This year's best April Fools' Day pranks by airlines

By David Flynn, April 2 2013

The first day of April sees airlines around the world decide not to take themselves too seriously – with some travel and aviation websites also getting in on the fun.

Here's a rundown of this year's best airline-related April Fool's Day pranks.

Qantas brings Airbus A380 flights to Canberra

Starting at home, we got a giggle out of this effort by Crikey aviation reporter Ben Sandilands, who revealed that Qantas would introduce at least four daily Airbus A380 flights to Canberra.

Added as extensions or 'tag' legs to Qantas' existing Sydney and Melbourne A380 flights, the capital city's superjumbo service would "give pilots flying the giant Airbus more practice in take-offs and landings" Sandilands wrote. "Qantas partner Emirates has also expressed interest in doing such tag flights as part of the expanding alliance."

"From an operational perspective, the flights will solve the problem that A380s fly such long sectors that pilots do not get sufficient hands on take-off and landing experiences per month, forcing the airlines to invest in costly simulator sessions. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is reported to have mused that 'training sessions that bring in actual passenger revenue can turn long haul operations profitable...'"

Avoid kids on your flight with Skyscanner's Kid Counter

Meanwhile, travel booking website Skyscanner revealed its latest feature: the ability to predict "the probability of sitting next to a crying baby or seat-kicking child" on your next flight.

Skyscanner boasted that its software relied on "previous booking patterns and travel behaviour of millions of users, along with seat preferences and aircraft layouts".

Here's how things look for flying from Sydney to London on a Monday in June...

Virgin's glass-bottom plane

Richard Branson got into the spirit of things with the announcement of the world’s first glass-bottomed plane.

Set to debut on Virgin's new flights between London and Scotland this "aviation breakthrough which has been years in the making" would allow passengers to appreciate the beauty of the British landscape during their flight.

Virgin America gets dog-friendly

Meanwhile, Virgin America declared it was time "to throw furry flyers a bone" and convert their first class cabins into new Main Canine Select seating (a play on the airline's Main Cabin Select section).

These high-flying dogs would be able to socialise "mood-lit fire hydrants" and enjoy that wind-in-the-fur experience  with "custom air vents situated at each seat to simulate that head-out-the-window feeling of a car ride".

WestJet gets pet-friendly 

Not to be out-done, Canadian airline WestJet said its new Furry Family policy would welcome all types of pets in the cabin, provided your pet can fit safely on board the aircraft.

What we love most about this stunt is the effort WestJet went to to shoot this special video introducing the scheme.

Delta's double-decker arm rest

Delta figured it was time for passengers stuck in the middle seat to stop fighting over the armrest.

Behold, the innovative yet "Why didn't somebody think of this sooner?" double-decker armrest!

Southwest expands its fleet with hot air balloons

Forget all that hoopla over Boeing 787s and Airbus A350s. Southwest figured that April 1 was the perfect time to announce its fleet would now include hot air balloons so that travellers could step out of the frantic fast lane and take things slow for a change.

"Enjoy taking it slow with a scenic view while traveling from Boston to Denver" the airline boasted.

"You'll have a full 31 hours of seemingly never-ending ground-peeping, star-gazing, and gusty nap time. Or you could sit back and relax during an estimated six-hour jaunt from Dallas to Houston. (DISCLAIMER: Travel time greatly depends on wind speed)".

Did you spot any other great airline or travel-related April Fool's Day japes? Share them with other AusBT readers below!


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

02 Apr 2013

Total posts 1

Great news!

Flightradar24 will launch "FR24 airlines". To start with we will fly with 24 leased all business class B787 Dreamliners from our hubs at Stockholm, London and Warsaw airports. Of course all our feeders will be given 2 return tickets for free every year. All other passengers with Flightradar24 Pro app will be given 10% discount on all flights.

Welcome onboard!


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

What a shame that neither Qantas or Virgin Australia got into the spirit of things. Even Air New Zealand, who used to do a good April Fool trick each year, seems to have skipped things this time around :(

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 253

The people at QF were probably too busy dealing with the beginning of the partnership and the first trickles of complaints from pax about flying to DXB, the length of time they're on the plane for on the first leg, the heat in DXB, and I'm sure there were people fully expecting to go via SIN who didn't know they were doing SYD/MEL-DXB-LHR until they got on board and the 'flight to Dubai of 14 hours' was announced.

And besides, April Fools Jokes are so lame, especially when a big corporation or media site does them. Really? We're meant to believe a contrived and obviously fake story on that day of all days? Show some credibility. Good on VA and QF for not getting into the spirit.


22 Mar 2012

Total posts 200

Hang on a second, I almost actually believed the Google Fools joke about free internet running through the sewers... not all of them are that bad!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 253

Ok, I'll agree with you that some jokes could actually work in reality. It's the OTT ones that just seem saaad.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

Hmmm... we had some fun a few years back by cranking out our own April Fools' Day articles, which did seem to catch out many people... here are links to those three articles, for what it's worth!

LEAKED: Jetstar's Project Sirius seats and cabin layout for the Boeing 787

Qantas to return to full service, pledges CEO

Virgin Blue unveils new Virgin Pacific brand & marketing campaign featuring Justin Bieber


22 Mar 2012

Total posts 200

Absolutely loved that Project Sirus April Fool's Joke, David. It was fantastic, had me totally sucked in!


02 Apr 2013

Total posts 1

"Not to be out-done, US airline WestJet said..."

Just FYI, WestJet is not a US airline.  WestJet is Canadian.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

Indeed it is, my notes read 'North American' but somehow I ended up bashing out 'US' instead - mea culpa!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Mar 2012

Total posts 7

In regards to Delta's double decker armrest, it actually exists but I'm not sure whether or not it is actually flying with any airlines at the moment. Hong Kong design firm Paperclip Design has won many awards for it. It is an attempt to relieve the stress of having arguments over who gets the armrest. Check it out below:

22 Jul 2011

Total posts 2

An excellent hotel/airline story from 1 April  that I would add to the mix was the following:

Airlines and Hotels to Customers: Stay Home and Use Videoconferencing

06 Feb 2013

Total posts 4

I also really liked CrankyFlier's post on Virgin America rebranding as Alitalia America: 

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on This year's best April Fools' Day pranks by airlines