The Suitcase Lady


June 13, 2017, 9:39 pm

None of us who fly economy class on American airlines expect to be treated like royalty. Only those in business and first class are fawned over, fed expensive mediocre meals, and have a place to stick their feet…..all rewards for paying huge ticket prices.

So this blog is not about how egregiously we are treated by our air carriers. We all know that we are considered to be lowlier than cargo. Instead, I want to take note of a happy airline story.

King Wilhelm Alexander, the reigning monarch of the Netherlands, recently gave a newspaper interview. He discussed his regularly scheduled flights as a guest co-pilot for KLM. For the last 22 years, he has kept up his commercial license with twice monthly flights. In addition, he is currently retraining to be able to fly Boeing 747s because the Fokkers he has been piloting are being phased out of KLM’s fleet.

The king was never secretive about his flights. Cockpit doors were left open before 9/11, and occasionally passengers would look in and be surprised to see the then prince at the controls. Some recognize his voice now when he speaks to passengers en flight.

He stated in the recent interview, “The advantage is that I can always say I am speaking on behalf of the captain and crew to welcome them on board, so I don’t have to say my name. But, then, most people don’t listen anyway.” He added that, “For me the most important thing is that I have a hobby for which I need to concentrate completely.”

How refreshing, a world leader who is unassuming, dedicated, focused and witty. I would love to be on one of his flights which are all within Europe. In addition to having a king in the cockpit, KLM’s Cityhopper flights give economy passengers a free beverage and a chicken thyme sandwich on organic wheat bread with lemon mayo. Now that is truly royal treatment.

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