Quick transit in Dubai International Airport en route to Cairo

Dubai Travel Blog

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Welcome to Dubai International Airport!

Before I start whittering on about the precious uberprecious time I spent in Dubai, let's get a couple of facts straight:

Fact #1. Dubai IS the coolest city in the world. Whether it's the cosmopolitan 80% (out of 1.4 million people) expat population that includes over a 100,000 British, the huge 6 lane highways (and this coming from an honorary Texan!), the new state-of-the-art buildings, the upcoming residential colonies or the vast shopping malls that have chains from all over the world, Dubai is definitely en route to becoming the World Capital in a few decades' (if not a few years') time.

Fact #2. Dubai IS the coolest city in the world.

The duty free shopping in Dubai
It's home to my favourite airline Emirates that's the fastest growing in the world and has the largest order of A-380s at the moment, it's home to some excellent restaurants and great food,  great nightlife and more than anything -  lots of money. The way people spend money here has to be seen to be believed. Some people fork out so much money on gold it would put my shopping trolley @ my local grocery to shame.

OK, so now that I've said those bits...we can move on!

The idea of visiting Dubai crept into my head when my mum told me that Emirates was the best connection we had for our Egypt trip from my home, Bengaluru. My comment on instinct was - "oh great, so we could stop over in Dubai!". I suddenly stopped worrying about how to fit in exotic Egyptian pyramids and Temples into our schedule, all I could think of was sipping martinis and nibbling on cavier as I stare at the Arabian Sea sunset with the Burj-Al-Arab in the background.

general lounges and waiting areas at the airport
....  The last few years, I've seen on telly and read so much about how Dubai is changing and how suddenly, anyone with a name and red blood wants to visit there or live there.

Meanwhile we changed our trip schedule such that we get roughly 1.5 days in Dubai. My mum and dad had a shopping list and for me, well it was just being in Dubai after nearly 2 decades (I last visited in 1983, visited 3 Emirates then).

Our Emirates flight from Bengaluru to Dubai was at the unearthly time of 4am which means we had to check in by 2am which means we had to leave the house by 1am which means...well...no sleep that night! But the flight was on time, the staff were very courteous and I cannot say enough nice things about the airline. Everything I'd ever imagined about the airline, it truly is.

Reminder #1 to Vikram: visit London soon!
Agree, the food is a bit of a damper (their Asian Vegetarian meal is deplorable by all standards) but the seats are comfy, the "ICE" Entertainment is amazing (so many to choose from, I kid you not) complete with the sensiscreen touch. I also noticed 2 things about this airline that I've not noticed in others I've travelled on: They've got a frontview and bottomview camera for when the plane takes off and lands which you get to see on your monitor. Second, they have these really cute stickers they provide in each seat that read "Don't disturb me" or "Wake me up for meals" that you can stick on the top of your seat before sleeping. Very cool, very customer oriented airline I thought. As expected, the staff were primarily British with a few Aussies thrown in for good measure (one of the birds on my flight was from Melbourne, sweet-as!).
Reminder #2 to Vikram: visit London soon!

I pretty much slept throughout the flight (yes, I used the "Don't disturb me" sticker!), understandable as I hadn't slept the whole night. Our landing into Dubai was... well different. Given that we're over desert, I was surprised at how low the plane has to go before one can start to see any semblence of a life, of buildings, roads, houses, etc.

The landing was smooth but here's an anticlimax- the Dubai International Airport. Don't get me wrong, it's great...but it's quite "small". I am aware of all the major construction work going on for the new superterminal to house the Emirates A-380s but just given the supposed traffic the airport handles at the moment (13 and 7 daily flights to the UK and Australia resp. by Emirates alone!), I was expecting a more complex weblike airport with semi-circle shaped terminals like we've seen in other airports in Europe and the US.

the empty terminal at about 10am in the morning
But oh no, the Dubai airport has just 1 (or was it 2) large 'strips' as a terminal with airlines parked primarily only on one side (with a few on the other). These strips are adjacent to each other. And for passenger planes, only one runway. Quelle surprise! What was even MORE surprising is the few # of aerobridges. For about half of the flights in the morning/peak period, passengers are driven to and from the plane parked on the tarmac.

And that's how our landing/disembarkment was as well....

We parked at the tarmac far far away from the main terminal and were driven in a cool Emirates bus. Once we were at the "transit stop" (the bus makes 2 stops, one for Transit passengers and one for those whose final destination is Dubai), I got to see the much hyped International terminal in all its glory.

View of Dubai from the plane
Yep, it's ALL that and MORE! Great shopping, great variety and unlike other generic "duty free stores", here you've actually got stores that are specific to a few purchases (like liquor, Arab carpets and scarves, etc). Oh, and I saw my favourite coffee chain Costas! Just when I'd started to think that I must pay London a visit sometime...here's sthg reminding me that it's been LONG overdue! <g>

One thing you're quick to notice about Arab airports is how frequently one hears the prayers even inside the airport at their specified times. You have an abundance of mosques and praying rooms inside the airport, next to some fancy international chains like Costas and Starbucks. Again, what I've always said about Dubai - where the traditional meets the modern.

Our plane to Cairo awaits us...

We had about 2 hours here to roam around the stores before catching our connecting flight to Cairo. The only complaint I have about this airport is the unevenness in the distribution of gates. If your flight is departing from Gates 1-15, then you're safe! Else, you have to walk and walk and walk.... and beyond a certain point, it's quite  the cookie clutter for gates as most of them are non-aerobridge and you're eventually in a "waiting" enclosure waiting to be picked up by the bus.

 

missandrea81 says:
Congratulations, Vikram!
Posted on: Aug 17, 2015
Nana_gincin says:
Congratulations on your new featured blog Vik! bravo!
Posted on: Aug 17, 2015
halilee says:
Congrats on your featured blog!! Agree with Brian, lol!
Posted on: Aug 17, 2015
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Welcome to Dubai International Air…
Welcome to Dubai International Ai…
The duty free shopping in Dubai
The duty free shopping in Dubai
general lounges and waiting areas …
general lounges and waiting areas…
Reminder #1 to Vikram: visit Londo…
Reminder #1 to Vikram: visit Lond…
Reminder #2 to Vikram: visit Londo…
Reminder #2 to Vikram: visit Lond…
the empty terminal at about 10am i…
the empty terminal at about 10am …
View of Dubai from the plane
View of Dubai from the plane
Our plane to Cairo awaits us...
Our plane to Cairo awaits us...
Dubai
photo by: vances