The history behind April Fools’ Day is a bit muddy. Did it stem from the turn of the seasons? Or from the adoption of a new calendar? We may not have the answer, but what we do know for certain is that, since the 19th century, people across the UK, Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States have been consistently playing tricks on unsuspecting victims on the first day of April. And long may the tradition continue we say – it’s a bit of a laugh and some of the travel-inspired pranks are so good, we wish they were true! We’ve picked some of the best travel and tourism hoaxes the Internet has to offer.
WestJet’s ‘Furry Family’ program
Can’t bear to leave home without your pets? Does the thought of leaving them in the hold fill you with worry and despair? Enter WestJet’s ‘Furry Family’ program. Back on 1st April 2013, the Canadian airline (or is it hare-line?) appealed to all its animal-loving customers with the launch of this mock initiative, where all pets can join you inside the main cabin. The only restriction? Size matters: your pet must fit safely on-board the aircraft.
Orbitz’s futuristic and historic trips
Move over Doc Brown: where we’re going, we don’t need roads either. That was Orbitz’s ethos when it unveiled its special April Fools past and future trips, offering travel to Paris in 1889, Ancient Egypt and New York City in the swinging sixties. If a touch of history doesn’t tempt you, why not explore the Moon, nearly 1,000 years from now? The hoax became unravelled in the fine print though: “Fictional hotels in the past or future are subject to the creation of an actual time machine.” Oh darn.
Bare Essentials by Exodus
Here’s one for naturists and freedom-seekers alike: Exodus’s bogus ‘Bare Essentials’ range of trips was all about travelling light. No phones, no cameras and – oh yeah – no clothes. Listed extras included plenty of SPF 50 sun cream, hygienic seat covers (for cycling trips of course) and very, very wet wipes. Need we say more?
Introducing the Manaphin…
In a bid to drive tourism to western Florida, the PR company for St Petersburg/Clearwater in Pinellas County managed to convince marine lovers that a fictional mammal had been spotted in its waters: the manaphin. The creature – a dolphin-manatee hybrid – had supposedly been spotted by a number of eyewitnesses… none of which were named of course. The publicists even went as far as to create a mocked-up photograph of the manaphin and gave it a Latin moniker: Trichechus Dolphinium. Talk about dedication.
In 2008, the BBC put out one of the most convincing April Fools’ Day pranks of the decade – nay, the century even. Its elaborate video clip (narrated by none-other than Monty Python legend Terry Jones) appeared to show a flock of Adélie penguins taking flight from King George Island, near Antarctica. The video follows these not-so-flightless birds as they migrate thousands of miles to reach warmer climes: the rainforests of South America to be precise.
Did you fall for any of these dastardly tricks? Post your confessions below or tweet us at @FlightCentre_UK.