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Drinking Alcohol on Board Emirates Flight to Dubai - Wise?

Drinking Alcohol on Board Emirates Flight to Dubai - Wise?

Old Aug 10, 18, 4:44 am
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Drinking Alcohol on Board Emirates Flight to Dubai - Wise?

Just recently a professional women with three young children was widely reportedly as being asked at Dubai Airport by security as to whether she had drunk alcohol on board her incoming Emirate flight. She admitted that she had drunk but one glass of wine which was offered free as cabin service. For this she was arrested and will likely have to remain in a stinking jail for over a year. Meanwhile she has had to close her dental practice and has already lost over £30,000 in legal fees. Was this a deliberate attempt by the airline to create this situation, or were other motives involved? Either ways shouldn't Westerners be advised NEVER to drink alcohol on Emirates flights or on all similar airlines?
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Old Aug 10, 18, 10:26 am
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Do you have a source for this?
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Old Aug 10, 18, 10:26 am
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Exclamation Moderator's Action

Per the sticky thread, the The Practical Travel Safety and Security Issues forum is the place to ask questions and get information to help you travel safely and with minimal hassle. Debating whether airlines should warn passengers on flights to Dubai about drinking alcohol belongs in the Checkpoints and Borders Policy Debate forum.

Please follow this thread as it moves there.

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Old Aug 10, 18, 10:30 am
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Originally Posted by Skatering View Post
Do you have a source for this?
The Guardian:
MSN:
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Old Aug 10, 18, 10:48 am
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Originally Posted by ChrisJBrady View Post
Just recently a professional women with three young children was widely reportedly as being asked at Dubai Airport by security as to whether she had drunk alcohol on board her incoming Emirate flight. She admitted that she had drunk but one glass of wine which was offered free as cabin service. For this she was arrested and will likely have to remain in a stinking jail for over a year. Meanwhile she has had to close her dental practice and has already lost over £30,000 in legal fees. Was this a deliberate attempt by the airline to create this situation, or were other motives involved? Either ways shouldn't Westerners be advised NEVER to drink alcohol on Emirates flights or on all similar airlines?
If not visibly perceived as being publicly inebriated and not perceived as being Muslim, it’s generally not a problem at DXB for those entering the UAE there. If a parent is traveling alone with young children and seems inebriated so as to be a risk to the accompanying children, they may become super sensitive about the parenting ability of the parent appearing inebriated to them.

My bet is that the mother is released from the UAE long before the maximum sentence applies and is served in full. She’s not in jail any longer. She is out of jail but subject to a ban from leaving the country until her case is concluded and any related sentence completed or waived.

I do wonder if the authorities involved in this incident hassled the woman also because she was perceived to be Jewish or possibly Israeli if not as Iranian or Muslim.

Last edited by GUWonder; Aug 10, 18 at 11:26 am
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Old Aug 10, 18, 12:19 pm
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From the Guardian article, it sounds like there was some sort of dispute with the immigration officer, which escalated, and he chose to use the alcohol issue to punish her.

"After landing, she was questioned by an immigration official, who said her visa was invalid and she must return to London immediately, the group said. Holman claimed he was “dismissive and rude” when she asked if she could buy another visa, and was then questioned about her alcohol consumption, which she admitted. She filmed him on her phone as evidence of his behaviour before learning this was an offence, and that it was illegal to drink alcohol, according to the group. The pair were taken into custody and their phones and passports were confiscated before Holman was asked to give a blood sample to test for alcohol consumption. She is said to have been refused the chance to phone her partner and was then held in a cell."
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Old Aug 10, 18, 1:15 pm
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Mom admits to glass of wine aboard, arrested at DXB

Ellie Holman, a 44-year-old dentist originally from Sweden who resides in Britain with her husband and their three children, was arrested and jailed in Dubai for three days with her four-year-old daughter after a drinking a complimentary glass of wine on a, Emirates flight from London, it is claimed.

“Upon arrival in Dubai, an official reportedly told Holman she needed to return to the United Kingdom immediately because of an invalid visa, at which point she took out her phone and started filming the encounter, according to human rights group Detained in Dubai. She admitted to the official that she had a complementary glass of wine on the Emirates flight.”

Both passengers had their passports and electronic devices confiscated, and Ms. Holman could face "being detained in Dubai for up to a year while awaiting a court hearing," The Guardian reported.

It's illegal to drink alcohol or be intoxicated in public in Dubai, one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates, But there seems to be no claim Ms. Holman was actually intoxicated.

The official from Detained in Dubai NGO started “Tourists cannot be blamed for believing that the Emirates are tolerant of Western drinking habits, but this is far from reality.

“It is wholly illegal for any tourist to have any level of alcohol in their blood, even if consumed in flight and provided by Dubai’s own airline. It is illegal to consume alcohol at a bar, a hotel and a restaurant and if breathalysed, that person will be jailed.”

