08/02/2011

Penny-pinching princes take economy to the skies

Princes  

The weekend wedding in Edinburgh was first class, but travel was strictly economy for William, Harry and Kate. (Getty Images)

Passengers on the discount airline FlyBe were doing double takes as they wrestled with their carry-ons for a Sunday evening flight from Edinburgh to Manchester.

Flybe_dash8_ Among their fellow seatmates in economy -- there is no first class -- were two distinctly familiar faces …  Prince William and his wife Kate.

The royal pair, along with their mandatory body guards, took the commoner way home from the weekend at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where they attended the wedding of their cousin Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall.

A one-way ticket starts at $60 a seat, if they indeed booked ahead, or more if they wanted a sandwich thrown into the trip. Will and Kate reportedly went through the usual check-in and security checks at the airport.

They weren’t the only royals on an economy kick after the wedding.

Prince Harry took another discount air carrier, EasyJet, for his flight back to London, where he could have gotten a seat for about $50.

For William, flying economy is still novel, but nothing new. On his tour of New Zealand earlier this year, he took an economy flight from Auckland to Christchurch.

All this money-saving protocol may seem like standard operating procedure for most of the world, but it’s still pretty eye-opening stuff for royals. Apparently the younger set is taking the advice from their grandmother to cut corners where possible.

Even Kate seems to be taking the sentiment to heart.

With the eyes of the fashion world watching her every move, it did not go unnoticed that she wore recycled outfits for the wedding weekend. For Friday’s reception, it was a a Dine von Fustenburg Maja dress, which she last wore in Los Angeles last month. For the wedding, it was gold brocade coatdress that she has worn to two previous weddings, in 2006 and 2010.

The ironic twist to this royal economy kick came at the end of Kate and Will’s flight to Manchester. Once they landed, they immediately got into a car that was waiting for them on the airfield to drive them the rest of the way home to Anglesey, Wales.

Manchester lounge What they missed inside the Manchester airport was the Royal Lounge (right), which has just been given a $30,000 facelift, including new furniture and plasma TVs. Officials figured that since the airport is the closest one to the couple, there is likely be increased royal traffic.

“It seemed only fair that we invested time and effort in the Royal Lounge,” said a spokesperson. “As we are Wills’ and Kate’s local airport, I am sure we will see them jetting through here more often so I am confident they will appreciate the effort taken by our staff.”

Honeymoon? What honeymoon?

There was no rest for either Zara Phillips or Mark Tindall following their Saturday wedding. Once the party was over -- and it extended well into Sunday -- the couple returned to their routines, which in their case is not so routine

For Tindall, it was back to England's rugby World Cup training camp, where he sweated out all the over-indulgences of the weekend, along some of his teammates who attended the nuptials.

For Zara, who will retain her maiden name for professional purposes, it was back to the equestrian world. The eventing champion is preparing for the Gatcombe Park horse trials as she continues her road to the Olympics.

''Unfortunately both of us do have quite busy lives so it's going to have to wait a bit for a honeymoon, but it is quite nice to go back to work as well," Phillips told the Telegraph on Tuesday.

She described the wedding as "amazing," but also discounted reports that Prince William was doing his best Bon Jovi impression in a burst of karaoke. "There was no karaoke," she said. "I think there was assistance with the band, but that was about it.''

PHOTO GALLERY: Phillips-Tindall wedding

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Headline on TheStar homepage read: "Penny-pinching princes fly back of the bus"...I was so looking forward to hearing about these flying buses the Royal family has

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