceed AED 3,000.
The Number of cigarettes should not exceed (400) cigarettes, (50) cigars, (500) grams of tobacco (minced or pressed for pipes), minced or pressed tobacco for smoking, tobacco or mild-tasting tobacco. Exceeding the above will be dutiable.
The amount of alcoholic beverages and beers should not exceed 4 liters of alcohol beverages, or 2 cartons of beer (each consisting of 24 cans, not exceeding 355 ml for each can or its equivalent).”