We’re probably not telling you anything you don’t already know when we tell you that “going to the airport” isn’t exactly on everyone’s bucket list. But just like every destination is different, so is every airport. And just as navigating a new city is challenging in and of itself, so is navigating a new airport. How do I get from one terminal to the next? What are the best airport restaurants? Is there anything to do if I have a long layover?
If you’re anything like us, these are the types of questions you have that perhaps you don’t get push notifications for. But never fear, because we have answers to your airport questions with our series of guides to the world’s top airports. Today we bring you the TripIt airport guide to Dubai International Airport.
Dubai International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world, seeing 89 million passengers in 2018. While it’s located just a few miles north of downtown Dubai, DXB can be at least 30-45 minutes from other major parts of the city, and even an hour during rush hour, from areas like Palm Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach, and Downtown Marina. As such, taxi or rideshare apps like Uber, are the best bets for quickly getting to and from Dubai International Airport. Travelers can also take the Dubai Metro, which runs approximately every 10 minutes from Terminals 1 and 3 between 6 a.m. and midnight (1 a.m. on Thursday/Friday). Note that there is no metro service on Friday mornings. Alternatively, car rental kiosks are located in the Arrivals area of Terminal 1.
Dubai International Airport has three passenger terminals. Terminals 1 and 3 are connected, allowing passengers to move freely between terminals, while Terminal 2 is on the opposite side of the airport and requires catching a shuttle. In most cases, international travelers will be flying through either Terminal 1 or 3. Terminal 3 is currently the largest terminal in the world.
As one of the busiest international airports in the world, Dubai International Airport has a lot of dining options to choose from. While travelers will find many common franchise airport restaurants—like Starbucks, Pret a Manger, Subway, and McDonald’s—DXB is unique in the array of international dining options that you won’t find at just any airport. A good start is in Terminal 3 at either Tranzeet DXB or S34 Gahwa Mezze Bar, both of which offer one last taste of the Middle East before passengers’ flights. Elsewhere, there’s YO! Sushi (Terminal 3), The Noodle House (Terminal 3), The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck (Terminal 3), Taste of India (Terminal 2), French bakery Paul (Terminal 3), Jones the Grocer (Terminal 3), Cho Gao for Asian fusion (Terminal 3), Delizie for traditional Italian food (Terminal 3), and Flour & Stone (Terminal 3) for flatbreads and pizzas from around the world. However, for those travelers who are just hankering for a cheeseburger, there’s Shake Shack in Terminal 3, which was the first airport Shake Shack in the world.
Like its array of restaurants, DXB also has a wide variety of places to get a drink. Begin at The Draft House (Terminal 3), which is a traditional sports bar meets Irish pub, serving craft beer and pub grub. Other unique bars include The Gin Garden (Terminal 3), DXB Skybar (Terminal 3), and Jack’s Bar & Grill (Terminal 3), which is a taste of the south at Dubai International Airport. Needless to say, Terminal 3 is the best place at DXB for grabbing food and drinks when you have some time to spare.
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Dubai International Airport also has a lot to do for travelers with some time to spare. At Dubai International Hotel, which is a 5-star hotel actually located inside the airport (terminals 1 and 3), travelers have access to numerous health clubs in Terminal 3 that include saunas, steam rooms, and Jacuzzis, and a spa, called Timeless Spa. Guest rooms range from deluxe rooms to several presidential suites.
Finally, there are a number of lounge options for travelers throughout Dubai International Airport. Many of the major international airlines and alliances, like British Airways, SkyTeam, Emirates, and Lufthansa have their own lounges for loyalty travelers and those flying business. For travelers who don’t mind paying for a day pass, there are other lounges, like Marhaba, located throughout the airport. A full list of airport lounges are located on DXB’s website.
Use TripIt’s interactive airport maps in the app to discover shop, restaurant, and bar locations. You’ll also have everything you need to navigate your way with estimated walk times and step-by-step directions.