New boarding and pet programs: how airlines are trying to pull fast ones this April Fool's Day
From the world’s first dedicated airport lounge for pets to lounge seats that transform into airplane seats and a new name change aimed at mollifying sticklers for spelling, here’s an early look at some of the cheeky April Fool’s Day pranks from airlines around the world.
When it comes to pulling off elaborate, viral pranks on April 1, Canadian no-frills carrier WestJet is no slouch.
In 2012, in response to customer complaints of noisy, crying, bothersome knee-high flyers, the airline 'debuted' an innovative new service called Kargo Kids that placed kiddies in the cargo hold, allowing adults to travel in peace.
In 2013, the airline also announced plans to ease their travel restrictions on pets with their Furry Family program, allowing monkeys, ducks, bears, and assorted amphibians to buy seats and reserve overhead storage bins.
New this year, WestJet has introduced a new boarding concept that allows passengers to board seven times faster than traditional boarding practices thanks to their SmartSeats: a program that allows flyers to strap into their plane seats straight from the lounge.
That’s right. To cut down pesky boarding times, the airline has developed a motorized system that wheels seated passengers directly between the waiting lounge onto the aircraft.
The program is not, however, without its glitches, with jerky starts, steering, speed and coordination issues.
In other news April Fool's Day news, Virgin Australia, perhaps inspired by WestJet’s Furry Family concept, likewise announced plans to open the world’s first lounge for pets as an extension of their (real) frequent flyer program for pets.
Top tier members are privy to grooming and pampering services and gourmet dining experiences that include ‘à la cat’ and ‘dog-ustation’ meal options.
And finally, Australia’s flagship carrier Qantas announced plans to finally mollify spelling sticklers once and for all by adding the letter ‘u’ to its name.
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