DXB Airport: its Layout
Dubai Airport is a vast aviation hub. Often compared to a small city, the airport consists of three terminal buildings, with two of them lying adjacent to each other and the third one located within a 7-km distance away. Explicitly:
Dubai Airport Terminal 1
The oldest DXB terminal, terminal 1, is a huge building spread over three levels. It was renovated in 2013 and is now a state-of-the-art terminal, hosting 200 check-in counters along with the D Gates. The terminal gates are actually located in Concourse D, a separate building 4km from the main terminal, which opened its gates in 2016 as a terminal’s expansion to meet its ever-growing passenger needs. Thus, nowadays, terminal 1 can handle up to 20 million travelers annually, whereas its main area is connected to Concourse D via the free automatic shuttle train (automated people mover). Overall, terminal 1 serves the vast majority of international flights, housing more than 60 global airlines.
The first level of terminal 1 shelters the departures. Here, you will find the check-in counters, the ticket kiosks, some retail shops, and a food area. The second terminal’s level hosts the arrivals, and the third some supplementary services. On the other hand, the D Gates are to be found in concourse D, which offers a wide variety of shopping and dining options as well as many airline lounges.
Dubai Airport Terminal 2
The distant terminal 2, built in 1998, is completely separated from the other two airport buildings, approximately 7km away. The remote terminal is the hub of the low-cost governmental air company Flydubai and serves, in general terms, limited international flights, local destinations, as well as charter airlines, and special flights.
Dubai airport terminal 2 is equipped with the latest tech innovations. Sub-divided into four levels, it hosts the arrivals on its first floor, while its second level houses the boarding gates (Gates F), a few lounges, a food court, and some retail shops. Terminal 2 departures are to be found on level three. Finally, the last floor is dedicated to arrivals too.
Dubai Airport Terminal 3
The Dubai International airport terminal 3 is one of the largest single-terminal buildings in the world. Covering a vast area of 1.713m², it is home to Emirates Airlines, the national air carrier handling more than 50% of Middle East flights. In fact, Dubai airport terminal 3 exclusively serves Emirates. Except for some Qantas flights, terminal 3 is actually the Emirates terminal.
The terminal building is by far the most luxurious of the Dubai airport complex and stands out for its advanced character and premium services. Additionally, it is the only DXB terminal housing an airport hotel. Overall, four levels compose terminal 3, further consisting of three concourses. The first floor is where arrivals are to be found, the second shelters the boarding gates, and departures lie at the third level. Here, you will also discover a wide variety of shops and restaurants. Moving up to the last floor, you will find a secondary arrivals area. Please note that concourse A was constructed to serve Airbus A380, whereas Concourse B and C share the rest of Emirates flight traffic.
Transfer between Terminals in DXB Airport
To begin with, terminal 1 and terminal 3 can be accessed on foot without even having to pass the security check. Although going through a minor security check, you don’t have to pass through customs (or obtain a visa) to travel from one terminal to the other. Walking from terminal 1 to terminal 3 shouldn’t take more than 5-30 minutes, depending on your exact destination. In any case, you will find moving walkways and escalators on your way. Alternatively, you can use the free airport shuttle buses running every 20 minutes, 24/7, or even the metro line that calls at both terminals.
On the other hand, terminal 3 is -as already mentioned- enormous. Thus, while walking to Concourse B and C isn’t challenging, reaching the remote Concourse A could be a hassle. Thus, it is advisable to use the automated free airport train (Terminal 3 APM) to reach your A Gate. The airport shuttle train has another line connecting terminal 1 to Concourse D (Terminal 1 APM).
The airport shuttle buses also head from terminals 1 and 3 to terminal 2. Their journey lasts from 15 minutes to 25 minutes, depending on the departure and the destination points.
How many terminals are there in Dubai Airport?
Dubai International Airport has three terminal buildings. Terminal 1 handles the majority of international flights (apart from the flights operated by Emirates Airlines), while the adjacent terminal 3 is dedicated to the UAE flag carrier, Emirates Airlines. Terminal 2 is placed 7km away from the other two airport buildings and serves some international flights as well as low-cost airlines and domestic destinations.
How do I get from terminal 1 to terminal 3 in Dubai?
You can freely walk from terminal 1 to terminal 3 without having to pass through customs. Alternatively, you can use the 24/7 free airport shuttle bus for your transfer or even take the subway, stopping at both terminals.
How do I get from terminal 2 to terminal 3 in Dubai?
Terminal 2 is connected to terminal 3 via the free airport shuttle bus. The bus runs around the clock with a 20-minute itinerary. Please note that if you have one single ticket for both of your flights, your airline will transfer you airside.