Top Middle Eastern airports for tech-hungry travellers

Heba Hashem

Monday 7 March 2016

Working on the move has become the norm for many travellers in the region, which is why it is essential that airports are ready to support the mobile businessperson. Here are some of the best places to connect.

More than half of UAE residents (53 percent) take at least one business trip per year, according to a survey conducted in 2015 by online travel site Expedia.

Making the most of travel time, however, greatly depends on our immediate environment. Distractions, lack of WiFi and limited space can ruin any chances of productivity.

While 84 percent of airports are investing in mobile services, according to aviation IT specialist SITA, it would take a lot of effort to find out where they are and what they offer. So we’ve picked six of the best airports in the Middle East where you can get right down to business.

Abu Dhabi Airport

Voted the Best Airport in the Middle East at the 2014 World Airport Awards for three years in a row, Abu Dhabi is now gearing up for the addition of the massive Midfield Terminal by the end of 2017.

WiFi: free unlimited WiFi, plus internet kiosks

Ease of work: CNN Traveller café is a popular place to work from, while Al Reem Lounge offers a quieter pay-to access area with electrical sockets at every seat

Bonus features: sleep pods for transits equipped with charging docks, WiFi, optional tablets and luggage storage, which can be booked overnight

Amman Airport

Redesigned in 2013, Queen Alia Airport with its curved ceilings and multi-storey windows offers a bright atmosphere for travellers in the Jordanian capital.

WiFi: free unlimited Wi-Fi

Ease of work: lots of cafes where you can work, including World News Café and Starbucks

Bonus features: for JOD30 ($42) you can use Crown Lounge for up to three hours and get access to ergonomic seating, a buffet, power outlets, laptops, TV suites and a library

Dubai Airport

Named Airport of the Year at the 2015 Aviation Business Awards, Dubai’s Terminal 3 is the hub of Emirates Airlines and the world’s largest passenger terminal. It’s connected to the city with the Dubai Metro.

WiFi: free WiFi for the first 60 minutes; additional time available through Boingo’s premium WiFi

Ease of work: two Zen gardens create “an oasis of calm” within the busy airport, while the pay-to-access Marhaba lounges offer business centres with free WiFi

Bonus features: sleep pods, health club with gym and pool, Heineken Lounge

Doha Airport

Officially known as Hamad International, Qatar’s renovated airport opened in 2014 and is set for an expansion due to the anticipated passenger load from the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

WiFi: free unlimited WiFi, plus internet kiosks

Ease of work: plenty of cafes to work from, or access Oryx Lounge for QAR200 ($55), which has a generous buffet, business centre and internet facility

Bonus features: quiet rooms with recliners, quirky art installations throughout the airport, spectacular café by Qatar Museums

Beirut Airport

Only 5.6 miles away from the city, the Beirut-Rafic Hariri was voted Fifth Best Airport in the Middle East in Sleeping in Airports’ 2015 survey.

WiFi: free WiFi for the first 30 minutes and internet kiosks; additional time can be purchased from the duty free offer at $5 for 30 minutes

Ease of work: Priority Pass Select members can enter Beirut Lounge and Cedar Lounge for up to three hours and get refreshments and free WiFi

Bonus features: sit at the bar of Japanese restaurant Salt or along the windows, which give you a great view of the airplanes taking off

Muscat Airport

Currently undergoing a major upgrade that will be completed in 2017, Muscat is frequently visited by transiting passengers thanks to Oman Air’s budget prices and extensive network.

WiFi: free unlimited WiFi

Ease of work: charging outlets near Costa Café; small selection of outlets including Irish House Bar & Restaurant

Bonus features: for OMR10 ($26) you can use Plaza Premium Lounge, which has a buffet, nap rooms and a business centre