If you are going to be in Dubai in transit or on a layover for a few hours, it's better to stay in the airport than to venture out to see the city for a number of reasons. At the top of the list is the fact that the roads in Dubai are notorious for heavy traffic, and if you are done in a traffic jam it might become very difficult to get back to your terminal in time for your next flight. Since the airport handles a lot of flight traffic, the crowds at the airport terminals are usually high, which makes it tougher to get to your gate on time.
There are many dedicated lounges for various international airlines like the British Airlines, KLM, Star Alliance, Air France and Gulf Air. Emirates has separate lounges for Business Class and First Class travelers. In addition to this, you can pay to use the Marhaba Lounge, which is an Arabian-themed waiting room that offers buffet food and drinks. The cost for this lounge is US dollars 24 for four hours. If you want a place to sleep in and take a shower, you can book yourself a room in the five-star Dubai International Hotel.
Food and drinks
If you have booked your ticket on the Emirates and your transit time is more than 3 hours, you are entitled to a free meal at Safar Restaurant in Dubai Airport. If you find this place too crowded, there are lots of other options for your dining pleasure. The Irish Village Pub at Gate 22 is an Irish-themed restaurant with open tables and lots of Guinness gear. This place is open 24 hours a day. The Fast Food Court between Gate 13 and 15 has a lot of fast food outlets with continental, Lebanese, Indian and Italian options. The Wings Bar above Gate 22 is a good, quiet place for drinks, and it offers a fie view of departing planes. The Seafood Bar is a small eatery famous for its smoked salmon, sushi and caviar. There are lots of other snack stops everywhere in the airport.
Indulge in Dubai's favorite activity – shopping. The duty-free shopping center in Dubai airport's Sheik Rashid Terminal is huge and has many products. The best bargains are said to be in cigarettes, alcohol and jewelry. You can also buy perfumes, tobacco, gold, electronics, fashion wear, food and spices. If you're on a budget, just browse through the shops set in an Arabian-themed mall to while away the time. There's even a raffle held every hour.
If you are traveling with children, take them to the Airport's entertainment center, where they can have fun playing games. There's also a mother's lounge attached nearby.
There are two fully equipped business centers with ISD phones, faxes, internet-connected work stations and secretarial services to cater to your business needs which is an equivalent service to many business hotels in Dubai .
The airport is fully wireless-enabled, so you can use your laptops anywhere in there. There are also pay-to-use computers, with internet access, where you can spend your time browsing and sending e-mail. There are also pay phones located all over the airport.
The La Femme beauty salon is located near Gate 18. You can have a traditional Arabic henna tattoo done on your hands.
Smoking is prohibited in the Dubai airport. However, there are smoker's zones in the Sheikh Rashid's terminal, also known as "the concourse where you can have a quick puff."
The G Force Gym at the Dubai International Airport is a good place to fight off your jet lag and to stretch your muscles. You can also use the swimming pool, jacuzzi, billiards table or get a quick massage done there. There are four prayer rooms in the concourse and arrival terminals of the airport, two for men and two for women.
There are several facilities for passengers with special needs. Any passenger with special needs can avail of personalized services by just making a request in advance. Try to get to know the layout of the airport before you depart on your trip, so that you make the best use of your transit time in Dubai.