Just a couple of weeks after U.S. Airways removed a disruptive emotional support animal, a leashed pig from its economy class cabin in Connecticut, German based carrier Lufthansa announced they have designed and approved the Falcon Master, a device specializing in carrying falcons and other birds of prey in a commercial airline cabin.
Although pets in cabin are generally restricted to crated small cats and necessary support animals such as seeing-eye dogs in North America, The Middle Eastern market is a little bit different and Lufthansa just wants to stay competitive. While UAE’s Emirates and Etihad Airways, Qatar, Royal Jordanian and Gulf Air have all carried the cherished birds for years, Lufthansa becomes the first European carrier to do so.
Throughout the gulf region, falconry has been popular for thousands of years and to this day, it is routine to see un-caged falcons occupying seats in all classes of service aboard commercial airliners. As a storied part of Arabic culture, falcons have and continue to be used to hunt small game in the harsh dessert. The iconic bird is a symbol used throughout the Middle East on logos and banknotes and The United Arab Emirates even runs wild falcon conservation projects as well as falcon breeding farms but as wildlife becomes more protected and hunting more regulated, well-off enthusiasts often choose to take their feathered friends to Central Asia and even as far as Morocco to hunt.
In a company statement, Lufthansa announced that “The Falcon Master ensures maximum hygienic protection of the cabin walls, seats and carpets from soiling by the birds.” Designed by VIP & Executive Jet Solutions with input from falconers and specialists in the region, the device has an easy cleaning, stainless steel platform and sides to protect the plane and passengers from the bird’s waste and can be affixed to a folded-down seat in various types of Airbus and Boeing aircraft. A cage can be attached to the stand if so desired as well. Requirements to transport falcons on Middle Eastern carriers is a little more relaxed, where as long as the bird has their paperwork in order, is tethered by a rope to the owner and hooded (blinded), it’s good to sit with the owner or in a paid seat next to them.
Hmmm … Is it just me or does it seem even mildly silly that I can’t bring my nail clippers on a flight as I sit beside A FALCON?!?!
Looking for a seat to the Middle East? Perhaps even a seat next to one of these majestic raptors? Call Flight Centre today at 1877 967 5302 or visit a location near you.