You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

A bizarre photo of 80 giant birds on a plane is taking over the Internet — but it isn't as strange as you think

Tech Insider logo Tech Insider 01-02-2017 Danielle Muoio

<span style="font-size:13px;">Reddit</span> © Provided by Business Insider Inc Reddit Flying on a plane is generally an awful experience, but next time you're crammed in the middle seat counting down the hours, be thankful there aren't 80 birds perched in coach with you.

An image is going viral on Reddit of a Saudi prince who brought 80 hawks on a plane Monday morning:

We've reached out to the author of the Reddit thread about the photo and will update the post if we learn anything else about which airline accommodated the birds, how long it took to situate them, and generally how well-behaved they were on the flight.

The author of the Reddit thread says the birds are hawks, but it's more likely they are actually falcons.

Transporting falcons in the Middle East is actually a pretty common practice. Falconry (training birds to hunt) has been practiced in the Middle East for thousands of years and is still a popular past time in the United Arab of Emirates. 

The falcon is also the national bird of the UAE, so it makes sense airlines flying out of there would accommodate the birds' transit needs.

A Reddit user pointed us in the direction of a very helpful Atlas Obscura article that says falcons can get their own forest green passports to fly in the United Arab Emirates. That passport allows the falcons to travel to Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Morocco, and Syria. 

The passport is valid for three years, according to the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.

A spokesperson for the airline Flydubai told Frank Kane, a reporter for UAE news website The National, that falcons must have their own seat and are placed on a cloth to avoid accidents. Kane said the business class cabin was entirely reserved for falcons on his Flydubai flight, so this isn't as rare of an occurrence as we may think.

Qatar Airways wrote on its website that you can bring a maximum of 6 falcons in economy class.

Etihad Airways also allows falcons on its planes. 

"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," Etihad writes on its website.

An Etihad spokesperson told Business Insider that, based on the cabin and flight crew uniforms, it's unlikely the photo was taken on one of the airline's planes.

So if you're looking to transport a falcon in the near future, it may not be as hard as you think — depending on where you're going, of course. 

More from MSN Travel

In pics: World's best budget airlines
The World’s Best Budget Airlines: <p>Traveling the world <a href="http://www.theactivetimes.com/content/dollar-friendly-destinations-around-world"><strong>doesn’t have to be expensive</strong></a> as long as you’re prepared to concede certain comforts. Most of the time this means that passengers have to pay extra for <a href="http://www.theactivetimes.com/travel/world/airlines-most-likely-lose-your-luggage"><strong>checked luggage</strong></a>, as well as onboard food and beverages. Major carriers have recognized that the most important factor in <a href="http://www.theactivetimes.com/travel/us/how-get-around-hidden-airline-fees"><strong>booking a flight is the price</strong></a>. The business of reasonable flights has grown so much, prizes and honors are now bestowed every year. The following list is based on the <a href="http://www.worldairlineawards.com/Awards/worlds_best_lowcost_airlines.html"><strong>2016 World Airline Awards</strong></a>.</p> The World’s Best Budget Airlines

More from Tech Insider

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon