The ancient sport of falconry is so popular in the Middle East that many commercial airlines in that region allow passengers to bring trained hunting raptors into the main cabin, where the birds travel on a handler’s heavy cuff or tied to an adjacent seat.
Qatar Airways publishes falcon policy on its website: “Harmless, domesticated dogs, cats, and birds can travel as excess baggage on the same flight. You may travel with one (1) falcon in cabin per passenger. There is a limit of six (6) birds allowed in cabin.”
“You are responsible for providing enough food and water for your animal’s journey. However, if your journey includes a transit in Doha, our ground services team will care for your animal by providing food and fresh water.”
Falcons are allowed only in Economy Class and must be hooded for the entire journey. Customers are limited to carrying only one (1) falcon aboard the flight. A chain or cord must be attached to one of the bird’s legs and tied securely to the handler to prevent the bird from flying.
For the first time, a European airline has taken steps to welcome falcons onboard its flights, with the introduction of a new platform to be used by the birds when they fly on planes.
With input from falcon specialists, the Executive Jet Solutions division of Hamburg-based Lufthansa Technik designed the “Falcon Master,” an easy-to-assemble and disassemble kit that connects to standard aircraft seat tracks and provides both a stable bird perch and stainless steel surfaces that can help “maximize sanitary protection of walls, seats and carpets against dirt produced by the birds,” according to a company statement.
Source: Lufthansa Technik
The price? Depending on the market response and final design, the Falcon Master could sell for about 50,000 EUR and be available in the second half of 2015.