I wonder if anyone can help me. I am a very nervous flyer at the best of times, but I booked a week in Dubai not really thinking of the flight route. I am flying with Emirates and I am concerned that I will have to fly over Syria and Iraq or to avoid those, to fly over Iran which doesn't really seem much better. This terrifies me! Does anyone have any ideas what route it might take?

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    Why are you worried about flying over Iran? Unlike Syria and parts of Iraq, it's not a war zone, and neither does the government have a habit of shooting down civilian aircraft. Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 11:12
  • 9
    Which countries are ok for you to fly over, then? It's not like you can get to Dubai by flying over Finland and Switzerland only. There are lots of conflicts in that area. Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 13:36
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    I'd be more concerned about Dubai, the Iranians would cause a major international incident if they shot your plane down, so it's highly unlikely, but you could be arrested in Dubai for something considered trivial in London. You don't want to be in an emirati prison Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 17:56
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    @DavidGrinberg In that case I'd advise you avoid flying over the USA as well. Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 6:08
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    @davidgrinberg My point is that none of that poses a realistic risk to flying overhead at 10 km in a civilian airliner. Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 22:48

4 Answers 4


I looked up an Emirates flight from Gatwick to Dubai on FlightRadar24 and came up with EK12. Seems they avoid Syria and Iraq and fly over Iran.


enter image description here

There is no guarantee it'll take the exact same route each day, but it should mostly be similar. In any case, you can browse a few days into the past to see daily variations.

  • also avoiding Iraq.
    – user28559
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 13:29
  • @MichaelChirico more like incidentally avoiding Syria because they're avoiding Iraq and Iranian airspace is the shortest detour that lets them do so. Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 13:46
  • sure, that's also possible. don't think we can definitively say they're "incidentally" avoiding syria without further information...
    – user28559
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 13:50

there are a few websites out there to check the exactly route an airplane takes. try http://www.flightradar24.com/ for example.


I believe everyone is entitled to their fears; but keep in mind that:

  1. Emirates has responsibility for the safety of everyone on that aircraft - including their own staff and all the other passengers.

  2. The Dubai - London route is quite a busy one, with flights from Emirates and BA as well; and these airlines care above all else, about safety.

  3. It takes very expensive, very complicated equipment to try to shoot down an airliner traveling at cruise altitude. This is not something that any dumbo with a shoulder fired rocket can do. You need radar tracking, complicated missile equipment and the know how to operate all the above - none of which has been confirmed in the possession of groups like ISIS.

  4. Iran is not an active conflict area; there are no flight restrictions for any commercial traffic. If there was even a hint of trouble, flights would be suspended - as Emirates recently did when they suspended flights over the Sinai due to the plane crash there.

  5. All commercial traffic takes well known airways (defined points and vectors), which are setup to minimize flight time and maximize fuel efficiency. Airlines rarely fly around these known airways; unless directed by air traffic or as a consequence of weather. These airways also enjoy full radar coverage since they are busy traffic areas.

Therefore, please rest assured that - barring turbulence - you should have a comfortable flight.

This is the current status of flights over Iran/Iraq from flightradar24.com:

enter image description here

As you can see, there is a very busy airway over Iran that is in heavy use by multiple airlines, include British Airways' daily 156 from Kuwait to Heathrow:

enter image description here

Further along, you can see all flights are flying the same route to Europe:

enter image description here

The few planes flying over Syria are also commercial traffic, but they are bound for other destinations.


No need to worry, many of the claims of ISIS of having acquired sophisticated weapon systems have been debunked, see e.g. here:

Google Images once again showed that the photo of the Soviet-made SA-6 missile battery was actually taken by an American military photographer in Baghdad in May, 2003 at Baghdad International Airport. Not only that, but the original source of the photo on the Internet is the Pentagon's own imagery website.

  • Not sure that means no need to worry. The Syrian government presumably have high-altitude AA systems, and Syria, US, Russia and others are performing air combat operations in Syrian (and often Iraqi) airspace. All it takes is one misidentification...
    – CMaster
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 7:20
  • @CMaster If ISIS were flying planes and they would then pose an air to air threat or an air to ground threat, then it would be dangerous, take e.g. the Iranian plane accidentally shot down by the US Navy, the MH17 disaster in Eastern Ukraine, or the Korean plane shot down near Sakhalin. A pilot flying over Syria who sees a blip on his radar won't fire a missile as he'll be 99.999% sure it will lead to a friendly fire incident if it hits something. All this talk by the US about the need to have more talks about deconfliction is probably meant to deal with other issues. Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 17:36
  • E.g. it's not all that unreasonable to assume that the US has quite a few undercover operatives in the area where the moderate rebels are operating near Latakia, in Idlib, in Homs, in Aleppo etc. etc. and its there that the Russian bombs are falling. So, it's only logical that the US has raised the issue of possible mishaps, but in public they'll then only refer to possible air to air threats. Only in private conversations with the Russians will they discuss what the real problem is. Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 17:41

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