UAE holiday travels: How to beat Christmas rush at Dubai airports

4.4 million passengers will be dashing through DXB this festive season


Angel Tesorero

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Thu 14 Dec 2023, 3:32 PM

Last updated: Thu 14 Dec 2023, 6:06 PM

Christmas rush is here and an estimated 4.4 million passengers are expected to dash through Dubai International Airport (DXB) this festive season between December 15 and December 31.

Whether expats are departing to go home for the holidays, or visitors are arriving in Dubai to celebrate the festive season, the average total daily traffic is expected to reach about 258,000, with a peak on Friday, December 22, estimated at 279,000 passengers.

DXB released helpful tips on Thursday to beat the festive rush.

  • Use Dubai Metro to get to and from the airport’s Terminals 1 and 3. Metro operating times are generally extended during festive holidays and peak periods at DXB.
  • If you’re flying with Emirates, use the airline’s convenient home, early and self-service check-in facilities as well as a city check-in option at ICD Brookfield Place in the DIFC area in Dubai and the dedicated facility in Ajman.
  • flydubai passengers should arrive at least four hours before their departure time.
  • If you’re travelling with other airlines, arrive at DXB no earlier than three hours before the scheduled departure time. Use online check-in where available to save time.
  • Families with children over the age of 12 can use Smart Gates to speed up the passport control process.
  • Be aware of the latest travel regulations for the destination you’re travelling to, and be prepared with all the necessary travel documents.
  • Weigh luggage at home, assemble documents in advance and be prepared for security checks to minimise stress and delays.
  • Properly pack spare batteries and power banks in your hand luggage.
  • Say your goodbyes at home as only passengers will be allowed inside the terminals during peak periods.
  • Avoid Airport Road leading to Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 if you can; or expect to experience congestion during peak hours.
  • Access to the arrivals’ forecourts in both Terminals 1 and 3 is limited to public transport and other authorised airport vehicles only. Those visiting the airport to pick-up guests should use DXB’s designated car parks or valet services.

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Festive performers

Once at the airport, enjoy DXB facilities, including restaurants, duty free shopping, hotel and exclusive lounge access before your flight.

Across Terminals 1, 2 and 3, there will be various activities such as a 3D photo opportunity in a giant snow globe. Festive performers will also be handing out chocolates and other gifts. Of course, Santa and his elves will be present too.

Essa Al Shamsi, senior vice President of Terminal Operations at Dubai Airports, said: “With the holiday spirit in full swing, we’re prepared for this travel peak – your passport to a memorable experience. Our dedicated teams across DXB are committed to making the festive travel experience cheerful and bright.”


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