With recent developments and concerns regarding the environment, the ethics of flying private have been in debate, so after the siting of Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex on a private jet to Spain and France, many questions have arisen in terms of if and when royals fly commercial.
Prince Harry and his spouse have voiced concerns multiple times about the current condition of the environment and where it’s headed; they have shown themselves to be highly committed to environmental efforts, but it was exactly this that confused many when they flew to Nice with their son Archie on a private jet provided by Elton John and David Furnish.
Elton has been Princess Diana’s – Harry’s mother – friend, for quite a long time, so when contention arose, he tweeted that the flight was made carbon-neutral by donating efforts to reduce emissions.
This occurrence has many wondering, however, how often royals are flying on private jets and if they fly commercial at all. According to Hello!, most royals fly commercial some of the time.
The main exception to this is the Queen herself. Her Majesty only flies private, so you would never site her on a commercial flight. Both Prince William and Prince Harry, however, have flow commercial on multiple occasions.
They even flew economy during a low-profile visit to the States in 2014. People have also seen William and Kate on commercial flights, but most often in the first-class section.
Harry and Meghan along with a few bodyguards were spotted last December in the back row of a commercial flight to France, according to the Telegraph, but they kept a few empty rows between them and the rest of the plane.
Very recently, on August 22, the Daily Mail reported that the entire Cambridge family took a budget flight to Scotland.
Of course, they were surrounded by security guards and assistants – so much so that you may not even be able to see members of the family even if you’re on the same flight!
One passenger professed as much to the Daily Mail: "The family were sat right at the front. I fly this route all the time and we were none the wiser. No one knew they were on the flight. Later on, I realized that Kate's mother was sat a few rows in front of me."
When the royals do fly commercial, they often try to fly with British Companies, specifically British Airways, according to Hello!.
The royal family has a special connection to the airline since the Duchess of Cambridge’s parents both worked for them back in the day before shifting to a party décor business in the late 1980s. In fact, it’s where they met and fell in love!
According to Vogue, however, the main factor that influences whether a royal chooses to fly private or commercial is why they are flying.
Basically, if a royal is on public or state business, he or she is able to fly on a private jet, most often because senior members of the royal family are traveling as representatives of the family and British government.
If a royal is traveling for family trips or personal travel, they are to travel just like any other private citizen – on a commercial jet.
Of course, because of their wealth, they can always fly first class or purchase all the seats around them in economy, but they do fly commercial when it’s for their own personal purposes because of both budget and public perception.
In addition, concerns of the environment’s state have also come into play.
Many protested back in 2011 when Prince Charles borrowed a friend’s private jet. According to BBC, the royal family claimed that it was a cost-saving measure.
It most likely was, saving tax-payers from having to pay for his flight, but many were still displeased with the future king’s apparent disregard for the environment.