April Fools' Day travel pranks 2016: Virgin Australia unveils plans for new adult-free, kids-only airline class

It's that time of year again and we've complied the best travel pranks for this year... Happy April Fools' Day everyone!

World's first adults-free airline class

Virgin Australia has unveiled plans for the world's newest airline class – an adult-free, kids-only class. The Virgin kid class will offer young air passengers child-friendly cabin features such as 'kickable' seats, concierge Trunki ride-on suitcase service to the gate and an on-board teddy bear menu. Kids are the next biggest passenger market for the airline after business passengers. More than 900,000 children fly with Virgin Australia each year, the airline said in a statement.

The Virgin kids class journey starts with a concierge Trunki ride to the gate where passengers can select the appropriate reading materials for the flight (colouring in or story books) before boarding. It's then a quick hopscotch down the plane aisle to their respective seats before a dance-along safety demonstration. All meals are served with plane-shaped treats. Other onboard features include: chewable safety card; bubble-filled cabin during story time and tent forts for sleeping.

Cheap and cheery: Contiki launches $149 travel itineraries

Cheap and cheery – that's the general message Contiki is sending out this year with the launch of its $149 VR travel itinerary. From April 1, travellers can just get 'Virtually Unlimited' and see the world in a guided virtual reality, 3D experience (hands down definitely better than experiencing the REAL thing). Imagine celebrating Oktoberfest from the local pub, climbing Machu Picchu in the back garden and paragliding in Sweden at the gym (it's a bit like working from home in your PJs). The immersion of reality and virtual reality is endless – thanks Contiki. Segway to Duke Dumont's I Got U music video – yep, definitely need to invest in some VR technology...

The hotel Cold Call

April Fools, hotel cold call, Travelodge hotel, TFE hotels

It's a cold harsh world: Travelodge's new hotel wake-up call. Photo: Kit Haseldon

Travelodge Hotels has embarked on an ambitious task of reinventing the notion of a 'cold call' with the launch of its new wake-up service for sleepy guests. Coined the Travelodge Cold Call, the service is said to 'guarantee' guests will get out of bed when they are splashed with a glass of chilled water by a hotel staff. The water is said to also help de-puff the eyes, tighten the skin and fight wrinkles. So forget repeatedly hitting that snooze button or sleeping through a standard wake-up phone call, get that splash of cold water to the face (literally) and hit the day youthful and running. The service is on trial from May and will be available between 4am and 6am weekdays only (so you're on your own if you're working weekends).

Calling all gamers/arcade lovers/travellers

April fools KAYAK is taking it back reviving the nostalgia that is the 80s video games transforming its site into an online arcade with Tetris, Brick and Star Bandits

Old school vibes: Play 80s video games for a whole day.

Miss the 80s? Well KAYAK is taking it back reviving the nostalgia that is the 80s video games transforming its site into an online arcade with Tetris, Brick and Star Bandits (with those old school laser sounds to match). Break up the stress of researching your next holiday with a few shots at flying meteoroids and tunes from 80s like Take On Me from A-Ha and Never Gonna Give You Up. Tee up some office comps to see who the ultimate Tetris master is, but be warned, if you work in a serious-type of office put the volume on mute first.

And the pranks we can't forget from previous years ...

Business for two

Half price business class ... just share the seat.

Half price business class ... just share the seat.


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

Hot yoga classes on board Scoot.

Hot yoga classes on board Scoot.

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.

Spell it right Quantas

Putting the 'u' in Qantas.

Putting the 'u' in Qantas. Photo: Facebook/Qantas

We all know the grammatical rule that 'u' always follows 'q'. And for just one day this year Australia's largest airline Qantas made many (mainly US travellers) believe it turned the corner on punctuation by adding in the 'u', thus becoming Quantas (or however you would awkwardly pronounce it). As the third oldest airline in the world, Qantas is actually an acronym derived from the airline's original name, Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services. Thanks Quantas, I still call Australia home.

Deep-sea safari

Forget holidaying on cruise ships, submarine cruises are the way to go, and according to Cruise.co.uk, this is the future of sea travel. As an April Fools' prank, the company announced it has launched an underwater sarfari that takes 1,000 people "up to 60m under the sea". The cruise comes with more than just the basics - a full length viewing deck, panoramic view restaurants and miniature indoor waterpark. The best thing about this cruise, if it were true, would be watching eerie-looking, deep-sea creatures in their real environments.

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.

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".

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.

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 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 on board for its maiden voyage.

Is that a plane?

Richard Branson is not one to shy away from either 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.