Burj Khalifa
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

My Response From At The Top, Burj Khalifa Regarding My Disappointing Experience

I gave the recommendation to avoid the premium experience at At The Top, Burj Khalifa in Dubai due to what I perceived as being deceived when I paid a premium equivalent to approximately $102.00 where part of the experience was supposed to end on a floor designated only for those who paid the extra money.

Recapitulating My Experience

Here is the official description of Level 125:

At 456 meters above the ground, and one level above the At the Top observatory, Level 125 offers you a spacious deck to enjoy the stunning 360-degree view of the city. This level also houses one of our newest attractions, Dubai – A Falcon’s Eye View that allows you to explore the city from a unique perspective. Enjoy personalised attention from Guest Ambassadors Learn fun trivia about Burj Khalifa and the Dubai skyline Capture your Burj Khalifa moments forever and integrate reality and special effects with green screen photography See prominent destinations in Dubai through Dubai – A Falcon’s Eye View experience.

I did not get to experience any of that at all despite having paid a premium for that. Instead of a spacious deck, I got to “enjoy” the crowds on Level 124, which had very few places where a person can sit. I made the most of it — but I should not have had to do that. If I wanted to do that, I could have paid significantly less money in the first place.

At no time was I informed that there were any “irregular operations” with the premium SKY experience, for which I paid an extra $102.00. As a result, I felt like I was cheated and deceived, which left a sour taste in my mouth of what otherwise could have been a pleasant and positively memorable experience at At The Top, Burj Khalifa.

If you must experience an observation deck at Burj Khalifa, I recommend that you do not waste your money on SKY. For one, there is little value of what you get in return for your money with the minimally better view; not having to wait in line; and the ten dollars — I am being generous here — worth of pastries, juices, dates and Arabic coffee. Go for the standard At The Top, Burj Khalifa experience instead if the line is not too long. Give yourself a minimum of one hour to enjoy the experience; and you can stay as long as you like until the official closing time that evening.

Treating customers with deception even once — never mind on a regular basis — will cause customers such as I to be “one-timers”, as I certainly do not intend to return there. They should be ashamed of themselves for not giving customers who are paying premium fees important information which significantly affects the experience as advertised — or, at least, give the customers some sort of a discount as compensation. They chose to do neither. That is simply wrong and inexcusable.

My Response From At The Top, Burj Khalifa

When I saw this photograph of Burj Khalifa by Andy Luten of Andy’s Travel Blog, I was reminded of my experience and searched for the article which gave an update — only to realize that I had never written that article; so here it is.

I submitted a note summarizing my disappointing experience at At The Top, Burj Khalifa; and I received the following e-mail message on Sunday, June 21, 2015 in response to my note:

Dear Brian,

Thank you for your valued feedback.

The highlight of a visit to At the Top, Burj Khalifa SKY is the access to level 148, featuring the world’s highest observation deck, complete with complimentary refreshments and guided tours.

The journey does offer a stop-over at level 125 for degree views of the city. Unfortunately, on the day of your visit, the level was undergoing maintenance. To avoid an incomplete experience at this level, your journey was directed to level 124. Level 124 offers the same breathtaking panoramic views in addition to a spectacular outdoor terrace unlike 125. Hence the experience is ideally chargeable at an additional AED 125.

At the Top is a key tourist attraction and guest experience is of the highest priority. However should you be keen on exploring level 125 on a future visit, we will be happy to extend a reschedule of your visit for a duration of six months (on or before December 21st, 2015). You are also welcome to endorse these tickets to family or friends visiting Dubai during the time.

Thanks once again for writing to us. We wish you a great day ahead.

With kind regards,

At the Top, Burj Khalifa

Well, a lot of good that was going to do for me. It is not like Dubai is convenient to where I am based nor do I travel there every week; and I certainly was not going to go out of my way with costs related to airfare, lodging, food, ground transportation and other expenditures just to experience level 125.


