Category Archives: Animals

Apology from kulula

Last week I wrote about our rather traumatic journey to the city of gold, thanks to kulula (once again) delaying then cancelling our flight. A few days later I received an apology from the airline and a discount on our next flights.

Whilst I appreciate the effort and will probably use the discount (I need a surf every six weeks or I’ll go crazy), they failed to answer the bigger questions of why these “technical problems” happen so often. This is not an isolated incident and it’s worrying enough that I’ll avoid flying kulula where possible.

Anyway, Boo seems to have recovered very well and is loving life in Joburg. She’s never experienced carpeted rooms or underfloor heating before. It’s rather amusing to watch her roll around on it.

No flying, only petting.

The Kulula Ordeal

After Alistair and I tweeted about our horrific Kulula experience on Saturday, Kulula asked me to email them. Below is the email I sent detailing the nightmare of cancelled flights, airport sprints and complete lack of care shown towards fur children.

Basically I’ve asked them to sort their shit out. I used to be a fan, but until they fix their planes I’m regretfully going to be supporting the de facto parastatal that is SAA.

Looks good, but doesn't always fly.

____________________________________________________

To whom it may concern

You asked via twitter that I contact you with regards to our kulula experience on Saturday. My husband (@afairweather) and I (@amandasevasti) are in the process of relocating to Joburg from Cape Town and decided to fly up with our cat, Boo.

I originally booked a flight one month ago, but received an email two days before the flight informing me that it had been cancelled and we’d been moved to another flight two and a half hours later. This was problematic for the people fetching us from the airport so I phoned to request an earlier flight and we were put on MN112 at 11:35am.

We had Boo and excess luggage so we arrived an hour and a half early. We checked in, paying for our excess baggage and Boo (this took longer than usual because the ticketing desk’s printer wasn’t working and they miscalculated the excess). I then asked if the flight was definitely leaving on time and was told “yes”. We gave Boo a sedative and proceeded to take her to the excess storage area, where her carrier had to be scanned while we had to hold her in an open airport – not the most efficient process, but the drugs had calmed her.

We went through security (little did I know this would be the first of 3 times) and got to our gate. Everyone lined up at 11:10 and it looked like the gate was opening. We were then told that there was a problem with the plane and the flight would be delayed until 2:45 at the latest. We were advised that we could go back to the check-in counter and try to get on an earlier flight, but it would be wiser to sit tight and wait for the engineers.

I was worried about Boo, but was told she could be collected from the cargo area so I could give her another sedative. By 12:35, we’d heard nothing so we went to the check-in counter and asked if we could be put on the 2pm BA flight, just to be safe. We had plenty of time to transfer our luggage and Boo so I thought this was the wisest course of action.

At the check-in counter we were told that, “MN112 is definitely leaving at 2, the plane has been fixed. So it’s not worth your while to transfer to another flight at the same time.” My husband and I took this in good faith and waited another half an hour. At 1pm we asked to see Boo again so that we could give her another sedative. It is not advisable to keep animals drugged for a prolonged period of time, but we had been assured of our flight’s departure at 2.

We gave her another sedative and once again had to hold her in the open airport while the carrier was scanned. We then proceeded thorugh security again and went to our gate. It was now 1:35. We waited at the gate. And waited. At 1:50 we were told that the flight would not be leaving at 2, but had been delayed “indefinitely”. None of the staff could tell us what was going on, but said that this “usually means the flight is cancelled”.

A uniformed BA staff member then asked those with children / animals and the elderly to come with her to put us on a 1Time flight leaving at 2:10 – i.e. in 20 minutes. She told us to go to Gate A12.

We ran through the airport to Gate A12 and were then told we had to go back through security to the 1Time check-in counter. We raced back and I asked what was happening with our luggage and Boo, but the uniformed BA staffer had disappeared and the 1Time people had no idea. Then a man on a cellphone dressed in plain clothes appeared and assured me that our luggage and Boo were being put on the 2pm BA flight. I had no idea who this man was but what else could we do?

