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airlines that don't serve alcohol

Major Airlines that Don’t Serve Alcohol

If you ever questioned which airlines serve alcohol on board, the answer would be that nearly all major airlines serve something alcoholic. After all serving alcohol makes money and helps customers relax! On some routes airlines even give free alcohol to their business or economy class.

But I was curious to know which major airlines that don’t serve alcohol. What I found, I guess unsurprisingly, was the airlines that don’t serve alcohol all originate from predominantly Islamic nations. Take a look at these major airlines and some of their other unique rules that may surprise you (further digging, it seems that the law on paper isn’t always what’s happening, keep that in mind).

Saudi Arabian Airlines

Due to Islamic Laws, any flights to and from Saudi Arabia do not serve alcohol. Saudi Arabia takes it a step further and doesn’t serve any alcohol all across its flights nor can you bring alcohol on board. According to Saudi Arabian airlines website, “Alcohol is especially harmful to proper hydration – not a problem as this is not served on board.”

Perhaps not having alcohol is the least of your worries. Apparently Saudi also has a policy of confiscating “Bibles, crucifixes, Stars of David and other non-Muslim appurtenances from their passengers.”

Saudi Arabian Airlines alcohol

Pakistan International Airlines

Like Saudi Arabian Airlines, Pakistan Airlines also doesn’t serve any alcohol or pork due to religious law. However, it wasn’t always this way. Pakistan Airlines only stopped serving alcoholic drinks in the 70’s when all alcohol was banned in Pakistan.

Pakistan Airlines alcohol

Kuwait Airways

Kuwait Airways is also the national carrier for a dry country and therefore no Kuwait Airways flights serve alcohol to any of their destinations. People also can’t bring any alcohol on board, as well as, have any alcohol while transiting through Kuwait City.

Alcohol is the least of worries as Kuwait Airways is repeatedly given a poor rating. However they do often offer cheaper flights than most competitors so that may persuade you to take them.

Kuwait Airways alcohol

Royal Brunei Airlines

Royal Brunei is unique for this type of list as the airline does not serve alcohol but people who bring their own alcohol and ask it to be served, can drink. However, if you land in the country of Brunei the alcohol will be taken from you so plan accordingly.

Royal Brunei Airlines alcohol

EgyptAir

Also an airline of an Islamic country, EgyptAir forbids any consumption of alcohol on their flights but does let people transport alcohol, although you can’t drink your own alcohol on board (disputed below in comments). Interestingly though, alcohol is found everywhere in Egypt so I’m not sure why it is forbidden on their national carrier?

EgyptAir alcohol

Iran Air

Because Iran Air is the national carrier for Iran, a Islamic nation, alcohol is not served on any of their flights. Also if you’re a woman and flying to Iran you will need to cover your head but men don’t need to do anything special. Iran Air is also not known for being an on-time airline so perhaps don’t count on any connections.

Iran Air alcohol

Gulf Air and Bahrain Air?

Bahrain was always the liberal country in the Arab region that did serve alcohol on their flights. It was an attractive option for many Saudis to connect in Bahrain so they could get served some alcohol on long flights. But just in 2014, Bahrain has reported to stop serving alcohol on its flights and at its airport (edit: further digging, I found that Gulf Air is still serving alcohol, look in comments).

Gulf Air alcohol

 

Other Alcohol Free Mentions:

Afriqiyah Airlines

Air Arabia

Jazeera Airways

Indian Carriers on domestic flights

 

 

 

images by: daniel, aero icarus, rhl images, aero icarus, mark, aero icarus, faisal, quinn

About Shawn

Shawn is a native Texan now living in Chicago. His passions include traveling the world, maps, geography. planes, foreign languages, history, mimosas, wine, beer, moscow mules, documentaries, eating healthy, boots, good style, staying fit and being openly gay. He has been to 45 countries including 6 months in France to learn French. Above all he enjoys traveling the world.

61 comments

  1. I’m a cabin crew in EgyptAir and you are wrong about something in the article, passengers who bring their own alcohol on board can drink and be served.

  2. I flew EgyptAir from US to Saudi Arabia. They served alcohol (at least in business class) on the US to Cairo leg, but not the Cairo to Saudi leg.

    However, other airlines do serve alcohol on flights to Saudi Arabia including Lufthansa, KLM, and BA

    • That makes sense because they are non Arab airlines and thanks for the heads up! Has the law changed, can you bring your own alcohol and drink or do they actually serve?

    • I flew on Egypt Air last year from Cairo to JFK on MS 985 in business class and they did not serve alcohol. In fact, the flight attendant was a bit rude when I asked for a glass of wine when she asked me if I wanted something to drink.

  3. i recently flew with egypt air (germany to egypt, domestic and back to germany). they did not serve any alcohol.

