Man Go to Durban My Life 03 MAR 2009

So if you aren’t in the loop, then you won’t know that Chantelle and I packed our bags last weekend and jetted off to Durban where we attended our good friends Wayne and Candice’s wedding deep in the Drakensberg mountains at Dragon Peaks Resort. Needless to say, there is a lot to be written about the various aspects of our trip, and so I’ll begin at the beginning and break down everything in eensy teeny weeny little pieces for you to digest (and at the same time give me some much needed material for this here blog of mine).

So first things first.

Mango Boeing 737 800

Mango, the world’s only airline that doesn’t allow female passengers, hence the name ‘Man go’, is in actual fact one of the best low cost airlines around it would seem. (If they allowed women then I guess they would have had to brand themselves ‘Women go’ or perhaps ‘People go’ – incidentally, ‘Pee-ple’ is now the snigger word Chantelle and I use to refer to the bathroom. Inane, I know.)

Why do I say this?

Well firstly, we really did have a trouble-free, smooth as milk chocolate flying experience with them. From the initial booking at Checkers literally months ago right through to the second check-in on the flight home, everything was as plain sailing as could be. No funny stuff, no apologies, no problems, friendly staff and just one big efficient machine that accepted us on the one side (a little late I might add – Chantelle and her seemingly endless desire to visit each and every public bathroom this side of the equator I tell you!) and churned us out on the other.

And secondly? Simply put, the actual planes that Mango operates. While Kulula and 1time seem to have dredged their planes up from some other operator’s old, seemingly second-hand stock, Mango operates some rather shiny, new, fairly comfortable Boeing 737-800s which goes a long way in managing to instil just that little bit more confidence when approaching them as opposed to their competitors (and their falling out engines) on the runway.

Anyway, as to the actual flying adventure itself, it all kicked off in the early hours of Friday morning, where a slightly delayed Chantelle and myself were bundled into Monty’s Tucson and chauffeured off to Cape Town International Airport. There we rushed to the check-in, handed over our little till receipt, said goodbye to our luggage with longing eyes, and were then told to dash off to the security gates in order to board as the process was nearly complete over on that end already.

Naturally Chantelle felt the burning need to visit the bathroom, leaving me to impatiently tap my foot and pray that she made it back in time. The story goes (as related by her) that the toilet didn’t want to flush and she thus needed to make intricate paper mache structures in order to cover up her trail. I’m not so sure about all of this.

Anyhow, we did make the boarding bus just in time, said a quick hi to Wayne and the rest of his possie that were bundled in on the same flight as we were and then boarded the majestic giant nartjie for the first leg of our weekend adventure.

Going up, the flight was pretty empty and Chantelle and I found ourselves languishing over three seats on the back of the plane, me with the window seat and a fantastic view over the wing toward the front of me. After a brief little flip-down video briefing and some frantic hand gestures by the stewardesses, we taxied down the runway, had a fantastically smooth take-off and took to the skies, leaving me to blissfully doze off and Chantelle to lament the fact that she can’t sleep on the plane and resign herself to the fact that she now had to spend the rest of the flight reading the paper, watching Miss South Africa contestants strut their stuff in bikinis and extended trailers for Mr. Bones 2. Thankfully she could at least purchase some coffee to pass the time.

On the way out I had a pretty good view of Gordon’s Bay and Somerset West/Strand which was awesome, but it turned out that flying in over Durban was even better. We had fantastic weather on the way in, a beautiful sunrise along the way and some brilliant scenery to take in as we dove in onto Durban International Airport’s runway for a textbook landing. The doors popped open, we stepped into the sweltering heat and got straight down to the sticky business of breaking into a puddle of sweat.


Baggage collection on the other hand was awesome. Almost no waiting time (because the flight was so empty), so full marks to the handlers there! :)

Skipping out the meat of the actual weekend itself (it will follow in later posts I promise), the flight home via Mango was just as pleasurable (though Chantelle was cheated out of a window seat thanks to the fact that we found ourselves sitting just in front of the wing joint, meaning that she had to lean forward in order to get a good outside view)

The plane itself however was a lot fuller than on the way up, meaning that Chantelle and I were forced to share our three seats with another man, but luckily the youngster was on the fairly narrow side, and important factoid when you consider that my tree trunk legs pretty much engulf my entire seat space, so much so that they actually press against the seat recline button all by themselves – which does of course carry the bonus that I was in the perfect position for an awesome snooze on the way home. Actually, so did Chantelle funnily enough. And most of the plane for that part…

Baggage collection back home was admittedly not all that great. However, knowing the SLA agreement that ACSA does have with the handlers here at Cape Town International (inside information is awesome at times) does mean that I knew that the handlers were still well within the specified time limit and their job wasn’t being made any easier thanks to all the bicycles that were being shipped in for use in the upcoming Cape Epic and Argus Cycle Tour, so it wasn’t with that much of a huff and a puff that I waited for our luggage, grabbed it off the carousel and hightailed it home (but only after laughing when Chantelle once again tried to break her toes by forgetting the automatic brakes on the luggage trolleys! :D).

So good work Mango. I’ll definitely being flying with you guys again! (And next time I’ll even remember to bring locks along for my luggage. This cling-wrap story is a mission to get off sometimes! Kinky for some though I guess…)

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.