Jumeirah Beach Residence
 

Airlines

Your first holiday in Dubai? You'll need to consider Where To Stay, by Choosing Your Hotel, or looking at 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. You may prefer to explore our favourite hotels search site Hotels Combined

But first you need to get there - the following are airlines that serve Dubai International Airport (DXB) from the UK:

Emirates
Air France (via Paris - Charles de Gaulle hub)
KLM (via Amsterdam hub)
(Sometimes Air France and KLM can be mixed ie one outbound, the other back)
Lufthansa (via Munich, Frankfurt or Hamburg possibly by BMi)
Virgin Atlantic
BA
Qatar (via Doha hub)
BA & Qatar combined
Gulf Air (via Bahrain hub)
Royal Brunei
Etihad (flying to Abu Dhabi and using a dedicated coach service to Dubai which takes just over an hour)
Oman Air

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. Please help us keep this information up to date and Contact Us.

In recent years Dubai has become an easily accessible city though Dubai International Airport (DXB) which is now a globally important aviation hub and transit point. Most large cities now have flights to Dubai. In fact Dubai caters for over 110 different airlines flying in from over 160 destinations. For flight information ring 04 2166666 or look at www.dubaiairport.com.

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 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 own 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 is able to handle 43 million passengers a year. 

Other airlines mostly use terminal 1. A new terminal - terminal 4 - is currently under construction.

Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport

Your Dubai holiday starts when you arrive at the terminal where you'll be amazed by it's size and grandure. Everything is clearly 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 travellators. 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 at duty free, ask at the checkout about the maximum you can buy and (illegally?) 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 it to get to your hotel. Bear in mind that transporting alcohol in cars or on the Metro is illegal at worst and a grey area at best. A blind eye seems to be turned unless you're involved in an accident. It seems odd that by having a duty free shop in arrivals you're being encouraged to break the law the moment you enter the country. After this point the only places you'll be able to buy any alcoholic drinks will be in the hotels and other licenced premises. No supermarkets sell alcohol, so this may be your last chance.

Your first holiday in Dubai?..Drink plenty of bottled water...You need it!

You may read about a second international airport - Al Maktoum International Airport (also previously known as Jebel Ali International Airport, Jebel Ali Airport City and Dubai World Central International Airport) - being built which will be even larger (ten times larger!) than the already large Dubai International Airport. This new airport is out in the desert beyond the Jebel Ali end of Dubai, and will therefore be perfectly positioned to serve both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. But don't be confused - it's not open yet to international passenger flights.

Named after the late ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, it will be the main part of Dubai World Central, a planned residential, commercial and logistics scheme.

Initially the new airport is concentrating on cargo flights and aims to be the  largest airport in the world in terms of freight handled, moving up to 12 million tonnes per year.

However passenger flights won't be far behind and the airport will eventually have a massive passenger capacity of up to 160 million people a year.

Originally it was hoped the scheme would be fully built and operational by 2017, but it now seems likely that the 2009+ financial crisis may postpone completion to 2022.

Don't underestimate the size of this project. Designed for the future, Al Maktoum International Airport proposes to handle all next-generation aircraft, including the A380 super-jumbo. Up to four aircraft will be able to land at the same time, 24 hours a day, minimising in-air queuing. The airport will include five parallel runways each 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles) long, three passenger terminals, including two luxury facilities, one dedicated to airlines of the Emirates Group, the second to other carriers and the third to low cost carriers.

So, interesting as this may be, for the moment you will not be flying into this new airport, but things change quickly in Dubai, so it perhaps it won't be long before this becomes another option.

Your Dubai holiday is special - stay well - drink plenty of bottled water!

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 Dubai holiday.

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.

If you're planning travelling further than Dubai here are some 'local' flight times : 
Qatar (Doha) - 1 hr, 
Saudi Arabia (Riyadh) - 1 hr 50,
Iran (Tehran) - 2 hr 05,
India (Delhi) - 3 hr,
Cyprus - 3 hr 40,
Jordan (Amman) - 3 hr 15,
Syria  (Damascus) - 3 hr 30,
Lebanon (Beirut) - 3 hr 40,
Greece - 4 hr 55,
Maldives - 4 hr 15,
Sri Lanka (Colombo) - 4 hr 10,
Egypt (Cairo) - 4 hr 20,
Seychelles - 4 hr 30,
Turkey (Istanbul) - 4 hr 45. 

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