Expensive Indulgence

So you’re flying to Dubai (a Muslim country) on Emirates Airlines (owned by a Muslim government) with your child on a vacation, but decide you just have to have a glass of free wine (despite the fact that, as everyone knows, Muslims get all bent out of shape about booze).

Then you arrive in Dubai, only to discover that your visa isn’t valid, and you have to return to the U.K. on the next flight.  You refuse and get all truculent, whereupon the Arab fuzz — a breed not known for their gentleness and kindness to foreign Christians — throw you and your daughter into a manky jail cell because you have booze on your breath and that’s A Bad Thing in Dubai.  Even better, your husband has to fly out to rescue your daughter and you’ll be in jail for a year while the Muzzies decide to bring your case to court.  Result:

“So far this situation has cost me around £30,000 in legal fees, expenses and missed work. My practice is closed. All our savings have gone.”

Hope the free glass of wine was worth it, that and your bad attitude.  (And yes, I know the silly bint has since been set free through the intervention of Sheik Mohamed because clearly, he saw how poorly this was reflecting on his pisspot city.)

However, Readers will be amazed to learn that this is not the main reason for my ire.   The woman is an idiot, and deserved to get spanked.  This is my point.  The fucking British government was going to do nothing, repeat nothing to help this moron.  Let’s look at the whole picture here.

In days of yore, this would have been settled toute de suite by the Royal Navy sending a gunship into the poxy Arab harbor, whereupon the fuzzies would be suitably cowed and would release the British citizen.  Nowadays, of course, this is Just Not Done (and in any event, the Royal Navy nowadays seems incapable of sailing as much as a dinghy without a year’s preparation).

So here’s what I would do in a situation like this one, were I in charge of the BritGov, and it’s the modern-day equivalent of sending in HMS Warspite:

  • Suspend all Emirates flights in and out of the U.K. for the time that this woman is kept locked up.
  • In the future, confiscate or otherwise forbid all liquor on Emirates airliners before they take off from Heathrow, on the basis that serving liquor on these flights can put passengers in legal peril when they arrive in Dubai.
  • When any Dubai citizens in the U.K. are arrested and accused of breaking British law (e.g. speeding up and down Sloan Street in their gold Ferraris), hold them in jail for a year before allowing them to stand trial (just as in Dubai — they should be used to it, after all).

If this sounds like overkill, it is.  All gunboat diplomacy is over the top, but what it does is serve to remind these little shithole countries that petty actions can have serious consequences — just as Brits traveling abroad should be aware of same.

The problem is that nation-states used to have a duty to look after their citizens when traveling abroad — even when said citizens had screwed up — but nowadays, governments seem to have forgotten this, one of the most basic of their responsibilities.

And for the Daily Mail, a correction is in order.  This broad wasn’t imprisoned for smelling of booze;  that was simply the pretext.  Her original misdeed was refusing to obey the immigration laws of the foreign country she was traveling to, by traveling on an expired visa, and then getting uppity and refusing to return on the next flight — which she would have to do by international law.

I have never understood the arrogance of people when traveling.  Outside your native country, you are a guest, and you need to be respectful of that fact that you are there on sufferance, not by right.  If you want to act all bolshie, save it for when you are at home.

This time, the stupid woman was saved.  The next one may not be so lucky.


  1. I suspect that the Foreign Office asked itself if they really wanted to put themselves out for this twit, and decided she wasn’t really worth it.

  2. Lessee– time to ponder the ‘ol vacation map.

    Saint-Tropez? Nah.
    Nice? Nah.
    Naples? Nah.
    Vevey? Nope.
    Kitzbuhel? That’s just silly.

    No, lets go to effing Dubai, where aside from the simple fact that you’re in the middle of a damn desert, the local constabulary and population in general largely hate you and have eleventy billion ways to throw you in a slightly less than three star accommodation for a very long time.

    Brit limp-wristedness not withstanding, this broad was not operating on all eight cylinders.

  3. This is the first I’d heard the part about the expired visa.

    Isn’t there a procedure for that? Why didn’t they just put her on the next flight back to Old Blighty? (I suppose the security goons who were offended by her offensive behavior might’ve liked the idea of throwing her in jail, but why waste the money?)

    1. Emirates Airways buggered up by letting her on the flight in the first place- part of boarding is checking to see that one has a valid visa or entry permit.
      When the flight back to England was offered, she got all uppity- so the rozzers came and hauled her away. And rightly so.

      1. Ok, that makes sense. It still seems like “the armed courtesy guard is here to escort you onto the next plane home” is cheaper and less of a PR nightmare, though.

        1. From the looks of the story, she didn’t take the hint and went into a privileged hissy fit.
          Which never really helps, no matter what country you are in or what culture you are dealing with.

  4. The Royal Navy might have roused itself for a person of value – not some loud-mouthed drunken peasant woman.

  5. Kim you’re right. the western world should respond to these countries that imprison our people in exactly the way you described. Cut off their funding too.

    I don’t know why anyone would travel to these countries and subject themselves to these cultural backwaters.

    1. Depends on the why you’ve gotten yourself put in the hoosegow. Being a citizen of a powerful foreign nation should not excuse you from not acting like a right twit in front of the wogs.
      Nor should a nation spend time and money trying to rescue a fool from the well deserved consequences of their own actions done elsewhere.

  6. When in a foreign country you must behave as a guest. If you cannot then you deserve what you get. Dumb shits!

  7. I read a bit more about this incident in a frequent travelers’ forum and to compound matters, she insisted on video recording the immigration officials mid-argument. This didn’t go over particularly well, as you might imagine.

    Try doing that entering the U.S. and see how long it takes for your request to enter the country to be denied, or if you’re a citizen, how quickly will you be facing arrest or being put on a no-fly list, etc.

  8. It’s really too bad the British didn’t tell the UAE “Please keep her, we already have enough stupid.”

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