Mega-Rich Saudi Prince Buys 80 Plane Tickets For His Prized Falcons

Source: Instagram/modernnotoriety/Lensoo/Reddit

Most of us have pets that we don’t like traveling without. A mega-rich Saudi prince recently spent a ton of money on tickets for all his 80 falcons to fly on a commercial airplane. The prince clearly wanted his falcons to fly in the lap of luxury. Let’s take a dive into this strange occurrence.

Falcons Are a Status Symbol

Source: Lensoo/Reddit

In Saudi Arabia, owning a falcon as a hunting bird is a status symbol. Falcons are hard to maintain, and they can be temperamental. They usually require a handler, a specialist called a falconer. It’s not unlike how medieval royalty would own falcons and use them to hunt.

The prince, clearly unhappy to let his birds remain at home, decided to fly them to the US. For each bird, he bought a ticket (which isn’t a small expense), but since he’s a wealthy Saudi prince, it probably didn’t impact his wallet anyway.

Many Saudis Fly With Their Birds

Source: Youtube

It turns out that many Saudis fly with their pets. It’s such an established thing that falcons even have their own passports. According to statistics, the United Arab Emirates issued over 28,000 falcon passports between 2002 and 2013.

Falcons are such prized animals that if you own one, you never want to have it get away from you. There are even special falcon perches designed for the birds to fly comfortably in first class. These birds are wildlife, however, and bringing them into a new country might require the owner to follow certain rules.

Airline Guidelines for Falcons

Source: Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways and Etihad have guidelines in place for flying with falcons. Since many people travel with their birds, these airlines have made it easy for passengers to get in and out of the plane while carrying a falcon. However, there is a limit to how much one person can take.

“You are permitted to carry one falcon on board the Economy Class passenger cabin of an aircraft, and a maximum of six falcons are permitted within the Economy Class cabin of an aircraft (country regulations may apply),” says the policy. The airline has an entire page dedicated solely to falcons.

How Much Does a Falcon Ticket Cost?

Source: YouTube

Flying with a falcon within the UAE will cost you a bit. If you carry your feathered friend with you or stow them in the cabin area as baggage, you’ll be paying different ticket prices. On average, these tickets will range from $350 to $830.

However, if traveling to the US, you’ll have to go through a few more procedures. Aside from a much more expensive flight ticket, you will also have to get the bird documentation so it isn’t impounded when you land. Losing a falcon could be a matter of honor for some Saudis.

How Much Does Owning a Falcon Cost?


In the Gulf states, you need money to own a falcon. Even the chicks sell for a massive price tag. They’re usually sold by auction, with buyers inspecting the birds beforehand to ensure they’re healthy. The most expensive falcon chick sold to date went for $170,000.

Different species of falcons are used as well. Inland peregrines are native to the Gulf states and tend to command lower prices than sea peregrines, which are caught while migrating across these countries. They’re snagged using nets full of pigeons and quail as bait.

Reddit Jumps On The Picture

Source: Reddit

When someone posted this picture to the r/funny subreddit, people quickly chimed in because of how ridiculous a prospect it was. “Why Does he own 80 birds and 0 planes?” one promptly pointed out. Many comments poked fun at the prince’s penchant for spending.

Others were more tongue-in-cheek about their thoughts on the trip. “Oh, so he’s a poor Saudi Prince who can only afford to transport his 80 hawks via commercial airlines. Poor fella.,” stated another commenter. Yet everyone figured this was one of the most ridiculous things they’d heard.

It’s Not So Far-Fetched

Source: Martha Stewart / Instagram – The National Desk

While this might seem like a single, strange incident, something similar happened before in 2014. Flying a whole flock of birds over is as much a statement of wealth as caring for the birds. The birds also have several handlers who keep and feed them during the journey.

While a Saudi person might own one hawk (and the airlines allow you to carry up to six on a single flight), owning 80 is definitely a statement of wealth and power. Considering how expensive it was to fly these birds to the US, the prince isn’t afraid to spend his money to show off.

Why Keep the Falcons Anyway?

Source Unsplash/mohammad alashri

A falcon may not be your choice for a pet, even if you could afford one. Yet, in Saudi Arabia and the Arab states, keeping a falcon as a pet is a status symbol and a show of wealth. They also use them for hunting, just like in the old days.

The Gulf states, particularly, have quite a long history of hunting with falcons. It’s partially why the prince has so many of them. Falcons will hunt as long as they want the prey, but they lose interest once they’ve been fed. To continue hunting, you’ll need more birds.

Falconers and Keeping Their Animals Fit

Source: Wikimedia

Being a royal falconer was a position in Europe until a few hundred years ago. Just like these Saudi princes, European royalty would use the birds to hunt. However, when they weren’t being used for hunting, they would have to be fed and cared for, which fell to the falconer.

The animals in the picture are all hooded. This is to ensure that they don’t peck others to death or attack their keepers. The hoods are also part of their training. When the hood is removed, they’re ready to hunt. When it’s replaced, they become obedient and subservient.

Falconry in Saudi Arabia Is a Tradition

Source Flickr/Visit Abu Dhabi

Saudi princes have been indulging in falcon hunts since time immemorial. They aren’t likely to stop anytime soon, meaning that the falcon will remain a status symbol for a long time. However, these falcons don’t live too long (between 5 and 6 years on average). They are frequently replaced with new ones.

You’ll probably need a license to keep a falcon in the US, and you may not be permitted to hunt with it. Peregrines in the US go for between $2,500 and $5,000, making it an expensive investment. Maybe you should consider buying another hamster and leaving the falcons to the Saudi princes.

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Charlotte Clad

Written by Charlotte Clad

Charlotte Clad is a brilliant writer who possesses the remarkable ability to craft content that goes viral and leaves an indelible mark on readers. With an innate passion for storytelling and an unwavering commitment to her craft, Charlotte has consistently pushed the boundaries of creativity to captivate audiences worldwide.

As a prolific writer, Charlotte has the rare gift of turning ordinary subjects into viral phenomena. Her articles and narratives resonate deeply with readers, igniting discussions and spreading rapidly across the digital landscape. Charlotte's work has not only garnered millions of views but has also sparked enduring conversations, establishing her as a respected and influential figure in the realm of viral content.

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