In-Flight Catering and Travel Tips for the United Arab EmiratesJune 24, 2014 by Michael Sadek
The Middle East is a region of Southwest Asia that spans over 5 million square miles. The United Arab Emirates is a country located on the Arabian Peninsula. This peninsula has a desert that is so inhospitable it is referred to as “The Empty Quarter.” The Middle East is well-known for its vast deserts and high temperatures.
The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E. or “the Emirates”) is comprised of seven Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah, Ajman and Umm al-Qaiwain. U.A.E. is home to Abu Dhabi International Airport (OMAA) and Dubai International Airport (OMDB), two of the busiest airports in the Middle East. Additionally, Ras al-Khaimah International Airport (OMRK), Sharjah International Airport (OMSJ) and Fujairah International Airport (OMFJ) are located in the Emirates. July and August are the hottest months of with temperatures reaching 113 F (45 C) and thus comprise the low season for travel to the area. Annual events which influence the volume of air traffic in U.A.E. include Christmas, New Year, Ramadan (Muslim month of fasting) and Hajj (Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia). As an in-flight caterer or a cabin crew member operating in the Middle East, it is of utmost importance to be familiar with the restrictions Muslims have during the month of Ramadan, in order to avoid any embarrassing mistakes.
Dubai, located in U.A.E., is world-renowned for its amazing architectural feats. The city has seen such an economic boom in recent years that it was thought at one point 25% of all cranes in the world were being operated in the city. Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world which also boasts the largest clock, thus also earning it the title of tallest clock-tower in the world. U.A.E. is also home to five of the top six tallest hotels in the world, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Yas Viceroy Hotel Abu Dhubi, Rose Rayhaan, Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel. U.A.E. not only mastered the art of building skyscrapers, but also has been known to shape the earth to accomplish unique projects. The Palm Islands and The World Islands are two iconic man-made groups of islands that lay off the coast of Dubai.
It is no surprise that along with all of the unparalleled creativity in architecture, the Emirates also boasts several of the top resorts and hotels in the region. One&Only The Palm, Burj Al Arab (voted the most luxurious hotel in the world), Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort and Ritz-Carlton Dubai are some of the most coveted luxury hotels in Dubai. In Abu Dhabi, the Emirates Palace is a prized location to spend time relaxing.
When it comes to dining, some of the most popular food in the region are “tahini” (a spread made of ground sesame seeds), “falafel” (deep-fried chickpeas), “tabouleh” (a finely chopped salad featuring parsley, mint, onion, bulgur wheat and tomatoes), “baklawa” (a pastry made of nuts, honey and filo dough) and “baba ghannouj” (eggplant with tomatoes and onions). Since the Middle East has a large Muslim population, Halal (translates to “permissible”) is the standard for food products. Stores and restaurants sell pork, but it must be kept in a specific area and not come into contact with any surfaces, equipment or utensils used for other food.
Entertainment is second to none in the Emirates, and everyone is sure to find many activities to enjoy. Ski Dubai is one of the world’s largest indoor ski parks and is located within the Mall of the Emirates. Golf enthusiasts have the 18 holes of the Emirates Golf Club to explore, while nature lovers can join a tour to visit Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. If you prefer water activities, Dolphin Bay gives you the opportunity to have a dolphin encounter, or visit Yas Waterworld and Aquaventure Waterpark (both voted as top water parks in the world).
The United Arab Emirates is a fast-paced, glamorous nation with amazing architecture, flavorful cuisine and a visitor-friendly atmosphere. Although the country faced recession a few years ago, it is now back on track as a vital global economic and trade hub.
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