Don’t drink on this flight

While many of us like to take our seat on a plane and settle in for a long-haul flight with complimentary stiff drink in hand, doing so on this flight may land you in jail.

The British Embassy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has warned tourists to avoid drinking on flights to Dubai, where even transiting through the popular airport under the influence of alcohol is a punishable offence.

According to the embassy: “It is a punishable offence to be under the influence of alcohol in public – including when transiting through the UAE. If caught carrying or drinking alcohol without a licence or with alcohol in your blood you can be arrested.”

This also means that, while it may be legal to drink in the air, it is illegal to be under the influence when you land in Dubai.

The UAE’s licensing laws are confusing at best. It states that non-Muslim residents can purchase and drink alcohol if they have a license. It is illegal to drink without one. This poses a problem for tourists, because it’s not possible for them to get a license. It’s possible for tourists to buy alcohol from licensed venues, but illegal for them to be under the influence.

This warning comes after Dr Ellie Holman was arrested and held for a month in Dubai because she drank a glass of wine on her flight from Britain. Dr Holman has since been released and deported.

According to Lonely Planet, unless it is obvious that you are drunk and disorderly, UAE authorities may usually turn a blind eye when it comes to alcohol laws. However, Dr Holman’s case is a reminder that being under the influence in a country that prohibits alcohol can land you in hot water.

Have you ever thought that you could be arrested in the UAE for having a drink on a plane? Do you know of any other countries where this could happen?

Related articles:
Could alcohol be banned at airports?
Dubai stopover
How much alcohol is too much?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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