Black gold and camels at Abu Dhabi airport?

I counted 34 camels and found millions of barrels of black gold at Abu Dhabi International Airport (Arabic: مطار أبو ظبي الدولي‎; IATA: AUH). Well, upon closer inspection the camels were stuffed and more aimed at children (and anyone shy of a bring-home gift for their young ones). And the oil barrels turned out to be a bit of a mirage.

But is everything a mirage in the airport of the capital of the United Arab Emirates? Not really. The shiny terminal 2 which was built to accommodate the fast growing number of passengers before the new Terminal 3 will be opened later this year is definitely real. It’s real but it lacks a bit of character. More of the latter can be found in Terminal 1 which reminds you of the days when this was a small desert airport serving mainly business people from the Emirates capital. These days the airport is the main hub for the UAE’s national carrier, Etihad Airways. Founded in 2004 the airline already serves 45 destinations and has even ordered the new Airbus A380. It’s no surprise then that the airport is a 24-hour operation with shops and restaurants constantly serving the arriving and departing of mostly transiting passengers.

Besides looking for black gold or animals, there a some other things you can actually do between your flights:

  • Check out the food court on the first floor of Terminal 2 – you will find something for everyone (Upper Crust, Burgerking, Gino’s Pizza, Yum Cha Asian Food, Oriental buffet, bars and coffee shop)
  • Stretch your legs and walk to terminal one (about a 10 minute walk). There you will also find free internet terminals
  • Visit the food store on the lower ground floor of Terminal 1 where you can find some products from the Emirates (dates, nuts, etc.)
  • If you have some more time and are in desperate need of a shower, check in to the airport’s own transit hotel

Airport Facts and Ratings

Airport Name Abu Dhabi International Airport
Design Plane Award Plane Award Plane Award Point
Shopping Plane Award Plane Award Plane Award Point
Toilets Plane Award Plane Award Plane Award Point
Overall Plane Award Plane Award Plane Award Point
Chanel No 5 Eau de Parfum, 100ml at the Duty Free Shop AED 465.00 (£84.40)
Bottle of Veuve Cliquot at the Duty Free Shop AED 270.00 (£49.00)

[Picture from Flickr – some rights reserved]