The 'Heir Force One' Plane Used By Royals Is Surprisingly Normal

One of the perks of being a head of state -– even if only a ceremonial one — is that you never, ever have to hop on a commercial airliner. If you are the President of the United States, you fly on Air Force One, a custom Boeing 747-200B aircraft equipped with an office suite, guest quarters, and medical facilities including its own operating room (via The White House). If you are Prince Charles, however, and are next in line to a throne that dates back over a thousand years (King Athelstan according to Britannica, was the first to rule all of England in the early 10th century), your method of transport is a bit more plebeian.

According to CNN, whose correspondents are among the privileged few journalists who rate a ride-along with the royal family, "Heir Force One" is just a plain old plane. In fact, the words they used to describe its not-so-luxurious interior were: "pretty much like any other passenger aircraft."

Even the in-flight meals are nothing special

The plane used for ferrying Prince Charles and other royals is an Airbus A330 that belongs to the Royal AIr Force Voyager series. This particular plane was given a makeover in 2020 costing over a million dollars, but all that cash didn't turn it into any kind of super-deluxe ride. Instead, the money went towards repainting the exterior from Air Force gray to a snappy red, white, and blue Union Jack theme. Inside, the plane was fitted with business class type seats in the front and the middle and standard coach seats at the back. (The journalists, along with any military personnel hitching a ride, go in the rear with the gear.)

Perhaps most disappointing of all are the meals served aboard the royals' private plane. Disappointing, that is, to all but the British taxpayers who aren't forced to foot the bill for extravagant meals they'll never get to enjoy. While Air Force One is known for its gourmet goodies, CNN describes Heir Force One eats as being "pretty boring." Apparently, CNN's staffers are unused to traveling on the kind of domestic economy flights that only serve tiny bags of pretzels (via Condé Nast Traveler), since flying with the royals at least gets you your choice of meat, fish, and vegetarian meals complete with roll and dessert. With the cost-cutting measures Prince Charles plans to institute when he takes the throne, though, who knows? In the future they may all be taking a bus.