From triple-decker plane to mid-air weddings: How Dubai's Emirates airline pranked residents on April Fool's through the years

Still can't get over Emirates Sealine? Here's a throwback to some of the airline's April 1 marketing stunts that had impressed — and confused — people through the years


Nasreen Abdulla

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File photos
File photos

Published: Sat 1 Apr 2023, 5:25 PM

Emirates does it every year, yet somehow many residents still fall for the airline's April Fool's Day pranks every time. On Saturday, Dubai's flagship carrier created quite a stir online when it announced that after conquering the skies, it is now 'taking over the seas' with the launch of its 'sea line'.

In a video that showed an ultra-luxurious cruise liner sailing past the Atlantis, the brand introduced its maritime arm Emirates Sealine, which promised passengers "top-tier and never-before-imagined experiences as they voyage to rarely-before-seen ports of call”. The only catch? It was an elaborate April Fool’s prank.

Emirates revealed that "itineraries and bookings will be open from June 31" and that the "first cruise would flag off to Karachi from Dubai Harbour on 01 April 2024" — making it clear to those who could read between the lines that it was nothing but a joke.

The announcement even included a quote from Captain Jack Shallow, the newly appointed chief maritime officer at the helm of Emirates Sealine — in an obvious reference to the famous character from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Social media users loved the stunt. “EK at its best on 1 April”, wrote one, while another commented, “I have to give it to marketing team!! The details that went into the making of this is just pristine.”

This isn’t the first time that Emirates is pulling off an April Fool’s prank. Here are the top five impressive marketing stunts that had wowed (and confused) many residents and travellers through the years:

1. Transparent Sky lounge

In 2018, Emirates got people’s jaws dropping when they announced a completely transparent lounge with unmatched aerial views and unparalleled luxury. As amazing as it sounded, it was quickly revealed to be a prank.

2. Triple-decker plane

This incredible plane has a gym, swimming pool, games room and park. Sounds too good to be true? Yes, it is — it was the 2017 stunt. What took the cake was the name of the plane: APR001.

3. Emireats

Last year, the company launched Emireats, which promised users authentic cuisine from anywhere in the world. Through the 'service', customers could supposedly browse for their favourite meals and place an order from 'anywhere' in the world and have it delivered 'straight to your door'. They even threw in the image of an Emirates stewardess with a food bag of Emireats for good measure. What gave them away was the tagline ‘Delivering Soon. Maybe.’

4. Wedding in the sky

In 2021, the airline announced its special wedding service for those “who want to tie the knot at 40,000 feet”. Several users expressed interest and asked for the pricing package of it before the airline revealed that it was a prank.

5. Chauffeur-less drone

In a tweet on March 31, 2019, Emirates introduced chauffeur-less drones — with two fully enclosed first-class private suites — which could be flown between any locations in Dubai. Supposedly scheduled to start in April 2020, the service was advertised to be offered to all Emirates Skywards Platinum members. Too bad it was not real because it sounded pretty cool.


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