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).

Your 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 to guarantee your seat.

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 Airline Coach Services in the UAE

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 Airport 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 used to offer a complimentary service on AUH Express, which leaves from Ibn Battuta; but it looks like WizzAir passengers now need to pay extra for this add-on from Dubai.

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 pointy 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 five 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 (these are usually Mercedes vans, not stretch limos!)

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
Car seats that can be borrowed for use in taxis at DXB arrivals

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. (NB similar service InDrive is not available in the UAE).
  • Tour and attraction providers such as Viator offer a wide range of competitively priced transport providers in the UAE.

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. However, if you’re travelling on a budget and got the time, this is the cheapest way of getting from Dubai Airport to Abu Dhabi or Zayed International Airport.

Relying just on public transport between the two cities 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). This service costs 25 AED one way and can be paid for using your Nol card.
  • From Abu Dhabi Central Station, you can connect to local bus services to reach your destination. If this is Zayed International Airport (the new 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.
  • We have found that it is easier to take the Metro all the way to Ibn Battuta in Dubai, then you have two public buses to choose from, the 101 or the 102, and the AUH Express Airport bus.
  • The 101 Intercity Bus (25 AED one way) goes to Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station. You need to take a further bus back to the airport from there as described above. If you are seeking other areas of Abu Dhabi, this is the most convenient service as you can connect to Abu Dhabi suburban services.
  • The 102 Intercity Bus (25 AED) makes a few stops en route to Mussfah, which is outside of Abu Dhabi city, but conveniently, one of these side stops is now Zayed International Airport Terminal A. It takes a few minutes longer than the express bus but is 10 AED cheaper. This is also the most convenient if you seek areas of Abu Dhbai such as Shahama, before reaching the city
  • The AUH Express bus (35 AED) from Ibn Battuta station is the new obvious choice for the quickest direct connection to Zayed International Airport. Be mindful that it only leaves once an hour, every hour, 24 hours a day.

(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).

AUH Express bus at Ibn Battuta Station
The AUH Express is one of the most direct ways to connect with Zayed International Airport in Abu Dhabi, from DubaiBuy tickets in advance here

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 could 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.
  • Another cost to factor in, as well as the car hire and fuel, is that you’ll be charged for tolls that exist both in Dubai (Salik) and Darb tolls during peak hours in Abu Dhabi.

We hope this guide to Dubai airport transport to Abu Dhabi helps you understand all of the available options. Taking a taxi from DXB airport may be the most convenient, but not the cheapest. We hope you’ve found the UAE transport option here that fits your travel needs best.

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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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