Kulula’s sense of humour still unique

Some time ago Kulula, one of South Africa’s low cost airlines, gained global notoriety by having a sense of humour and not taking itself too seriously, at least publicly. Its appropriate to revisit this airlines novel approach to customer engagement and subtly reinforce the point to other airlines to take note and develop a more engaging approach to their passengers.  It works!

Kulula Big CheeseAlong with the photo’s of it’s "Flying 101" Boeing 737 livery providing a humorous beginners guide to aircraft configuration as the passengers are about to board, there is the addition of the numerous funny comments from the crew on various flights, all apparently true (below).  Confirming this little South African airline may well have the best a sense of humour and makes the effort to help passengers (and crew) enjoy the whole travel experience.

The original press release from the airline regarding its international fame was issued in Feb 2010, since that time the photos of its planes and the alleged commentary from the crew during flights have been seen by tens of millions of people around the global. You’d think at least some of the other major airlines would take note of this approach, the loyalty it builds and the free marketing it generates, it appears only the smaller budget airlines get it.

Dancing flight attendants

For instance Cebu Pacific Airlines of Philippines has, in the past, had their flight attendants lip sync to Ketty Perry and Lady Gaga tunes and dance the safety briefing (one video alone having well over 10 million views). Finnair had an impromptu Bollywood dance routine for its passengers on a flight to Delhi to celebrate India's Republic Day which has enjoyed over 5 million YouTube hits with an immensely positive reaction.

On occasion we have heard of various Virgin incarnations of offering up some humour to lighten the tensions of flying, and of course US based Southwest Airlines with a video that went viral of a flight attendant presenting a very funny and enjoyable pre-flight briefing to  passengers (approaching 16m views on YouTube).

Few airlines have strayed from their stuffy and generally benign approach to customer engagement and certainly very few have dared to explore left field thinking to the extent of their much smaller competitors.  Most it would seem are missing a huge marketing opportunity making it all the more a pity that airlines like Kulula do not fly internationally.

Kulula crews with a sense of humour

Kulula airline attendants make an effort to make the in-flight "safety lecture" and announcements a bit more entertaining. Here are some real examples that have been heard or reported:

On a Kulula flight, (there is no assigned seating, you just sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, when a flight attendant announced: "People, people we're not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it !

On another flight with a very "senior" flight attendant crew, the pilot said: "Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."

Kulula Black BoxA few post landing statements by Kulula flight attendants

"Please be sure to take all of your belongings.. If you're going to leave anything, please make sure it 's something we'd like to have."

"There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane."

"Thank you for flying Kulula. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."

As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Durban Airport , a lone voice came over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella. WHOA!"

And a few amusing additions to the standard:

"Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing.. If you can light 'em, you can smoke 'em."

"Welcome aboard Kulula 271 to Port Elizabeth. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised."

"In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite."

"Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we'll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Kulula Airlines."

"Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments."

"As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses.."

And from the pilot during his welcome message: "Kulula Airlines is pleased to announce that we have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!"

Various flight attendant comments after a slightly harder than normal landing:

"That was quite a bump and I know what y'all are thinking. I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendant's fault, it was the asphalt."

"Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to The Mother City. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!"

"We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."

"Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we will open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal.."

"Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as hell everything has shifted."

And the parting words of one flight attendant:

"We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today.. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you'll think of Kulula Airways."