A low-fare carrier in South Africa is adding a bit of whimsy to its outward appearances to put some of the fun back into flying. That may be stretching things a bit, but not entirely.
Unique paint schemes for airliners ("liveries", as they're called in the industry) aren't exactly new. If you spend any time at all around airports, you may have seen the Alaska Airlines jet swathed in a salmon or, better yet, the Southwest Airlines jet with Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Bar Refaeli emblazoned on its side.
Eye-catching? You bet! Funny? Not so much.
Recently, South African low-fare carrier kulula Airlines planted its corporate tongue firmly in its cheek and came up with a rather creative paint scheme of its own. The airline designated one of its Boeing 737s "Flying 101″, and covered the exterior with details and accompanying comments and the plane, its parts, and its people, as you see here.
The design, which provides a light-hearted (and sometimes edgy) guide to the various parts of the plane's interior, includes references to places including the "loo (or mile-high club initiation chamber)" and the "black box (which is actually orange)".
The nosecone has a number of playful inscriptions, including a reference to the pilot as "captain, my captain!", a slightly misquoted homage to poet Walt Whitman. Not to be ignored, the co-captain is referred to as "the other guy on the PA system."
The plane is one of a fleet expansion of eight state-of-the-art Boeing 737-800s, each of which will have a unique livery.
"Flying 101" was conceptualized and designed by kulula’s in-house design department. Nadine Damen, kulula Marketing Manager, says the branding idea was a result of "...our strategy to demystify air travel for our fans."
The plane became famous on the Internet even before touching down in South Africa for the first time. The second Boeing will appear to kulula fans much like an over-sized container box, with the words "this way up" printed on its side.
Now, if the industry as a whole can bring that spirit of whimsy to the inside of the aircraft (along with a couple of inches of extra legroom and an all-inclusive ticket price), we travelers would all be much better off!
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Photos by Carl Dombek
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