Redefining In-Flight Catering

Arabic Coffee Service Etiquette for Corporate Flight Attendants

Arabic Coffee Service Etiquette Corporate Flight Attendant

While flying in the Middle East or working as a corporate flight attendant on an aircraft of passengers from the region, it is important to be confident in customs and etiquette that are part of the culture. Arabic coffee service, which includes coffee and dates, is the proper way to welcome your onboard guests, especially before official gatherings.

For VIP cabin crew, knowing how to perform the correct service etiquette is key. This knowledge will ensure you avoid mistakes that might seem harmless, but could end up insulting your guests. Arabic coffee service is full of body language and gestures, and the coffee itself is very different from what is common in other parts of the world. Arabic coffee is made from home-roasted ground coffee beans and a mix of spices (cardamom, saffron, cloves and rosewater) that stimulate the five senses different than any other coffee.

Arabic coffee should be served from a “dallah” (a medium-sized coffee pot with a long spout) and poured into “finjaans” (small handleless cups). Since the coffee should be offered piping hot, the amount of poured is between ⅓ to ⅔ of the finjaan. Sugar is not part of the coffee service, instead fresh Arabic dates are offered as a healthy alternative.

Quick Tips for Flawless Arabic Coffee Service

  • Two people are needed in order to conduct this service: one offering dates and the other serving coffee.
  • Start with the highest ranking or the most elderly member of the group.
  • It is important to ensure you offer coffee and dates to every guest, because any guest will feel humiliated if they are left out.
  • Besides being offered as a treat to welcome your guests, Arabic coffee is also served after a gathering to signal the meeting had come to an end.

In this short video, we take you step-by-step through the protocol that should be followed by VIP cabin crew based in, or flying to and from, the Middle East in order to cater for Arabic guests.


If you have any questions about this article, contact Monica Lazar at

This is an article by guest author Monica Lazar. Monica is a co-founder of Cabin Crew Excellence, along with Simona Netejoru. Monica and Simona are based in the United Arab Emirates and are industry experts in business aviation, specializing in VIP service in the Middle East. Any thoughts expressed in this article are entirely Monica’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Air Culinaire Worldwide.

If you would like to be considered for becoming a guest author, please contact

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