As Muslims around the world celebrate Ramadan this month, I had the opportunity to witness an iftar dinner on an Etihad Airways flight between two predominantly Muslim nations. It was not the meal itself that was nearly as interesting as the hustle to serve it.
Etihad Airways Hustles To Serve Iftar Dinner
During Ramadan, observant Muslims abstain from all eating and drinking, including water, from sunrise to sunset (no sex or tobacco either). A suhur meal is consumed before sunrise while an iftar meal is consumed after sunset.
The iftar meal begins with three dates and milk or water, which is how the prophet Mohammed was thought to have broken his fast. It then progresses to what is often an elaborate multi-course meal.
But what happens when sunset occurs just 30 minutes before landing?
I was traveling between Istanbul (IST) and Abu Dhabi (AUH) on an afternoon service that would almost entirely operate in daylight.
It appeared I was one of the only non-Islamic guests onboard, because I was one of the only passengers who ate after takeoff (delicious lunch, by the way).
33 minutes out of Abu Dhabi, the captain came onboard to announce the sun had just set. Suddenly, the quiet cabin came to life.
First, flight attendants offered every passenger a bag that included a box with three dates, a bottle of water, and a yogurt drink. I’m going to assume that was the extent of the service in economy class, but service was just warming up in business class.
Picture flight attendants hustling to feed most of the business class passengers, who now that the sun was set, were ready to eat. It was a hustle unlike I have ever seen before and the ladies did a fabulous job in serving every last customer before we touched down in Abu Dhabi.
Great credit must be given to the lovely Olja and Amalia for working so hard in the final 30 minutes of the flight to feed so many. What a testament to excellent service.
You can read my full Etihad Airways A350-1000 Business Class review here.
This was a very memorable flight.