“Why not today? Just go with it, see our country, live your dreams and be inspired. That is what Mango is all about, seize the day!” – Nico Bezuidenhout, CEO of Mango Airlines, South Africa.
The audio version of the below story:
Sitting in the airport terminal, observing the other domestic travellers that surrounded me, I noticed a man dressed in suit and tie, looking up at the flight information display screen with reassured poise. My eyes followed him as he confidently wheeled his hand-luggage beside him and settled on a bench not far from me. Maybe it was his professional attire or the formality by which he carried himself, but there was something about him that made it almost impossible not to stare.
As the echoing sound of the airport announcement reclaimed my attention, I glanced down at my watch only to realise that the boarding-gate had now opened – spot on time – the orange plane parked, waiting for us to embark.
I organised my thoughts and belongings and headed towards the smiling air-hostesses standing at the counter. Before I knew it, my ticket was scanned and I was directed to my seat. Now comfortably placed, with plenty of legroom and a clean scent filling the cabin, I watched the other passengers amble down the aisle – settling down one by one.
Before I was able to fully turn my head to admire the view from my window, a familiar figure appeared in the door frame. It was the man from the airport terminal. I was surprised that, an obviously qualified man like himself, was flying on the same low-cost flight as me, a student. Would he not rather have enjoyed this flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg on a more expensive airline?
Confused, but somewhat impressed, I noted how the air-hostesses greeted him by name as he ventured further down the plane. It was clear that this was not his first time flying aboard Mango Airlines.
In content, he sat and almost immediately reached for the in-flight magazine stowed in the pocket in front of him. Intrigued by what he was reading, I reached for mine too, and I sure was glad that I did! “Mango Juice” kept me entertained almost the full duration of the flight. I was even able to send my friends photos of my favourite articles by connecting to the onboard Wi-Fi.
Whilst snacking on my fresh morning-croissant ordered from the flight menu and conveniently paid for using my credit card, I remembered back to how this all came about: from standing with a full basket of groceries in my local Checkers store, where I bought my flight ticket, to now – minutes away from landing.
Recalling how nervous I was to board a plane for the first time, I could not believe the extent to which I felt at ease in the air. Maybe it was the friendly service received from the air-hostesses, or maybe it was sureness of the suited man?
All I know is that now that I had tasted flight, I will forever walk the earth with my eyes turned skyward. “Orange is the happiest colour.”