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Updated December 2021

As a major international connection point for long-haul flights to and from countries in Europe, Asia, North America, and Oceania, Dubai International Airport (DXB) has always been among one of the world’s busiest airports in terms of international passenger traffic.

If you’re planning on transiting or flying to or from the city of Dubai, here’s our complete guide to Dubai International Airport; arrival, departure, transit, and the latest COVID-related requirements.

Dubai Airport terminals 

Before making your way to the airport, make sure to determine your terminal of operation. Generally, airlines are assigned to the following:

Here’s an overview of what both arriving and departing passengers can expect in terminals 1 to 3.

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 serves most international airlines, except Emirates Airlines.

  • Aeroflot
  • Aerosvit Airlines
  • African Express Airways
  • Air Algérie
  • Air Blue
  • Air China
  • Air France
  • Air India
  • Air Malta
  • airBaltic
  • Arkefly
  • Armavia
  • Austrian Airlines (Tyrolean Airways)
  • Azerbaijan Airlines
  • Bahrain Air
  • Belavia
  • Biman Bangladesh Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Bulgaria Air
  • Cathay Pacific
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Condor
  • Cyprus Airways
  • Daallo Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Djibouti Air
  • EgyptAir
  • Enter Air
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • Finnair
  • Georgian Airways
  • Gulf Air
  • IndiGo
  • Iran Air
  • Iraqi Airways
  • Jazeera Airways
  • Jet Airways
  • Jordan Aviation
  • Kabo Air
  • Kam Air
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Libyan Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • Mahan Air
  • MIAT Mongolian Airlines
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Nas Air
  • Nordstar Airlines
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle
  • Oman Air
  • Onur Air
  • Pakistan International Airlines
  • Qatar Airways
  • Rossiya
  • Royal Brunei Airlines
  • Royal Jordanian
  • RwandAir
  • S7 Airlines
  • Safi Airways
  • Saudia
  • Shaheen Air International
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Somon Air
  • SpiceJet
  • SriLankan Airlines
  • Sudan Airways
  • Swiss International Air Lines
  • Syrian Air
  • Tajik Air
  • Tatarstan Airlines
  • Thai Airways International
  • Transaero Airlines
  • Tunisair
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Ukraine International Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Ural Airlines
  • Uzbekistan Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • Yemenia

Passengers may treat themselves to some shopping and dining at Terminal 1. The terminal’s food court located at Concourse D offers a variety of international dining options the likes of Japanese, Arabic, Mexican, and more. If you’re looking for a pre or post-flight drink, numerous bars and cafes offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Those looking to buy some gift-wrapped souvenirs may do so with ease as Concourse D offers an impressive 175-outlet lineup. You can find everything from electronics and books to authentic Arabic coffees and dates. 

Other facilities include business and first-class lounges, currency exchange, pharmacy, baby care spaces, and more.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 caters to some budget airline passengers, along with other regional and international airlines.

  • Air India Express
  • Alexandria Airlines
  • Alitalia
  • Ariana Afghan Airlines
  • Caspian Airlines
  • Eritrean Airlines
  • Euro-Asia Air
  • Fars Air Qeshm
  • flydubai
  • Gryphon Airlines
  • I-Fly
  • Iran Aseman Airlines
  • Jubba Airways
  • Jupiter Airlines
  • Kish Air
  • Kyrgystan Aircompany
  • Mihin Lanka
  • Nasair
  • TAAG Angola Airlines
  • Taban Air
  • Toumaï Air Tchad
  • Travel Service Hungary
  • TUIfly
  • Turkmenistan Airlines
  • United Airways

Among others, you can find ATMs, Baby care facilities, currency exchange services, information points, lounges, and prayer rooms here.

Terminal 3

Terminal 3 is the world’s largest airport terminal serving primarily Emirates Airlines. 

Here, you can find over 40 restaurants, cafes and bars across the B and C concourses. As with Terminal 1, dining options are varied and you can find everything from Indian to Italian cuisines and everything in between.

In addition to business and first-class lounges, Terminal 3 also offers a full-scale hotel. Dubai International Hotel is within Terminal 3’s premises and accommodates transit passengers only. Rooms are offered in 6, 12, and 18-hour packages.

Naturally, you can do some serious shopping at the famed Dubai Duty Free store. From electronics, liquor to perfumes and luxury brands, you can pretty much find anything here. You can even try your luck at the Dubai Duty Free raffle runs by buying a ticket and standing a chance to win a luxury car or motorbike. 

Transfer between terminals

Terminals 1 and 3 are connected by way of a common transit area. Travel from Terminal 1 to 3 (and vice versa) typically takes about 20 minutes via a free, 24-hour shuttle bus service with the alternative being the Dubai Metro. After clearing security, passengers can move freely between the two terminals.  

Terminal 2, is located at the other side of the airport and a shuttle service can ferry passengers to and from terminals 1 and 3 in about 20 minutes.

Safety procedures

All passengers departing from DXB are required to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • protective mask must be worn by all travellers/visitors
  • physical distancing must be observed throughout the airport
  • those displaying COVID symptoms are advised to cancel their airport visit and seek medical treatment

How to check for Dubai Airport flight status, departures, and arrivals?

You can check your departure and arrival status, timing, and terminal by visiting Dubai airport’s flight status page.

Dubai Airport departures requirements

  • residents and visitors do not require prior approval to leave Dubai. 
  • travellers will need to do COVID‑19 PCR tests only if it is mandated by the country they are travelling to.
  • as rules and regulations change frequently, be sure to check with your airline for specific details relevant to your country of arrival
  • refer here for a list of authorized COVID‑19 test laboratories in Dubai

We recommend arriving at least three hours before your scheduled departure. This is to ensure that you’d be able to iron out any issues that may arise prior to your international flight.

Dubai Airport arrival requirements

Depending on your country of departure, you may need to undergo on-arrival PCR testing.

As per the latest regulations, all travellers departing from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe will not be accepted for travel into Dubai until further notice. 

Residents from specified countries must obtain both the GDRFA and ICA approval prior to departing for Dubai. Tourists are not required to obtain pre-approval permits.

Transiting through Dubai International Airport

The international airport is huge and going the wrong way may result in travellers missing their flights. Those with a short connection time of 60 to 120 minutes need to be alert and efficient to avoid missing their connecting flight. After disembarking, transit passengers looking to catch their next flight need to follow the ‘Connections’ signage and make their way to the transfer area.

To avoid getting on the wrong transfer route, make an effort to consult the staff wearing a “May I Help You” t-shirt. The friendly and well-informed staff will be more than happy to point you in the right direction. 

For those with an extended layover time, options are available to help pass the time. Terminals 1 and 2 offer lounges, sleeping pods, eateries, and even showering facilities to help you freshen up for your next flight.