Airport review: Dubai International Airport Terminal 2

IATA CODE

DBX

THE ARRIVAL

I arrive from Melbourne in the morning, spend the day in Dubai and take a car back to the airport. The car journey takes about 25 minutes in peak hour and my driver, bemoaning the traffic, says travellers should always expect delays when heading to T2.

THE LOOK

T2 is the home of Dubai's low-cost carrier, flydubai, which, like Emirates, is owned by the Dubai government. If you were expecting some of the gloss of Dubai Airport's main terminal – Terminal 3, home to Emirates and Qantas – to have rubbed off on Terminal 2, you'd be sadly disappointed. Short- to medium-haul runs to the hometowns of Dubai's immigrant worker population are the budget airline's bread and butter, so there's zero glitz.

CHECK-IN

I flew in from Melbourne on Emirates and am travelling on to Almaty in Kazakhstan with flydubai. The two airlines have a baggage-handling agreement, so my luggage is booked all the way through, but I still have to get a boarding pass for the flydubai leg. It is issued in the blink of an eye.

SECURITY

This is a no-smiles, no-mucking-about airport used to processing great gangs of workers. Everyone rips off their belts, shoes and watches with speed and efficiency. The  pace is impressive and refreshing.

FOOD AND DRINK

Eating is a soul-destroying chore here. Choose between KFC, McDonald's or Subway for warmish food. The brightest spot is the Costa coffee chain, which also sells sandwiches. The "ambience" is heightened by the grinding noise of concrete cutters emanating from behind hoardings that promise a new dosa and dahl hut.

RETAIL THERAPY

A few basic duty-free shops sell the usual international alcohol brands, overpriced designer sunglasses and Toblerone multi-packs. Amid all this, I discover a perfume stand selling Amouage, a brand founded in nearby Oman and once the most expensive perfume in the world. There's also a little pharmacy. I bypass the raffle offering a new car.

PASSING TIME

Fast, free Wi-Fi is one thing this terminal shares with its glossier counterpart  and there are charging stations at the gates. Otherwise, you could sign up to the Priority Pass network of pay-to-enter lounges to access the Maharba lounge.

ONE MORE THING

Terminal 2 is about 18 minutes' drive around the airport precinct from Dubai's main hub, Terminal 3. A free shuttle bus runs between the two but the journey takes about 40 minutes.  It's far better and faster to take a taxi or book a ride through Uber or Careem.

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THE VERDICT

Don't linger. Dubai's Terminal 2 is not pretty, but it does the job, quick smart. 

OUR RATING OUT OF FIVE

★★½

Belinda Jackson travelled as a guest of Golden Eagle Luxury Trains.

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