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Arriving at Sharjah International Airport at least 2 hours before your flight should give you enough time to check in, drop your baggage and head through security. Most airlines, however, will ask you to arrive at the airport 3 hours before your flight, so check before you fly and remember the airport will be busier at certain times (such as UAE holidays). It's not the biggest airport in the UAE but there's enough to keep you busy for an hour or so while you wait to board. There's the usual fast food and coffee shops, as well as restaurants serving Chinese, Indian and local cuisine. If you want to shop before you fly, check out the Sharjah International Airport duty free shops which stock tobacco, perfumes and toys. If you're traveling with children there's a number of play areas where they can burn off energy before the flight, or consider paying for access to International Airport CIP Lounge if you want a more relaxed start to your vacation.
Sharjah International Airport isn't so large that you can get lost, so once you land follow the signs to the arrival desks, and then onward to the baggage collection and customs. The airport's Hala Services can assist you with all the paperwork with its meet-and-greet services including fast-track visa support and security checks.
The airport is around 13km to the south east of Sharjah city and when the roads are totally clear (which is not often, so allow extra time for this) it takes around 30 minutes to drive from the north end of Dubai. Long-term parking is available from Dh90 a day. If you prefer to travel by public transport your options are the Muwasalat air-conditioned coaches which run every 15 minutes from Rolla Square between 6am and 11pm, or an Air Arabia coach departing from Al Ghurair Centre and Lamcy Plaza in Dubai, and the Air Arabia Sales Shops in Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Al Ain. Check the locations here. There's also a taxi rank outside the airport.
Because of its rural location, there aren't many hotels near Sharjah airport, but most hotels in the city in the will offer either a free or paid airport shuttle. Here are the two main hotels near Sharjah airport:
The Sharjah International Airport Hotel is a sensible option if you have a very early flight or late arrival, don't want to travel too far, and you're on a tight budget. It's a 2 star hotel but has free WiFi, a 24-hour front desk, outdoor swimming pool, free parking and one restaurant. You'll need to ask the front desk to call you a taxi to take you over the busy highway to the Sharjah airport arrivals terminal.
Address: Opposite Sharjah International Airport, next to Royal Hospital Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Cost: From around *Dh150 per night
This is the largest hotel near Sharjah International Airport with 306 rooms and suites. It has an all-day dining restaurant which might be useful if you need a late dinner after arriving or an early breakfast before a flight. There's also a gym, sauna, ping pong tables, pool and jacuzzi. There are six types of rooms to choose from, ranging from the most basic 22sqm Centro Room to a 52sqm Centro Plus Suite.
Address: Sharjah International Airport, Sharjah, 3677, United Arab Emirates
Cost: From around *Dh270 per night