Flying off to Lebanon's Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport? Here's A Muslim-friendly Guide You'll Need!

By Aida Othman | 15, Oct, 2018
Flying off to Lebanon's Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport? Here's A Muslim-friendly Guide You'll Need!

Flying to Lebanon? Beirut is your international getaway and one of the buzzing city in the Middle East. It’s also one of the oldest city in the world, rich in history and populated by multicultural and multi-religion society.

Its diverse geography and mild Mediterranean climate have made Lebanon famous for many activities. There is plenty to do and see at their mountains and beaches.

Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport may not be the best airport in the Middle East, but this formerly called Beirut International Airport is more than sufficient to welcome you with its metallic structure and high ceiling.

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History of Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport

Picture: BeirutAirport

Originally built in 1954, the airport has since flourished as a premier hub in the Middle East until it suffered damages during more than 2 decades of Civil War and Lebanon War.

While the airport has undergone massive construction when completed in 2005, some argued about the need for better management, maintenance, or new makeover.

Recently, the government has finally approved its first phase of expansion to accommodate an increase in passenger traffic.

The airport was named after the late Prime Minister, an important man in the reconstruction of Lebanon post of the civil war. You can never miss his tomb and mausoleum in downtown Beirut, nearby the Mohammad al Ameen Mosque.

Services And Facilities

Sum up below for your convenience are the services and facilities at this single terminal airport - a U shaped building with 2 wings from East to West:

Ground level: Arrival Hall and Qatar Airways Lounge 
Level 2: Departure Hall and access to the East and West wings
Level 3: Airlines lounges, prayer rooms and a restaurant
Level 4: Airport administrative offices (Closed to passengers)

Muslim prayer room is above the Duty-Free Zone on the level 3.

Food Option

Dining at the airport may be limited and a bit pricey. That said, more restaurants and cafes are planned to open in the near future. If you feel peckish and have no other choice, the following are available to consider.

Akle

Picture: fulcrum-bia

This alcohol-free eatery is located at the Arrival Hall in the meet and greet area. They serve both Arabic and Lebanese fast-food. You can expect 3 daily hot dishes, shawarma, grills, salads, desserts, breakfast and many more.

Balkoumi

Picture:fulcrum-bia

A quick service and ‘grab & go’ is located in the Departure Hall, offers a wide variety of healthy light dishes including a selection of vegetarian options and manakish menu.

The full-service Balkoumi is located in the West pier where you can enjoy home-made shawarma, falafel, sandwiches or moussaka.

Cafe Matik

Picture: fulcrum-bia

You can find this eatery in the Arrival Hall as well as in the East and West Wing of the Departure Hall for late minute bite closer to the gate.

Hot and cold beverages (including freshly ground coffee from finest beans), handmade sandwiches, salads, and sweet treats are available. They also offer vegan-friendly menu.

SALT

Picture: fulcrum-bia

A nice place to relax and dine before boarding your flight, this gourmet restaurant is located on the upper level (3rd floor) immediately after passing through passport control.

Sit by the window to marvel at the mountain and enjoy the flights taking off while savoring the selection of pastries, cakes, salads, sandwiches, and hot dishes. Or get your Oriental fix from its made-to-order sushi.

Vegetarian-friendly and gluten-free options available.

All eateries above are managed by Fulcrum SAL and are opened 24/7.
Free WiFi available at restaurants such as Akle and SALT.

Contact: +961 1 628240
Email: info@fulcrum-bia.com
Website: www.fulcrum-bia.com

Tip: We advise you to ask before consuming any meat meal because Halal certifications in Lebanon is limited.

Shopping

You will find a variety of high-end shopping at the five distinct shopping zones in the departure such as Luxury, Electronics (including Middle East’s first Virgin Megastore), Beauty, and Food (for delicious Lebanese sweets and delicatessen you got to try!).

All passengers' purchases are exempt of V.A.T. and Beirut Duty-Free ensures there are good saving as compared to the domestic market. As for the prices, Beirut Duty-Free claimed to be cheaper than all Regional airports as well as other international airports.

Amenities

Wireless Internet Access (WiFi or Internet): Free up to 30 minutes within 24 hours. For more access time, you may purchase internet cards in the airport duty-free zone.

Money: ATM and currency exchange services are available.

Transportation: The airport is about 10km to the Beirut city center which will take a 15 to 20 minutes ride. You may choose either a taxi or hire a car from car rental booths.

For taxi, it is advisable to catch the Airport owned taxis which can be easily recognized by their airport logo on the side, over the regular taxis of Beirut.

Alternatively, you can also avail privatized taxis like welcome pickup offered by hotels and various online companies.

Other guidance:

The official Android and Apple application of Beirut Airport is now available on Playstore and Appstore.
Passengers coming to Lebanon are not allowed to carry fresh fruits and vegetables.

Contact: +96 11 62 80 00
Website: beirutairport

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Lifestyle writer on travel, food and wellness.Well travelled and a global-nomad. Live to thrive is the essence of her blog www.sliceoftorchginger.com