April Fools. Fooled ya!

It has been a yearly tradition for the last few years to issue an April Fools news item. Like some of the web giants out there, we thought it would be a little fun for our pilots. All of us remember that April Fools day prank that we fell for, whether it be a friend, Google or a radio DJ playing the prank. Back in 2010, we had posted that we were closing the Washington Dulles hub. While 2 years in the future it became a reality, it wasn’t even on any of our minds back in the day. It was completely far-fetched and we were pretty sure our pilots would deduce that it was a farce fairly quickly; They did.

Last year we switched it up a little and the joke was that we weren’t joking; We announced that we were going to acquire a few new 777’s .  Phillip Lecrenier was the inspiration for the 2011 post.  Phil would jump on teamspeak and would always joke with the executives asking for a 777 freighter. We wanted to pay him back with his very own April Fools and let him dwell on the thought of a 777 before someone crushed it by saying it was April Fools day. Within minutes our forums were abuzz with pilots commenting about it being an April Fools joke. It worked. The very next day, April 2nd, we pulled the ultimate prank and let everyone know that it was for real. One year later, we have fully integrated the 777 into our fleet and route network.

This year we went back to a tradition preposterous idea that we’d be acquiring A380’s, one of which would be used to start a daily service to Beijing from Baltimore. We wrote it with so many clues that something was fishy with the post it was hard to keep a straight face while writing it.

  • “An average load factor of 98.6%” Sound like a familiar number? It should if you live in the US and remember your 4th grade science class. 98.6F is the average temperature of the human body.
  • Most days of the week we were finding that every ticketed passenger for the flight was arriving at the gate” – It’s rare that every ticketed passenger would show up for a long haul flight, especially on a daily basis. Like most travel industries, there is a degree of overbooking involved to make up for that number of passengers that are typically no-shows.
  • “Airbus has promised to complete the first aircraft for us by or before April 1, 2013.” – Come on..It’s there in plain sight. We included the date of April 1 right in the post which is synonymous with April Fools Day.
  • The image of the A380. Some of you may recall it was used in a forum post titled “Four Engines and a big nose“. I even commented to say that an A380 wouldn’t happen in the foreseeable future; I only wrote that a year ago.

With so many clues in the post, it didn’t take long for our pilots to post in the pilot forums that it was an april fool’s day joke. As always, we have some perceptive pilots who see right through our shenanigans. This year was no different. Thanks to all of you for playing around.

This year though we managed to fool some others. Another virtual airline proudly boasted that they “slammed” us and pointed out our flawed calculations. Kudos for them in seeing that the numbers were far-fetched. Unfortunately they didn’t pay attention to the calendar. I’ll leave the other virtual airline’s name out of this story to hopefully give them a bit of dignity and an ounce of pride for finding issue with what was an  obvious prank but the savvy pilot will quickly find them out. I guess the joke is on them this year.

So to all of you keen readers out there, remember to mark your calendars for April 1, 2013. Let’s see who we can fool next year.