What do you mean something for free in Dubai?! Yes, a city with a reputation for being costly might just surprise you.
One of the great perks for tourists who want to cross between the country’s biggest cities is the free airline buses offered by both Emirates and Etihad. Here we are going to talk you through exactly how these services work. (There are plenty of catches though, so read on for the fine print!!)
PLEASE NOTE: At present, the airline buses are not operating from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and vice versa as explained in this article due to COVID-19 Restrictions. You can read the full Dubai-Abu Dhabi border crossing rules here.
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Emirates free transit bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi
If you are landing into Dubai International Airport (DXB), but want to travel to Abu Dhabi, you can book your airline ticket to actually end in Abu Dhabi and cover off the last 150kms or so by ground transportation.
When booking your airline ticket with Emirates, you simply need to enter your end destination as ZVJ. (Emirates does not fly directly to AUH airport)
You’re Abu Dhabi arrival point is outside the Emirates Abu Dhabi office in Khalidiya, on the Corniche.
The bus runs 5 times a day and you will be allocated a seat at the same time you are issued your airline ticket. You can call Emirates to add this service later, but it MUST be pre-booked.
|Dubai to Abu Dhabi||23.00||01.15|
|Dubai to Abu Dhabi||0.200||04.15|
|Dubai to Abu Dhabi||07.15||09.30|
|Dubai to Abu Dhabi||10.00||12.10|
|Dubai to Abu Dhabi||15.00||17.15|
There are a few catches to be aware of when booking this “FREE” option:
- You have to transfer straight from your Emirates flight, to the bus stop at Terminal 3 and onwards to Abu Dhabi – no stopping for sightseeing a day or two in Dubai before you transit onwards!
- The Emirates office in Khalaydia, whilst in a great spot for Abu Dhabi sightseeing and staying along the Corniche, is nowhere near Abu Dhabi International Airport AUH. If you are after a connecting to a flight at AUH, you then need to take a taxi back to AUH, about 80AED / $22USD.
Emirates bus from Abu Dhabi to DXB
You can also use the Emirates free transit bus in reverse. If you have been spending some time in Abu Dhabi but will fly back out of DXB with Emirates, you simply book your return ticket to start from ZVJ and catch the bus from the Emirates Abu Dhabi office in Khalaydia back to DXB Terminal 3.
This service operates 5 times a day as follows:
|Abu Dhabi to Dubai||03.00||05.15|
|Abu Dhabi to Dubai||05.00||07.15|
|Abu Dhabi to Dubai||09.45||12.00|
|Abu Dhabi to Dubai||16.30||19.00|
|Abu Dhabi to Dubai||22.00||23.59|
Flying Etihad? Free transit service from Dubai to AUH
If you have been visiting Dubai, but ultimately need to fly out from Abu Dhabi International Aiport (AUH) with Etihad, then you can use the Etihad free coach transfer service.
This leaves from Etihad Travel Mall (Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Safa 2). There are 10+ services a day, you can check the exact schedule here.
You must pre-book this service using your departure airport as XNB.
Landed in AUH but want to end in Dubai?
The free transit bus system also works in reverse with Etihad. The Etihad Coach departs from outside Terminal 3 AUH and drops passengers to Etihad Travel Mall, Al Safa Dubai with 11 daily services you can see here.
If you are connecting onward to DXB, you can catch the Metro from Noor Bank station (Red Line) and chase to the Green Line for DXB at Union Station.
Again your seat on the free coach must be pre-booked (either with your ticket or by phoning an Etihad call centre at least 24 hours in advance), with your final destination as XNB.
This free coach service between Abu Dhabi and Dubai is only available to passengers who have flown with Etihad.
If you’re not sure whether the free airline transit bus is the right transport option for you, pop back over to see all Dubai to Abu Dhabi transport options here.