It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a bunch of birds on a plane!
No, your eyes do not deceive you. That’s a picture of dozens of falcons sitting in an airplane cabin. Reddit user lensoo posted it with the following caption: “My captain friend sent me this photo. Saudi prince bought ticket for his 80 hawks.”
And here we had no idea that hawks were pack animals, or needed to travel by airplane at all.
OK, so we understand that “pets” need to fly with us sometimes. We’ve seen plenty of cats and small dogs on planes — but for the most part, they’re kept in carriers. These beauties look like they could take flight at any moment.
At least the flight attendants look unphased while delivering the safety instructions to the birds of prey, all of which are wearing special hoods that help to keep them calm.
In case you didn’t know, falconry, the sport of hunting with a falcon, is quite popular in the Middle East. So it’s not that extraordinary to see a falcon or two on a plane in Saudi Arabia.
Certain Middle Eastern airlines even specify how many falcons can come with each passenger. Qatar Airlines, for instance, mentions on their website that one passenger can bring a maximum of six hawks on one flight. But dozens!?
Apparently bringing this many falcons on one flight isn’t even a first. Here’s another photo posted online four years ago, showing a similar scene.
Could they be the very same hawks from four years ago? And if they are the same, are they collecting frequent flyer points? Maybe Reddit will find the falconer who bought the tickets and get him or her to do one of those famous AMAs (Ask Me Anything).
On second thought, maybe we’ll just fly to Saudi Arabia ourselves to see if there are any falcons on the plane over.