Dubai: If you are going abroad for the Eid Al Adha break, travelling during the peak holiday period can be stressful if you don't plan for the delays and long queues at the airport.
The travel rush is also expected to be higher than usual as the Eid Al Adha holidays coincide with the UAE’s summer school vacations. Dubai Airports Authority as well Emirates airlines issued travel guidelines, as departure numbers are expected to peak significantly on June 24 – due to the start of Eid Al Adha holidays, and again on July 1, for the summer holidays .
So, if you are departing form Dubai International Airport (DXB), here are eight ways you can beat the rush and catch your flight on time.
1. Keep your documents ready and double check your passport’s validity
Before heading to the airport, you should be aware of the latest travel and visa regulations for the destination you are flying into, and be prepared with all the necessary travel documents. Most countries, require foreign visitors to have a passport validity of at least six months before travelling.
2. Check your terminal
Always check which terminal you will be departing from. Here is a breakdown of the flights that take off from the three terminals of Dubai International Airport, as per the airport’s website:
• Dubai International Airport (DXB) Terminal 1: All international airlines (except Emirates).
• Dubai International Airport (DXB) Terminal 2: flydubai and other regional and international airlines.
• Dubai International Airport (DXB) Terminal 3: Emirates and some flydubai flights.
3. Travelling on Emirates? Your boarding pass will be digital
Emirates passengers departing from Dubai must have a digital boarding pass, instead of a printed paper version. This, however, is not applicable to the following categories of passengers:
• passengers travelling with infants
• unaccompanied minors
• passengers requiring special assistance
• passengers with onwards flights on other airlines.
According to Emirates, passengers checking in at Dubai International Airport, Terminal 3 will receive their mobile boarding pass via email or SMS. Those who check in online can load their boarding pass onto their Apple Wallet or Google Wallet, or retrieve their boarding pass from the Emirates mobile application, which is available for Apple, Android and Huawei devices.
Emirates agents and airport staff will scan the Quick Response (QR) code on the mobile boarding pass before boarding.
However, passengers also have the option to print a boarding pass by requesting Emirates agents at check-in counters, if they are facing technical issues with their phone, such as running out of battery, difficulty in accessing WiFi or not having enough mobile data. Alternatively, you can also take a screenshot of the mobile boarding pass, which should be sufficient, according to the Emirates website.
4. Advance check-in options to save time
You have the option to check in online or even opt for home check-in if you are travelling from Dubai International Airport.
a. Online check-in
Most airlines require passengers to check in 24 to 48 hours before their flight, and have a separate line for passengers who checked in online. If you check in online, you can choose your seat number and meal.
b. Check in your luggage from home
If you are staying in Dubai or Sharjah, you can complete the entire check in process, including the checking in of the luggage items, from your home or hotel room, through DUBZ, a third-party service provider, which you can use if you are travelling on Emirates, flydubai, SAUDIA, or Kuwait Airways
How does it work?
DUBZ will have a check in agent arrive at your home, hotel, or office to weigh and tag your bags. Then they will send a mobile boarding pass to your email, or they will print one out. Once that’s complete, the agent will ensure that the bags are checked in on to the flight, and you can travel with just your carry on luggage.
Passengers can book the service at least 24 hours before a flight.
How to book the home check-in option
1. To do this, you must first visit the DUBZ website – www.dubz.com.
2. Select, the option ‘flying out of Dubai’ on the homepage and select your airline from the drop-down menu. The airlines include Emirates, flydubai, SAUDIA, and Kuwait Airways. If you are not flying with any of these airlines, you can select ‘Others’ but only your baggage will be collected, without the option to check-in yourself.
3. Next, choose your package. The lowest package costs Dh249, and can go up to Dh529.
4. Once you have selected the package you prefer, enter your flight details including airline name and flight number.
5. Enter the pickup details, your location and address.
6. Type in your contact details, full name and phone number.
7. Then pay the amount electronically with your credit or debit card.
Now, all you have to do is turn up to the airport with your hand luggage and go straight to the security gate.
c. Drop off your luggage at the airport 24 hours before arrival
Emirates passengers can drop off their luggage at the airport the night before travel, at no extra charge. Passengers who are departing from Dubai can check-in early and drop off their bags 24 hours before departure, or 12 hours before departure if flying to the United States or Tel Aviv, Israel. Then closer to departure time, they can arrive to the airport and proceed directly to immigration
d. Visit the ‘Emirates City Check-in and Travel Store’ and drop your luggage off, a day before your flight
The ‘Emirates City Check-in and Travel Store’, located at ICD Brookfield Place in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), allows Emirates passengers to drop their bags as early as 24 hours and up to four hours before their flight. You can either check in with an agent or use the self check in kiosks at the store.
The facility is open every day from 8am to 10pm.
e. Coming from Ajman or Sharjah? You can use the Emirates check-in facility located in Ajman
Passengers residing in the Northern Emirates - Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain or Fujairah) can skip the queues at Terminal 3 and take advantage of the Emirates' check-in facility in Ajman.
