Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

I always thought Royal Dutch Airlines was just a snazzy name for the flag carrier of the Netherlands. It turns out that the name isn’t too far from the truth! Dutch King Willem-Alexander revealed that he has held down a part-time job as a “guest pilot” for KLM for 21 years, truly putting the “royal” in Royal Dutch Airlines.

You’d think that one’s kingly duties would demand the bulk of your time. Managing a country and all that stuff. But King Willem-Alexander managed to make time for moonlighting. He says flying is a “hobby” and is something that lets his disengage from his royal duties for a while, even calling the pursuit “relaxing”.

Will we see King Willem-Alexander in the skies again?

It hasn’t exactly been a closely guarded secret that the Dutch King has been a pilot all these years. But the king says that it is rare for passengers to recognize him. Even as he walks through Amsterdam airport, he is hardly noticed. Even when the captain of the aircraft lets him give announcements, he says people hardly notice.

If you’re hoping to see the King of the Netherlands on a future trip, you’re in luck. While the Dutch King has stepped down from flying, he is not planning to remain on the ground forever. Willem-Alexander is actually retraining to become a 737 pilot, as the Fokker 70 aircraft are being phased out of service. I’m sure he’ll be flying another European shorthaul soon enough.

My wife and I flew KLM from Amsterdam to Nice, France during our trip to Europe last summer. Unfortunately, there is no way King Willem-Alexander would have been piloting our aircraft, we were aboard a 737. Maybe next time we’ll have a chance to meet the king of the Netherlands!

Featured image courtesy of Frankie Leon under CC 2.0 license

Points With a Crew has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points With a Crew and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers and that compensation may impact on how and where card products appear on the site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners and I do not include all card companies, or all available card offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers and other offers and benefits listed on this page. Other links on this page may also pay me a commission - as always, thanks for your support if you use them

User Generated Content Disclosure: Points With a Crew encourages constructive discussions, comments, and questions. Responses are not provided by or commissioned by any bank advertisers. These responses have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the responsibility of the bank advertiser to respond to comments.