Queen Elizabeth has travelled on a number of different forms of transport during her lifetime. She could be found travelling on private jets during state visits for many years. However, there have been rare occasions when the Queen has travelled on a scheduled flight. One such incident took place in 1995 when the monarch travelled to New Zealand on a royal visit.

Most people travelling long-haul occupy themselves with in-flight entertainment, eating and napping – but what does her majesty get up to when airborne?

Author Robert Hardman described how the scheduled flight came about – and what the Queen did on board – in his book Queen of the World.

It turns out that, just like the rest of us, the Queen likes to settle in with a film.

“It is a general rule that when the Queen travels to one of the old dominions, they foot the bill,” Hardman wrote.

“In 1995, as the Queen prepared to head for New Zealand, [Former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jim] Bolger’s government suggested that she might like to fly on a scheduled flight.

“Officials at the Foreign Office in London tried to scupper the idea, arguing that the Queen does not take scheduled flight, ‘for security reasons.’

“However, as the Queen’s staff at the Palace had to remind the British government, all things relating to a tour of New Zealand were a matter for her New Zealand government.

“On 30th October 1995, she duly boarded Air New Zealand Flight NZ1 for the long journey from London to Auckland via Los Angeles.

“The Queen had First Class to herself (Price Philip was flying in separately from South Africa), undisturbed by the duty-free trolley and watched a Sam Neill film called Cinema of Unease.

“The Business Class cabin was occupied by twenty-six members of the Royal Household and 384 ordinary passengers filled economy, safe in the knowledge that their flight was not going to be delayed. Each received a commemorative pen.”

Now she is in her nineties, Queen Elizabeth no longer undertakes state visits – instead, these are carried out by her children and grandchildren.

The rest of the Royal Family travel on scheduled flights if possible, while the private charters the family fly in vary depending on the distance and the size of the party.

However, they can only fly private on certain occasions. Private flights are afforded to the Royals when they are working hard and are not used for every single business trip. 

This is because the Queen sets a travel budget for her family, and they have been instructed not to break the bank when it comes to spending.

Taxpayer money funds these flights, meaning that the Royals cannot be seen to be spending money on luxury flights irresponsibly.

The monarch has also travelled with British Airways during her reign, as have other members of her family.

The Queen first flew on a BA plane in 1952, when she found out about her father’s death. She then proceeded to use the British airline for another fifty years.

She is said to have an unusual remedy for dealing with the classic travel problem of jet lag.

The Queen has a more traditional and natural technique to cope. According to The Independent: “For jet lag, she takes homoeopathic medicines and barley sugar.”



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