Dogs, cats, even ferrets, all animals that are fairly common to see on a flight, however, falcons may be another story.
In most western civilisations seeing the large bird aboard a plane would come as a shock, in the Middle East, it is a fairly common sight to see one or two the birds on a flight. Yet, even to locals, a Prince from Saudi Arabia surprised passengers when he took up 80 seats on an Air Etihad flight; one for each of his Sakers (Arabian Falcon).
Falcons are such a common sight on planes in the Middle East that the Air Etihad website even has a policy on the birds. “We accept the carriage of falcons in the main aircraft cabin provided all the necessary documents have been obtained. We also accepted falcons as check baggage.”
Qatar Airways has a different policy where you can carry on one falcon per passenger in the Economy Cabin, with a maximum of six falcons per plane.
As of 2015, falcons have been able to travel to and from the United Arab Emirates just like a human. They still have to go through all the same security checks as a regular passenger and must have their own “specially issued passport”.
The UAE issued over 28,000 falcon passports between 2002 to 2013 according to the Atlas Obscura.
Not only do these birds have to have their own passport, but each is also allowed their one piece of carry-on.
If a member of the Royal Family is heading off to the United States, they can claim their falcon as an “emotional support falcon”.
Sure the falcons can fly, but when you are a prince anythings goes!
No word on if the prince sat up in First Class or slummed it in the back in the Economy Class with his 80 birds!