The month of fasting, Ramadan, is one of the most important months of the year for Muslims. This year (2016), it is set to start around the 7th of June. Although Muslims are allowed not to fast while travelling, these days, most of them do observe fasting while traveling on a plane. As such, Airlines which are equipped with the understanding and the ability to cater to the Muslim passengers observing fast will greatly enhance their customer satisfaction. Please click here to get an overview of Ramadan and fasting.
This guide will help Airlines to cater to the basic needs of Muslim travellers during the month of Ramadan.
To make it easier to implement some of the points mentioned below, it would be very helpful if both the check-in staff and the on-board crew are aware of the basics of Ramadan. The crew could then understand the specific practices that Muslims may engage in during fasting. For example, while fasting, Muslim passengers will be more active in reciting/listening to the Qur'an and performing prayers.
There are two possible non-intrusive ways of getting to know if the passenger is observing fasting:
The morning meal taken before the beginning of the fasting period is called Suhour, and the meal taken at the breaking of a fast when the fasting period ends is called Iftar (These are Arabic terms. In certain countries, local terms are used). These are very important meals for Muslims. It is best to take Suhour as near as possible to the start of the fasting period, and Iftar should be taken as soon as the fasting period ends.
In order to cater properly to a fasting Muslim passenger, the crew needs to be aware of these timings. These are based on the times of the sunrise and sunset of the location the flight is passing by. These timings can be obtained for the flight using HalalTrip's In-flight prayer time calculator. It is available both on the HalalTrip.com website as well as on the mobile application for iphone, ipad and Android devices.
If the vast majority of the passengers in the plane are Muslims, it may be possible to announce when the Suhour and Iftar times are near/occur. Some airlines from Muslim majority countries are already accstomed with this practice. Alternatively, the crew could inform fasting passengers individually when the Suhour and Iftar times occur.
Most Muslims may pre-request Halal food, however it would be advisable to have extra Halal food on board during Ramadan.
Once the crew is aware that a passenger is fasting, it is best to do the following:
Providing these basic services to Muslim passengers during Ramadan will increase the appeal of the airline. It also does not impact the services to non-Muslim passengers.
Download the Halal Travel Glossary to have a more comprehensive understanding of the faith based terms used by Muslim travellers. If you have any questions or would like any assistance in your efforts to increase your Airlines appeal to Muslim travelers during Ramadan, please Contact Us