Dubai flights: Emirates launches world's first robot check-in assistant in new DIFC facility

The city check-in centre is open from 8:00am to 10:00pm daily and customers can drop their luggage as early as 24 hours and up to 4 hours before their trip


Nasreen Abdulla


Afkar Ali Ahmed

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Published: Thu 27 Apr 2023, 4:49 PM

Last updated: Thu 27 Apr 2023, 10:06 PM

Dubai-based Emirates airline has launched a new facility at the ICD Brookfield Place of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) which features the world's first robot check-in assistant named Sara.

Emirates City Check-in and Travel Store offers customers a wide range of services, including booking facility, check-in for flights at the heart of the city, drop off luggage, shop for travel essentials, and save time.

This is the first time Emirates has launched a city check-in facility within Dubai. “We are very excited about launching this in a very busy financial district,” said Adel Al Redha, COO of Emirates. “It is a state-of-the-art facility, and it is the next level of privilege that we can offer our customers. People can avoid busy periods at the airport and minimise queuing."

Fully operational

The facility, which is fully operational as of Thursday, April 27, allows customers to drop their luggage as early as 24 hours and up to 4 hours before a flight, arriving at the airport at leisure. Customers can visit the space and check in anytime from 8:00am to 10:00pm daily.

Passengers can check-in via self-check-in kiosks, at dedicated desks with Emirates agents, or with the help of the world's first-ever check‑in robot assistant - Sara. This is the first time customers will interact with the robot, which was unveiled earlier this year at the Emirates HQ.

Equipped to scan passengers' faces and match them to their travel documents, Sara is an innovative portable robotic check-in system that can print boarding passes and move around to assist those who need help. According to sources, the next iterations of Sara will have arms that can also transport luggage.

Pilot project

Supplied photos
Supplied photos

According to Al Redha, this is a pilot project. "Once we measure the success and demand, we will be looking at whether we can expand it to other areas," he said.

With an eye-catching 2.5 metre LCD screen showing the latest destinations from Emirates and other interactive screens, the City Check-in and Travel Store ensure an elevated, hassle-free check-in experience for Emirates passengers. Visitors can also get expert advice and offers on trending destinations, while dedicated travel consultants can assist with purchasing tickets for future journeys, managing current bookings, purchasing upgrades, selecting preferred seats, and arranging extra baggage if required.

Emirates passengers with valid boarding passes who wish to discover the area or spend time relaxing before their flight will have complimentary access to select lifestyle facilities in the world-renowned ICD Brookfield Place and exclusive discounts and special offers across a range of restaurants, gyms, and luxury stores.

When it's time to fly, passengers can then connect directly to the airport via taxi or Emirates chauffeur service or take a short 10-minute walk to Financial Centre Metro Station, connecting seamlessly into the Airport Terminal 3 Metro Station.

Centrally located on Al Mustaqbal Street, the ICD Brookfield Place is designed by world-renowned architects Foster + Partners and crowned 'World's Best Architecture' at the International Property Awards. It is also renowned as one of the most sustainable buildings in Dubai, certified LEED Platinum, and has committed to reaching Net Zero Carbon by 2030.


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