We then went through security for a third time and were harrassed for not taking our laptops out correctly, all the while being told to “hurry” as we only had 5 minutes to make the 1Time flight. After another 200-metre mad dash, we boarded the 1Time flight. We had no idea if our luggage and Boo had been put on the 2pm BA flight or not. I prayed the whole way to Joburg.

When we arrived, I was relieved to reached the luggage carousel and find our luggage and Boo – tired, traumatised and still very dopey from the extra sedative.

The whole procedure was an ordeal of miscommunication, incompetence and blatant untruths. The already stressful task of relocating was made even worse. My biggest concern was the complete disregard for animal welfare. Do not lie and tell people the plane is fixed when they have a sedated pet.

I used to be a fan of kulula, flying it very often for business. I resent that my taxes keep SAA afloat and I always like to support the underdog, in this case Comair.

However my husband and I, as well as our friends and business colleagues, have noticed that these “technical problems” are happening more and more frequently. Get some new planes or more mechanics (your “new livery” doesn’t count). Until then, I will not be flying kulula. Despite the discounts I receive, it’s just not worth the stress. And I’m not the only one.

Regards,
Amanda Sevasti Whitehouse

Pet Project Thursday – Qwerty

Nafisa sent me the adorable Qwerty, possibly the coolest little geek kitten ever.

Name(s): Qwerty, qt, Banzuke (as my husband calls her)

Species / breed / description: Cat, Domestic shorthaired cat (DSH), full black.

Odd behaviour: Eating popcorn & sweetcorn, watching me take a bath.

Signs of intelligence: Plonking herself on my chest (while I’m asleep) on the weekends after 9am if not fed, which forces me to wake-up.

Mental block: Waits for me to open the glass door from the patio when the window right next to it is open. I eventually point to it and she comes through.

Toy or object of choice: cables and cellphone chargers. She loves those!

Favourite pastimes: sleeping, playing with my toes, “kitty wrestling” with my husband’s hand.

Other: Qwerty is in the running for Ms April on the Whiskas website – http://www.whiskas.co.za/whiskas_cotm_gallery.php

I can has macbook?

Mini Bio: I had no intention of getting a cat, I got her by chance. I was with a friend in Sandton City in Jan this year when we decided to pop into the pet store. I saw Qwerty, asleep with her siblings and fell in love. She was full black, which is what caught my eye. I decided I had to have her. So I did :)

Pet Project Thursday – Wiley & Khomo

Introducing Wiley & Khomo, much-loved beasts of Sam & Jacques.

WILEY

Name(s): Wiley (big brother) & Khomo (little sister)

Species / breed / description: Wiley – Terrier/Ridgeback/Maltese. Khomo – Coberman (half Collie, half Doberman).

Odd behavior: I like to sleep in the cupboard while Khomo loves to jump on my owners’ heads in the morning.

Signs of intelligence: I dislike my one owner’s sister so much that when she stays over I leave a “present” on her pillow. I’m also very proud of Khomo as she’s learning to speak – she is almost able to say ‘Foooood”. This should be useful.

Mental block: Digging, fleas

Toy or object of choice: I’m not really into toys, but Khomo and I are both very fond of chewing beanbags. I also love to catch bugs.

Favorite pastimes: Sleeping (on the couch or bed), eating, going for walks and digging up plants.

Mini Bio:
My first family were not very nice to me so I ran away. I ended up on a beach near Mitchell’s Plain and stayed there for a few weeks. A nice security guard felt sorry for me and fed me bread. Then someone else saw me and phoned D.A.R.G. I stayed at D.A.R.G for about a month until one day my new humans came and took me home. A few months later they decided to get another dog (I’m not sure why). They contacted P.E.T.S and brought home a sister for me. She was from Joe Slovo where she was found in the bush with her mom and 10 siblings. Khomo started off a reasonable size and was quite easy to boss around. She is now gigantic and no longer listens to me.

KHOMO