Needless to say, I did not take advantage of their offer. Although I was not expecting it, I felt that a partial refund would have been more appropriate towards good will for me, the customer. Regardless, the response soured me even more.

The lesson here is that spending extra money does not always mean a guarantee of better customer service.

I maintain my recommendation to ensure that my paying an extra $102.00 was worth it, all I ask of you is to avoid the premium experience at At The Top, Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

  1. I somewhat disagree, when you take the “standard” tour your prone to large crowds, sometimes loud, sometimes a bit on the odorous side all stepping in front of you and or pushing. Yes it is more expensive to go one up but at the end of the day you have come a long ways.

    Just saying and yes I have done this.

    1. I have not done the standard tour, ghostrider5408 — but that was not the point of the article.

      If the person at the ticket desk would have alerted me that level 125 was closed, I could have made the decision as to whether or not paying the extra money would have been worth it; and if it was not worth it, that would have been my decision…

      …but I was not informed of the temporary closure of level 125 by anyone. That is the part with which I felt deceived; was disappointed; and where I thought customer service was lacking.

  2. Email someone at Emaar, the company that owns the Burj Khalifa. They are very well-run so I’d expect a better response

  3. I was disappointed with the 125th floor. Crazy to pay that, I must have been under the influence of something to pay that much . I would dispute that in 2 seconds with my credit card. You did not get the service you were sold. No questions asked with that. Best of luck.
    Just an example of how over priced this is:
    2 Adults 2 Children = approx $400 Floor level 125 At The Top, Burj Khalifa Aprox. 1 Hr.
    2 Adults 2 Children = approx $550 Floor level 117 Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong with pool on level 118

    PS. You get to spend the night at the Ritz. ha ha

  4. I got in to the Ozone Bar (118th floor) on the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong for free and was able to get from there to the Sky 100 (for free, again.) There are ways.

    There is no way I would pay such a premium for a “view”

    1. I can understand that, laptoptravel, as I would typically agree with you.

      As I wrote in the original review, I decided to go against my better judgement and splurge, as it was going to be a one-time experience.

  5. I was there in October and could have done with extra ticket 😀 saves me paying for the experience twice.

    I am surprised about their response really.. they should offer something better. I would be equally annoyed.

  6. The least they could have done was sworn to severely castigate a minion. Are floggings open to the public in Dubai?

  7. Hi Brian, sorry, but did I missed the point or did you? The benefit of these sky tickets are that they are the only way to visit floor 148! That “backdoor” entrance to 122 etc is some kind of an extra benefit as skipping the queues etc are.

    But the reason for the SKY tickets are definitely the great lounge on 148 – and this is definitely worth the price.

    Or was 148 closed at the time of your visit and they didn’t tell you in advance?

    1. The question of whether or not the experience is worth it is subjective, Frank Guenther. That was not my issue at all.

      The issue is that I want to be informed of information which could affect my experience before I pay for a ticket — especially one as expensive as the one for that exclusive experience at Burj Khalifa.

      As it was, I was hesitant on splurging for a ticket due to the brown haze which enveloped Dubai that day. I asked at least two employees about what to expect for my experience — especially with the potentially limited visibility. All of them had assured me to go ahead; but none of them disclosed the closure of level 125 to me — nor the details about that closure — which could have allowed me to ultimately decide whether or not I should visit on a different day or go ahead and visit at that point regardless.

      I found that to be deceptive — hence my recommendation to avoid the experience. If they were deceptive with me on that portion of the experience — which they clearly advertise as part of the experience — then what is to stop them from deceiving other guests about other irregular operations pertaining to the experience when they occur?

  8. The price for a visit to At The Top especially the At The Top SKY is too expensive! while the observation deck on Shanghai World Financial Center Tower cost only 28 dollars and people can visit 3 separated observation decks at different heights with the highest at 474 meters, and that’s taller than Standard At The Top.

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