UK Woman Reportedly Jailed for Drinking Glass of Wine on Emirates Flight

Aug 10, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

A woman from the UK says she was arrested in Dubai after drinking a single glass of wine on an Emirates flight from London in July.

44-year-old Ellie Holman, who is originally from Sweden, says was arrested at Dubai International Airport by immigration officers on July 13 because she drank one glass of red wine with her meal on board her flight.

Upon arrival at DXB, Holman says an immigration officer told her to immediately purchase a ticket back to London because her visa had expired. Then, the immigration officer asked if she had been drinking, adding that it was a crime to consume or possess alcohol in the United Arab Emirates.

“I told him I had a glass of wine on the flight. It was given to me free by Emirates Airlines staff,” Holman told the Daily Mail.

Airport police led Holman, who was with her 4-year-old daughter, to a holding cell in the airport. Holman tried getting video of some of the incident on her phone, but was stopped by armed police officers, who then confiscated her phone and her and her daughter’s passports. Officers then transported Holman and her daughter to a police station for an alcohol test.

At the police station, the mother and daughter were not allowed to use a lavatory, had to beg for food and water, and were forced to sleep on the floor, according to Holman.

“My little girl had to go to the toilet on the cell floor,” she said. “I have never heard her cry in the same way as she did in that cell.”

Holman’s partner, Gary, was able to fly to Dubai to take their daughter home, but was not able to leave with Holman, who was released on bail three days later. She is staying with a friend in Dubai while she awaits trial. She says she’s already spent $38,290 on legal fees.

“All our savings have gone,” she said. “My passport remains confiscated until the case is settled, which I have been told will take at least a year.”

TPG reached out to Emirates for more information, and the airline referred us to the Attorney General of Dubai’s statement on the matter. The statement says that Holman’s Swedish passport was expired, and she produced an Iranian passport, which would have allowed her to stay for 96 hours if she paid a fee.

“Ms. Hollman [sic] refused angrily due to the additional payment fees the process would require, and proceeded to verbally insult the immigration officer and take photos of the officer via her phone,” the statement read. “A legal claim was issued against Ms. Holman with charges of profanity and photographing a government official at the border crossing, a restricted area.”

The charges against Holman were dropped by the Attorney General of Dubai.

H/T: Newsweek

*This post has been updated with the Attorney General’s statement and the fact that Holman’s charges have been dropped.

Featured image by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.