Flying and drinking (and eating) during Ramadan 2016

etihad ramadanNow that Ramadan has been announced, it is time to remember what you can expect when travelling in the Middle East.


First of all, the general rule for everyone is that eating, smoking and drinking during daylight hours is prohibited during Ramadan.

However, all transit areas of the airports are exempted, as all travelers traveling more than 80 kilometers in one day are exempted from the fasting. You can therefore expect all food outlets to be serving food and drinks during Ramadan, and in the UAE you should also be able to order alcoholic beverages, although they will probably not be on display.

While travelling on board any of the above mentioned airlines, you can expect the normal service of food and drinks, including alcoholic beverages (except flights to and from Saudi Arabia, which are non-alcoholic all year round). In addition, you can possibly expect an iftar box around what would be iftar time at your point of departure, so those travelers who are choosing to be fasting can have their snack at the normal time for them.

Qatar Airways Iftar box
Qatar Airways Iftar box

When visiting a lounge, you can however expect some differences with Etihad and Qatar Airways, but not Emirates. At the Emirates lounges in Dubai you can expect full service including champagne and other drinks even during daylight hours.


In Abu Dhabi Etihad will not serve any alcohol in their lounges during daylight hours, and for their foreign lounges they will remove all alcohol from display, however, you can still request alcoholic beverages from the staff in the lounges, and they will serve you.

Qatar Airways is the strictest when it comes to drink, they will not serve any alcohol at all at their lounges at Hamdan International Airport in Doha, not even after sunset. As for their foreign lounges I believe they have the same policy as Etihad, at least those they share with other airlines.

Not having alcohol available in the lounges during Ramadan is understandable, considering the importance of fasting and refraining from temptations for muslims, and I am sure most of us can compensate for that onboard the flights instead.


Will you be compensating the lack of alcohol on ground by drinking more onboard instead?


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