If you’ve ever woken up unnecessarily early ahead on the day you’re taking a flight, heart pounding, you’ll know travel anxiety is a thing. Even the most frequent flyers among us are susceptible. Just thinking about the stress associated with managing your energetic kids whilst lugging a heavy suitcase across one of the world’s largest airports is enough to make for a tense departure. As it’s summer, the baggage drop area is sure to have a long line of stressed-out fellow travellers with over-burdened trollies and crying babies.
However, there is at least one guaranteed way to reduce the anxiety. Using dnata’s DUBZ service, you can have your luggage weighed and picked up, sent to the airport, screened by security and get your boarding pass in hand – all without taking a step outside your own home. That will not only save you from the baggage line and dealing with unwieldy suitcases in the summer heat but also buys you up to two hours of time before your flight. Heading to the airport free of luggage also means you can save on taxi fare – a family of three or four can easily fit into one cab, but their suitcases probably wouldn’t – and even take the Dubai Metro.
It’s like upgrading from economy to business class, but not nearly as expensive.
With just passport control and security to deal with at the airport, what will you do with that extra time? Whether you decide to come to the airport early or stay in the city, here are a few suggestions:
1. Duty-free fun
Whichever terminal you’re at, Dubai International Airport is home to one of the world’s best duty-free shopping experiences. Having more time to shop at your leisure here is a true luxury – you could even become one of the lucky raffle-winners!
If you’d rather just use the extra time to chill out before your flight, the airport is home to a number of lounges, which at least one of your credit cards will (probably) get you access to. The Marhaba lounge is a popular option for UAE residents. You’ll get beverages, finger foods and main-course meals here, as well as long chairs you can catch a snooze on. Just don’t forget to set your alarm – final calls don’t play in the lounge.
3. Work up a sweat
If you’ve got a long flight ahead of you, a solid cardio session will not only get your circulation flowing – something important for a lengthy spell in a cramped seat – but will also tire you out proper. The seven hours spent flying to London will literally fly by in a blink of an eye, and your jetlag will be somewhat taken care of too.
4. Mall crawling
Since you’ve got time to kill, why not spend it at Mirdif City Centre or Dubai Festival City? Both malls are just a few minutes from the airport and offer hundreds of shopping and dining options. The kids will love MCC’s Little Explorers edutainment concept, which encompasses themes of space, water and play. Dubai Festival City, meanwhile, has its own entertainment offerings – Festival Bay hosts a few breath-taking light shows in the evenings, while you get to play at being a professional pilot in a Boeing 737 flight simulator.
If you’re flying out in the evening and have a bit of time on your hands, why not make a pitstop at Dubai Creek to catch the sunset? It promises gorgeous vistas and get you plenty of likes on social media. For even better views, opt for a short dhow trip across the water. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #blessed, #mydubai and tag the brands you’re wearing to get maximum return.
6. Wellness welcome
There are a number of establishments offering a broad range of spa treatments in and around the airport. Whether you’re craving an hour-long full-body shiatsu treatment, a deluxe Morrocan bath or a simple 15-minute foot massage, all of these options will put you in a calm, zen-like state ahead of your flight.
7. Sleep in
“What hath night to do with sleep?” asked John Milton in Paradise Lost. We hear you, John. When you’re on a plane, it can be difficult to get enough shut-eye whatever the time of day. That’s why it could be a great idea to snip that looming jetlag in the bud with a luxurious lie-in. Sleep is an essential but often overlooked element of our long-term health, and it’s important to respect it.
8. Souq scan
The Gold Souq is Dubai’s original must-visit shopping destination. For decades, visitors and residents alike have flocked through its maze of shaded walkways on the hunt for bargains on gold, jewellery and precious stones. Why should you make time to visit the souq over a mall? Because you’ll have some scope to negotiate here – which isn’t the case at mall outlets.
If you’re more foodie than fashionista, it might be better to put your haggling skills to the test at the Spice Souq. You’ll find a dazzling variety of nuts, saffron, oils and herbs waiting to be discovered.
9. Last Exit Khawaneej
Just ten minutes from the airport, Last Exit is Dubai’s final frontier for foodies. Home to a number of food trucks serving up delicious sliders, fresh mini doughnuts, 100 per cent Arabica coffee and authentic, awesome karak chai, the fresh fare here is sure to beat out whatever you’re served on your flight. It’s an ideal pitstop en route to the airport.
Here’s a list of airlines that offer home check-in services in Dubai:
- China Southern
- Kuwait Airways
- Gulf Air
- Royal Jordanian
To book your home check-in through DUBZ, simply visit the website between six and 24 hours before your flight. Use promo code EID19 to avail 20 per cent off of all DUBZ services, valid until June 8*.
In addition to home check-in, DUBZ also offers an airport pick-up service, so when you land back in Dubai, you only need to clear security and immigration – no long waiting and jostling with other passengers around baggage belts. Just go straight home, and let the DUBZ team deal with the heavy lifting.
If you’d like to learn more about DUBZ, the team is bringing a check-in van to The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah, from June 3-8 between 8pm and 11pm. They’ll be on hand to answer any questions you may have about baggage collection, delivery and airport pick-up.
*code valid on all airlines except for Emirates.