Back in 2017, passengers on a flight in the UAE were treated to an unusual surprise as they boarded the plane. A member of the Saudi Arabian royal family had purchased a seat for every one of his 80 falcons, the feathered flyers can be seen in the photo below. Passengers are becoming desensitized to animals on planes due to increasing use of emotional support animals, however, a flock of falcons might not provide much emotional stability!
Background of the flight
It is not completely clear which airline the falcons flew with, however many airlines in the UAE have policies for travelling with falcons. Qatar airways has been ruled out as they only allow 6 falcons in economy class. However, Etihad airways has a more lenient policy for falcons with 1 falcon permitted per seat, provided they have the necessary documents!
What documents does a falcon need?
The answer is yes. The falcon passport is a unique document that can be obtained in the UAE. It is possible that the saudi prince was forced to obtain 80 falcon passports for his birds of prey. These passports have to be valid for three years! A picture of the falcon passport is shown below.
Falcons in the United Arab Emirates
In the Arabian peninsula, falcons have played a vital role in hunting for centuries. As a result they have become an important symbol in the culture. Falcons are great for hunting as they can be trained to scan the desert environment for food and return with their prey alive. Falconry is also a popular sport in the nation, so the falcons can provide more than just hunting prowess. In return, the UAE is host to the world’s most prestigious falcon hospital, treating thousands of birds each year! The relationship between a falcon and a falconer can be very strong, and this provides benefits to both parties.
How Falcons travel by plane
In the picture above you may notice that the falcons have been blindfolded while on the flight. This is so that the flock remain calm throughout the flight, sadly this also means they cannot watch any movies! While generally quite calm, the falcons are also tied down for the safety of other passengers on board!
Can a falcon claim compensation for a delay?
We are honestly not sure, but if you and your falcon are delayed in the future we are willing to try and claim for you. At flight-delayed we help to make sure that passengers are treated within their rights and help them claim their owed compensation (up to 600 euros)! If you (or your falcon) have been delayed in the last 6 years then you can check to see if you are entitled to compensation using our free flight checker. If you then decide to submit a claim with us to get your compensation, this is on a no-win-no-basis (so you can’t lose money). Free money is always worth claiming right?