Christmas rush: Emirates says December 11 will be busiest day at Dubai International Airport

More than 400,000 passengers will fly in or out of Terminal 3 over the next two weeks

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The winter holidays are almost here and with travel restrictions easing across many destinations, Dubai International Airport is gearing up for a peak travel period.

More than 400,000 passengers are expected to fly with Emirates through DXB over the next two weeks. The Dubai airline says that the busiest day of the season will be Friday, December 11.

The airline's latest booking figures show that more than 200,000 passengers will travel through Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport during the Christmas holiday period. A further 200,000 people are set to arrive in Dubai during the same time frame, said the airline.

With such a busy period ahead, Emirates is warning passengers to arrive early and also reminded travellers that face masks are compulsory at Dubai International Airport and on all Emirates flights.

How early do I need to be at the airport? 

Emirates is advising travellers to be at Dubai International Airport three hours ahead of flight times. Getty Images

Emirates is encouraging passengers to turn up at least three hours before their flight departure time to avoid delays and allow for additional security measures. Travellers arriving at the airport less than 60 minutes prior to their flight's departure will not be allowed to travel.

Travellers can also check-in online from 48 hours to 90 minutes before a flight. Anyone opting to check-in online must still visit a check-in counter at the airport to collect boarding passes and have their travel documents verified, says Emirates.

Can I use self check-in and bag drop machines?

Self-check in kiosk at Terminal 3, DXB. Courtesy Emirates 

Self check-in and bag drop kiosks are now installed at Terminal 3 for Emirates passengers. There are 32 new self-service bag drop machines and 16 self-service kiosks. Travellers flying to most destinations can use these facilities which have been designed to reduce waiting times during busy periods.

Anyone flying to the US, Canada, China, India or Hong Kong cannot use these services as these destinations require further checks.

Smart Gates have also reopened for passengers departing Terminal 3. These were initially closed during the global pandemic but are once again active.

Emirates' Smart Tunnel is also in operation this festive season. This contactless method of airport navigation offers some travellers a contactless journey through the airport. It uses a mix of biometric and facial recognition tests at specific check-in desks, entry to the Emirates Lounge and boarding gates.

How early do I need to be at the gate?

Travellers must reach their boarding gates on time. These open 90 minutes before flights are scheduled to depart and boarding starts 45 minutes before departure time. The gates close 20 minutes before departure and passengers arriving late will not be allowed entry, even if they have successfully checked-in for the flight.

Emirates' biometric path at Dubai International airport allows for a contactless airport experience on some flights. Courtesy Emirates 

Do I need a Covid-19 test before flying? 

Travellers flying to certain destinations will need to show negative Covid-19 PCR test results at the airport before being allowed to check-in. Depending on where you are flying, tests must be carried out 48, 72 or 96 hours ahead of your departure time, so check the regulations for your destination and book any tests accordingly. Emirates has detailed destination-specific information on its website.

Police Special Patrols Unit Al Mersad dress up in their safety gear, before distributing masks to men lined up at Mussafah’s Covid test center.

(Photo: Reem Mohammed/The National)