April 1, or April Fool’s Day, has been celebrated for centuries. On this day no one is safe from spoof ad campaigns and made-up news articles. Now, the AeroTime team has compiled the Top 10 April Fool’s Day pranks devised by various airlines over the years.
Have you fallen for any of these jokes?
10. Emirates’ transparent view experience at the SkyLounge
In 2018, the largest airline in the Middle East, Emirates, royally fooled its fans by pulling a prank with an impressive SkyLounge announcement. The Dubai-based carrier said it was introducing a completely transparent lounge which, it said, would be included in its Boeing 777X fleet from 2020. The airline promised travelers an unmatched aerial view as well as unparalleled luxury style with a unique and memorable flight experience on board the 777X. But it was all a hoax.
Emirates reveals SkyLounge, the most exclusive Onboard Lounge to be introduced on its Boeing 777X fleet from 2020. A completely transparent lounge with unmatched aerial views and unparalleled luxury, Emirates SkyLounge promises window views like no other. pic.twitter.com/pwtoocM9mN
— Emirates Airline (@emirates) March 31, 2018
9. Ryanair child-free flights
The Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair caused a stir in 2011 when, on April Fool’s Day, it issued a press release declaring that the company planned to introduce child-free flights starting in October of that year.
The airline claimed to have conducted a survey of 1,000 travelers and concluded that more than half of its passengers would pay a higher price for a flight with no children on board. The survey allegedly suggested that 36% of passengers had their flights ruined by loud kids, while 50% of travelers complained that parents expected to be treated specially because of their infants.
8. Jetstar Japan
On April Fool’s Day in 2018, Japanese low-cost airline Jetstar Japan surprised its customers by introducing a new in-flight entertainment activity – a fun karaoke service to be included on board domestic flights.
Jetstar promised that passengers would be given the chance to show off their singing skills and be able to make song requests to the cabin crew members as they passed down the aisles.
The airline said that aircraft operating domestic routes would be equipped with microphones, maracas, tambourines, and song selection devices – all the items you might find in a standard karaoke bar.
Meanwhile, for those travelers who prefer a calmer environment while flying, Jetstar Japan also announced that passengers could purchase earbuds for around $385 each.
Unfortunately for karaoke fans, this turned out to be just another April Fool’s joke made by an airline that year.
7. Robotic in-flight service on WestJet flights
On April Fool’s Day in 2016, the second-largest Canadian airline, WestJet, announced it was introducing an innovative new way to serve its passengers.
The carrier said it was replacing the standard in-flight food and beverage service usually distributed by flight attendants with new technology – the Robotic Automated Light Food Handler (RALFH). The airline said that its robotic passenger service would use a facial recognition camera as well as an audio conveyance system thereby allowing the robot to interact with travelers while delivering their orders. Needless to say, it was all a joke.
6. Etihad’s Air-Cart
The idea of robot services was also promoted in 2019 when the major airline of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways, claimed it was introducing an Air-Cart.
On April Fool’s Day that year, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier announced that a flying trolley would mean passengers would no longer get stuck in the aisle during meal services.
— Etihad Airways (@etihad) April 1, 2019
5. Emirates’ triple-decker aircraft
Traveling on board a double-decker passenger plane, such as the Airbus A380, is much sought after by those who love air travel. But what about a triple-decker passenger jet?
On April Fool’s Day in 2017, Emirates unveiled plans to operate a triple-decker jet equipped with various amenities for in-flight leisure activities, including a swimming pool, a games room, a gym, and even a small park.
People welcomed the news before realizing that the aircraft was named APR001.
4. Food delivery by Virgin Australia
A major Australian carrier Virgin Australia surprised its customers by announcing the launch of a food delivery app called ‘Virgin Australia Fly Foods’ that would allow people to order food from one Australian state and have it delivered by the airline to another.
Having announced the new app on April 1, 2019, the airline claimed to have signed up the best Australian restaurants, adding that the food would be provided via existing Virgin Australia routes between Australian capital cities with the click of a button.
Once the April Fool’s Day campaign finished, the airline said that the ‘Fly Foods’ content tripled Virgin Australia’s engagement and reach metrics and was read more than 1.2 million times.
3. Roasted duck and barbecue pork meals with Hong Kong Airlines
On April Fool’s Day in 2018, Hong Kong Airlines astonished their frequent flyers by unveiling an airline experience to really get excited about. The carrier dangled a mouth-watering pledge to serve a Cantonese-style brunch on board its long-haul services.
The updated menu was supposed to include freshly roasted duck and sizzling hot barbecue pork as well as a large range of dim sum dishes.
— Hong Kong Airlines (@hkairlines) April 1, 2018
2. Helium technologies to reduce WestJet aircraft weight
“Effective today, WestJet will be using air mixed with helium in the ventilation system to lighten the weight of the aircraft,” read the WestJet statement issued on April 1, 2011.
The airline claimed that since helium is up to 85% lighter than nitrogen, by adding helium to the air mix the carrier would cut fuel costs by approximately 3 to 4% on its Boeing 737 NG planes. But it was an April Fool.
1. Virgin Australia’s spin class in the sky
In April 2018, Virgin Australia released a video purporting to introduce the world’s first spin class in the sky.
The new activity was presented as an in-flight cycling class, which would allow Virgin Australia passengers to exercise during international long-haul flights. It claimed that passengers would be able to ride Virgin Active bikes as well as attend three different spin classes designed for in-flight cycling.
The airline later disclosed that the video, which was released on the company’s social media account, was filmed at two Virgin Australia facilities – the carrier’s training center at Melbourne Airport (MEL) and its health club.