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Cailey Rizzo
January 11, 2019

Whoever said that the royals were out of touch?

He's now 97 years old, but Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has never wasted time beating around the bush.

When speaking to the Royal Aircraft Association back in 2002, Prince Philip commented on the British royal family’s air travel conditions.

"If you travel as much as we do, you appreciate the improvements in aircraft design of less noise and more comfort,” he said, “provided you don't travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.”

(And that was back when meals were still free in economy.)

Members of the royal family travel commercial when going abroad, particularly if they’re flying for personal reasons. They only take private jets when traveling on official state business.

But Prince Philip may be the only one in the family with an aversion to the back of the plane. Kate Middleton surprised fellow economy passengers when she boarded a British Airways flight to Amsterdam in 2016. Last year, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry boarded an economy flight from London to Nice. Although, to be fair, they took up the entire last three rows of the plane.

Some may balk at the snooty comment, but there’s no denying that Prince Philip is right. Economy class is pretty ghastly.

Sure, sure, aviation is a modern miracle and the ability to travel is a privilege — but it’s rather difficult to maintain this point of view when you’re slammed between two strangers, one of whom (invariably) smells and takes over your armrest and the other who’s either got a gnarly eating habit or a crying baby with the lung capacity of Michael Phelps.

Economy class is a place of abandoned hopes and dreams, where people who thought they could smile their way into a business class upgrade sit and order whiskey after whiskey (which they have to pay for) and, if they’re lucky, stare out the window, imagining better days and comfier conditions.

Every minute of a long-haul flight in economy is spent longing for a moment back on the ground, where one can put their body in a horizontal position, stretch out their legs, and go more than two inches without touching another person.

Economy class is a ghastly thing, Prince Philip. ‘Tis indeed. May you never have to experience it.

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