The Best Airline Advertising Campaigns on April Fools’ Day – 2023 Edition (and one airline conspicuous by absence)

I like airline brands that know how to have some fun with their advertising campaigns. It’s that time of the year, and airlines are once again busy fooling their distracted social media followers and customers while making the rest of the world laugh.

The SimpliFlying research team spent the last weekend tracking most of the April Fool’s Day worldwide. We have done a roundup of the best airline advertising campaigns, and we announce the winner of the SimpliFools Award – the airline with the most innovative prank at the end.

For those interested, here are some of the best April Fool’s airline advertising campaigns in the past decade – 2022, 2016, 2014 and 2013!

The JetBlue Snack Mask

JetBlue launched a “snack mask”, a whiteboard where you could state your meal preferences. I found the humour to be slapstick, but hey – it was April Fool’s Day!

SWOOP allows free emotional baggage

SWOOP is an ultra-low-cost airline in Canada that charge for bags. They ran a campaign that highlighted their bag fee, while declaring that “emotional baggage” is free!

And it’s a good thing – because don’t we all have a bit more of that coming out of the pandemic? Especially while travelling, where we’re all a bit out of practice, it can be stressful at the best times, and air travel seems more emotionally charged than ever.

Sail the Emirates Sealine

Emirates launched its first cruise – the Emirates Sealine – an ultra-luxurious cruise liner from the Dubai airline. The very creative press release from the airline quoted Captain Jack Shallow, the newly appointed Chief Maritime Officer at the helm of Emirates Sealine,

“Technology, AI and innovation in developing our future-generation cruise ships mean we can mirror the city’s pace and sail at more than 50 knots per hour – nearly double the speed of the fastest ones today.”

Emirates Sealine’s liners will dock at major cruise ports – charting a course from the US to New Zealand – supported by the airline’s colossal network. Perhaps feed will be provided by the Emirates A380s? Bookings open soon for its maiden voyage to Karachi on 1 April 2024.

KLM’s Seat Recline Alert

Isn’t one of the most annoying aspects of flying when someone reclines a seat on you without warning? KLM has a creative solution – a seat that makes a sound when someone is reclining. Nice prank!

Virgin Australia’s Fly Cleaning service

Who likes to do laundry upon returning home from a vacation? Nobody! So Virgin Australia introduced a cleaning service for its flyers. Fun video!

Skyteam Alliance’s Dog Spa

Who has a dog who likes to travel? Skyteam decided to take care of dogs while you travelled!

Geneva Airport allows ski-in-ski-out access

Geneva is close to a few popular ski resorts. So in the winter, they have a lot of tourists who go through the airport to ski. Why not make it easy for them to get to-and-from the slopes?

Special Mention – ixigo’s BhAI

While it’s not an airline or airport, Indian OTA ixigo releases a nifty April Fool’s joke every year and this year they’ve jumped on the ChatGPT bandwagon to introduce BhAI, which translates as “brother” from Hindi. You’ll need to know Hindi to appreciate the gag truly.

The winner of the SimpliFools Award

Our favourite airline advertising campaign on April Fools’ Day 2023 is….Emirates Sealine! The airline did something on-brand and took it up a notch. It’s not very unfathomable to imagine a luxury airline launching a luxury cruise liner like Virgin has. Their press release was very well written and worth reading for all marketing and communications professionals. The complementing video and graphics were very believable as well.

The missing airline…

Canadian airline WestJet did not release an April Fools’ Day joke for the first time in over a decade. That was truly missed after classics like KargoKids and TimeTravel. WestJet had created a brand differentiation and an X-Factor around its April Fools Day advertising campaigns. But not this year. Instead, the airline is facing a strike action from its pilots and released a note that this day is “no joke“. The page went on to detail how the airline is making flying more efficient. Perhaps the airline was in a lose-lose situation. But their jokes were truly missed this year.

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