Flight Attendant Goes On Worst Date Ever, Winds Up In Dubai Jail

On June 21 an Emirates flight attendant was arrested in Dubai while on a first date.

UAE police raided the man’s apartment while they were both there, and found two joints of marijuana. Police took them both into custody, and she’s been held ever since. Reports are that the 23 year old British expat, Derrin Crawford, has fallen ill with septic tonsilitis while in jail.

You might wonder, if she was ‘back at his place’ and there were drugs, maybe she was smoking a joint on her date – no big deal in many U.S. states but strictly forbidden in the U.A.E. Except that she was reportedly tested for drugs and the test came back negative, so not only weren’t the drugs hers she wasn’t doing any either. She just happened to be in the vicinity of drugs – and didn’t even know it.

Ms. Crawford has been “living off bread, jam and water since being detained.” because Dubai jails must all be run by local Joe Arpaios.

There’s a change.org petition with around 15,000 signatures seeking action by U.K. leadership as the young woman is a British citizen.

In the U.S. civil asset forfeiture allows governments to take property that is somehow incidentally connected to drugs. Apparently in the U.A.E. they can take people.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. At least the police didn’t shoot the person in the back dozens of times.

    If a person is in a car in the US and an illegal item is found by the police searching the car, they can arrest the person even if the car isn’t the persons and the person didn’t know there was anything illegal in the car.

  2. The dumbest part of this story is that people believe a change.org petition has any meaningful impact on the world.

  3. Dubai has a lot of history of letting “western” foreign public pressure build up over arrests in the UAE and then doing a favor of sort for the government of the the foreign captive’s relatively powerful home country with which the UAE wants to have influence.

    Tony Blair is on the UAE’s take. David Cameron or Boris Johnson or all of them will eventually be too, if they aren’t already. It’s “let’s do a deal time” again. Scummy? Yes, but that is how they play.

  4. End the war on drugs. Your body, your choice. Only liberals believe you don’t own your own body and should be micromanaged by the government.

    Western government should stand up for its citizens over the many cases like this which are arbitrary and capricious. The U.K. can ban all British citizens from going to the UAE and I bet in two weeks the UAE would change its policies for how it handles western tourists. The EU can ban any UAE airline or departure from the UAE from flying over its airspace.

  5. Isn’t her being at the boyfriend’s place itself an illegal act in UAE? Selective enforcement of “morality” laws is quite dangerous there. Recall the Swedish businesswoman who was raped in her room at an upscale hotel in Dubai: no charges for the perpetrators but she was sent to jail for having sex outside of marriage. Talk about adding injury to injury. Awful place with so much hypocrisy.

  6. Sad for her but Western countries can’t impose their values or laws on others. There are many Middle Eastern and Asian countries where drug offenses are taken very seriously (including the death penalty in some cases). She will likely be released at some point due to diplomatic pressure but also likely will be expelled from the country and almost certain to never work for Emirates again. When in a foreign country you have to be very careful with respect to laws especially in areas like drugs, alcohol or sexuality that Americans and Europeans wouldn’t consider crimes.

  7. List of banned meds is crazy–HRT hormone patches for those women going through menopause??? They are neither narcotic nor psychotropic in nature. Just very low-dose natural estrogen (estadiol) from yams.

  8. Why would anyone voluntarily go to these places or work for a company owned by such a repressive state?

  9. Do not ever visit that nightmare of a country. Bloggers..STOP promoting Emirates/QR/EK.

  10. Isn’t a crime in the UAE for two unmarried people of opposite genders to be spending the night together in a hotel or apartment? I guess it’s rarely enforced and most international hotels turn a blind-eye to sex among guests but I suppose it’s something the police could use if they wanted to throw the book at someone, especially someone with drugs in a region with zero tolerance for drugs.

    Is it only me or does the flight attendant look like an escort? She;’s beautiful. No doubt. But not in a classy sort of way. More like the sort of girl who you see on the yacht of fat old men with 5 other girls. Call me daddy girls.

