Airlines take April Fools’ Day to new heights — WestJet, Scoot, Virgin America, SAS Scandinavian & more!

Each year, a number of airlines around the world take April Fools’ Day in their stride and join in the fun with some believable, and many unbelievable gags. April Fools Day airline campaigns help raise brand awareness and engagement in markets that typically would not have even heard of the airline. Some, like WestJet, do it so well that not only people look forward to their gags, but the airline also makes a lot of revenue in the first week of April! [push h=”14″]

So what do airlines have in store for April Fools’ Day this year? Here’s what we have found till now, and we’ll keep adding to this list.

Scoot offers YogaZone

Given the timezone that Scoot is in (GMT+8), they were the first airline in the world this year to launch an April Fools’ Day campaign. An email with the subject, “S-t-r-e-t-c-h out in the Scoot YogaZone” was sent out to its whole database, and photos featuring rather attractive yoga instructors in skimpy clothes posted on Facebook and other channels. The airline announced that it was going to offer hot yoga classes on board their flights from Singapore to Hong Kong, including raising the cabin temperature to 40.6 degrees Celsius for the Bikram Yoga enthusiasts.

Novelty scale: 3/5

Westjet switches to metric time

Westjet, which has a tradition of serving up some of the best April Fools’ Day pranks, released its campaign by taking over the Youtube Canada homepage. They announced that the airline will be moving to Metric time, where instead of AM and PM, flight times will be displayed in milliminutes (a rather novel invention). There was a Youtube video, and a rather complex calculation explaining the conversion. The most hilarious aspect was that they even hinted that a smartphone app would be able to do the conversion!

While not something as charming as Kargo Kids that they launched previously, we will be keen to see how viral this video goes, and whether it crosses the one million mark for ticket sales this year (they have done so previously).

Novelty scale : 2/5

Virgin America introduces climate control, for the seat!

In true Virgin style, Richard Branson proudly announced on Youtube that Virgin America would like to give more control to the passengers of their flying experience, by introducing Total Temperature Control (TTC). This would allows travelers to create their own personal climate controlled environment thanks to Nest thermostats built into Virgin America’s in-flight entertainment systems.

Options to set your climate control include “Chicago Polar Vortex” and “NYC Subway sweaty” – fun settings indeed! On the landing page for the announcement, there’s even a poll where anyone could participate and share what their preference would be, on-board.

Novelty scale : 4/5

SAS Scandinavian Selfie at Boarding Gate

SAS Scandinavian tweeted today that they would like to improve their social media exposure by asking all passengers to take a selfie at the boarding gate. Fun idea, though I wish they shared more selfies from the gate too!

Novelty scale: 2/5  

Brussels Airlines announces flights to Antarctica

If you thought Antarctica was too far and forbidding, rejoice. For one day at least. Brussels Airlines today said that it would start a weekly flight between Brussels and Antarctica. Perhaps the best part of the announcement was the solemnly worded, deadpan press release:

The flight makes a technical stop in Luanda (Angola), one of Brussels Airlines’ 19 African destinations. The intermediary landing is necessary to refuel the aircraft and provide new catering, but also to do an exchange of cabin crews. At the occasion of the opening of this new route, the uniform has been adapted and features (faux) fur to deal with the cold temperatures upon arrival.

Not surprisingly, the announcement was greeted with delight.


Novelty Score: 3/5

 

Southwest offers flights to Mars

The “nation’s largest domestic carrier” seeks to breach new frontiers on April Fools’ Day. Although it’s a fun video, the execution is somewhat patchy. Moreover, Mars has been on many brands’ minds for a while now — JetBlue ran a fun banner a couple of years ago as well.

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3otYXT3biPo]

Novelty Score: 2/5

 

Kulula hosts first-ever braai in the sky

Kulula has promised to bring barbecue-style cooking to the skies, with dishes freshly prepared on board. Most delightfully, Kulula’s announcement on their Facebook page seems to have confused quite a number of people as well, which goes to show how convincingly they worded their announcement:

A pilot study braai-flight will be conducted in the skies to determine the possibility of offering customers a braai catering option on board. If successful, going forward customers travelling on kulula.com will be able to select their favourite piece of braai meat or vegetable skewer from the cabin crew and have it braaied in mid-air.

 

 

Novelty Score: 4/5

 

Spirit Airlines introduces Mother of All Sleeper Beds in the Luggage Hold

Another fun announcement, this time from Spirit Airlines, with a catchy take from the CEO: “We are pleased to offer customers the option to save money on a hotel by offering an unparalleled in-flight sleeping experience. We are proud to be the first ultra-low fare carrier to give customers the freedom to choose an in-the-belly flat-bed experience.”

Available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Temperatures in the belly vary but are typically about 40 degrees Fahrenheit (think meat locker). Due to security concerns, passengers are not allowed to bring their own blankets. Spirit is not liable for any injuries or scratches incurred as a direct result of the use of any blanket purchased on board.

Novelty Score: 4/5

 

Air France allows in-flight selfie through IFE screens

Yet another European airline caving in to the selfie movement…

Novelty Score: 2/5

While our favorite till now is the Virgin America temperature control prank, we will keep a look out for more April Fools’ Day initiatives from airlines and regularly update this page. Meanwhile, happy pranking!

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is the CEO of SimpliFlying and a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought-leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior aviation executives globally, from Chile to Canada and from Sydney to San Francisco.Shashank's perspectives have found their way into major media outlets, including CNN Travel, CNBC, MSNBC, Bloomberg UTV, Mashable and in leading publications like Airline Business, ATW, Aviation Week, and others.Shashank studied Information Systems Management and Business Management at Singapore Management University and Carnegie Mellon University. Hailing from India, he splits his time between Singapore and Vancouver, among other cities.
Shashank Nigam
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