Flying on a Middle East airline can be a luxurious experience for most of us, but when you are a Falcon, that is how you travel!
A photo of 80 Falcons have surfaced the internet and is going viral. The picture was shared on Reddit by user Lensoo on a post tittled, “My captain friend sent me this photo. Saudi prince bought ticket for his 80 hawks.” [sic]. The picture seems to be real, and actually, the carriage in the passenger cabin of Falcons, not Hawks, is a common practice in the Middle East.
A commenter in the Reddit thread helpfully pointed out that a similar post was published on the site a few years ago. “If you fly Etihad or Emirates or Qatar enough you will eventually see someone flying in first class with a falcon sitting next to them,”
All three big Middle East Airlines; Qatar, Emirates and Etihad have in their websites the rules and regulations for the carriage of Falcons. Qatar’s website even shows a table with the applicable rates for the carriage of Falcons across its network. For example, to carry a Falcon from the Middle East to the United States could set you back 450 USD.
Etihad Airways website states:
We accept the carriage of falcons in the main aircraft cabin provided that all the necessary documents have been obtained. We also accept falcons as checked baggage.
While Qatar website says that
You are permitted to carry one falcon on board the Economy Class passenger cabin of an aircraft, and a maximum of six falcons are permitted within the Economy Class cabin of an aircraft
A representative for the airline Flydubai told Frank Kane, a reporter for the UAE news website The National, that falcons must have their own seat and are placed on a cloth to avoid accidents. According to Kane, the business-class cabin of his Flydubai flight in April 2015 was reserved for falcons — so this isn’t as rare of an occurrence as we may think.
So, next time you are flying on one of these Airlines, look around. You may find one of these travelling next to you.