A blurred overhead view of the busy freeways around DXB Dubai International Airport

Dubai Airport to Abu Dhabi – Transport Options Explained

by Dubai Travel Planner

Have you arrived at Dubai’s International Airport (DXB), but your end destination is actually Abu Dhabi?

There are several different ways you can connect from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, some are slow but free, yes FREE! Other options will get you there door to door but come at a cost.

Dubai to Abu Dhabi – Emirates Complimentary Coach

If you’ve landed at DXB with Emirates, but your end destination is Abu Dhabi, you can book your airline ticket to end in Abu Dhabi and cover the last 160kms or so by ground transportation in a luxury coach.

When booking your airline ticket with Emirates, you simply need to enter your end destination as ZVJ. (Note Emirates does not fly directly to AUH airport, only DXB).

You’re Abu Dhabi arrival point is outside the Emirates Abu Dhabi office in Khalidiya, on the Corniche.

Note that you still need to clear customs and collect your bags in Dubai Airport Terminal 3 before making your way to the coach service, parked in the same arrivals pick up zone as the taxis.

Emirates courtesy bus
The Emirates courtesy coach in Dubai Airport ready to take passengers to Abu Dhabi corniche.

The bus runs five times a day (as of September 2023), and you will be allocated a seat at the same time you are issued your airline ticket. 

If your ticket only takes you to DXB not ZVJ, you can call Emirates to add this service later after booking your ticket, but it MUST be pre-booked.

These are the current timings from DXB – you’ll want to give yourself at least an hour from disembarking and getting through immigration and customs.

Departing fromDepartureArrival
DXB to Abu Dhabi03:0005:15
DXB to Abu Dhabi06:3008:45
DXB to Abu Dhabi10:0012:15
DXB to Abu Dhabi15:0017:15
DXB to Abu Dhabi23:0001:15

Other Complimentary Coach Services

There are several UAE airlines that also offer complimentary coaches, but none of these presently operate from DXB.

If you are transferring from Dubai Airport to Abu Dhabi with an airline other than Emirates, you’ll need to make your way to that airline’s head office in Dubai to join their complimentary coach. For example:

  • Etihad operates a complimentary coach from Al Wasl Center, on Sheikh Zayed Road
  • AirArabia offers a service from their office in Karama.
  • WizzAir offers a complimentary service on AUH Express, which leaves from Ibn Battuta; other travellers can use this shuttle service to AUH for a fee of 35 AED.

Complimentary Business and First Class Chauffers

If you are travelling business or first class with Emirates, passengers are able to choose the convenience of completing their journey with a chauffeur, all included in their ticket price.

You still need to reserve your transfer in advance, but it is by far the easiest option if you’re flying on the top deck or point end with Emirates and must complete your journey from DXB to Abu Dhabi.

Using an Airport Taxi from DXB to Abu Dhabi

Airport taxis from Dubai Airport to Abu Dhabi are surprisingly efficient. It depends a bit on the vehicle size and how far into Abu Dhabi you’re travelling, but you can expect a standard taxi from the airport to cost around 350-400 AED and more like 500 – 550 AED if you need a 7 seater.

A standard Dubai taxi can only take a maximum of 4 passengers with 2 large pieces of luggage or 4 small cases. You’ll pay a 25 AED airport flagfall.

Taxis lined up at arrivals in DXB airport in Dubai
Taxis lined up at DXB Airport

If you have a larger group, you’ll need an airport limousine. These cost an extra 1 AED per KM – which over the 160 kilometres or so to Abu Dhabi, can quickly add up. There’s not much choice, though, with 5 passengers and luggage (beyond private services, which we’ll touch on below), so be prepared to pay more than 500 AED to get to Abu Dhabi in an airport limousine.

Worried about car seats for kids? Infant car seats can be borrowed on a complimentary basis from the taxi rank at DXB. Look out for this cabinet in the taxi queue (or ask staff to direct you). the taxi driver simply returns the seat when they next return to the airport.

car seats available to borrow free at Dubai international airport

Using a Private Transfer from DXB

You can use several private transfer services to complete your journey from DXB Airport to Abu Dhabi.

  • The first and most obvious you’ve probably heard of before is Uber (App Store | Google Play), but also consider local company Careem (App Store | Google Play) – both will allow you to pre-book your service and lock in your price (do bear in mind what we said above, you may get just as good service with a public taxi).
  • A trusted airport service that operates in many locations is Welcome Pick-Ups – see how their quotes compare to using a standard taxi.
  • A unique private transfer method that is growing in popularity is Get Transfer – it runs kind of like an auction; you put your journey details in, and then drivers will bid to provide your service. If you get anything under 400 AED, we reckon you’re getting a good price.

Using the Public Transport system from DXB to Abu Dhabi

We’re not going to lie; it’s not straightforward and will take you several hours to get from DXB to Abu Dhabi. Relying just on public transport involves:

  • Taking the Metro from DXB Metro station (easily found in arrivals) to Al Ghubaiba Station (27 minutes, 5 AED) OR Ibn Battuta Station (1 hour, 8.50 AED). You will need a Nol card.
  • From Al Ghubaiba, you can catch the 100 Intercity bus to Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station, Al Wadha (approximately 2 hours and 16 minutes), or the 101 service from Ibn Battuta (approx 90-minute journey). Both services cost 25 AED one way and can be paid for using your Nol card.

From Abu Dhabi, you can connect to local bus services to get to your end destination. If this is Abu Dhabi International Airport, you’ll want to take the A2 Bus back out to the airport, which is approximately another 50-minute journey and 4 AED

(NB Nol card is not used in Abu Dhabi; when you’re in Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station, you’ll need to pick yourself up a Hafilat, Abu Dhabi bus card for local services).

Self-Driving Dubai To Abu Dhabi

Are you confident behind the wheel and feel you’ll need a vehicle for your onward travels in the UAE? Then you should rent a car in Dubai and drive to Abu Dhabi. This could actually work out to be your cheapest and fastest option, depending on how large a car you need and how long for.

  • There are multiple car rental companies based in DXB, we recommend you use discovercars.com to compare prices
  • Before getting behind the wheel in the UAE, make sure you read our driving in Dubai guide that will take you through coping with the often manic Dubai traffic and eight-lane freeways, as well as explain speed limits and nuances between the emirates.

We hope this guide to Dubai airport transport to Abu Dhabi helps you understand all of the available options. Whether things will get easier once the new Abu Dhabi terminal opens in November is yet to be seen!

Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai

  • Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!


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Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE and transit passengers self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our recommendation links.

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