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10 tips to get through Dubai International Airport quickly

Don't miss your flight; enjoy going through one of the fastest and most efficient airports in the world

Image Credit: WikiCommons

Are you a resident leaving the UAE for summer or planning to do so? Or are you a tourist heading back to your home country? Our tips on how to get through Dubai International Airport quickly will ensure that your travel plans go smoothly with no hassles. You're welcome!

1. Getting there


Use the reliable metro service, comprised of just two lines – Red and Green – to avoid traffic. The Red Line stops at both Terminal 1 and 3, and trains arrive in less than 5-minute intervals.

If you happen to be rushing to take a taxi or prefer taking your own car, avoid taking the route to the Garhoud area during rush hour as it has the highest levels of traffic. Instead, if you're coming from Shaikh Zayed Road, get onto Garhoud Bridge and keep right. Take the exit towards Festival City and join Al Rebat Street. At the first traffic lights turn left onto Marrakech Street and drive till the end of the road that brings you to a T-junction. Turn left and you're on Airport Road heading towards Dubai International Airport.

If you're taking a taxi, minimum fare is Dh12 and if you want to pay by card, ask before you set off to avoid hassles when you reach the airport.

2. Arrive early

Even if you check-in online, it is a good idea to get to the airport at least three hours in advance, especially if you've booked your flights for the beginning of June. It's just a month away to school vacations and the rush is going to be crazy.

3. Know which terminal

Be aware that the terminals are not connected. Terminal 3 is for all Emirates Airline and Qantas Airways flights. Terminal 1 is for all other international flights. Terminal 2 is for Fly Dubai and other regional and low-cost carriers. Landed in the wrong terminal? No need to panic, because Dubai Airports offers a 24-hour free shuttle service between all three terminals. See why we tell you to come early?

Find your terminals by airlines here.

4. Self and online check-in

The conventional check-in option of lining up at a counter may take up more than 30 minutes of your time during the busiest hours. Check with your carrier beforehand to see if they have an online check-in option that will allow you to go through express lines. Online check-in is usually available on the airline’s website from 48 to 1.5 hours before departure.

Self check-in kiosks are often also available where you can print your boarding pass and then simply drop off your baggage in a quick baggage drop counter.

5. Weigh your luggage in advance

Be sure to weigh luggage using a scale at home or at weighing stations in the airport. This will ensure that you won't have to unpack your luggage at the check-in counter in case you go over your allowed weight. You could get a mini digital scale for as less as Dh15 from a Mercato budget store.

6. Special assistance

If you’re travelling with a child or senior citizen, inform your airline in advance of special needs. Wheelchair services are offered for the elderly, with assisters who can help them get through lines quickly. Even if you lose contact of your child in the busy airport, there are lounges available for unaccompanied minors, and the crew can promptly help them out. For a Dh25 fee, you can also get a porter to help you with baggage services and to navigate quickly.

7. Smart gate


This is the best option for UAE residents; you get in and out in seconds, literally. You won’t have to wait in a long line at passport control, just use your Emirates ID card and your fingerprint to get through. You can also get yourself registered for an e-gate card at the terminal which will cost you a one-time fee of around Dh200. A small investment for hours' worth of waiting at airport security.

8. Security screening

In your checked in baggage, ensure you don't have any prohibited items. Remember to take out any metal and electronic items, such as watches, batteries, portable charges or phones, beforehand and avoid wearing any metal on you like belts or steel-tipped shoes. Wearing high boots may also prove a hassle as security personnel might make you remove these before you step through the scanner.

Do a quick scan and put everything except your passport and boarding pass in your carry-on bag as you wait for your turn. This will save time for you and others at the security screening.

9. Airline credit cards

These credit cards will not only let you earn and redeem miles, but can also get your flyer status updated quickly. If you are a frequent traveller, consider getting an airline credit card, which allows you to earn miles not only through flights, but also through car rentals, hotel bookings, and more. Some even offer separate fast-track lines for frequent flyers, so it would also be best to commit to an airline of your choice.

10. Further information

Check for other FAQs (frequently asked questions) and a live chat support on the right side of the webpage. Go to your airline’s website to ensure you meet their baggage requirements and other needs.


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