Flying 101 Jet
Home True Flying 101 – Kulula Airlines Jet With ‘Instructional’ Livery Outline

Flying 101 – Kulula Airlines Jet With ‘Instructional’ Livery Outline

by Brett M. Christensen

Email claims that a series of attached photographs show the humorous paint job used on a plane belonging to a South African airline. The “Flying 101” livery features an amusing guide to the various components of the aircraft’s interior. 

Brief Analysis
The photographs are genuine and depict a real paint job on a real aircraft. As noted in the message, the 737 passenger jet belongs to Kulula, an airline operating out of South Africa. Kulula is known for its sense of humour and its amusing advertisements.


Subject: Fw: Flying 101

Kulula is a low-cost South-African airline that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Check out their new livery.

Flying 101 Livery 1

Flying 101 Livery 2

Flying 101 Livery 3

Flying 101 Livery 4


Detailed Analysis
These photographs, which travel via email, blogs and social networking websites, show an aircraft with an amusing exterior paint job. The plane’s lively livery – dubbed “Flying 101” – features a series of pithy captions that point out the various parts of the aircraft.

For example, an arrow points to an area of the plane that houses the “loo, or mile high initiation chamber”. Another arrow pointing to the cockpit is labelled “the big cheese, captain my captain”. And similar “instructional” signage adorns many other areas of the aircraft’s fuselage, wings and engines.
Some commentators have suggested that the images have been digitally manipulated and do not show a real aircraft. However, the photographs are in fact genuine and do indeed depict an aircraft belonging to South African Airline, Kulula.

A February 2010 press release from Kulula notes:

kulula’s ‘Flying 101’ plane design achieves global fame


Jo’burg, 08 February 2010 kulula’s latest plane design has been a worldwide hit after being seen by plane-spotters en-route to South Africa. Photos of the new livery dubbed ‘Flying 101’ have since been viewed by millions having appeared on some of the world’s leading blogs, spurring a frenzy of online comments. All this before it even touched down in South Africa.


The design covers the planes exterior in a tongue-in-cheek guide to the various parts of the planes interior, such as the ‘Mile-high initiation chamber’. The plane is just one of a fleet expansion of eight state-of-the-art Boeing 737-800s (each with a unique livery). As these planes will be replacing the 737-400’s currently used in kulula’s fleet, South Africans can look forward to spotting the new 800’s during this year.

“The ‘Flying 101’ was conceptualised and designed by kulula’s in-house design department. This branding idea is a result of our 2010 strategy to demystify air travel for our fans,” comments Nadine Damen, kulula Marketing Manager.


“Initially spotted by plane-spotters across the globe, our ‘Flying 101’ plane has become famous on the world wide web before touching South African soil,” continues Damen. “We’’ve been amazed by the number of blogs that have posted ‘Flying 101’ images as well as the large number of people talking about the new branding on Twitter.”


The first Boeing, branded with the ‘Flying 101,’ landed in Johannesburg on Monday, 8th February 2010 and will start operating from 13th February 2010. The second Boeing is currently undergoing its transformation and will appear to kulula fans much like an oversized container box, with the words ‘this way up’ printed on its side, is scheduled to start operating on the 8th February 2010.

Photographs of the aircraft were also featured on the “Plane Gallery” section of the Kulula website. The gallery featured photographs of other planes in the company’s fleet, including one with a distinctive camouflage paint job and another that sports a “Cow Parade” design.

Kulula is well known for its rather quirky sense of humour and the Flying 101 livery adds to that reputation. The company also uses humour in its advertisements, one of which raised the ire of football governing body FIFA, who apparently didn’t see the funny side. 


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Brett Christensen