Falcons to go jet set with Lufthansa
They won't get lunch trays with mice and small birds, but falcons - the raptor beloved by rich Middle Eastern enthusiasts - are soon to be allowed in the cabin on Lufthansa flights, the national carrier said on Monday.
Passengers will soon be able to take raptors onboard in a newly-designed device called the "Falcon Master" tray, which can be fitted with a cage attachment and feeding station, on collapsed seats of Airbus, Boeing and other aircraft.
"The 'Falcon Master' ensures maximum hygienic protection of the cabin walls, seats and carpets from soiling by the birds," said a statement by developers at Lufthansa.
The platform can be quickly disassembled in three parts and stowed in lightweight containers which can be transported like a trolley.
The device is now in the design phase, and the certification process would likely take six to nine months before it is ready for use, a Lufthansa spokeswoman told AFP.
The target group would be customers from the Middle East, where falconry is "very popular", according to the airline.
Air passengers on many Middle Eastern airlines have been surprised to come face-to-face with the birds of prey majestically spreading their wings while sitting next to Arab sheiks.
The hunting birds wear hoods and are usually tethered to the passenger's glove, not free to flap around the cabin.
A Lufthansa spokeswoman contacted by The Local could not immediately say whether there would size restrictions on birds that could be brought on board, or whether the raptors would have to be hooded during flight.