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What to wear in Dubai Airport

What to wear in Dubai Airport

Are you transiting through Dubai International Airport and wondering what to wear at Dubai Airport? As everyone knows Dubai has a very strict dress code but does this apply at Dubai Airport? In this guide we round up all the Dubai airport dress code rules for both landside and airside passengers to make sure you are culturally appropriate. 

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What you need to know about Dubai Airport dress code

Dubai airport is a huge transition hub. You will find that it is popular as a stopping point for people on the kangaroo route and is also very popular for passengers transiting to Asia to places such as Thailand and to Africa.

Given the transit nature of the airport not everyone who arrives at the airport will actually be heading landslide at the airport and going into the city by assigning through immigration. As such many people don’t even think about the airport dress code until they are about to head off on their travels.

However it is important to remember that the UAE has a strict dress code given that it is a conservative Muslim country. Now it is true to say that Dubai is the most liberal out of all the seven emirates that make up the UAE but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a dress code.

When considering what to wear at Dubai airport the main difference to consider is whether you are staying airside or going landside. 

Airside means that all you are doing is staying in the airport terminal. It means that you will never actually enter the UAE as you will never actually clear customs and immigration. 

Landside on the other hand means that you are clearing customs and immigration, and will be collecting your checked bags. Once you have cleared customs you are no longer in the airport but are in the UAE and are therefore subject to regular Dubai dress code rules. These dress code rules require you to dress modesty and wear conservative attire. 

I would therefore say that if you are staying airside you don’t have to be as worried and as strict in your dress code as those who go landside. Having said this however I would urge you to still dress conservatively.

Even if you staying airside, many Emirati and other Gulf residents will be using the airport too. The UAE and its neighbouring countries are conservative Muslim countries that have a dress code therefore it will be more respectful and appropriate to dress more modestly even when only transiting through the airport. 

The general rule for the Dubai dress code for both men and women is that you

  • Keep your shoulders covered
  • Keep your knees covered
  • wear nothing overly revealing. 
  • wear nothing see through

I would advise trying to stick to these above rules in when in Dubai airport. 

What to wear at Dubai Airport

The thing to consider about what to wear at Dubai Airport is that whatever you are wearing is likely to be what you wear on the plane. It is important that you wear something comfortable therefore though you will still want to have knees and shoulders fully covered.

For more information on what we recommend you wear on a plane check out this post.

It is worth noting that Dubai even though it is a hot country is likely to be quite cool in the airport because of the amount of air conditioning. Therefore your outfit for Dubai airport should have layers to deal with this. 

Comfy trousers

I personally like to wear a loose fitting pair of trousers on flights. They keep my knees covered while also being comfy for long periods.

T shirt or blouse

A t shirt or a blouse is a great choice for a flight. They cover shoulders and can be dressed up if trying to look smart to try and wangle an upgrade.

Just be sure whatever you select is loose fitting but also has not rude graphics for swear words on as this would be against the UAE dress code.


Pashminas are always on my Dubai packing lists whatever month I am packing for as they are great for modesty i.e. covering up shoulders, but also is a great added extra layer. I will often wear a pashmina like a scarf and then switch it to a wrap for when I get chilly on a plan. 

Slip on Shoes

I like to take my shoes off on a flight so my preference is to have slip on shoes for ease of getting on and off.

FAQs about what to wear in Dubai Airport

Does Emirates Airline have a dress code?

As far as I am aware there is no official dress code for Emirates Airlines, the official airline of Dubai. However there are a few things to consider

  • There will be lots of Emiratis and Gulf residents on any flight that departs or arrives at DXB. Therefore it is important to be respectful and considerate which is why I would advise wearing something modest. 
  • Do not wear anything with offensive graphics or slogans as you may be asked to cover these up before boarding. 

I also think that if you want to try and get an upgrade on your Emirates flight you should dress smart casual at a minimum. I think there is an unofficial Emirates Airlones dress code that would mean that would not get an upgrade on Emirates Airlines if you were dressed too casually.

If you have ever been upgraded by Emirates please leave a comment with your dress code at the time so we ca update this post further.  

Can I wear shorts in Dubai Airport?

There is no rule in Dubai generally that says you can’t wear shorts only that your knees must be covered when in public. This applies to both men and women. 

Although I haven’t found this codified anywhere on the DXB Airport or the Emirates Airline website to give a definite answer to this, my advice would be to try and keep your knees covered both on Emirates flights and in Dubai International Airport.

What is not allowed in Dubai Airport?

There are many rules for Dubai airport aside from the clothing rule. Be sure to check the Dubai Airport website for more information about what you shouldn’t bring to the airport.

What is the dress code at other Middle Eastern Airports?

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If you are looking for the dress code at other Middle Eastern Airports or wondering what to wear in the Middle East generally where the main religion is Islam do be sure to check out the below guides.

Have you been to Dubai Airport what did you wear? What advice would you give people who are transiting through Dubai International Airport?