You’d assume royal families would hermetically seal their highest-ranking members in underground vaults, on account of all the terrible circumstances liable to befall those who don’t live in actual palaces.
But just like Prince William over in England, Dutch King Willem-Alexander is actually mad keen pilot, and it’s now been revealed that The Netherland’s ruling monarch has been flying his citizens around without their knowledge.
King Willem-Alexander has revealed he’s been co-piloting short haul KLM services on a bi-monthly basis for 21 years, telling De Telegraafs “I find flying simply fantastic.” He reckoned the best bit is simply being “responsible” for passengers and a crew, and that “you can’t take your problems with you off the ground.
“You can completely switch off for a while and focus on something else.”
We imagine being an actual king is more work than it seems, so fair.
When asked if passengers recognised him during the services, the monarch said that, uh, they don’t. Not often, at least. According to him, it’s easy enough to get from the airport into the plane without a fuss being made, and that closed cockpits mean he’s out of their sight for the remainder of the flight.
Co-pilots also aren’t required to give their names during those tedious pre-flight announcements, meaning he’s been able to escape the attention of most travellers. Endearingly, King Willem-Alexander says “most people don’t listen anyway.”
King Willem-Alexander, who became king in 2013, has mostly been in the cockpits of KLM’s Fokker 70 aircraft. He’s currently gaining experience to pilot their fleet of Boeing 737s on longer journeys.
FWIW, the Fokker 70 has been used extensively as the royal aircraft, meaning old mate could have actually flown himself around the world.
If anyone has doubts about this one, we encourage them to look up KLM’s full title, which designates it the “Royal Dutch Airline.” His name is essentially in company’s name, so may as well let him have a spin, right?