View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ramadan Up in the Air

Flying during Ramadan
I spent most of yesterday in flight returning home from Barcelona.

When our second flight left London Gatwick at 3.00pm (GMT) and was due to arrive in Dubai at 12.30am (UAE time), I wondered what would happen for those experiencing the Ramadan fast.

Ramadan in Flight
It is not only a matter of cultural and religious insensitivity, it is a legal matter if expats eat, drink or smoke in front of Muslims during the hours of sunrise and sunset, in the UAE. People who do this can be fined.

But nothing was said about this on our Emirates Airline flight and eating and drinking went on as usual. It must be difficult for fasting Muslims in flight when they are surrounded by hungry or bored people enjoying a hearty meal and a glass or two of beer or wine to wash it down.

Daylight Hours Shorten Flying East
I wondered what would happen for the Ramadan fasting hours (between sunrise and sunset) when flying east from London and Dubai and thereby losing hours. One reaches sunset early so does this give to Muslims a bonus exemption by shortening the fast? Not so! I had put my watch on to Dubai time and at 9.30pm an announcement was made by the Flight Attendants in English and Arabic: “The Ramadan fasting is over for the day. Happy iftar (the meal by which Muslims break the fast).”

A nice announcement but it was a pity for Muslims as the evening meal had already been served! Perhaps they had accepted the meal earlier and were waiting for the announcement to start eating and drinking.

On Related Sites
Ships to Fujairah UAE Sometimes Have to Dodge Pirates, Fujairah in Focus, 28 August 2009.

For UAE’s America’s Cup Venue Swing Past Camel Track Near Airport, America’s Cup in the UAE, 28 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

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Image: “What would happen for the Ramadan fasting hours…when flying east.”