Being of royal descent has lots of perks -- from visa-free travel to unlimited access to riches-- so it doesn't come as a surprise when the Prince of Saudi Arabia, arguably one of the most lavish spenders of royal blood, decided to bring his 80 falcons inside a plane and have them strapped in individual seats.
Ahmet Yasar posted a picture on social media with the caption, “My captain friend sent me this photo… Saudi prince bought tickets for his 80 hawks.”
According to him, the prince boarded an A330 plane to Jeddah, a city in Saudi Arabia. He mentioned that such instances were not unusual among the elite of Saudi Arabia, who are fond of bringing along birds or any other animals in planes.
They are used for competitive sports (falconry) and hunting, which have become a long-lived tradition in their region. Falcons are considered auspicious birds, or birds that are favorable and lucky. In Abu Dhabi, they even have an own hospital solely dedicated to falcons.
Other airlines like Etihad and Qatar also allow falcons to board their planes for an additional fee that can reach up to 630 dollars per bird. The rate actually depends on the destination, according to Qatar Airlines. Lufthansa Airlines also offer bird trays that can be customized for the travel.
In addition, falcons are also passport-holders because it was believed that between 2002 and 2013, the United Arab Emirates government have issued more than 28,000 passports for the falcons themselves, with each passport costing around 130 dollars each.
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The best kind of falcon can cost up to 250,000 dollars each. They have an exceptional vision that is 2.6 times clearer than the normal human vision.
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