Tourists travelling to Dubai and UAE warned about dangers of drinking alcohol on flights

Warning – the Government has warned travellers heading to Dubai and the UAE about drinking alcohol (Picture: PA)

The Government has warned travellers heading to Dubai and the UAE about the risks of drinking alcohol – even when transiting through the country.

In a post on its Facebook page, the British Embassy in the United Arab Emirates reminded travellers that laws making it a punishable offence to be under the influence of alcohol in public also apply to people when when transiting through the UAE.

Alcohol licences are required for residents while tourists are restricted to consuming alcohol in a hotel or a licensed premises and there have been several stories in the past relating to Britons’ being arrested for offences linked to alcohol.

The post appeared to be part of a series on the “UK in UAE” page about consular matters.


It said: “If you hold a residence permit it is illegal to purchase or consume alcohol without a liquor licence. Carry it with you at all times, NB a licence is only valid in the Emirate that issued it. Sharjah Emirate is dry & drinking alcohol is illegal.

“If caught carrying or drinking alcohol without a licence or with alcohol in your blood you can be arrested. It is a punishable offence to be under the influence of alcohol in public-including when transiting through the UAE. It can result in custodial sentences &/or fine (other offences committed while drunk will be heard separately).”

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The post added: “Take care to respect local customs & behave respectfully when consuming alcohol.

“There is zero tolerance for drink driving in the UAE. You can be arrested as a passenger in a car driven by someone with alcohol in their blood. Only non-Muslims can obtain a licence. Tourists are unable to get a licence.”

Radha Stirling, chief executive of human rights group Detained in Dubai, said: “In light of the FCO’s announcement, we will be contacting all airlines who transit to or through the UAE to clarify their position on serving alcohol to passengers.

“Either the UAE will need to reform their laws urgently, or the airlines will need to update their policy to ensure the safety of customers.”