The Duchess of Cambridge is the People’s Princess 2.0. After attending her first solo engagement abroad on Tuesday, the royal took a commercial flight on the 7:15 p.m. British Airways flight from the Netherlands to London. Passengers were said to have been absolutely shocked when Middleton walked onto the aircraft, according to the New Zealand Herald, and took a seat closest to the front of the plane.
Wearing the same light-blue Catherine Walker skirt suit she had worn for that day’s activities, the 35-year-old mother of two traveled with a team of bodyguards and staff during the flight. Aside from the prime seating and permission to deplane a few minutes before other passengers, Middleton was treated just like any other commoner throughout the flight.
Can you imagine sitting on the plane waiting to take off and Kate Middleton walks on. My dream! She obvi got to get off the plane first pic.twitter.com/fqzho0eGau
— Alyssa Ashton (@AlyssaJAshton) October 12, 2016
A passenger on the flight said that he had “never seen so many iPhones pop up at once” upon Middleton’s entrance.
Kate voltou da Holanda p/ Londres em um vôo da British Airways às 19h15 de ontem, o que surpreendeu os passageiros. pic.twitter.com/XJW2XK5Rw4
— Kate Middleton BR (@middletonbrasil) October 12, 2016
Middleton is no stranger to British Airways, as her mother, Carole, and father, Michael, have both worked as flight attendants for the airline company. Prince William also surprised passengers when he was spotted taking an American Airlines commercial flight from Memphis to Dallas in 2014.
“I am still amazed #Prince William flies COACH. That’s pretty humble/awesome. Who Knew?” Eli Ross wrote.
The duke and duchess also flew commercial in 2011 on a British Airways flight from Los Angeles to London.
While one might assume that members of the royal family would charter private planes for transportation, flying commercial is not only acceptable, it’s preferred within the ranks of the British monarchy. The only royal who does not fly commercial is Queen Elizabeth. Yet, whenever the royals do travel on a commercial airline, they are accompanied by a large security detail and sometimes even a pre-approved photographer. Arthur John Edwards, a notable British photographer, has been seen with them on many flights.
The size of the security detail depends on the particulars of the trip. On Prince William and Duchess Kate’s commercial flight to Australia, the pair traveled with 11 security and staff members.
One unique rule for the monarchy relates to the situation in which two heirs to the throne travel with one another. Generally they are not supposed to, since it is a security threat to the throne. However, Prince William broke this rule when he traveled with his son, Prince George, to Australia in 2013.
On the Cambridge family’s most recent tour of Canada, the government in Ottawa graciously provided an aircraft from the Royal Canadian Air Force, which operates planes similar to Air Force One.