what is the difference between terminal 1 and 3 in dubai airport



When it comes to traveling, airports can be a maze of confusion, especially when you have to navigate through multiple terminals. Dubai Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world, has two main terminals – Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. As a frequent traveler myself, I’ve often found it challenging to understand the differences between these two terminals, so I decided to do some research and put together this ultimate guide to help you navigate through these terminals with ease.

Location and Layout

One of the most significant differences between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 is their location and layout. Terminal 1 is situated at the heart of the airport, while Terminal 3 is located at the opposite end. Terminal 1 is the older of the two and has a more compact layout, making it easier to navigate, while Terminal 3 is the larger and more modern terminal.

Facilities and Amenities

When it comes to facilities and amenities, both terminals offer a wide range of options for travelers. However, Terminal 3 boasts a more extensive selection of dining and shopping outlets, perfect for those who love to indulge in some retail therapy or enjoy a delicious meal before their flight. On the other hand, Terminal 1 offers a more traditional selection of stores and eateries, with a focus on convenience rather than luxury.

Check-In and Security

Check-in and security processes can vary between the two terminals. Terminal 1 generally experiences shorter wait times for check-in and security screening due to its smaller size, while Terminal 3 may have longer queues, especially during peak travel times. However, Terminal 3 also has more advanced security technology and facilities, ensuring a safe and efficient process for travelers.

Transportation and Accessibility

Transportation and accessibility are essential factors to consider when navigating through an airport. Terminal 3 is directly connected to the Dubai Metro, providing easy access for passengers arriving or departing from the airport. On the other hand, Terminal 1 is not directly linked to the metro system but offers various ground transportation options, including taxis and buses, making it accessible to all travelers.

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Lounges and Services

For passengers looking to relax and unwind before their flight, both terminals offer exclusive lounges with a range of services. Terminal 3 has a more extensive selection of lounges, including the famous Emirates First Class and Business Class lounges, providing travelers with a luxurious and comfortable experience. Terminal 1 also offers a variety of lounges; however, the options are more limited compared to Terminal 3.


Understanding the key differences between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 at Dubai Airport is essential for a smooth and stress-free travel experience. Whether you prioritize convenience, luxury, or accessibility, both terminals offer unique advantages to cater to the diverse needs of travelers. By familiarizing yourself with the distinct features of each terminal, you can make the most of your journey through Dubai Airport.


1. Can I transfer between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 at Dubai Airport?

Yes, Dubai Airport provides a free shuttle bus service that operates between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, making it easy for passengers to transfer between the two terminals.

2. Are there any differences in the duty-free shopping options between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3?

Yes, Terminal 3 offers a more extensive selection of duty-free shopping outlets, including luxury brands and specialty stores, compared to Terminal 1.

3. Which terminal is closer to the Dubai Metro station?

Terminal 3 is directly connected to the Dubai Metro station, providing convenient access for passengers using the metro system. Terminal 1, on the other hand, is not directly linked to the metro but offers alternative transportation options.

4. Can I access airport lounges in both terminals?

Yes, passengers with eligible memberships or ticket classes can access the exclusive lounges in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, each offering a unique range of services and amenities.

5. Is there a difference in the dining options between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3?

Terminal 3 offers a more diverse selection of dining options, including international cuisines and upscale restaurants, compared to the more traditional dining options available in Terminal 1.

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