The budget airliner that Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge rode during a trip to visit the Queen in Scotland was flown over 100 miles to meet them, according to reports from the Daily Mail and The Scotsman.

The couple had been widely praised for taking the $89 flight as they flew to Scotland to spend time with the rest of the royal family at the Queen’s Balmoral Estate, but reports suggest that budget airline UK regional airline Eastern Airways flew a special plane from its headquarters in Humberside to Norwich for the flight.

William and Kate had been scheduled to fly from Norwich to Aberdeen on a flight normally operated by Scottish company Loganair on behalf of Eastern Airways, a franchise partner of Flybe.

Eastern Airways confirmed in a statement Saturday morning that it had taken the decision to fly a different aircraft on the Norwich to Aberdeen route.

“Eastern Airways can confirm any decision as to which aircraft operated the Norwich-Aberdeen service on Thursday morning was entirely that of Eastern Airways,” a spokesperson for the airline said.

It was previously reported that the decision to switch aircraft was made by Flybe.

The decision was “not that of Flybe,” Eastern Airways statement said, adding that the airline “apologises to Flybe for any resulting confusion.”

Flybe previously denied being behind the plane switch in a statement to the Mail, saying: “Flybe denies any involvement in the decision over which aircraft to fly on this route, which is fully operated by Eastern Airways.”

Read more: Prince William and Kate Middleton took an $89 budget flight just days after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle faced backlash for traveling by private jet

The plane the family eventually flew on was flown to Norwich from Humberside Airport, where the headquarters of Eastern Airways is based, the Daily Mail reported.

It added that the original plane due to fly the route was flown from Norwich to Aberdeen empty around 45 minutes after William and Kate’s flight departed.

A map of the UK showing key locations in Prince William and Kate Middleton’s trip.
Google Maps

Read more: Kate Middleton reportedly turned down a free first class upgrade years before Harry and Meghan were criticized for flying by private jet

News of the extra journey made by the jet comes after the couple were initially praised for taking a budget airliner just days after William’s brother Harry, and his wife Meghan Markle faced criticism for flying to Nice for a holiday on a private jet, despite frequently speaking out on climate change.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have always been outspoken about climate change, with Harry recently urging fans to leave “something better behind for the next generation” in an interview with British Vogue.

“But I’ve always thought: this place is borrowed. And, surely, being as intelligent as we all are, or as evolved as we all are supposed to be, we should be able to leave something better behind for the next generation,” Harry said in the interview.

Samir Hussein/WireImage/ Getty Images

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William and Kate are believed to be unaware of the plane switch, the Mail reported, with a source close to the family telling the paper: “It’s utterly extraordinary and makes a mockery of their family’s very laudable attempts to travel more economically and in a more environmentally friendly manner.”

“An additional 4.5 tons of carbon emissions were created simply to ensure that an aircraft with Flybe written on the side operated the flight with the Royal party aboard, instead of the usual aircraft which flies the route. It’s obviously not their fault but is utterly ridiculous,” the person, who was not identified, continued.

Kensington Palace declined to comment to the Daily Mail.


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