How To Get Free Shuttle Rides Between Abu Dhabi And Dubai

Abu Dhabi and Dubai are only about an hour apart from each other but in my experience traveling the United Arab Emirates I have found that Abu Dhabi is always the cheaper airport to fly through. I saved $350 just on this flight alone by landing in Abu Dhabi instead of Dubai. Of course my final destination is always Dubai, so what now?

Etihad Shuttle: A free shuttle Abu Dhabi to Dubai

Enter: The Etihad Express Shuttle.

This bad boy runs between the two cities multiple times a day. It is quick, comfortable and even includes free bottled water and snack. But here’s the travel hacking beauty of it: there are no tickets for this shuttle. As such it is possible to catch a free ride if you know what to do. (Taking a taxi will cost you 300 AED — over $80 USD.)

Get A Free Shuttle Abu Dhabi To Dubai

Needed For This Hack:

1   An Etihad Airlines boarding pass
            OR
2   A fake email / PDF reservation

Alternative Option       Abu Dhabi Airport Sleeper Pods

  It should be noted that the easiest way to pull hack off is by actually flying Etihad into the country. Showing your Etihad Airlines ticket stub from just a few minutes or few hours earlier will get you on the shuttle, simple as that. It doesn’t matter whether you reserved a spot on the shuttle when purchasing your flight or not, just say that you did. They have no way of checking this in the waiting area or aboard the shuttle.

Inside the Etihad Shuttle, a free shuttle Abu Dhabi to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates
My view right now from the back of the shuttle

Of course if you are like me and have a tendency to leave your boarding passes aboard the plane in the pocket on the seat in front of you, there is another way — and it doesn’t even require that you fly Etihad.


  Not Flying Etihad? Do This:

Simply look up the shuttle schedule for the day in question and then make yourself a fake email confirmation letter (a common practice among long-term travelers for a variety of reasons) with that shuttle information included. Here is the one I made:

Travel Hacking 101 with fake plane tickets

Next either save it as a PDF to your phone/tablet or even email it to yourself. (After all no one checks the from address when looking at email confirmations.)

Armed with your free shuttle ticket exit out Terminal 1 of Abu Dhabi airport, bypass the touts and head right over and across the drop-off lanes. Here is the designated shuttle area. Now simply flash your tablet at the driver as you get on and voila, you’ve gotten yourself a free ride to Dubai. The shuttle will drop you off at the Etihad Mall, a 24/7 airport waiting area with check-in counters and couches for sleeping. In fact there are dozens of passed out people all around me as I type this.

This trick will in theory also work headed the opposite direction, from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. However as the shuttle departs from the Etihad Mall and not Dubai International Airport, it is not quite as convenient.

Additional travel hacking posts will be a regular feature here at The HoliDaze. In anticipation of that, I’m curious: how far are you willing to take your travel hacking?

Are you willing to do morally and/or legally dubious things to hack your trip?

Like what you read?
About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel."   Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

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