Be aware of the laws at your connecting points and destinations, and that behaviors such as taking ideo of official encounters you may be able to perform at home may be violations of law elsewhere. And be aware drunks served on board can get you in trouble on the ground. Link to Guardian article.

Last edited by JDiver; Aug 10, 18 at 1:21 pm
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Old Aug 10, 18, 1:55 pm
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This is a terrible situation for the woman and her family, but there's clearly some missing and/or inconsistent info in this story. Neither Swedes nor UK citizens require a visa to enter the UAE. So bad visa, new visa, all that is strange. The one glass of wine thing is a red herring, but filming (and causing a scene) was probably a bad idea (it's not allowed at passport/border control in many countries, actually. Just try that at US immigration and see what happens).
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Old Aug 10, 18, 2:56 pm
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
“It is wholly illegal for any tourist to have any level of alcohol in their blood, even if consumed in flight and provided by Dubai’s own airline. It is illegal to consume alcohol at a bar, a hotel and a restaurant and if breathalysed, that person will be jailed."
Um, what?

I've no experience with the ME (but have heard of their no-alcohol culture) nor with EK, but how is this not, I dunno "entrapment" of a sort? Are you warned on board when ordering alcohol if your destination is to a "dry" country?
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Old Aug 10, 18, 3:09 pm
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Originally Posted by cestmoi123 View Post
From the Guardian article, it sounds like there was some sort of dispute with the immigration officer, which escalated, and he chose to use the alcohol issue to punish her.

"After landing, she was questioned by an immigration official, who said her visa was invalid and she must return to London immediately, the group said. Holman claimed he was “dismissive and rude” when she asked if she could buy another visa, and was then questioned about her alcohol consumption, which she admitted. She filmed him on her phone as evidence of his behaviour before learning this was an offence, and that it was illegal to drink alcohol, according to the group. The pair were taken into custody and their phones and passports were confiscated before Holman was asked to give a blood sample to test for alcohol consumption. She is said to have been refused the chance to phone her partner and was then held in a cell."
It’s not generally illegal to drink alcohol on Emirati and Emirates-serving flights.
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Old Aug 10, 18, 3:10 pm
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My guess is she probably threw a fit at customs, and they started looking for a reason to get rid of her, and that's when they asked if she had been drinking. I feel bad for her (and particularly her kid), but you have to educate yourself on the country to which you are travelling. If you're not going to respect their laws and customs then don't go there. From what I've been told about Dubai, they don't mess around with this stuff one bit.
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Old Aug 10, 18, 3:39 pm
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The other thread on this topic---> Drinking Alcohol on Board Emirates Flight to Dubai - Wise?
From that link
Originally Posted by cestmoi123 View Post
From the Guardian article, it sounds like there was some sort of dispute with the immigration officer, which escalated, and he chose to use the alcohol issue to punish her.

"After landing, she was questioned by an immigration official, who said her visa was invalid and she must return to London immediately, the group said. Holman claimed he was “dismissive and rude” when she asked if she could buy another visa, and was then questioned about her alcohol consumption, which she admitted. She filmed him on her phone as evidence of his behaviour before learning this was an offence, and that it was illegal to drink alcohol, according to the group. The pair were taken into custody and their phones and passports were confiscated before Holman was asked to give a blood sample to test for alcohol consumption. She is said to have been refused the chance to phone her partner and was then held in a cell."
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Old Aug 10, 18, 4:12 pm
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All the more reason to stop glamourising the Middle East!!!
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Old Aug 10, 18, 4:34 pm
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Not defending EK, but Emirates serving a drink does not mean EK is responsible here. Its like Mc D's offering a drink and someone having a accident blaming the drink falling down.

I think this is a case where Citizen Journalist went wrong, the UAE are specific on photography laws and when your suspected of being drunk, you take out your phone hoping its going to de-esculate the situation. All you do is esculate it. The part of the original story not carried through on repots

" But the official said her visa was only valid for a single visit to the country and she would have to return to London.

She was then questioned about the wine she had drunk.When the discussion became heated, Dr Holman began filming the dispute on her phone and was surrounded by armed police within seconds. She was told filming inside an airport is a criminal offence." https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mum-thrown-dubai-jail-daughter-13059299

Essentially Detained In Dubai are trying to spin this to a EK issue when in fact it's not the reason she was jailed. She was jailed for filing and being drunk was an additional charge. Detained In Dubai are hoping the PR will release or do something, while good intentions, seems a little unfair to try blame EK. How many arressts do you hear of from the millions transiting or exiting into DXB
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Old Aug 10, 18, 4:52 pm
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
“It is wholly illegal for any tourist to have any level of alcohol in their blood, even if consumed in flight and provided by Dubai’s own airline. It is illegal to consume alcohol at a bar, a hotel and a restaurant and if breathalysed, that person will be jailed.”
This is not true.

It is legal to consume alcohol at licenced venues in Dubai. “Public Intoxication” is illegal. This can technically be interpreted as even having a trace of alcohol in your blood, but in reality this law exists to stop alcohol related anti-social behaviour.
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