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?
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.)
Needed For This Hack:
An Etihad Airlines boarding pass
A fake email / PDF reservation
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.
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:
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?