Madrid – Spain’s Queen Sofia gave a lesson in austerity amid the economic crisis when she flew on a budget airline for a reported GBP 13 (EUR 15).
The Spanish monarch travelled by Ryanair but a royal palace spokesman would not confirm the cost reported by Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper on Tuesday.
"The reason was not the cost or the company but that it was the best option" to get to London from the northern Spanish city of Santander, a palace spokesman told AFP.
The 70-year-old queen first used the national airline Iberia to fly from Madrid to London on Thursday to visit her brother Constantine, the former King of Greece, who was to undergo heart surgery.
She then used Ryanair to travel from London’s Stansted airport to Santander on Saturday, where she attended an armed forces ceremony with her husband, after which she returned to London, also on the Irish budget carrier.
Ryanair is the only commercial airline that flies direct between the northern Spanish city and London.
Constantine, 68, left Greece in 1967 after a military coup and now lives in London with his wife.
"It is usual for members of the royal family to use regular airlines for private trips," except for King Juan Carlos who always travels on military flights, the spokesman said.
Low cost Ryanair has only one class of passenger, no reserved seats and offers basic levels of comfort. On-board services must be paid for.
The airline itself issued a humorous response.
"Ryanair is Spain’s second largest airline and all Ryanair passengers are treated like kings and queens at Europe’s lowest prices," it said.
AFP / Expatica