What to know when flying during Ramadan

Many people continue to fast when on a plane and this is sometimes encouraged for shorter flights, but Muslims do not need to fast when travelling.

If the thought of breaking your fast mid-flight concerns you or you are worried about knowing the right times to eat, then you can opt not to fast during your journey.

If fasting is not going to be feasible for you during your travels, you should plan to make up the days that you missed upon your return, or at any other suitable time in the future.

How do I know when to break my fast when flying?

Several airlines, especially those from the Middle East, will provide travellers with Ramadan meals and inform passengers when it’s time to break their fast. 

Travellers should follow the rules and times of where they are in the world, rather than those of the country which they departed from. 

That said, there’s no need to stress about when you should break your fast as, on most airlines in the Middle East and North Africa, the captain or crew will inform passengers when it’s time to eat, or to begin fasting again.

Dubai’s Emirates airline said it uses a tool to calculate the correct timings for imsak and iftar while in-flight, based on the times of the sunrise and sunset of the location the flight is passing through, using the aircraft’s longitude, latitude and altitude.

If you are not flying in the region or you’re travelling on an airline that doesn’t announce prayer times, you can simply break your fast once you see the sunset outside your window.

Will airlines give me food to break my fast when flying during Ramadan?

Several airlines, especially those in the Gulf, will offer passengers iftar or suhoor meals when flights coincide with these times.

Other airlines may not provide a regular meal service around iftar or suhoor times, but if you’re flying economy class, you can ask the crew to hold your meal until you are able to eat it. In business and first-class cabins, you can typically order food as and when you require it.

Where can I pray on a plane during Ramadan?

This very much depends on which airline you’re travelling with. 

If you are flying with Emirates or Etihad, you can make use of dedicated spaces designed for worship. Curtains can be pulled across so that you have some privacy during your prayer, however, be aware that these spaces are limited and other passengers may want to pray at the same time as you.

If you’re flying with an airline that doesn’t have an allocated praying space, or if the area is looking crowded with other travellers, you can simply pray in your seat, worshipping from your heart and head.

How do I know which direction to pray in when flying?

Some airlines have used technology to help make it easier for Muslims to identify which direction they should pray in when flying. Real-time qibla finders built into entertainment systems are an effective way to identify the correct direction to face when offering prayers at any point during your flight. (The National)

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