What is special about in-flight passenger service during Ramadan?
Ramadan is the most important month in the Islamic calendar. The holy month of Ramadan is a time for Muslims all over the world to focus on spiritual life and its practical application in daily life.
Thus, airlines of some Islamic countries, such as the state-owned flag carrier of Qatar, Qatar Airways, and the largest airline of the UAE, Emirates, have recently introduced a specific service on selected routes offering more options for fasting passengers.
Qatar Airways: ‘Maghrib’ prayer time onboard and special Iftar meal
For instance, on April 3, 2022, Qatar Airways announced it will mark the holy month of Ramadan by providing an exclusive service to passengers flying out of the domestic airline’s hub at Hamad International Airport (HIA).
According to the carrier’s statement, since air traveling between different time zones might have effects on fasting travelers, the Qatar Airways cabin crew will serve a specially designed Iftar meal, which includes a selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian wraps, a sweet box with traditional Arabic desserts, dates, fresh laban yogurt and a water bottle at the time of breaking the fast. The Iftar meal will be served flying on select routes across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.
The cabin crew also will announce the ‘Maghrib’ prayer time mid-air, the airline wrote.
“Ramadan is a special time for many of our passengers, and we would like to take this opportunity to embrace the unity that comes with the traditions of this Holy Month,” the chief executive officer of Qatar Airways Group, Akbar Al Baker, was quoted as saying. “It is important for us to provide a customized service that caters to the needs of fasting travelers.”
In addition to the specific service on board, passengers will also be offered an opportunity to listen to the Quran or enjoy watching different Islamic programs via the airline’s Inflight Entertainment System (IFE).
Meanwhile, transiting passengers who will make a stop in HIA will have a chance to use one of 16 spacious prayer rooms with dedicated ablution facilities, designed to accommodate spiritual needs.
Emirates: a special tool for calculating the correct timings for meal intake in-flight
On April 1, 2022, the official start of Ramadan, Emirates introduced its signature services both on the ground and onboard its flights for fasting travelers.
To meet the special needs of passengers, the airline announced new catering options which will be provided across all cabin classes to select Emirates destinations across the Gulf region. The carrier said its Iftar meals will be specially crafted and nutritionally balanced and will consist of freshly prepared grain-based cold salads as well as sandwiches, seedless dates, laban, water, and mini-Arabic bread together with other Iftar essentials.
“Emirates’ Iftar box will be served to complement the airline’s regular hot meal service, which will include a traditional soup option for First Class passengers on select flights to break their fast. The box contents will be refreshed every week to ensure a best-in-class dining experience for customers during the Holy Month,” the Emirates statement reads.
Meanwhile, to ensure the accuracy for fasting Muslim travelers, the carrier will offer a special tool that calculates the correct timings for meal intake while flying, based on the times of the sunrise and sunset of the location the flight is passing by. The tool uses the aircraft’s longitude, latitude, and altitude data, so when the sun sets, the captain of the flight will inform passengers of the Iftar time.
For customers on the ground at Dubai International Airport (DXB), who will be boarding a flight for several destinations during Iftar time, Emirates will provide trays of dates and water.
The carrier also wrote that to ensure the team's awareness of the basics of Ramadan and understanding of the cultural significance and nuances of this specific period, Emirates has been providing special training for both its cabin crew and on-ground employees.
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