Fasting in Ramadan, from the perspective of a Muslim cabin crew

Photo credit: radiant guy via Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

In this Holy month of observing Ramadan, how does fasting affect our fellow cabin crews? Non-muslim crews included!

Does it make it more difficult to fast and work, considering cabin crews irregular working time, and the dreadful jet lags? How different is it for a cabin crew to fast?

Imagine, lack of sleep… hungry… fatigue… incoherent thoughts… AND you are NOT supposed to be angry!

Are passengers endangered due to a fatigued crew? Or even pilot!

Here are some thoughts from a fellow Muslim cabin crew.

“For fasting crews, this is a very delicate matter that most of us don’t realize. It transcends not just a man’s ability to fast but also how our religion perceived travelers.

In Islam, if you’re traveling more than 2 marhalah, or simply put as 90km per way, you’re allowed to break your fast for clearer mind to function normally. It is perceived as a way to preserve your mental ability to go about your daily businesses.

As crew, our job constantly puts us as a traveler. But in modern times, we don’t travel like how the ancient did. We travel in comfort. But if to a point where fasting endangers your sanity and poses health hazard, it becomes mandatory for you to break your fast. Case in point, pilots. I routinely see pilots breaking their fast to maintain a clearer mind to execute their task. After all, empty stomach does impair one’s judgment.

So if to say the irregular working hours affect us, I don’t see it as that way. I see Ramadan as a way to see which limit you’re able to tolerate. Some people surprisingly manage to go to such extent without breaking their fast, some couldn’t tolerate even minor things. But that’s ok because everyone’s limit is different and one’s faith is not to be questioned. It is not that hard to fast on Ramadan for work. I struggled for the first year as a crew but it does get better in time”


It seems that fasting really isn’t a hinder towards daily routine and work. Hence, fasting should by no means be a reason or excuse to not work, or to complain (in the case of non-muslims). In Malaysia, we enjoy freedom of (and freedom from) religion. The religion does not expect non-muslims to radically change their behavior to accommodate the religious fast during Ramadan, however, to be respectful and mindful of others.

Having said that, some Muslim countries impose law against eating and drinking in the public. What can we say about it, then?

Besides, there seems to be a misconception… that fasting can help you loose weight!

Agree, or disagree?  What do you think?