Dutch King Secretly Flew for Airline

Dutch King Willem Alexander greets well-wishers during celebrations marking his 50th anniversary on Kingsday in Tilburg south central Netherlands. King Willem Alexander told national daily De Telegraaf

Netherlands King Has Been Secretly Flying as KLM Pilot for 21 Years

King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands (R) sitting next to pilot Maarten Putman (L) inside the cockpit of a KLM Cityhopper at Schipol Airport, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 16 May 2017.

Making the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines a truly royal service, the Dutch King Willem-Alexander revealed that he flew planes as a co-pilot often with the airlines.

Willem-Alexander would ferry passengers on short-haul flights for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, according to the Dutch government.

De Telegraaf reported that he does it twice a month and as a guest flier, the king is always the co-pilot. 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 have responsibility for them", the king said. You can for a brief moment disconnect and concentrate on something else.

"It also seemed nice to fly to other destinations one day, with more passengers and bigger distances".

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He added that before the 9/11 attacks in 2001, when the cockpit door was open, people would sometimes spot him and snap a picture, and even now "some people recognise my voice on the call in flight".

Willem-Alexander told the paper how flying allows him to "switch off", and claims he is hardly recognised when he is in the pilot's uniform. Now the king will be heading back to flight school for training on Boeing 737 jets that are taking the place of the Fokker fleet.

I think it's safe to say that nobody gets to criticize the king anymore for that incident.

It was public knowledge that the King had qualified as a pilot, but it was not known that he had continued flying since his coronation in 2013. "Then I don't have to give my name".

If you've been a KLM frequent flier, there is a good possibility that you would have been flown by the king of Netherlands on an occasion or three! "Most people do not listen [to the pilot]", he quipped to the newspaper.

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