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Alcohol Is Permitted on Our Flights, Clarifies Emirates

Alcohol Is Permitted on Our Flights, Clarifies Emirates
Jackie Reddy

The Gulf carrier has clarified that the consumption of alcohol is allowed on its flights. The confirmation of the airline’s policy comes after the case of Ellie Holman – who was detained in Dubai earlier this summer – raised fears over the acceptability of alcohol consumption within cabin confines.

Gulf carrier Emirates has reiterated that the consumption of alcohol is “not prohibited” on its aircraft, reports Arabian BusinessThe clarification was issued via a tweet, after a member of the public questioned if imbibing during the course of a flight could result in arrest.

The full text of the message, as reproduced here by the outlet, reads, “Alcohol consumption is not prohibited on our flights. Furthermore, alcohol is served in the lounges in Dubai airport and available for purchase in the Duty Free.”

The case of Ellie Holman – who was detained in Dubai earlier this summer – has raised queries regarding the carrier’s in-flight alcohol policy. It was reported by some outlets that Holman was jailed for drinking wine on a flight from London.

In a statement issued earlier this week, Emirates was quoted as saying, “Emirates continues to invest in our food and beverage program, which is an integral part of our in-flight experience. However, like on any other airline, or indeed any hospitality establishment, unruly or disruptive behavior from intoxication will not be tolerated, and there may be legal consequences. The safety and well-being of our passengers and crew on board will always be our top priority.”

Late last week, the United Kingdom’s Consulate and Embassy in the United Arab Emirates issued the following advice via its Facebook page, which read, “For clarity, there has been no change to the UK Government’s advice to British nationals on consuming alcohol in the UAE. Our Travel Advice for the UAE includes a section on alcohol, and we would encourage visitors and residents to read it here.”

[Photo: iStock]

View Comments (5)


  1. blue2002

    September 12, 2018 at 8:08 am

    It would be interesting to hear from an expert in the laws of United Arab Emirates, but… my understanding is that in UAE, even for an expat with an “alcohol license”, the actual consumption of alcohol is not allowed (the license apparently allows for purchase and transportation… not consumption). Of course the alcohol is then consumed (duh…), but it does force people – mostly unknowingly – into a bit of a gray zone.

    An even worse gray zone applies to serving and consumption of alcohol in 4+ star hotels in UAE. It is seemingly allowed, but when a tourist / visitor gets drunk at a hotel bar and subsequently arrested, they will likely be charged with “consuming alcohol without a license”…. Emirates is saying they don’t forbid the consumption of alcohol on board. They are not saying it is legal.

    The bottom line is: Don’t expect the laws in UAE to work the same way they would work in a western country. The fact that something is broadly tolerated does not mean it is actually legally sanctioned. It can hence be used against you, when the opportunity calls for it.

  2. Michael Moscaritolo

    September 12, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    This leaves me wondering what the rest of the story is here? Are we missing something? If in fact the story was accurate and Ellie Holman had a drink on board and was sidelined upon landing — then isn’t that like saying sure, you can buy these illegal “whatever” but don’t use it or get caught with it… ??? Seems very confusing to me.

  3. Global321

    September 13, 2018 at 1:28 am

    Too many women drink on the Gulf flights for the original story to be accurate. Could this be a simple as Ellie Holman got too drunk, acted like a jerk to the crew and was detained for those reasons alone? Isn’t that a more logical explanation?

  4. thepinenuts

    September 13, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    The way I heard it, the pax did have something to drink but that was HER excuse for being detained. What actually happened, pax presented an invalid passport (either expired or not enough time left before expiration) Pax argued with officials and was detained. Upon searching her belonging, a second, valid, passport from different country (Iranian I think) was found. This made her persona non gratis in the UAE. This detention had NOTHING to do with alcohol and everything to do with attempted fraudulent/illegal entry with improper identification. Just say’n.

  5. ioto1902

    September 15, 2018 at 3:10 am

    Some people here doesn’t know Dubai, and have fantasies about it.
    The lady acted like a jerk while not having the proper documentation. She had probably strong connections to have her side of the story published broadly in the media.
    In Dubai, you don’t get arrested for just being drunk. Being drunk worsen your situation only if you have caused trouble – fighting, or having a traffic accident – which is not really shocking per se.
    For the record, I spend almost half of my time in Dubai.

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