Dubai, United Arab Emirates


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Co-founder and Chief Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Kaspars is a digital nomad and travel blogger who’s been traveling the world extensively since 2013. Since 2017, Kaspars has been writing about the less-known aspects of air travel, things like air passenger rights laws and regulations. He’s really good at simplifying complex concepts and making them easily understandable. Kaspars favorite airlines are Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines.

Dubai is a major international hub with some of the busiest airports in the world.

There are two international airports in Dubai – Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC). Both DXB and DWC offer plenty of flights to destinations all over the world as well as domestic flights within UAE. This is something you should be taking into account when planning a connection in Dubai. Especially when making a self transfer in Dubai.


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Table of Contents

Dubai Airport Entrance
Dubai Airport Entrance (DWC)

1. Airports in Dubai

There are 2 major airports in Dubai.

1.1 Dubai International Airport (DXB)

In short, this is the main airport in Dubai.

Dubai International Airport (DXB) is one of the busiest airports in the world, handling more than 89 million passengers annually. It serves as a major hub for the Middle East region with over 140 airlines operating from there, offering flights to over 260 destinations in more than 80 countries around the globe.

The airport is a hub for Emirates.

Official website: www.dubaiairports.ae (same for both)

1.2 Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC)

The airport is also known as Dubai World Central.

In 2023, only 7 airlines operate from DWC Airport in Dubai. See the up-to-date list of airlines operating from Dubai airports here.

Located just south of the city, DWC is the second major airport in Dubai. Airlines like Wizz Air and TUI Airlines Nederland operate flights from this airport. It was opened in 2010 and has since become an increasingly busy place. At the moment there are two most popular options, how to get from the DWC to Dubai city center and elsewhere — taxi and public bus.

Official website: www.dubaiairports.ae (same for both)

1.3 Getting From DWC to Dubai International Airport (DXB)

Getting between airports in Dubai takes up to 2 hours.

It’s only travel time. Count in the time you need for immigration, baggage collection, waiting for the bus, if you’re taking a bus, and other smaller things, and it will be something more like 3-4 hours.

There are several transportation options available:

  1. Taxi: the easiest and fastest option for travel between airports in Dubai. Taxis are readily available at DWC, and the journey to DXB takes approximately 45-60 minutes, depending on traffic. The cost may vary depending on the time of day and the type of taxi you choose.
  2. Public Bus and metro: the cheapest way to travel between airports in Dubai. RTA buses run between DWC and DXB. Bus F55 operates from DWC to Ibn Battuta Metro Station in Dubai, and from there you can take a metro to DXB airport. The journey takes approximately 2 hours, and the cost is AED 7.5 per person (that’s only around 2 USD / EUR).
  3. Private Shuttle / Airport Transfer: the most convenient mode of transportation. Private shuttle services are available in Dubai. These services offer door-to-door transfers between DWC and DXB, and with possible stops on the way. The cost may vary depending on the service provider and the type of vehicle chosen.

The important thing is to remember that it takes time. That these airports aren’t right next to each other, but on different sides of Dubai.

Getting between airports in Dubai takes up to 2 hours. Only travel time.

2. Connecting Flights in Dubai

If you have a connecting flight (not self transfer), then it’s easy.

All you have to do is to find your next gate, from where your next flight departs. For example, if you are flying from London to Bangkok via Dubai, then in Dubai you have to look for information regarding your flight to Bangkok (Dubai – Bangkok). Look for information of flight information screens or ask someone.

  • Are connecting flights always in the same terminal? No. You may have to change a terminal. You can find it out also, when checking in for the flight, or on arrival in Dubai (by asking airport staff). Learn more here.
  • Do you have to go through security on connecting flights? You may have to. It will depend from where does your next flight departs from.
  • Do you have to go through immigration on connecting flights? No. If it’s a connecting flight, not self-transfer flight, you don’t have to go through immigration between your flights in Dubai. Even though in countries like the USA, you would have to do that and you would have to have a “visa”.
  • Is a 45-minute layover too short for Dubai? If these are airline-protected connecting flights, it’s safe. Learn more here.

3. Self-Transfer Flight in Dubai

Take this into account if you have a self transfer in Dubai:

  • There are two international airports in Dubai. This might be the most important thing to know when transiting in Dubai.
  • Getting between airports in Dubai takes around 2 hours. That’s only the travel time. So, make sure to plan at least 4 – 6 hours between your flights in Dubai, depending on how you plan to travel between the airports.
  • You may need a visa for Dubai. You will be entering United Arab Emirates. And if you need a visa to travel to UAE, you will need a visa for this transit. Check the entry requirements of Dubai, before booking a flight.

Book protected self-transfer connection with Kiwi.

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What is your experience with connecting flights in Dubai? Self-transfer flights in Dubai? Have you ever had a layover in Dubai?

About the author:

Co-founder and Chief Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Kaspars is a digital nomad and travel blogger who’s been traveling the world extensively since 2013. Since 2017, Kaspars has been writing about the less-known aspects of air travel, things like air passenger rights laws and regulations. He’s really good at simplifying complex concepts and making them easily understandable. Kaspars favorite airlines are Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines.

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