Emirates 'busiest' weekend: How to beat the Christmas travel rush

The Dubai airline is expecting more than a million passengers to fly in and out of Dubai until at least December 21

The winter holidays are almost here and Emirates Airline is gearing up for a peak travel period.

More than 1.1 million passengers are expected to fly with Emirates through Dubai International Airport over the next 12 days.

The Dubai airline says that this Friday and Saturday will be the busiest days for travel, with around 250,000 travellers departing from Terminal 3. The busy period of travel is expected to last until at least December 21 as people fly overseas during the UAE school holidays, and to celebrate Christmas and New Year.

Emirates is expecting a peak travel period until December 21. Photo: Dubai Airports

Dubai International Airport issued a notice last month for travel in December. Officials advised travellers to factor in extra time to get to the airport as the roads surrounding it are likely to be congested during this busy period.

Emirates is advising passengers to arrive early at the airport and also to follow all safety rules in place such as compulsory face masks at Dubai International Airport and on all Emirates flights.

Travellers should make sure they have all the required documents for their destination before travelling to the airport.

How early do I need to be at the airport?

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 before their flight's departure will not be allowed to travel.

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

Travellers can use self check-in and bag drop facilities at Terminal 3 to check-in up to 24 hours before departure. Photo: Emirates

Travellers also have the option of checking in at the airport anytime in the 24 hours before their flight departure. Passengers can drop their bags and collect boarding passes at any of the 32 self-service bag drop machines and 16 check-in kiosks available in Terminal 3. Customers using the self-service kiosk must still complete their immigration formalities no later than 60 minutes before their flight departure.

Travellers can also check in online from 48 hours to 90 minutes before a flight, and may be able to download a digital boarding pass, depending on where they are travelling. If that's not an option for your destination, you'll need to visit a check-in counter at the airport to collect boarding passes and have travel documents verified.

How early do I need to be at the gate?

Emirates reminds travellers to get to their gate no time. Photo: Emirates

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

Do I need a Covid-19 test before flying?

Travellers flying to certain destinations will need to show a negative Covid-19 test result at the airport before being allowed to check in.

Depending on where you are going, tests should be carried out 48, 72 or 96 hours ahead of your departure time, so be sure to check the regulations for your destination and book any tests in advance accordingly. Emirates has detailed destination-specific information on its website.

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Updated: December 9th 2021, 10:22 AM