Dutch King Willem-Alexander may have been known to fly aircraft as a ‘guest pilot’ prior to his coronation in 2013, but it is only recently that he admitted flying commercial flight for at least twice a month.
Interviewed by Del Telegraaf newspaper, Willem-Allexander said he has been leading a ‘double life’ for the last 21 years and his constituents in The Netherlands never knew it.
In those years, the Dutch Royal said he never revealed himself to the passengers, although some may have recognized his voice on the PA.
He has been flying short-haul flights for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines incognito, but always as a co-pilot and often with KLM Captain Maarten Putman.
“The advantage is that I can always say that I warmly welcome passengers on behalf of the captain and crew. Then I don’t have to give my name,” he said.
However, since the carrier’s fleet of Fokker 70 planes, the ones that was being flown by the king, will be replaced by Boeing 737, Willem-Alexander said he will retrain to co-pilot the new aircraft.
“It also seemed nice to fly to other destinations one day, with more passengers and bigger distances. That was the real motive for training on the 737,” he said.
The king added he always finds flying ‘fantastic’ and it it is his biggest means of relaxing to get away from his duties as a monarch.
However, he said, he can’t take his problems with him off the ground.
“You have a plane, passengers and crew and you are responsible for them. You can completely switch off for a while and focus on something else,” the monarch said.