What it's like to hitch a ride with Prince Charles

A version of this story appeared in the December 3 edition of CNN's Royal News, a weekly dispatch bringing you the inside track on Britain's royal family. Sign up here.

London (CNN)Earlier this week, we wrote to you from Barbados during Prince Charles' whirlwind tour as the Caribbean island took its first steps as a republic.

We were one of several media outlets invited to join the heir to the throne's flight to Bridgetown to cover the celebrations marking the Queen's removal as head of state.
For the journey, the Prince of Wales flew on RAF Voyager -- an Airbus A330 owned by the UK for use on official overseas visits by members of the royal family and government ministers. Charles most recently hopped on board with wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall for their four-day trip to Jordan and Egypt.
    The UK owns several Voyager planes, which are normally used for air-to-air refueling and strategic air transport. However, one plane in the fleet was converted in 2016 for VIP transportation -- and this was our ride.
      Sometimes jokingly referred to as "Heir Force One," last year it received a £900,000 (nearly $1.2 million) makeover -- to repaint the plane from military gray to the colors of the Union flag (red, white and blue livery).
      The Airbus A330 was converted for VIP transportation in 2016.
      Inside it looks, well, pretty much like any other passenger aircraft. The refueling plane has been refitted with business class-type seats in the front and middle sections, and regular coach seats in the rear. Any traveling press sit in the back with military personnel who might also be on the flight.
      In line with pandemic protocols, face coverings are currently used onboard and social distancing was taken into consideration when assigning seats to passengers. And in case you're wondering what movies were on offer, you may be surprised to learn there aren't any in-flight entertainment options or screens in the back of headrests.
        The most frequent questions we're asked when people hear we've taken a ride on the plane tend to revolve around what the food is like. Sadly, the answer there is pretty boring: It's fairly similar to commercial flights, with a meat, fish or vegetarian option (though perhaps a little tastier than normal).
        Passengers can choose between meat, fish or vegetarian meals.
        Traveling within the royal bubble is always an interesting experience, though much of it is spent waiting for a security escort in and out of secure areas.
        For example, Voyager is home-based at RAF Brize Norton, an air force station in Oxfordshire. For security reasons, non-military personnel can't be left to wander the b