Alcohol License Required To Have Drinks On Emirates Flights?


There have been interesting cases with people flying on Emirates that are not based in Dubai who have been charged with for not having a license to drink alcohol as the operating airline is based there.

Emirates Licence Required To Drinks On Flights

I have previously written about the human rights issues with the GCC countries (access here).

The problem that I have with this ruling in Dubai is that people that are not based in the country that fly with the Emirates are also charged for not having an alcoholic license if they misbehave during the flight.

There is a long piece on this issue on the Gulf News website here:

Dubai A spate of recent alcohol-related arrests across the emirates has underlined the dangers of drinking without a licence and crossing the line, not just in homes, restaurants and bars, but also on-board an aircraft.

Last month, news of a British engineer being jailed in Dubai for three months hit the headlines after the 40-year-old was found guilty of groping an air stewardess during an Emirates’ flight from Bangkok to Dubai. He was also charged with breaching UAE laws as he had downed vodka without a licence. The court ruled that he should have obtained a permit before consuming alcohol as the plane was registered in Dubai.

In April, an American drummer of a popular heavy metal band was sentenced to a month in jail for allegedly lifting his middle finger at some passengers at Dubai airport. The man, 51, is alleged to have had five glasses of wine on a Moscow flight of a GCC-based airline and was in transit in Dubai en route Bahrain. Besides being accused of insulting Islam, he was also fined Dh2,000 for drinking without a licence.

Incidents such as these have raised questions about onboard drinking and what constitutes an offence on flights plying to and from the UAE.

To a query by XPRESS, Attorney General Essam Al Humaidan, head of public prosecution, Dubai Courts, said: “Drinking as a charge is slapped on a person if he is accused of any misconduct while being intoxicated. The UAE’s legal system mandates that we address the nature of any crime. In the case of the British man, he was accused of groping the stewardess and as he was under the influence at the time, we were required to address his intoxication as well.”

Al Humaidan said anyone accused of committing a crime under the influence within the UAE’s jurisdiction, be it aerial, maritime or land, is subject to the laws of the country. The drinking charge is usually supplementary.


Dom Perignon, Mimosa, Kir Royal and Champagne cocktail are the four drinks on the photo above that I had with the fruit plate on one of the Emirates flights in first class that I have taken. I certainly don’t carry the UAE license to drink alcohol.

If you travel in the Middle East or fly with the Middle Eastern airlines, you have to be aware of the juridical system used. This lack of having an alcohol license is not enforced unless you run foul with the juridical system.

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