The Best Terminals in Dubai Airport

The Best Terminals in Dubai Airport

Terminals are essentially docking points for airline passengers. In addition, these are areas where aircraft can land, resupply, and alight new passengers for their next flight. 

The Dubai Airport (alternatively called Dubai International Airport) is the primary international airport in the city as well as the entire UAE. 

In this article, we’ll introduce to you each terminal and guide you on the best one you can find at the Dubai Airport.  

The Best Terminals in Dubai Airport 

In terms of usability, convenience, and amenities, the best terminal in Dubai Airport is Terminal 3. This is because this section of the airport provides the most variety of shops and lounges for passengers. 

While other terminals also have their own pros and cons, we’ll get to that in a little bit. For now though, we’ll give you a brief overview first.

The Terminals in Dubai Airport 

Dubai Airport has three sections namely Terminal 1, 2, and 3. Each one caters to specific airlines and flights. 

Just like other airports, the terminal you enter depends on the airline that you rode on as you enter the city. This same rule will also apply if you are departing from Dubai.  

Terminal 1 

Terminal 1 (T1) is for airlines that have their ground base outside of Dubai and can host more than 20 million passengers every year. It caters to multiple international flights around the globe, and is one of the busiest areas in the airport. 

It is estimated that T1 allows more than 60 airline carriers to operate in the airport. In order to further accommodate its passengers, this area has its own train which helps passengers to travel to and from the gates of the terminal. 

Despite being a very busy terminal, T1 does not have that many retail stores, but has a food court where you can grab a quick meal while waiting.

Pros:

  • Exclusively for international flights
  • Free Wi-Fi available 
  • Has a food court 

Cons: 

  • Can get very busy 
  • Few retail stores 

Terminal 2 

Terminal 2 (T2) is mostly for low-cost carriers, private, and chartered airlines. It is also where FLYDUBAI solely operates, which is Dubai’s first budget airline.

This particular terminal can host over 5 million passengers and currently allows around 50 airlines to operate on its premises. 

Although there aren’t that many retail stores either here, it does offer more than T1. We like that it also has a food court to cater to hungry passengers and airport employees. 

Pros: 

  • Has a food court 
  • Has more retail shops 

Cons: 

  • Smaller size than the other terminals 
  • Catered to specific types of flights only 

Terminal 3 

Terminal 3 (T3) is primarily for Emirate Airlines flights. It is the largest airport terminal in the world at 1,713,000 m2 (18,440,000 sq ft) of space.

It is adjacent to T1, separated only by an air traffic control tower on one side of the airport’s runway. Passengers can go from T1 to T3 via a transit area which can be accessed after being cleared by airport security. 

What makes this terminal unique is that it has a special entrance for first and business class passengers. Moreover, since it is the newest addition to Dubai Airport, it’s built with updated designs which enhance both its aesthetic and operations. 

It also hosts more amenities and features for passengers compared to the rest. From food courts, restaurants, coffee shops, retail shops, Duty-Free stores, and more – passengers can burn time here easily before their next flight.

Pros: 

  • Has a food court 
  • Has other restaurants
  • Many retail shops available
  • Largest terminal in the world 
  • Has separate entrances for high-tier passengers

Cons: 

  • Emirates Airlines exclusive only 

Which shops are in Dubai Airport? 

If you’re in need of some shopping and you can’t afford to get out of the terminal, there are different shops available at Dubai Airport. 

Depending on the terminal you’re in, you can certainly grab some last-minute souvenirs and gifts for your friends and family back home.

You can get some  jewelry, coffee, and local delicacies from retail stores in the location. There are also various Duty-Free stores that have spirits, wines, food, and chocolates for those who are in need of them. 

With that being said, we’ve listed some of the retail stores in each terminal in the table below, for your reference. 

Terminal 1Terminal 2Terminal 3
EtisalatEtisalatChanel
DuDuSalvatore
Book my Wi-fiDuty-Free ConfectionaryArmani
Duty-Free ConfectionaryDuty-Free Perfumes and CosmeticsLe Clos
Le ClosDuty-Free Liquor and TobaccoMAC
BootsDubai Airport PharmacyEstee Lauder
Clinique
Bulgari
H&M
Bath and Body Works
Adidas

Telecommunications

Etisalat is the UAE-based telecommunications company that can assist with tourists in need of data or internet services during their stay in the city. They can also handle phone repairs in case of emergencies. 

Du is also another telecommunications-related store. They offer a fixed line of mobile, internet, and digital services across the UAE. 

The last of the tech-related stores is Book My Wi-fi. As its name suggests, they allow you to rent pocket Wi-Fi during your stay in the city. 

These stores are placed here strategically for newcomers in the area (and for their convenience as well). This is so they can obtain a line of communication and/or internet connection the moment they land in Dubai. 

Clothing 

There are a couple of shops scattered around Dubai airport. Most brands however are usually in Duty-Free shops dedicated to clothing. 

There are also brand-exclusive stores. For example, popular fast fashion company H&M can be found in Dubai Airport’s T3. 

For ladies’ wear and sleepwear, passengers can go to Victoria’s Secret Pink as well! 

Luxury clothing brands such as Chanel, Armani, and Salvatore can be found in the various Duty Free outlets all around the airport. Most of them are located in T3. 

Liquor 

For those who would want to bring home a premium liquor, this airport has got you covered. Aside from shopping in Duty Free outlets, Dubai Airport houses some liquor shops to provide more variety. 

One of these shops is Le Clos, a speciality wine and spirits shop in Terminal 3. This shop not only offers retail bottles, but they also engrave wine bottles upon request! 

Another shop is the Macallan Boutique. This store focuses on Scotlan-produced single malt drinks. 

Fragrances and Cosmetics 

For perfumes and cosmetic items, the airport also makes sure that passengers can buy something as they come and go. They provide a wide selection of variety and brands via the shops all around the location. 

Duty Free shops provide buyers a good selection of perfumes from luxury brands. These include Gucci, Armani, and Dolce and Gabbana. 

They also have makeup and skincare brands as well. But these are usually all housed in just one store. 

Another store that sells multiple brands is Boots. This shop offers cosmetic items and medicines as well. 

For people who would want a shop that sells only one brand, Bath and Body Works is also in Dubai Airport’s Terminal 3. This international brand has fine fragrances, shower gels, body lotions and creams of different fragrances and variations. 

Overall, Dubai Airport has some choices for passengers. However, we do recommend grabbing a chance to actually shop in the different malls and outlets around the city for more variety and less expensive and good deals. 

Which is the best arrival terminal for shopping? 

Overall, if we’re just going to look at the number of shops available, it would certainly be Terminal 3. This is because they offer a wide variety of items for shoppers. 

This area has both luxury and common items for passengers. High-end brands such as Chanel and Armani can be found here. 

In addition, there are also some general retail stores that sell various high-end brands in one location. These include perfumes and cosmetics. 

For non-luxury items, people can find clothes, eyewear, and hygiene and cosmetic products in Terminal 3. As we’ve listed in the table from the previous section, this area has H&M, and Bath and Body Works, to name a few. 

Aside from the good variety, Terminal 3 has a good lounge and/or waiting areas for passengers. Shoppers can take a break and put their purchased items away as they rest. 

Compared to the other premises in Dubai Airport, Terminal 3 is the best place to go for shopping in the area. The only thing that can be expressed as a disadvantage of this terminal is its exclusivity in terms of flights. 

However, there are ways for passengers from other terminals to go to T3 for some shopping. So if you’d like to have more options as you shop in Dubai Airport, we recommend heading to Terminal 3! 

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