I’ve long been a lover of all things avian; in fact my first job in the morning is to ensure a well-stocked bird table. So you can imagine my delight when I found that there are special arrangements made for feathered birds of the air by the aluminium variety. Hat tip to the forums on http://www.flyertalk.com for making me aware of Royal Jordanian’s arrangements for the carriage of falcons onboard.
Firstly, you should be aware that falcons may only be carried in economy class. They should be properly hooded, and must be seated by the window, along with their handlers, and only in the aft section. They must be properly tethered to the seat leg, and carry valid health certificates and entry documents.
One falcon is charged at three times the normal excess baggage rate, and more than one falcon per handler requires that an additional seat be booked. There is a maximum of two falcons per seat (to avoid squabbling over the arm rest?). Finally, and somewhat beautifully, there is a restriction on the number of falcons depending on the nature of the aircraft: 10 on narrow bodied planes and 15 on wide bodied.
My mind then went free-wheeling on the potential for in-flight services. Would they (on audio only, as they’re hooded) get Kes as the in-flight movie? Seeded snacks? A special carrion service?
I’ve just checked the RSPB website and it reckons there are 1402 UK breeding pairs of peregrine falcons. On that basis, they deserve all the on board pampering they can get.