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Erika Owen
January 30, 2017

You never know who you're going to meet on an airplane, but chances are you aren't planning on bumping feathers with a falcon in the seat next to you. But if you're flying to or from the UAE, it's a more common sight than you'd think.

Falconry is a popular national pastime in this region, and a number of airlines—including Emirates and Etihad—have policies on buying a ticket for your bird of prey.

Reddit user lensoo recently posted a photo that was sent to him by a pilot friend, showcasing a scene that is described as a Saudi prince checking in on the 80 falcons he bought an airplane seat for.

This is so unpopular, in fact, that there's an actual falcon passport system that was enacted in 2002 to help cut down on hawk smuggling. According to Gizmodo, we can thank the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) for this quirky system.

Still, 80 falcons on one flight seems like a once-in-a-lifetime spotting.

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