  11. Another reason why I won’t be traveling to or spending money in Dubai. I don’t use drugs but I also don’t agree with their backwards justice system. This woman was a FA not a drug dealer. I hope someone associated with the Dubai tourism board reads this post. No more Emirates paid J or F class tickets for me. I will take my business elsewhere until your country enters the 21st century! I have no tolerance for this kind of abuse.

  12. Really folks. Y’all need to work in a Middle East country before pontificating your country’s customs and morals as a guests in THEIR country I was an expat pilot for Saudia and we had three days of classes and role playing for Saudi Arabian customs and Islam provided by TWA. Having said this, while I was working for SV, it was also well know that the Europe and North American female (maybe male also but I don’t recall any) flight attendants made much more money “dating” than slinging cokes and sprites in the air. I’m unsure that hypocrisy translates.

  13. A few reactions from someone who lived in the United Arab Emirates from 2017-2020:
    1. I guarantee we don’t know the whole story.
    2. Many of the laws we describe as “backwards” are enforced selectively. The Dubai police are not our patrolling to find unmarried couples who are having sex together. That would be incredibly easy for them to find. But if they do catch you, in this case apparently in connection with a drug bust, they will prosecute you for it.
    3. I want to reiterate point number 2. As a single American living in the UAE, I freely dated and had single women over to my apartment without the slightest hesitation. This is not something the police are out looking for, and one can openly seek dates (or escorts, for those so inclined) on dating apps like Tinder or by meeting people in bars, at work, or elsewhere.
    4. Anyone who thinks one could not and would not be thrown in jail for similar drug offenses in the US is deluding themselves. Fortunately this is far less common than it used to be, but not so long ago someone absolutely could end up in jail in the US for this.
    5. This woman will get her day in court. It is extraordinarily unlikely she will spend much longer in jail. She very well may be deported and refused re-entry into the UAE.
    6. There’s lots not to love about the UAE’s laws and how they’re enforced. (There’s lots not to love about the US’s laws and how they’re enforced.) But these stories that appear on occasion in the media often (not always, but often) get blown out of proportion. Dubai (and Abu Dhabi) are among the safest cities in the world and among the most western-friendly (if not THE most western-friendly) of the Arab countries.
    7. I don’t want this to come across as being an apologist for the UAE. There’s plenty not to like. Just like our own country. But the level of misunderstanding and ethnocentrism shown in this article and in the comments is disturbing.
    8. When you speak to Emiratis (people who live in the UAE), while they are fascinated by the US, many are afraid to visit because they think they’re going to randomly get shot in the street. Of course that dramatically overstates the gun problem we have in the US. But it would not at all surprise me, were someone to do the analysis, if one is more likely to randomly get shot in the US than one is to get arrested and prosecuted in a situation such as this.

  14. Dubai, as a state was controlled by British till 1971 when UAE was formed as independent country, therefore the Brits have tremendous clout, most of brits are riff raff n get well paying jobs without proper qualifications.

  15. The immediately prior comment again contributes to the grossly inaccurate information about Dubai and the UAE in this discussion.

  16. I would like to thank Ian for possibly the most balanced, articulate and sensible comment I have seen posted in many years. No political histrionics, just a well laid out opinion.
    Well said, sir.

  17. ” I don’t want this to come across as being an apologist for the UAE. ”

    You just did

  18. I’ve heard similar things to what One Trippe said. I traveled to the mid-east a few times quite a while ago and a military officer (female) told me many of the FAs working those flights were also looking for wealthy men to either marry or make money after hours.

    No idea what happened in this case but the photos sure indicate that this lady would have no trouble getting the attention of wealthy men. I do think she should be released and shouldn’t have been jailed unless they have evidence of a crime that she committed.

  19. “She just happened to be in the vicinity of drugs – and didn’t even know it.” And you know this based upon what? How do we know it was a first date? Why because she claims it was? Where was this marihuana found? The police just happened to barge in to the apartment when she was there for the very first time on a very first date with a man? Seems like we are missing a lot of essential information. A negative test doesn’t mean anything other than she hasn’t used recently. The crime is possession not ownership. Again there is a lot of information that is clearly missing and maybe you shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

  20. “Anyone who thinks one could not and would not be thrown in jail for similar drug offenses in the US is deluding themselves. Fortunately this is far less common than it used to be, but not so long ago someone absolutely could end up in jail in the US for this.” two joints? Someone could end up in jail for two joints found during a search warrant if they are on a first arrest and don’t live at the location? Umm no. If there were felony amounts of a drug maybe if it was in plain view but the only people getting locked up like this for a small amount of marihuana in the US are people who are violating parole or probation. Nowadays even that often isn’t always going to result in people going to jail. Let’s not pretend drug enforcement in the UAE is similar to the US.

  21. Take a look at her Instagram. The guy of girl who posts practically nude pictures on Instagram. She looks like she grew up very poor in Liverpool and wasn’t very attractive growing up, judging from childhood pictures. I’ve seen this before. They get a good job, get nice clothes and want even nicer clothes. It’s easy to then start going on dates, etc. Call me daddy!

  22. That’s fair enough, it’s not because she Is european police will Exempts her in UAE law, and allow to carry this Marijuana, even if this is not from her but still she is With the person Place who has the marijuana Which not allowed too.

  23. The craziest part of the story is that the police just happened to “Barge in” while she was on a date.

    Doesn’t make sense folks

  24. The simple ‘rule’ of life in Dubai is to not brazenly indulge in bad/unacceptable behavior (e.g.drunk in public) by local standards. However if something becomes public which can be considered embarrassing by local norms, you will be in trouble. Amongst the expats, Britts are above everyone else in the hierarchy and can mostly get away with behavior which will not be condoned for the predominant working class from Asia.

  25. The UAE has actually released some very tight restrictions. Women are allowed to drive, attend college, compete for highly skilled jobs in the UAE like airline pilot, physician, attorney. Alcohol is served and sold in select hotels and liquor stores. Any visitor who desires to purchase must obtain a liquor permit at the airport upon arrival. It allows purchase but the liquor must be carried out of the store in a sealed container. You can only drink in the restaurant, in your hotel room or home. Never in public view. You cannot check into a hotel with a person of the opposite sex who is not your spouse. You must show a marriage document to the front desk. You cannot kiss, hug or hold hands in public. If you violate alcohol or spouse rule you will be sent to customers and giving a warning to cease or be banned from returning to the nation. Bottom line is respect their rules since you demand respect for your carpet rules.

  26. Come Muslim people grow up everywhere marijuana is getting legal but you think differently Muslim is not allowed fuck without marriage but you do there is no law but marijuana and you guys drink alcohol it’s ok your Muslim countries are just with stupid laws because laws are only for foreigners

  27. I beg to authority in UAE to investigate all above commentators if they belong to any drug Mafia…they are dangerous create for morality and ethics of there.

  28. Dubai has a very substantial surveillance state in continuous operation with just about the best technology money can buy. They just pick and choose how and when to use it against a target.

    The UAE ruling families are fans and allies of Trump, so if the FA was American and he put in a call, they would release her in less than a NY minute. The Emirati rulers — just like their Saudi buddies — are definitely not eager to see Biden become President of the US and are instead hoping to see Trump re-elected.

  29. Is it possible that Emirates found out about her ”dates” and decided to report her to authorities ?

  30. The attraction of Dubai is lost on me. It’s like Las Vegas or the Australian Gold Coast , but in the desert; ie crass, vulgar, soulless monuments to bad taste.
    Still, some people want to work there. Surely they know the dangers: this was one of the very first countries to restrict, then ban, OTC medications containing codeine ( including utterly harmless pain relief tablets for headache , even in hand carry in transit). People HAVE been thrown in prison for carrying it, so I hate to think how they treat marijuana users.

  31. Please be noted those who talk against UAE and their action against drugs, are super active. UAE they are working very well and with honest. All of you those are commenting nagative might be interested or having drungs tha’tswhy supporting British woman. Just for your information we are in UAE which is the dream country who takes care about all people safety and security. So let’s them do their jobs. Drugs related must be punished to protect the country.

