When A Flight Of Royal Falcons Goes First Class

While most falcons are known to be high flyers, there now appears to be a certain group that could be referred to as ‘frequent flyers.’ That’s right .  .  . instead of using their own god-given wings, 80 falcons most recently were treated to a commercial jet flight, outfitted just for them. On a Etihad Airways plane, a Saudi Arabian prince purchased individual airfares for each bird, along with their required passports.

Policy-wise

It appears that if you’re traveling with your pet falcon and don’t want to put them in the cargo hold, Etihad Airways can accommodate you. And if you're flying with more than one bird-of-prey, the airlines policy states you’ll need to buy the first class tickets.

The airline didn't say why their policy allows falcons on board, but given that falconry (the practice of training the birds to hunt) is extremely popular in the United Arab Emirates, it does make sense that the nation's flag carrier would offer this form of travel to these practitioners.

SeatGuru

SeatGuru is the go-to resource for savvy flyers who seek to research seating charts for various airlines worldwide. It breaks down the specs on the seat width, pitch and comfort factor. Their editors maintain the accuracy of airplane seat data and update the site with both community-submitted reviews and independent research.

Regarding the seating for falcons, they detail Etihad’s three classes of service offered to these very unique passengers:

 Diamond First Class

  •     Up to 2 falcons per guest (per seat) are permitted. Charge for each falcon (which is considered 6.6 lb/ 3 kg) is 3 times the normal excess baggage rate of the journey.
  •     Up to 2 additional falcons can be carried when an extra seat is purchased within same class. No excess baggage charges for the additional falcons will apply.

Pearl Business Class

  •     Up to 2 falcons per guest (per seat) are permitted. Charge for each falcon (which is considered 6.6 lb/ 3 kg) is 3 times the normal excess baggage rate of the journey.
  •     Up to 2 additional falcons can be carried when an extra seat is purchased within same class. No excess baggage charges for the additional falcons will apply.

Coral Economy Class

  •     1 falcon per guest (per seat) is permitted. Charge for one falcon (which is considered 6.6 lb/ 3 kg) is 3 times the normal excess baggage rate of the journey.
  •     1 additional falcon can be carried when an extra seat is purchased within same class. No excess baggage charges for the additional falcon will apply.

 

Airfares

If you are so inclined, to fly your falcons, it’s important to note that the charge for each additional seat purchased will be the fare applicable for an adult guest occupying the seat.

This applies to all travel classes, where charges will depend on the number of seats, the travel class and sector of travel.

As far as baggage for the human chaperones, per UAE Civil Aviation requirements, no piece of baggage may exceed 70 lb/ 32 kg in weight or 80 in/ 200 cm in dimension. However, these passengers are not entitled to any additional free baggage allowance for the additional seat(s) purchased for the falcons.

Birds of Feather

While a flock of falcons is certainly one of the more unusual passenger you’re likely to see on board a commercial jet, it is (by far) not the most bizarre species ever found on a plane. Over the years, I’ve posted stories about dogs, dolphins and even snakes. Well . . . maybe those snakes were a bit of fiction. Who remembers that 2006 flick that I’m sure Samuel L. Jackson is still scratching his head as to why he agreed to star in it?  Personally, I think I'd rather fly with falcons!

 

 

 

 

Comments

Share Your Thoughts!