Emirates City Check-in in Ajman operates 24x7 and is located at the Ajman Central Bus Terminal. You can check in as early as 24 hours and up to four hours before your flight.
All you have to do is present your documents and check in your baggage. After that the agent will send your boarding pass to your email or print it out for you.
Once you have completed the check-in process, you can take the shuttle bus from Ajman Central Bus Terminal and head directly to Emirates Terminal 3.
Bus ticket cost: Dh20
f. Use the standard check-in counters at Dubai International Airport Terminal 1 and Terminal 3
Regardless of which airline you are travelling with, you can always use the standard check in counters. Drop your bags off, and complete the check-in process with the airline agent. Once that is done, they will either print your boarding pass or send it to your email address.
If you are flying with Emirates, you can also use the self-check in kiosks located at Terminal 3.
5. Make sure you know the luggage rules
Packing correctly can save you time and money at the airport. According to Dubai Airports website – dubairports.ae, generally two pieces of baggage are allowed for international travel, with the total weight not exceeding 32kg. However, this may vary by airline and fare type, which is why it is always best to check with your airline before travelling. Additionally, checked-in bags must have at least one flat surface.
What you should not carry in your hand luggage
According to Dubai Airports, if you want to carry liquids, aerosols or gels in your hand baggage, you must keep in mind three rules:
1. Items should be packed inside one clear, re-sealable plastic bag, within your hand baggage.
2. Each item cannot be more than 100ml and the total volume of these items cannot exceed one litre.
3. Exemptions will be made for medication, baby milk/foods and special dietary requirements to be used during your trip.
Prohibited items you should not carry in hand luggage
• Sharp items
• Flammable items
• Nails, drills, hammers and clippers
3 tips for easy security clearance of hand baggage
Dubai Airport’s official website - www.dubaiairports.ae provided more general tips for packing items for hand baggage:
• Pack personal belongings in your hand luggage.
• Keep a laptop where it can be easily reached, you will need to place it in a separate security tray at the security scan.
• Always remove old baggage tags. They may cause the baggage system to reject the bag they are attached to.
6. Arrive at the airport early
As per the Dubai Airports advisory:
• flydubai passengers should arrive at the airport at least four hours before the departure time of their flight.
• Passengers flying all other airlines should arrive no earlier than three hours before the scheduled departure time of their flights.
7. How to get to Dubai Airport during the Eid rush
Whether you are using public transportation or have a family member or friend dropping you off at the airport, here are all your options:
In the travel advisory issued by Dubai Airports, travellers are encouraged to use the Dubai Metro to get to and from the airport’s Terminals 1 and 3.
There are two Metro stations located near the Dubai International Airport (DXB) – one at Airport Terminal 1 and the other at Airport Terminal 3. Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 Metro stations fall on the Dubai Metro Red Line. Make sure you have your nol card at hand.
Dubai International Airport (DXB) Metro timings
The Dubai Metro normally operates until midnight, but public transport timings are usually extended during Eid holidays.
Dubai Metro baggage policy
As per RTA, only two suitcases are permitted per passenger. This includes:
• One large suitcase - Dimensions should not exceed 81cm x 58cm x 30cm
• One small suitcase - Dimensions should not exceed 55cm x 38cm x 20cm
• All luggage must be stowed in the dedicated luggage area, which can be found in each cabin.
Book a taxi
You can always hail a taxi from the road or book a taxi using the ‘Careem’ app, which is available for Apple and Android devices. RTA licenced taxis are available for booking through the app, under the ‘Hala taxi’ category.
Drive to the airport and park in the long-term parking
If you are going for a short trip and will be back in Dubai after a few days, you can park your car at the airport.
If you are departing from Dubai International Airport (DXB), you can reserve a parking spot and park your car there while you are on holiday. You can only book the parking spot according to the duration of your trip. For more information on how to use the parking, read our detailed guide here.
8. Use the Smart Gates to save time
According to the website of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs - Dubai (GDRFA Dubai), travellers can scan their biometric passport or Emirates ID at the smart gate and walk through a biometric recognition system without the need for an exit stamp on their passports. The gates use facial and iris recognition technology to let travellers complete passport control procedures.
But, it is important to note that the Smart Gates are only available to certain categories:
• UAE Nationals and GCC Nationals.
• UAE residents.
• Visa-on-arrival visitors with biometric passports.
Categories not allowed to use Smart Gates:
• People of Determination and guests with large strollers.
• Families with children.
• Guests who are under 15 years old or less than 1.2 meters in height
If you want to know more about Smart Gates, read our detailed guide here.
How do I use smart Gates?
Using the Smart Gate is a straightforward process:
1. Firstly, you must remove anything covering your face, such as masks, glasses and hats, and your boarding pass and passport should be at hand, in case it is required.
2. Scan your Emirates ID if you are a resident or biometric passport if you are a visitor.
3. Next, look directly at the green light on top of the camera to verify your biometrics.
4. Once your biometrics are approved, the Smart Gates will open, and your passport control process is done.
Finally, keep your digital or physical boarding pass at hand, to easily complete the boarding procedure.