Hate it or love it, April Fools is upon us. And the travel industry is notorious for tricking unsuspecting travellers with the most weird and wonderful jokes.
We’ve decided to give you a round-up of 10 of the funniest tricks played by travel industry players over the years:
For those with a fear of flying
One of the more famous pranks of recent years would be the glass-bottomed planes from Virgin Atlantic. They made headlines with the “world’s first glass-bottomed plane”.
Images of the new aircraft were broadcast far and wide, with promises of a glass-topped aircraft to follow, so passengers could see the stars at night.
Business Class for Two
Student Flights pulled off an April Fools’ Day prank offering two-for-one business class travel deals that allow two passengers to travel in one business class seat. The “exclusive top-to-tail business class seat category” promises “first rate travel experiences at backpacker prices”.
Take Fido and Pluto along – and put the kids in cargo
When it comes to airline spoofs, Canadian airline WestJet is a repeat offender for offering too-good to be true perks for passengers. Last year, the airline enticed passengers with the promise of being able to fly with pets, be it dogs or cats, or even small exotic animals. The “Furry Family” program was a YouTube hit.
In 2012, WestJet had a bit of fun introducing child-free cabins by putting kids in the cargo hold so that adults could fly in peace and quiet, though their “Kargo Kids” offering was more about entertainment than an attempt to fool people.
Kids aren’t the only ones being treated to cargo class
A favourite is STA Travel’s prank in 2012 which saw it launch “cargo class” airfares for travellers on tight budgets. The company promised up to 80 per cent off standard economy airfares for passengers willing to travel in the cargo space and bring their own food and entertainment devices. STA marketing found itself having to call to major news outlet that were still promoting it a week later.
Slide down the Great Wall
Who believes that the Chinese Government would actually transform a short stretch of the Great Wall of China into a waterslide? A tweet by a travel blog, claimed that the waterslide is “so vast, you can see it from space”, much like the wall itself.
New destinations around the world
UK newspaper The Guardian’s most celebrated prank dates back to 1977 when it published a seven-page travel supplement on a little-known island destination, “San Serriffe”. The hoax report was layered with humorous typographical references, a fictitious map and a detailed history of the tropical island. For added effect, the report included a fact file for travellers and featured a call-out from Kodak for photos of the island to be included in an exhibition to be titled “The Legendary Beauty of San Serriffe”.
The highly successful prank was revisited 22 years later when a writer described for potential tourists the “vibrant nation” located near Seychelles.
Forget Airbnb, Now You Can Just Share a Stranger’s Bed With ShareBED
The average human only uses about 40% of their bed when they sleep, so why not turn it into a business opportunity.
Lucid Mattress might not be a travel company, but it’s ready to compete with both Airbnb and the hotel heavyweights.
Airbnb has a New Brand though: Lairbnb
In Airbnb’s words, “Every hero needs a hideaway.” The brand’s “spin-off” is targeting superheroes, vampires, elves, and basically anyone else who may call a lair home and allowing them to share their unique spaces with travellers of the world. The best part of this fake ad? The superhero who claims he “flies” guests to the airport. Count us in.
Leaning Tower of Pisa to become a hotel
The Telegraph tried to convince us that we would soon be able to book a room in the Leaning Tower of Pisa, as it was to be transformed into a hotel called the 3.99 Degrees. We especially loved their photoshopped image.
Spaghetti Grows on Trees, Ticino, Switzerland
Not really related to travel, although it would draw a lot of tourists. This prank dates back to 1957 in Ticino in Southern Switzerland.
On April Fools’ Day in 1957, BBC broadcast a 3-minute segment showing a Swiss family harvesting spaghetti from trees and discussing how the bumper harvest was made possible by a mild winter and the near eradication of the spaghetti weevil. Some eight million people tuned in, and the news network received hundreds of calls the next day, some questioning the story and others asking for more information on how to best grow their own spaghetti trees.
Have you been fooled yet today? Or have you played a trick on your customers? Share your stories with us by commenting on Facebook.