  32. @ Paolo. I agree. Except you neglected to add the almost constant blowing sand and dust. But hey, maybe the climate has changed since I was last there 12 years ago. To be fair though I’m also not a big fan of Las Vegas.

  33. There is a saying “when is Rome, do as Romans do.” A logical extension of the maxim would be … while in Dubai, do as….what is permitted there. But Authority must take a lenient view of this as she was tested negative. She should be released without further delay please.

  34. Zero tolerance on drugs is a good thing??? Why would you let someone in your house if you don’t know them, first date?? Have to respect the law of the country you live in , how she gets freed soon and lesson for all

  35. @Observer keep in mind you are not being given all the facts. The article doesn’t mention the fact that she confessed. Something the family mentioned early on but has stopped talking about. Also, the drug test had nothing to do with tying her to the drugs at the location. In the UAE if you test positive for drugs in your system you can be criminally charged even if there are no drugs at the location. The test was just them trying to get additional charges on her. She claims she passed but again we are only hearing her side of the story in this article. We don’t have all the facts and there are a lot of questions still out there. For example, some people said this was a first date while some of her friends said she just met the guy that night while she was out. Even the extent of her connection to the guy is in question. Best not to rush to judgement until all the evidence is available. Right now we are just hearing a bunch of excuses and we don’t even know what the UAE is saying.

  36. Yea…ofcourse not ordinary attendance but a medium prostitute.
    Dubai police are doing there job and is in there law.

  37. Just a few more observations from someone who lived in the UAE for three years until March of this year:

    1. While prostitution in the UAE is illegal, the Dubai police generally do not spend their time raiding apartments because of suspicion of prostitution unless human trafficking or a prostitution ring is involved. Prostitution is widespread in the UAE, and is largely is tolerated so long as it is relatively discreet.

    2. There is, as many suspect and is true in many countries, a zero tolerance policy for any kind of drugs, including marijuana. It’s hard to imagine, however, that this raid was triggered by two joints. The police must have had information about more significant illegal activity. Something we don’t know about triggered this raid, not the fact that this woman may have been charging for her services, and not the fact that they had two joints. That said, if they had been smoking and a neighbor reported smelling marijuana, that is the type of thing that could have triggered it.

    3. While there are many crimes in the UAE that are not routinely policed — prostitution, drinking alcohol without a license, sex between unmarried people — these are still crimes and will be prosecuted if you are caught. So while in my three years there I was never once asked for my license to purchase and consume alcohol — not by any bar, not by any liquor store, not by the police — if I had any interaction with the police that involved alcohol, such as drinking and driving, the police certainly would have asked for my license and had I failed to produce it that would have been an additional charge. (BTW, I don’t know of any tourist to the UAE who bothers to get a license, and I don’t have any first-hand knowledge of it ever being an issue.) So while it is true that sex between unmarried people is illegal, it is not routinely enforced unless the police stumble onto it in the context of some other investigation, such as into drugs. I, and all single westerners I know, date in the UAE in the exact same way we would in the US without the slightest concern for the law about sex between unmarried people.

    4. I put no weight in the fact that this woman may have confessed to some crime. It is entirely possible that the police put something written in Arabic in front of this woman and insisted that she sign it. Almost every account of crime I read in the newspapers when I was there reported that the defendants had confessed, which led me to believe that all of these confessions are unknowing confessions. That the police in the UAE rely so heavily on confessions is one of the biggest concerns I have about this situation and about law enforcement in general in the UAE.

    5. Unless there are some really damning facts out there we don’t know about, based on what we do know there is a very high likelihood that this woman will be released at some point soon and simply deported from the country.

  38. Strong rumor has it that it wasn’t a “first date” and that in fact “she is more than an airline hostess” if you catch the drift. Having lived here in Dubai for 21 years I would say that there is more to the story than meets the eye.

  39. I remember times and places in the US that she might have been arrested or cautioned by police for dressing like in the selfie.
    I also remember people going to jail for ‘remaining” where drugs were found and also laws about
    “unnatural’ acts, adultery, miscegenation. Not so long ago we were not so very enlightened ourselves.

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