To whom it may concern….

I was attracted to use your airline from inception, not only by the better prices or the fact that I did not feel compelled to eat a meal to get my money’s worth, but mainly by the fact that in those early days, Kulula  still used old BA planes which provided me with the extra legroom my rather large frame demands(6ft3 and 118kg!). Your trademark friendliness and humour grew on me, helped to make for a more pleasant flight experience and so this BLACK made the GREEN airline his first choice for commuting across the country.

However, my most recent experience of flying on Kulula (9th November) makes me suspect that your preference for the colour GREEN has caused you to become prejudiced towards me, a mr. BLACK. Let me explain!  Having secured a booking on a flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg, I tried to pre-book my seat online, the day before my departure. The seating plan was set out with the majority of seats in the colour GREEN and only a few in BLACK.  Of course, the BLACK seats were those at the emergency exists, exactly where I wanted to sit in order to accommodate my long legs. But believe me, no matter how many times I tried, your website would not allow mr.BLACK to secure one of those sought-after BLACK seats, I eventually had to resort to putting my little WHITE cross on one of those little GREEN blocks.

I arrived at the airport nearly two hours before my flight in the vain hope of securing one of those coveted BLACK seats. When I approached the friendly young lady at the check-in desk with my humble request, little did either of us know that the GREEN men of Kulula had been conspiring behind the scenes to thwart my efforts to be reclassified in the BLACK. The young clerk was flabbergasted as to how I could have secured 17D online as the system showed that it was indeed a BLACK seat at the emergency exit but that it was already taken!  On closer scrutiny it emerged that the little GREEN men of your airline (who had obviously seen me coming) had gone as far as swopping the airplane for a larger one at the last minute, thus all the seating numbers were changed and I was now left seatless! My PASS was useless! To her credit the clerk tried her best, saw the humour in my name and at least managed to get me an aisle seat.

Thankfully I managed to pass through SECURITY without incident. The next episode of my prejudicial treatment occurred at the boarding gate. Producing my ID book and the name BLACK, was again cause for a broad smile from the check-in clerk. However, there was total confusion when the computer screen showed that I was booked in seat number 32D while my boarding PASS still showed 17D! While the clerk went through the required SECURITY process of checking this all out, I was acutely aware of the frustration of the long line of passengers behind me as this mr. BLACK was causing trouble again!  Reminiscent of the days in our country when legislation determined that a BLACK man was compelled to sit at the very back of the bus, mr BLACK had been relegated to the back of your GREEN aircraft!

Looking up after all this confusion, I noticed that the transfer bus had already left. When I asked whether I was now required to walk to the aircraft, I was directed to another waiting bus. Fortunately I was permitted to enter this bus at the entrance of my choice, was not relegated to the back and was actually allowed to share a space equally with all! But, of course, when approaching the aircraft, mr BLACK was directed to a separate entrance at the back of the plane, all be it by friendly guidance rather than legislated decree! Nevertheless, I could not help thinking back to those sad days of yore when surly railway policemen would ensure that a crowd of people approaching a station would be carefully separated by colour to cross the railwayline by different bridges, enter the station via separate entrances and board the train on separate coaches, WHITES in the front and BLACKS at the back, of course.

On entering the plane, the friendly hostess questioned why, with a boarding pass indicating 17D, I was entering through the back entrance. I reassured her that I was mr BLACK, knew my place to be at the back of the aircraft, and “Really madam, I will not be causing any trouble!”  The GREEN conspiracy continued as I was seated on the aisle with an empty seat next to me….. prejudicial or just good luck??

Considering my experience as described above, can I be blamed for feeling that the little GREEN men of Kulula were conspiring against me? Are we back to the days when I was classified as being part of the ROOMSE GEVAAR for my religious beliefs and part of the SWART GEVAAR for my political convictions…..

Ek vra maar net!!


For other articles by Gary see