Emirates Airlines’ Dubai Connect is a unique service designed to enhance the transit experience for passengers with extended layovers in Dubai. This service is distinct from a regular stopover and is often referred to as Stopover Paid by Carrier (STPC). For clarity, it’s worth noting that the Emirates Dubai Stopover and the Dubai Connect transit programme are two separate offerings.
Similarly, other major airlines like Qatar Airways also have their own versions of such transit programs to enhance the layover experience for their passengers
The Essence of Dubai Connect
Emirates Airlines, recognizing the strategic position of Dubai as a global crossroads, introduced the Dubai Connect service to ensure that passengers with extended layovers experience the best of Emirati hospitality. As one of the world’s busiest transit hubs, Dubai often sees passengers from diverse backgrounds and destinations, waiting for their connecting flights. While these layovers are a result of global flight scheduling and network dynamics, they can sometimes be long and tiring for travellers.
To transform this waiting time into a comfortable and memorable experience, Emirates’ Dubai Connect offers a taste of Dubai’s luxury and warmth. Instead of spending hours at the airport, passengers get a chance to rest in a hotel, enjoy local cuisine, and even explore a bit of the city if time permits. This service not only alleviates the fatigue of long-haul journeys but also showcases Dubai’s renowned hospitality, making the transit a part of the journey itself.
What’s Included in Dubai Connect?
- Hotel Accommodation: Depending on your class of travel, you’ll be provided with a hotel room.
- Meals: The number of meals depends on the duration of your layover.
- Visa: The Dubai Connect booking includes a complimentary visa. This should be prearranged prior to arrival for those nationalities requiring a visa to enter the UAE. However, it can also be arranged on arrival, subject to UAE Immigration approval.
- Airport Transfers: A complimentary coach will take you to and from your hotel. The team at the Dubai Connect desk in Arrivals will assist you with these transfers.
Accommodation Tailored to Your Travel Class:
Emirates ensures that your layover experience aligns with the class of your ticket. Depending on your cabin class, you’ll be accommodated in one of Dubai’s renowned hotels:
- First Class Passengers: Typically hosted at the luxurious JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, located in Business Bay. This hotel boasts modern amenities, exquisite dining options, and panoramic views of the city.
- Business Class Passengers: Often accommodated at Le Meridien Dubai, a hotel known for its elegant design, world-class facilities, and proximity to the airport.
- Premium Economy and Economy Class Passengers: Generally placed at the Copthorne Hotel Dubai, which offers a blend of comfort and convenience, ensuring a restful layover.
Meals and Dining:
Your hotel stay includes meal provisions based on your layover duration. These could range from a single meal to a combination of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The hotels chosen by Emirates are known for their diverse culinary offerings, ensuring you get a taste of both international and local flavours.
Booking Your Flight with Dubai Connect:
- Before Finalizing Your Booking: After selecting your flights, you’ll be directed to a page that confirms your itinerary. Here, alongside other benefits like chauffeur service, you should see the Dubai Connect option if you’re eligible.
- After Booking: If you’ve booked through the Emirates website and meet the criteria, the Dubai Connect service will be automatically presented to you. All you need to do is accept and reserve the room during the flight booking process.
- Confirmation: Once you’ve completed the booking process, you’ll notice the assigned passenger’s name at the bottom along with a room number. This serves as your confirmation for the Stay, Travel, and Play Complimentary (STPC) service.
- Check-In: At your departure airport, during check-in, you’ll receive three Dubai Connect vouchers. These resemble boarding passes and are crucial for your layover experience in Dubai.
Upon Arrival in Dubai:
- Dubai Connect Desk: As you approach immigration at Terminal 3, you’ll find the Dubai Connect desk to your right. Here, you’ll need to present your passport and the three vouchers. You’ll get back two vouchers along with your passport, and an additional slip for immigration.
- Immigration Process: This slip acts as a temporary visa, allowing you entry into the UAE. Ensure you retain it, as it’s required for your exit.
- Transport to the Hotel: If you’re traveling in First or Business class, a chauffeur will drive you to your hotel and back to the airport. Upon reaching the hotel, you’ll provide the third voucher to confirm your stay.
Eligibility and Rules
Basic Rules: Emirates has stringent rules for its Dubai Connect program to ensure its proper utilization. The airline adopts a strict “qualify or not” approach, and passengers must meet all the airline’s requirements to avail of the service.
10 to 24 Hour Rule: Dubai Connect is available for passengers with a layover ranging from 10 to 24 hours. This rule is strictly enforced to the minute. Any deviation, even by a minute, renders a passenger ineligible. This criterion was updated from the previous 6 hours for Premium cabins and 8 hours for Economy, effective from December 1, 2020.
No Alternative Flights: To be eligible, passengers must be booked on the shortest available connection in Dubai. If there’s a shorter flight available but it’s fully booked in your travel class, you can still qualify for Dubai Connect. However, deliberately choosing a later flight when an earlier one is available will disqualify you.
- Transit must occur in Dubai (DXB).
- Separate tickets (e.g., one ticket into Dubai and another leaving Dubai) are not eligible.
- Passengers must be 18 years or older unless accompanied by an adult.
- Up to two children under 18 can be accommodated with one adult.
- The itinerary must be a single booking.
- Bookings can be made 361 days in advance but no later than 24 hours before departure.
- Tickets must be issued by Emirates or Qantas, starting with 157-XXXX or 81-XXXX.
- Reward bookings must be made through Emirates.
- Visa eligibility is crucial. If you need a visa prior to arrival, you won’t qualify for the hotel portion of Dubai Connect.
- Not all fare classes are eligible for STPC.
Fare eligibility is divided into Revenue (paid) tickets and Award (redemption) tickets. Previously, there was a minimum spend requirement, but this has been replaced by a fare class policy.
- Premium Cabin (First & Business): All are eligible.
- Economy Cabin: Fares U, B, N, M, E, W, R, Y are eligible. Fares H, X, V, T, L, Q, K are not eligible.
All Skywards redemption tickets, except Saver Economy, are eligible.
- Both inbound and outbound flights to and from Dubai must be operated by Emirates or Qantas.
- Codeshare flights, other than EK5000 and QF8000 flights, are not eligible.
- The offer isn’t available on flights operated by other airlines where Emirates is only the marketing carrier.
- First and Business Class group bookings (more than nine passengers) may not automatically qualify for Dubai Connect. It’s at Emirates’ discretion.
- Economy Class group bookings will qualify if all requirements are met for each passenger.
Both your inbound and outbound flights to and from Dubai must be an Emirates flight (marketed by Qantas or Emirates) or a Qantas flight (marketed by Emirates or Qantas).
Codeshare flights are not eligible other than EK5000 and QF8000 flights.
The offer is not available on flights with other airlines and/or where Emirates is the marketing carrier only.
Things To Note
- Your bags are checked through to the destination meaning if you want to use Dubai Connect, you will not be able to collect your bags during transit.
- Time Limits for Booking Dubai Connect STPC is only available to passengers who pre-book the product. The product is not available on a ‘go-show’ basis. Bookings made within 24 hours to departure will not be processed for economy class. First and Business class bookings can be requested up to Zero hours of departure.