Share a business class seat, halve the cost
ANNIE DANG AND JANE E FRASER
The first day of the month is about pinches and punches, but not in April. The start of this month comes with gags and pranks that can catch even the most well-travelled person within its humorous trappings.
Here are some of the best April Fools' Day travel jokes for this year.
Business 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". Reaction to the prank "has been one of amused disappointment", says a spokesperson from Student Flights. That's probably because we all want this one to be true.
Stretch out on a budget airline
Singapore airline Scoot also got in on the prank action, announcing it would now offer in-flight hot yoga classes for guests flying from Singapore to Hong Kong. The airline said it was introducing a "YogaZone" to its cabins and would ramp up the temperature in that part of the plane to 40.6 degrees for 60 minutes. The airline also said it was introducing "MaxYourSpace" - a service that allowed you to guarantee the seat next to you would be free. For a fee, of course. And given budget airlines' tendencies to find new ways to charge for things, don't be too surprised if this last gag becomes a reality in the near future.
China's slippery slide
You might not have picked it but a plan to transform a short stretch of the Great Wall of China into a waterslide is more "sensational" than true. A tweet by a travel blog, claiming that the waterslide is "so vast, you can see it from space", much like the wall itself, would be a traveller's wonderland but a cold swimming experience if it were true.
Pet lovers connected holiday
Internet provider iiNet's quirky prank combines two things people find hard to travel without - the internet and their pets. The company announced it has launched the world's first pet-powered mobile broadband solution, appropriately named Pet-Fi. What are the benefits for the modern day traveller? "Truly portable mobile broadband" and no recharging required as the WiFi device relies on your pet's kinetic energy. What more could you want for your next holiday than your furry friend and the internet?
And the pranks we can't forget...
All up in the air
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.
WestJet aren't the only airline to wave its April Fools' flag. Last year, Virgin Atlantic made headlines with the "world's first glass-bottomed plane" with promises of a glass-topped aircraft to follow so passengers could see the stars at night. The appeal of such a concept made this prank widely successful with Richard Branson having been quoted saying, "I'm thrilled to announce that Virgin has created another world-first".
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.
New typeface lands
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 humourous 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 the Seychelles.
What you see is what you get
Last year New Zealand tour operators Haka Tours had some April Fools' fun showing tourists flocks of "New Zealand Long Necked Sheep" saying the "new breed" was expected to "revolutionise the wool industry". It apparently took many a whole week to discover the "long-necked sheep" were just llamas. A few years before, the company pulled of a Rugby World Cup prank telling passengers it was to showcase the Cup and transport it around the country. When passengers later learned the Cup was plastic, one passenger failed to see the humour and tried to smash it.
Titanic Two - the joke that became reality
In 2012, the UK's Daily Mirror created a spoof story about the construction of a Titanic Two. It latter claimed its April Fools' spoof was a 'Titanic scoop' after billionaire Clive Palmer announced plans to build a replica of the Titanic. If their spoof prediction is right, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, including Richard Branson and Lady Gaga will be onboard for its maiden voyage.
Is that a plane?
Richard Branson is not one to shy away from neither creative publicity campaigns nor extraordinary pranks. The entrepreneur took to the skies in a UFO-shaped hot air balloon in 1989 to promote the launch of his airline. With strobe lights blinking every 10 seconds, the balloon prank fooled some British motorists. Several calls were made to police about reported sightings of a UFO spaceship flying low over London. But the icing on the gag-cake some could say, was when a dwarf in an ET outfit came out.
- FFX Aus