A video of two men boarding a flight with three falcons has won the Internet on Tuesday. Twitter user @DonnieDoesWorld who had boarded a Gulf airline, filmed the short clip which shows the men making their way down the cabin aisle with their falcons.
"Folks two dudes just boarded my plane with 'emotional support' falcons,' he tweeted. The video has received more than two million views since it was posted on Friday.
The video has been recorded by a passenger sitting somewhere in the middle of the cabin. Right in front, barely feet away, are the two men in question. The sight is startling. The first man has a falcon perched on his left hand which is wrapped in cloth to protect it from the magnificent bird's talons. He walks by looking quite pleased with himself, amid expressions bearing shock and awe in equal measure from his co-passengers. As he passes and the second man comes into view, it's revealed that he's carrying not one, but two falcons! As the birds pass, their full size becomes apparent. The falcons are imperious and very well behaved (for five seconds, at least).
The tweet went viral quickly and saw a number of supportive, educational and funny comments on travelling with falcons.
In a follow-up tweet, 'Donnie' who is a foreign correspondent for Barstool Sports said, "People are changing seats to get away from them. I just volunteered to sit closer to them. They make me feel secure.'
Many also offered their own insights into this popular Middle-East practice of flying with birds on flight, and some were a little sceptical:
Apparently, Qatar, Etihad and United Arab Emirates Airways actually have official falcon policies in place. For example, Qatar Airways allows economy passengers to carry falcons in the cabin, although a maximum of six falcons are permitted within the economy cabin of any one aircraft.
The United Arab Emirates does issue special passports to falcons to combat smuggling as the highly-valued birds can sell for as much as $1 million. Even Etihad says, "We accept the carriage of falcons in the main aircraft cabin provided that all the necessary documents have been obtained. We also accept falcons as checked baggage."
However, a lot of other Twitter users put a funny spin on this unique sight: