The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on Thursday spotted with their three children getting off a £73 (about R1 300) budget flight to Scotland. Picture: Reuters

London - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on Thursday spotted with their three children getting off a £73 (about R1 300) budget flight to Scotland as debate continued to rage over Harry and Meghan’s private jet jaunts.

William and Kate, along with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, were seen by fellow passengers on the 8.45am FlyBe flight from Norwich International Airport to Aberdeen Airport, as they headed to Balmoral to spend a summer break with the Queen.

In a video shot by a fellow passenger, the family, accompanied by the children’s nanny, Maria Borrallo, are seen being escorted from the 44-seat plane by airport officials.

A passenger who saw them said: "The family were sat right at the front. I fly this route all the time and we were none the wiser. No one knew they were on the flight. Later on I realised that Kate’s mother [Carole Middleton] was sat a few rows in front of me."

WATCH: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge depart FlyBe flight with kids

Another said: "They weren’t harassed by anyone at all ... they just seemed like a family travelling together to be honest. It was amazing how they did it – they must have slipped on quietly, after people were already seated. You don’t expect to see royalty on a budget airliner."

William could be seen clutching bags of hand luggage with George, six, holding onto him and Charlotte, four, skipping behind. Kate was carrying baby Louis, one.

Their decision to take a cheap, scheduled flight from their Norfolk home up to Scotland – the cost of which was unlikely to have exceeded £365 – contrasts markedly with Harry and Meghan’s use of a private jet four times in 11 days travelling on holiday to locations on Ibiza and in the south of France. Those flights would have cost up to £20 000 each way.

Celebrity friends, including Sir Elton John who invited the couple and their son, Archie, to stay with him and his husband in France, rushed to their defence. The actress Jameela Jamil, in an extraordinary rant on Twitter, even argued the couple should never take scheduled flights as it puts the public at risk of being caught up in an assassination attempt.

She also accused "England and English press" of racism for holding the couple to scrutiny, ranting: "Just say you hate her because she’s black, and him for marrying a black woman and be done with it."

But royal biographer Robert Jobson insisted: "William and Kate flying on a budget airline proves you can do it, there was no trouble on the flight, and if there was, they have their protection officers."

Daily Mail