Dubai International airport has drawn up some contingency measures and smart travel tips for passengers as it prepares to welcome hundreds of thousands of travellers over the hectic Christmas season.
About 7 million flyers are expected to pass through Dubai International this month alone, with the biggest holiday crowds anticipated to show up this weekend, December 16 and 17, and on December 22.
As schools across the UAE will be on holiday break in the middle of the month and expatriates travel miles back home in time for Christmas, Dubai Airports is anticipating “near-record” passenger numbers over the next few days.
“Nearly a quarter of a million passengers will be passing through the airport daily during the seasonal peak,” said Anita Mehra, senior vice president of communication and reputation at Dubai Airports.
With thousands on the move, Dubai Airports assured on Tuesday that it will augment staff levels and employ new passenger flow monitoring technology that allows the airport, airlines and control authorities to detect and deploy staff to areas of high passenger concentrations.
Immigration transaction times will be reduced to 10 to 15 seconds and ease long queues, thanks to the airport’s new smart gate service, which allows UAE residents to use their Emirates ID cards upon arrival and departure.
To ensure travellers aren’t inconvenienced amid the huge crowds and long check-in and passport control queues, it is best to revisit the following timeless smart travel tips:
• Be sure to check which airport and terminal you are departing from/arriving into beforehand. Passengers can confirm with their airline or check www.dubaiairports.ae
• Arrive early at the airport. It is best to leave a minimum of three hours for check-in and passport control. Take into consideration daily rush hours and available routes in calculating your commuting time to the airport.
• Leave extra time for your journey to the airport as the roads will be very busy. Please say your goodbyes at home.
• Check with the airline in advance for information on your baggage allowance. Irrespective of the allowance, a single unit of baggage weighing more than 32kgs will not be accepted at check-in. You should expect to be charged for baggage more than the limit set by your respective airline.
• It is always simpler to pack liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) in your check-in baggage. However, if you must carry LAGs in your hand luggage, make sure they are in a clear re-sealable plastic bag. Each item should not be more than 100ml and the total content of all items should not be more than one litre.
• Beat the queues by checking-in online or using the self-service check-in kiosks in the departures hall. Customers with baggage can make use of the quick-baggage drop counters, while those carrying only hand luggage can proceed directly to Immigration.
• Remember to put anything metal – watch, jewellery, mobile phone, coins, belt – into your hand luggage well before you arrive at the X-ray machine. This will save time at security screening.
• UAE residents are encouraged to use Emirates ID cards at any smart gate which helps avoid queuing at passport control, both while arriving and on departure.