Tourist's fine for abusing Dubai airport staff becomes three months in jail

Passenger was unhappy about allocation of wheelchair

The British tourist was initially fined Dh10,000 for verbally abusing a staff member at Dubai Airport.
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A British tourist's appeal against a Dh10,000 fine for insulting a member of staff at Dubai Airport backfired when a penalty of three months in prison was imposed instead.

The Dubai Court of Appeal issued the revised sentence on November 6.

The incident happened in February last year, when the traveller reacted aggressively after being informed that a wheelchair for his mother was unnecessary.

Judges were told he used offensive language towards the airport employee in the presence of other people.

“I saw the traveller repeatedly asking an airport desk employee about the wheelchair and expected that he might have not understood her explanation,” the airport employee said in court.

“When I tried to explain it to him [the defendant], he insulted me using very bad language.”

In her testimony, an airport desk employee told judges that she was on duty in the transit area of Terminal 2 on the day of the incident.

“The British passenger approached me with inquiries about their flight schedule and to verify their boarding passes,” she said.

She told him that their flight was departing from Terminal 3 and they would need to take a shuttle bus to get there.

During the interaction, the traveller requested a wheelchair for his mother

“I informed him a wheelchair would be made available before boarding the bus.”

The traveller left and then returned to the desk saying there was a passenger near the shuttle bus who had a wheelchair.

At this point, the airport employee who received the verbal abuse intervened and tried to clarify the procedure regarding using the airport's wheelchair services.

“I told the traveller that using such offensive language is not allowed at Dubai airport but he responded that he didn’t care.”

Police were notified and a case was filed against the traveller, who was fined Dh10,000 at Dubai Criminal Court.

Following his appeal, a three-month jail sentence was imposed instead of the fine, to be followed by deportation.

Updated: November 15, 2023, 12:37 PM