A bar on board a plane - Drinking rules for Emirates explained

Does Emirates Serve Alcohol?

by Dubai Travel Planner

One of the joys of taking a long-distance flight, even if you’re all the way back in economy, is the inclusion of alcoholic drinks as part of your meals package when travelling with premium airlines; but what about when you’re flying an airline from a Muslim country?

It’s a great question as you, of course, want to be respectful to your host airline and staff, but where do you stand when it comes to ordering an alcoholic beverage?

Do Emirates Serve alcohol?

Great news for those who love a little tipple on board, yes! Emirates is a full-service premium airline, and alcoholic drinks are served for free in all cabins of the aircraft.

The drinks menu, as you can imagine, varies by the cabin you’re flying in, but here’s a little glimpse of what you can expect:

Emirates Economy Drinks on Emirates

Generally speaking, there are two main meal services on the ultra-long-haul flights with Emirates (these are your 9 hour plus flights) – One shortly after take-off and one 2-3 hours before you land.

  • A drinks trolley will come either with or immediately after meals are served with a selection of basic spirits, red and white wine and beers (normally Heineken and Carlsberg).
  • After this time, drinks are by request; you can ask your cabin crew to come to your seat, or come to the galley when they’re not busy with meal service.
  • As well as beers and wines, you can expect basic spirits in economy, including: Amarula Fruit Crem, Bacardi Carta Blanca, Dears While Label, Cointreua, Hennessy VS, Russian StandardOoriginal Vodka, Beefeater Gin, and Jack Daniels.

On medium-haul flights, you may find there is only one main meal service and one snack, though you should still get two rounds of the trolley. Short-haul flights will have just the one meal service – it can really depend on the route and time of day.

And it should go without saying they’re not going to serve you alcohol as soon as the plane takes off or when they’re prepping the meal service. They will stop serving any passenger they believe to be intoxicated – don’t argue this point, or you could find yourself in serious hot water with the authorities!

A ladies hand holding a glass of spirits against an airplane window

Emirates Business Class Drinks

Guests in business class can expect a welcome champagne, followed by a choice of drinks from a menu or craft your own. Staff will keep note of your drink preferences and when you’d like them served throughout the flight.

Alternatively, if you’re flying on an Emirates A380, you can socialise and come to sit at their Onboard Lounge.

Some of their menu choices in Business Class include: Glenfiddich Solera Reserve 15-year-old single malt Scotch whisky, small batch premium bourbon Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select, and craft gin Sipsmith, in addition to other top-shelf labels and the same selection as economy class.

Emirates First Class Drinks

As well as everything on offer in Business Class and on-call drinks service, first-class guests can also enjoy: Ron Zacapa Centenario XO Rum, Tesseron Lot 29 XO Cognac, Johnnie Walker Blue Label and Bombay Sapphire Star of Bombay Gin.

Non-Alcoholic Drinks on Emirates

In addition to your usual concentrate fruit juices and soft drinks, Business and First Class passengers on Emirates have available a wide range of refreshing handcrafted mocktails, Vitality Boost drinks, along with specialised teas from Dilmah and coffees.

Back in economy class, it’s just juices, soft drinks, teas and coffees. There’s no option to purchase any of the premium softies.

A meal with a glass of red wine being served in the business class cabin of an airplane

What is the Legal Drinking Age on Emirates flights?

Although you may be able to drink alcohol from the age of 18 in many countries (even younger in parts of Europe!), the legal drinking age for Dubai is 21. Therefore the airline must comply with this and should only be serving alcohol to those passengers over 21. (We’ll be honest, though, we’ve never seen them ID any young adults on board!)

Do Emirates Serve Alcohol in Their Business Lounges?

Yes, if you are in any of the Emirates-run lounges in Dubai, or other premium lounges available for members, such as Lounge Key or Priority Pass, you are served a basic selection of alcoholic drinks.

Those lucky enough to be in Emirates First Lounges will have a wide range of top-shelf spirits and champagnes also available complimentary.

The only time you may find a drink is not available at DXB is during daylight hours of the Holy Month of Ramadan, but in recent years even this appears to have been abolished, and drinks are served 24/7.

Emirates lounges in other countries are subject to the rules of the departing country, but in the vast majority of cases, their self-run lounges also serve alcohol.

More Frequently Asked Questions Around Alcohol and the UAE

More on Flying Emirates

Emirates Airlines has some of the most extensive flight routes in the world, so it’s no surprise most visitors to Dubai arrive with Emirates via Dubai International Airport. If your planning your flights or a Dubai vacation with Emirates, you may also like to read more about:

What is the drinking age in Dubai?

Alcohol will only be sold to those aged 21 years and over in Dubai.

Can you drink alcohol in Dubai?

Yes, despite being a Muslim country, there are specific rules regarding the purchase and consumption of alcohol and non-Muslims over the age of 21 are allowed to buy and consume alcohol in Dubai.

We have a complete guide here to consuming alcohol in Dubai, including how you can purchase alcohol as a visitor, along with the laws and social rules for consuming alcohol.

Does Emirates serve drinks in Economy class?

Yes, there is a standard spirits, beer and wine selection available complementary on board in Emirates economy class cabins, along with soft drinks, water, tea and coffee available throughout the flight.

Do you have to pay for drinks on Emirates?

No, even in economy class, basic spirits, beers and wines are served complimentary to passengers.

Do Emirates serve alcohol during Ramadan?

In-flight drinks service remains available on board with Emirates during Ramadan. For many years now, Emirates lounges in DXB have also continued to serve alcohol during Ramadan. This may not be the case for other Gulf Carriers such as Etihad and Qatar Airways.

Can you bring alcohol into Dubai?

Yes, there is a limit, however, of 4 litres of alcohol (wine or spirits) or 1 carton of beer (24 cans) per adult passenger. There is no compulsory need to declare your alcohol on arrival, although Border Police do conduct occasional random searches. You want to err on the side of caution and not bring any more than the stated limits.

Can you buy alcohol at DXB?

Yes, Dubai International Airport (DXB) sells liquors and wines in the Dubai DutyFree stores, and you can purchase drinks at various bars and restaurants in all terminals at DXB.

Is alcohol in Dubai taxed?

Alcohol from the DutyFree shop in Dubai is not taxed. Since January 2023, a trial period of removing the 30% tariff on the sale of alcohol has been introduced throughout the Emirate. So theoretically, alcoholic drinks in Dubai should now be cheaper than they used to be!

Does Etihad serve alcohol?

The UAE’s national carrier Etihad, which flies from Abu Dhabi, follows the same rules as Emirates when it comes to the service of alcohol on board. A trolley service operates for economy guests, while Business and First passengers can order a la carte.

Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai


Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE and transit passengers self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our recommendation links.

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