Most travellers have had at least one experience of getting on a flight with a group of rowdy passengers, but what about getting on a plane with a cast of falcons?
A photo posted on Reddit by user lensoo, showing a number of falcons on a flight, is making the rounds. And while other Reddit users were endlessly amused by the image, which supplied little context, in places like the UAE, falconry is a popular pastime.
And airlines based in the Middle East are clearly prepared to accommodate those travelling with their birds. Etihad’s website lists rules on animals and pets, noting that guide dog are permitted, and ‘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’.
Qatar Airways also sets out regulations, noting 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’.
Emirates notes that animals are not permitted in the cabin of Emirates flights, with the exception of falcons between Dubai and certain destinations in Pakistan, and guide dogs.
However, the particular flight shown in the photo certainly has a few more falcons than one might expect. However, the transport of the animals is so common that they are even assigned passports in the UAE. According to a Khaleej Times report from 2003, the UAE introduced a falcon registration scheme that created passports for the birds so they can be moved across international borders, which is also intended to stop the smuggling of the animal.
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