  4. You are correct, alcohol is banned in Pakistan since 1977. Alcohol is not socially acceptable in Pakistan (just like marijuana is in the USA). But, just beneath the surface, and in a hush hush way, it is widely and openly available in licensed “wine shops” and there is a licensed brewery and a few distileries in Pakistan making fine beer, vodka, etc.

    What I would like to know is if one could carry their own alcohol for consumption on board Pakistan International Airlines (PIA)?

    Also, please read this article from a major Pakistani news paper:

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-25754-PIA-pilots-want-clarification-of-drinking-regulations

    • Seems likes, with most things, laws on paper don’t always match what is actually happening! That’s very interesting. I would like to know that too.

      • Now that I think of it, during mid-80’s I traveled from Toronto, Canada to Karachi, Pakistan via New York on Pakistan International Airlines. There were few people who brought their own alcohol (whiskey) and were drinking it on board with flight crew providing them with glasses and ice. And that was in the 1980’s with Pakistan under the conservative, right wing, cleric backed rule of General Zia-ul-Haq (1977-1988). After Zia, most of the rulers (Benazie Bhutto, General Pervez Musharraf) were liberal, secular and open minded. Hence, the understanding that as long as a muslim person is consuming alcohol quitely in their home or in a privately owned establishment such as high-end restaurants or clubs, authrities will look the other way. Non-Muslims with a permit are allowed to buy alcoholic beverages legelly. BTW, locally manufactured alcohol is heayily taxed and the government earns revenue on its sale.

        I am planning to travel to Toronto next summer. PIA offers the cheapest fare, fine and plentiful food, and above all, a direct 14-15 hours flight from Karachi to Toronto. I would like to know the recent alcohol consumption position on PIA if I bring my own bottle.

      • http://www.piac.com.pk/pia_policynterms/coc.pdf <--- Look at this link!It clearly states that it is forbidden to consume alcohol even if you bring it on yourself. However I'm not sure what you can get away with if they "look" the other way.

      • Thanks Shawn, nice work.

  5. Gulf Air do serve alcohol. I travel with them fairly frequently and I find that alcohol is the only way to survive the boredom of Bahrain airport.

  6. Most of the airline still serve alcohol, but non of them serves pork or alcohol if traveling to or from Saudi Arabian destinations. Even British Airways does not.

    • I travelled with British Airways from London to Saudi Arabia about a month ago and they did, in fact, serve alcohol. When travelling back from Saudi Arabia a week later, they did serve alcohol, provided we were out of Saudi airspace (an airline steward told me, when I asked for wine, that I had to wait until we were out of Saudi airspace before they could allow me to drink). The same applied for my flights to and from Saudi earlier on in the year.

      I’m not sure if it has always been like this for BA with regards to flights to/from Saudi, but I’m just sharing my experience. I think the no-alcohol rule is only true for Saudi Airlines and other airlines that *only* travel to and from Saudi Arabian destinations and other destinations where alcohol is banned – correct me if I’m wrong.

  7. I did travel from BOM to London via Egypt air and they didnt serve any alcohol

  8. Air Arabia does have alcohol in their menu which you can buy on board. It was there at least on their Mum-SHJ and return legs.

  9. Thai Air does not serve alcohol on domestic flights not is it available in domestic business class lounges.

    • That’s interesting, do you have a link. I’ll look into that.

    • That is incorrect. Thai Business Class domestic lounges do have beer, but nothing else alcoholic. Flying in Business domestic will also get you beer onboard but no wine or spirits.

      Unrelated to any religious reasons, THAI is just being cheap. Even at BKK airport, flying international, only one of their Business class lounges has wine (Concourse D). Spirits and beer are available at every lounge.

      SIA Silver Kris (Business) lounge at Changi is one of the few Business class lounges that also serves Champagne, among a wide variety of other alcoholic beverages. Their 1st class lounge has for example Johnnie Walker Blue Label (bartender service only)

  10. Many Asian airlines do not serve alcohol on the domestic sectors. Thai for one, and I just flew Philipine Airlines domestic and they didn’t either in business class. I think it’s a money thing and not a law.

    • Thanks for you response. Seems that airlines have random rules depending on circumstances.

    • PR has another bizarre policy since early 2014. They do serve Champagne on their international business class sectors but have now limited the serving to 2 bottles only. Furthermore they are not allowed to stock up anywhere else except in Manila.

      This led to a bizarre situation. I was taking PR 731 on FEB 27 2014 BKK-MNL. Stewardess came around asking what I prefer as my welcome, pre takeoff drink. I asked for Champagne but she said they are out of it. I asked how is that possible since we have not yet even left the gate. She said it was all consumed on the inbound flight (24 PAX Business Class). I told her to just restock here in BKK to which she said she is not allowed to. She was clearly embarrassed and apologetic but also powerless. We had no Champagne on that leg.

