UAE summer vacation: Avoid airport check-in queues for free amid travel rush; here’s how

From dropping luggage at Dubai airport the previous day to checking in online, there are multiple ways to travel stress-free


Sahim Salim

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Published: Tue 25 Jun 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 25 Jun 2024, 9:37 PM

Every year, airports in the UAE see long queues at airline check-in counters ahead of the two-month summer vacation when families jet off for annual holidays. However, these lines during peak travel periods could be reduced by about 25 per cent if more customers check in online or at alternative locations, a senior airline executive has said. Most alternative ways to check in are free.

Maryam Al Tamimi, VP (Passenger Services) at Dubai-based Emirates, told Khaleej Times that if passengers check-in online and then report to the airport, their transaction at the self-service baggage drop kiosks would be “much quicker”.

The airline is expecting to fly 2.6 million passengers from Dubai International Airport (DXB) during the peak travel rush period. The busiest day at the airport is expected to be on Saturday July 6.

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“During peak travel periods, queueing time could be about 20 minutes on average, however we want our customers to wait no more than 15. It is very easy to check in online or on the app, and then use self-service kiosks to drop (their) baggage,” said the executive.

4 ways to skip queues

Checking in via the app or online is the most popular among passengers, with nearly 50 per cent using it. It opens 48 hours ahead of flight departure time.

Passengers can also drop their luggage off at the airport the day before for free.

“Passengers who are departing from Dubai can check in early and drop off their bags 24 hours before departure, or 12 hours before departure if flying to the US. Then closer to departure time, customers can proceed directly to the immigration area in the airport,” said Al Tamimi.

At the airline’s city check-in facility in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), passengers can drop off luggage as early as 24 hours and up to four hours before a flight. The airline also has a 24‑hour city check‑in facility at Ajman Central Bus Terminal.

With home check-in, agents complete the process at the customers' home, hotel, or office, and take the bags onto the flight so that they can arrive at a later time with hand luggage. The service is complimentary for first class passengers and Platinum Skywards members.

“All Emirates check-in options are open to every customer, including families with children and people of determination. The only exception is customers travelling to the US. Due to US regulations, those customers must come to the airport check-in areas to present their documents in person,” said Al Tamimi.

Travel bag-free

Etihad Airways said it is looking forward to one of its “busiest ever summers”, with around five million travellers expected at the Zayed International Airport between June and September.

Home check-in service is available from Dh220 “for up to four bags, irrespective of the number of passengers”. At the Abu Dhabi airport, these passengers can skip the queues bag-free at the airport.

Passengers using the online check-in facility can take their luggage to automated self-service bag drops at the terminal. The airline has also introduced offsite check-in and bag-drop facilities, offering passengers using them 2,000 guest miles from June 10 to August 15. These sites are available at the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal (open 24-hours), The Fountains – YAS Mall, Mussafah and Al Ain.


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