Visiting Dubai, you’ll need to consider Where To Stay, Choosing Your Hotel, the Hotels themselves and even the possibility of using Furnished Apartments. Our pages on these topics should be useful to everyone visiting Dubai, especially first-time visitors, in coming to a decision that works for you.
But first, you need to get there – the following are airlines that serve Dubai International Airport (DXB) from the UK:
(Sometimes Air France and KLM can be mixed ie one outbound, the other back)
BA & Qatar combined
Etihad (flying to Abu Dhabi and using a dedicated coach service to Dubai which takes just over an hour)
If things change or if you’re flying to Dubai from other countries we’d love to know which other airlines serve Dubai and from where.
In recent years Dubai has become an easily accessible city through Dubai International Airport (DXB) which is now a globally important aviation hub and transit point. Most large cities now have flights to Dubai. Dubai caters for over 110 different airlines flying in from over 160 destinations.
Flight times from the UK to Dubai, flying direct, can be as short as six and a half hours although the return journey always seems to take an extra hour. Nevertheless this means your visit to the Gulf only takes a little longer than going to the Red Sea resorts or the Cape Verdi islands but you’ll find there’s so much more to do in and around Dubai.
Dubai International Airport (DXB) is massive and modern, but don’t think you’re there the moment you touch down. From touch-down to getting into the terminal can take twenty minutes, occasionally longer and this can sometimes include a bus ride. It can depend on which terminal you’re flying into but thankfully this time seems to be reducing.
If you’re flying on Emirates Airlines you’ll use their dedicated terminal – terminal 3, which opened in 2008. It covers an area of 515,000 square metres, has six floors, 157 lifts, 97 escalators, 82 moving walkways and can handle 43 million passengers a year.
Arriving at the terminal you’ll be amazed by its size and grandeur. Everything is signposted in English and Arabic, but if you need help you’ll find plenty of airport staff around willing to help you and fluent in English.
The terminals are as up-to-date as any anywhere in the world with amazing architecture, vast cavernous spaces and of course a few palm trees. Be ready for a long walk to collect your luggage, notwithstanding the numerous travellers. Parents of young children will be able to use a free buggy or pram service.
After collecting your luggage but before leaving the terminal you’ll spot a duty-free shopping area, including wines and spirits, which seems a little unexpected for a Muslim country. Before you buy anything duty-free, ask at the checkout about the maximum you can buy and bring into the country and also ask about the rules for carrying bottles of wines and spirits in vehicles or on the Metro if you’re intending using them to get to your hotel. After this point, the only places you’ll be able to buy any alcoholic drinks will be in the hotels and other licenced premises and this is not bulk buying. No supermarkets sell alcohol, so this may be your last chance.
You may read about a second international airport – Al Maktoum International Airport – being built which will be even bigger than Dubai International. This is at the Jebel Ali end of Dubai, and will therefore serve both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. But don’t be confused – it’s not built yet!
Once you’re in Dubai and settled in your chosen accommodation, a look at our sections on Best Ways To See Dubai, Getting Around Dubai, Places To Visit and Things To Do, Best Views of Dubai, and most importantly Food And Drink in Dubai, will help you get the best out of your stay in Dubai.
At Dubai Airport you may see planes from Fly Dubai (www.flydubai.com). Fly Dubai is a budget airline offshoot of Emirates Airlines. It serves the Gulf Area, the Middle East and other places such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka, Djibouti, Turkey, Nepal, India, Russia and Armenia. It does not visit the UK, Europe, America, South Africa or Australasia, but if you’re travelling on from Dubai to one of the areas listed, or somewhere similar, it may well be a means of saving money when compared to a major international airline.