      She said the same principle is also applied to long haul flights (BKK – MNL is apprx 3.5 hrs). Furthermore beer stocks for Economy are limited to 120 cans.

      I wrote several emails to PR with no response, until after a very fiery letter I finally got a meaningless copy/paste response, basically telling me they don’t give a F.

      Considering that San Miguel Corp is major stakeholder of Philippine Airlines one would assume they would use this prime marketing opportunity and promote their products to the international consumers but as is often the case in SE Asia, common sense and logic do not even enter the discussion.

      I took another PR flight in Business a month later just to see if they had fixed the issue. Though they had Champagne available this time, the cabin crew confirmed the 2 bottle limit for return legs is still in force.

      I have not flown PR since but switched back to SIA. Costs a bit more but the amenities provided both onboard and in lounges is far superior.

  11. Bahrain airport does serve alcohol..go to the Irish Pub. I work in Kuwait and we fly people to Bahrain all the time and that is where they sit and drink prior to coming back

  12. Arik Air and Aero Contractors of Nigeria do not serve alcohol on their domestic flights. This I believe, is an economic thing as alcohol is not prohibited anywhere in Nigeria and is even sold in the airport duty-frees.

  13. Airlines in Indonesia do not serve alcohol on domestic flights. On a Biman flight some years ago I could only get a beer by buying it from duty free trolley!

  14. Next month I am flying to Bombay by Kuwait Airlines. I want to carry Alcohol with me. So how can I bring it? Thank you

    • Oh I’m not sure of Kuwait Airlines policies. You’ll need to contact them to make sure!! I think underneath the plane or declaring it maybe no problem.

    • They donot let you carry alcohol nor do they serve alcohol on board.
      Alcohol is strictly prohibited. Donot even ask for it, you will have to go through the entire flight with lot of uncomfortable stares

  15. India is a major country which does not permit alcohol consumption on domestic flights although you may carry them in hand baggage (not check-in baggage). For the duration of your flight, they will store your bag containing liquor in the top baggage compartment.

    Most domestic airlines in India are no-frills, cheap fare anyway. That creates a long rush of people, and all flights are always full. It’s so congested there’s hardly any place to move. Even if they allowed you to, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy your beverage in peace.

    Moreover, Indian men in India can’t handle their alcohol and have been known to misbehave one time too many.

    On international flights, however, all Indian major airlines serve alcohol. You can buy liquor at duty free shops. Air India and Jet Airways have no restrictions on alcohol on their international flights.

    I don’t understand the need to drink on a flight. At an altitude of 35,000 feet, you shouldn’t be drinking anyway. The cabin air pressue and minimal oxygen supply means you should try to take care of your health.

    I once flew from Munich to Mumbai on Lufthansa LH764. I had a co-passenger from India who became an absolute pain in the ass. He kinda ruined my flight experience with his non-stop rambling and harassing the female crew for more alcohol. When they wouldn’t serve him anymore, he pestered me to get him some more alcohol. I felt so embarrassed during that flight. That was the day I had sworn off drinking on a flight for good.

  16. Does anyone know if Bangladesh Biman serves alcohol? I will be traveling from Dublin to Dhaka via LHR in Oct. and can’t seem to find any info on their website.

  17. Shawn, you are amazing! What do you know about qatar airways. They are very vague.

  18. Booze is freely available on Qatar Airways

  19. I was a guest at a hotel in Karachi and I found a note at the bottom of the room service menu that said non-Muslim guests could order beer. I did so and a non-Muslim Egyptian waiter brought up a bottle of beer and opened it in front of me after I signed a statement that I was a non-Pakistani and non-Muslim and that I would not share it with any Pakistani or Muslim. After he left, I took a big, grateful swig … and promptly spewed it all over the floor. It was completely skunked. The rest went straight down the toilet! Another time, I was sipping a beer at the bar in the departure lounge in (I think) Bangkok and the bartender suddenly started lining up shots of whisky at the bar. The gate opened on a Saudi 747 flight transiting the airport and the bar was suddenly flooded with Saudis who proceeded to chug down the shots! One man said to me “I see you looking … we do this because the only way we can bring alcohol into our country is in our stomachs!”

  20. Egyptair – travelled LHR – CAI – JNB (return) in business this week. No alcohol is served. Alcohol is not served in lounges however is freely available in the rest of the airport (for purchase). You can also buy alcohol in duty free. Note, it is utter chaos when you transit between flights – so don’t count on having time to do any of the above other than run for your connecting flight…

  21. Does Gulf Air definitely serve alcohol now?

  22. Hi Shawn, I’m flying Dhaka to London next week with Biman (Bangladeshi Airline). Do you know if it’s a “dry flight” please?

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