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Why travellers should get to Dubai's airport early

Emirates Airline passengers check-in at Dubai International Airport.

Gabriela Maj/Gabriela Maj/Bloomberg

News tidbits for the curious traveller.

At the airport: Dubai

London's Heathrow will keep its place as the world's busiest international airport, but guess which one is about to move into second place? It's Dubai International, which handled 4.7 million passengers this July alone. Dubai has already passed Frankfurt, and by November will have overtaken Hong Kong and Paris Charles de Gaulle, according to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation. Traffic growth is mainly from the Arab Gulf states, Indian subcontinent, Western Europe and North America.

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In the air: American Airlines

Now you can avoid those dreaded middle seats on American Airlines by paying a surcharge – if you're lucky. The carrier will continue to assign "preferred" coach seats, usually aisle, window and exit-row seats, for free to top-tier frequent fliers, full-fare passengers and military personnel and accompanying family members. But the great unwashed now have a chance to book any leftover premium seats 24 hours in advance. Rates begin at $4 per segment and increase according to flight length and time of day.

On the list: Airline safety

Air Canada came close but failed to make a new list of the world's 10 safest airlines, according to the Swiss-based Air Transport Rating Agency. The "holistic safety rating" was based not simply on accident statistics but on an analysis of 15 separate factors. The top 10, in alphabetical order, were Air France-KLM, American Airlines/American Eagle, British Airways, Continental, Delta, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, Southwest, United and US Airways. ATRA looked at but didn't rate two other Canadian carriers – Jazz and WestJet – because some data were unavailable.

Sources: CAPA, The Dallas Morning News, ARTA

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