Be prepared to be amazed at the shear size of the Dubai International Airport. Yet do not be daunted by the prospect as they built this airport to be the best in the world. Here are some key points to remember if you find yourself having a connecting flight/stop over through this airport:
Weeks before you take off make sure to check how long the wait is for your connecting flight.
"Here's some tips and advice if you find yourself at Dubai International Airport during a stop over"
- If your stay is longer than 4 hours your airline must give you a free food voucher to use in one of the many food courts. Emirates is the dominant airline for this airport and the desk you want to locate is usually located on the upper floor immediately after going through security to the departure lounge.
- If your stay is longer than 8 hours then “the airline is required to provide you with free hotel accommodation and transport for the duration of your wait”. Please make sure to check into the free hotel on your airlines website 24 hours or more before the flight takes off (I made this mistake on my first flight with Emirates, they will not allow you to check in inside the 24 hours prior to departure and you will have to endure the wait at the airport). The free transport is found at the exit of the terminal, make sure to collect your voucher before you leave the airport at the airline desk.
Terminal 3 of Dubai Airport is the main terminal used for International connections. In this terminal there are 3 sections/concourses, labelled A, B and C, each with their own duty free and food courts. Yes the terminals are very long, however there is numerous escalators for walking to speed things up are everywhere.
The terminal design and layout looks very luxurious from the inside. Each terminal includes a hotel and spa inside. The history of the airport and the city of Dubai is displayed into the walls and on display via video in concourse C.
Each terminal has it's own garden with water features and seats for tranquil spots to read, see image below. For the Duty free products, they are priced in US dollars and UAE Dirhams. Prices are not exactly cheap, and you will find a lot of high end fashion stores in the malls.
Sleep pods are available in each terminal if you want to catch some quick zzz's. They are booked by the hour, and the minimum booking is 2 hours at a cost of $16 US per hour.
Recliner seats are hard to come by in the terminal. They are mostly found at the gates. Most people on a long stay will hog these chairs and claim more than one chair with their luggage. I found them good for trying to get a quick nap.
Information on the flights and the airport layout is very easy to find, they seem to have thousands of staff littered across the terminal with vests showing the "I" symbol. There are many info screens located in each concourse (with touch screen features and directional arrows). Help desks and staff close by also.
If you're staying longer in Dubai click on the following link for Dubai Travel Reviews.