Prince William Suffers Through British Airways Club Europe. You Travel Better Than He Does!

Prince William flew British Airways Club Europe from Lyon to London Heathrow after a disappointing English performance in UEFA Euro 2016 soccer.

British Airways Club Europe seats

British Airways premium cabin short haul seats offer 30 inches of pitch. That’s less than economy on most US domestic flights.

He’s clearly a savvy flier though — he got the bulkhead seats which offer more legroom. He fell asleep, and skipped inflight dining and drinks.

British Airways Club Europe Bulkhead

The future King stored his own bags as well.

Prince William is no stranger to harsh onboard conditions. Last year he flew Ryanair. Two years ago he flew American Airlines coach Memphis – Dallas and he flew the US Airways Shuttle in first.

These are tough times in the U.K., of course, Prime Minister David Cameron flies easyJet.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I dread BA’s Club Europe — what’s the point? At least Prince Charles was savvy enough to skip meal service!

  2. While 30″ of seat pitch sounds horrible, if given the choice between an empty middle seat and extra legroom, I’ll take the empty middle seat.

  3. I honestly cannot believe he does this. While admirable to be humble, a man of the people, etc., it would seem he would have need of security people around him and would also create a bit of a rock star following drawing crowds, slowing the process of boarding, gawkers and paparazzi creating a danger in secure settings. I would also imagine the threat of some lunatic wanting to harm or kidnap the poor guy as a high value target, again, would make a threat of him being on a plane with the general public. While I think he and his family adorable and greatly admired his mother, I can’t say I’d want to be on a plane with him.

  4. I just loved this man! Though his hair is getting less, he is a humble and descent future king. Would it be better to call him Duke of Cambridge instead?

  5. a) Typed “Prince Charles” out of force-of-habit; obviously it’s Prince William. (His father would never fly Club Europe [CE] . . . or even commercial, if he could help it!)

    b) Just to be clear, I admire William for choosing commercial, period, whether it’s CE or not. Penny, however, is quite right to bring up his security detail. Perhaps they all flew CE, taking over the entire cabin? I don’t know, but clearly “the future King” remains two steps away from the throne, so perhaps his detail is small(er) than Charles or, certainly, Elizabeth.

    c) My criticism is with CE itself. It is an abomination to think of that as a Business Cabin, and — yes — 30 inches of pitch is disgraceful! I’m only 5’11” — can’t speak for the 6’3″ Prince William — but I would ALWAYS opt for more legroom!

  6. Unmentioned, and perhaps some reading here wouldn’t know, he wasn’t purposely skipping FC. Most European short haul flights don’t have a FC cabin. Or really a Business Class cabin either. They just seat “Business” at the front of the plane, and block off the middle seat of the 3 across Economy seats.

  7. Penny,

    The British royals travel very light security wise. When I was in London a couple of years back the whole family travelled back and forth between the palace and the abbey. We were just standing on a stret corner, no security at all as each car slowed down and turned. You literally could reach out and touch the cars. They had a single police on a bike to hold the traffic before the turn.

    I live in la and when Obama or Biden come over we’re told to leave the office early as they block off multiple streets just for him to land, Ospreys in tow and all.

  8. @Robert Hanson. Had no idea that these BA flights within EU have no FC cabin. This Club Europe “business class” is a joke.
    The Prince shows a lot of class. Too bad he is not next in line.

  9. At 90-100 minutes, Lyon is not a long flight to Heathrow. I think I could deal with the lack of legroom for that long. But, when I flew LHR-KEF last month, I was stunned to see those seats on a three-hour flight. I cannot understand how BA gets away with that. Why does anyone fly that airline if they have another choice?

  10. I flew this Airbus 319 in CE from LHR-LIN r/t, and at 2 hours flight time, it was certainly do-able, but not the world’s most comfortable flight. The problem is, Alitalia is the same, with an even narrower seat (17.5″, versus 18″).

  11. Thanks so much for posting this yesterday or the day before!! I am flying to Barcelona tonight via Frankfurt and rebooked the FRA-BCN and return segments into the first row to get that extra legroom. Apparently, as the dates get close to departure Lufthansa releases the first row seats that earlier were reserved for their elite frequent flyers, So I am very grateful to this blog for the second time in the last few months. Previously it was the news of free upgrades to business class seats on the AA shuttle from Boston to DC. That was a lark because the flight was 45 min. but this new change I made is more serious– 2 hours of better legroom.

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