#CulturePH - Emirates embraces the spirit of the Holy Month with a thoughtful passenger journey

With the Holy Month of Ramadan expected to begin this week, Emirates is preparing thousands of Iftar meal boxes for fasting passengers both onboard and at boarding gates, an array of religious content and Ramadan series on ice, and traditional Ramadan refreshments and meals in the lounges.

Iftar Meal Boxes honoring Bedouin heritage

From the March 22, customers breaking their fast across all cabin classes to select Emirates destinations will receive thoughtful, nutritionally-balanced iftar meal boxes. Iftar meals will be served in bespoke boxes designed by Emirates to represent the rich Emirati heritage of the Al Sadu weavers. Al Sadu is a traditional form of weaving practiced by Bedouin women of the UAE, who handmade soft furnishings and decorative accessories with distinctive geometric patterns. Reflecting the social aspect of Ramadan as family and friends gather to break the fast, the Al Sadu weavers used to come together in groups to spin and weave, exchanging family news, singing, and reciting poetry.

The iftar meal boxes will include light dishes and starters such as hummus and spinach bil zeit, Greek salad and cauliflower bil tahini, falafel sandwiches, pasta salad and fried aubergine with mint, zaatar chicken salad and cauliflower bil tahini, chicken musakhan sandwiches with Arabic bread, as well as staples like traditional dates and refreshing laban. A smaller box will also be served at boarding gates at Iftar time including all the essentials to comfortably break the fast.

Emirates’ iftar box will be served to complement the regular hot meal service and menu’s will be refreshed on a weekly basis to ensure a best-in-class dining experience during the Holy Month. The boxes will be served on flights to select destinations during times that coincide with iftar, on flights to and from the Gulf region, as well as flights catering to Umrah groups travelling to Jeddah and Medina during the month of Ramadan. Passengers may also check in one bottle of Islamic holy water ‘ZAMZAM’, containing up to 5 liters per person at Dubai International Airport (DXB) and various airports in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

Captain announcements of Iftar time 

To ensure the highest levels of accuracy for fasting Muslim passengers, Emirates uses a unique tool to calculate the correct timings for imsak (the time to commence fasting) and iftar while in-flight, based on the times of the sunrise and sunset of the location the flight is passing by using the aircraft’s longitude, latitude, and altitude.  When the sun sets, passengers will be officially informed of the iftar time by the captain.

Ramadan refreshments in the lounges 

For customers on the ground boarding during iftar times, boxes containing water, juice, a banana, and dates will be available to fasting customers at gates for several destinations. At the Emirates lounges in DXB, traditional Arabic sweets, dates and coffee will be offered during Ramadan. Meals available in First and Business Class lounges will include a selection of hot and cold Arabic mezzeh, lentil soup, lamb ouzi served with dakous and coriander mint raita, shish taouk with harissa red pepper dip and Emirati ouzi. Desserts will feature kunafa with pistachio and baklava ice-cream, baklawa pistachio finger, sweet cashew kol w shkor and Arabic coffee and dates ice-cream. Emirates lounges are equipped with dedicated prayer rooms and ablution facilities to ensure a peaceful environment for worship. 

 Ramadan content on ice 

Throughout March and April, Emirates ice inflight entertainment will feature special religious content including Hadeeth Al Emam Al Tayeb, Nawafez Aala Al Hayat, Qu’ran Mubeen, Deen Al Tasamoh, Meythaq Al Hayat, Mahe Ramadan (Urdu), Ramadan Ki Fazilat (Urdu), Noor E Ramzan (Urdu) and Niyamat – E – Ramadan (Urdu). The Holy Qur’an is also available on ice.

Popular Ramadan series and dramas will also be available on ice, such as Al Wade' Mustaqer – Season 2, Nasiby Wa Qesmetek – Season 4, Tahqiq, Rivo, 25 Soual, and Fil Sayara. Amongst the diverse content on ice, there are more than 5,000 channels of on-demand entertainment including 742 Arabic channels featuring movies, TV, podcasts, and music.

Ramadan Awareness Training for Emirates staff 

Emirates provides Ramadan awareness training for its cabin crew and on ground teams in Dubai and across its network.  Special training resources have been provided to ensure operational teams are aware of the Holy Month, understand the cultural significance and nuances of this time and recognise specific practices that Muslims engage in, so they are prepared to provide the highest levels of service to customers at all touchpoints of their travel journey.

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