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The pictures shows that my next flight is more than 8 hours after I had landed in Dubai. But low and behold. I could have booked EK059 as my next connection. And this flight would have started at 9 AM from Dubai. I was offered both connections. But the later connection was not only a tad bit cheaper but it also offered Dubai Connect. This was the perfect situtaion to try Emirates Dubai Connect.
How does Dubai Connect work ?
It is important to apply for Dubai Connect after you have booked your flight. It will not come automatically and if you don’t do it, you will miss out. To apply for it you have to enter your passport number. This is necessary as Emirates will also get a a free Visa for the United Arab Emirates for you. You will have to collect the vouchers on your travel day at check-in for your first flight. But they might be only available at the gate, as it was for me the case. On my flight someone lese hat forgotten to collect the vouchers because one of the gate agents just came into the airplane to hand them over.
This is one of the vouchers. The first two are just barely printed pages for the authorities (immigration etc.). But this one is the important one as it is for the hotel that is provided for free. All important information is printed. The arriving flight into Dubai as well as your planned departure flight alongside booking reference and passport number.
Once you arrive in Dubai you have to go to the arrivals hall. Just follow the “Arrival” signs. Just before immigration and passport control you can see the Emirates Customer Service counter. You have to present your vouchers to them. You might find on other guides posted that you need to collect a stamp from a bank at the airport but this was not the case for me. After a brief checking of my papers they just told me to follow immigration procedures and to go to Exit 1. I just queued on the fra right side for “Visa on Arrival”. but even though there was only a short waiting queue it took almost an hour until passing the border control. at Exit 1 you will find a counter for the hotel. I was told to take a seat and to wait for the next bus. If there are many people waiting I would suggest to wait near the exit as the bus that will bring you to the hotel is really small. If this bus is full you would have to wait for the next one which can take up 15 to 20 minutes. At check-in for the hotel you present your voucher once more and you will receive the door card for your room. Boarding time for my next flight was 14.05 PM. Without request the receptionist told me that I would have to check-out at 13 PM and they would call me at 12.30 PM to wake me up. I was not required to leave any credit card information as consolidation as the mini bar/fridge in my room was completely empty. Except for the two complimentary bottles of water.
The room itself is nothing to write home about. Two beds ( a twin room), a TV, shower and toilet and all clean. If you want to go for the food you have to show your boarding card at the desk before entering the restaurant. Germans will be disappointed about the breakfast as there was no cheese or cold meat. Its all about English Breakfast (baked beans, sausages, fried tomatoes) as well as bread, rolls and some spreads.
If you want to can avail of some sightseeing tours around the city. They will take about 2 hours of your time and are offered in the hotel lobby.
At check-out the procedure is the same. Check-out, fighting for a seat in the bus and exit through immigration and of to the gate for your connection flight. All in all it is a great offer from Emirates that helps by a mile to make longer waiting times bearable. And if you have a good planning you might get a free stop-over to visit the city.