April Fools’ Day pranks in the UAE: From Emirates to Careem – who was fooled?


It’s April Fools’ Day, which means that marketeers the world over have been coming up with fun and cheeky ways to fool their audience, all in the name of tomfoolery.

Sometimes the pranks don’t land (we’re looking at you, Volkswagen … or is it Voltswagen?) but they often do!

Here is a round up of some of the best April Fools’ Day pranks in the UAE this year…

1. Emirates’s sky-high weddings

“We’re taking love to new heights,” Emirates wrote in a gleeful tweet last night, announcing that the Dubai airline was to “launch a special Wedding Service for those who want to tie the knot at 40,000 feet”.

Based on the accompanying photograph, the weddings looked set to take place in the business class bar on the A380s – a dream wedding venue for any aviation geeks out there. The key clue that it was seemingly a prank? The wedding date: April 1, 2021.

Emirates has had fun with April Fools pranks in the past. The airline has announced chauffeur-less drones, triple-deck planes and see-through lounges onboard.

This year’s announcement seems to have hoodwinked people on social media, who asked: “Is there a link for more information and pricing about this somewhere”. Another Twitter user added: “Imagine working on creating this project. Massive excitement @emirates are you hiring?”

2. Careem’s new brunch

Careem's 2021 April Fools prank is a new brunch service from the back of its cars. Courtesy Careem 
Careem’s 2021 April Fools prank is a new brunch service from the back of its cars. Courtesy Careem 

Many of the UAE’s Careem users will be well acquainted with opening the app come 12.15pm on a Friday, ready to chauffeur them to their choice of brunch. But this April Fools’ Day, the ride-booking app is suggesting that it could bring brunch to users, and then take them on the road, with live entertainment for the drive.

“Available from today, the Careem Brunch will appear as a new ride-hailing option, where customers will be picked up by Brunch Captains who will then provide a picnic basket with over 20 food items put together from a list of the most popular food spots in Dubai,” a press release from the company reads.

3. Ekar’s Ekamel

This April Fool's Day Ekar is introducing Ekamel. Courtesy Ekar 
This April Fool’s Day ekar is introducing ekamel. Courtesy ekar

Ekar, the UAE’s pay-as-you-go car rental company, launched ekamel for April Fools’ Day 2021.

The “off-road service” is available to book via the app, which promises “a wide range of passenger camels instantly”.

According to the company, customers can book an ekamel by the minute, hour or day, and special perks include “free desert parking across the UAE”.

“The launch of our new ekamel off-road service allows users to choose from a full array of ekar options, on and off the road,” says Vilhelm Hedberg, ekar’s chief executive. “The diverse range of mobility makes ekar the most unique mobility app in the world.”

4. No prank from Google

For the second year in a row, Google is skipping April Fools’ Day because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Instead the company plans to “find appropriate ways to bring moments of joy to [its] users throughout the year”, according to an internal memo.

This is only the second time Google has skipped April 1 festivities since 2004.

“Throughout the past year, I have been so inspired by how helpful our products, programmes, and people have been during humanity’s toughest times,” an internal memo from Google vice-president Marvin Chow, obtained by Business Insider, reads. “We’ve done it with sensitivity and empathy, reflecting the range of challenging experiences so many are experiencing globally.”

It adds: “As you will remember, last year we made the decision to pause our longstanding Google tradition of celebrating April Fools’ Day, out of respect for all those fighting Covid-19. With much of the world still grappling with serious challenges, we feel we should again pause the jokes for April Fools’ Day this year. Like we did last year, we should continue to find appropriate ways to bring moments of joy to our users throughout the year.”

5. A harmless WhatsApp prank

Cast your mind back to this time last year, when PDF documents were regularly shared on WhatsApp with information about Covid-19 and new restrictions being put in place across the UAE, with varying degrees of reliability.

A cheeky UAE WhatsApp user harked back to those times today, with a PDF that is doing the rounds on the messaging app.

A new set of fake 'Dubai lockdown guidelines' are circulating on Whatsapp. 
A new set of fake ‘Dubai lockdown guidelines’ are circulating on Whatsapp. Screenshot

“Dubai lockdown guidelines from tonight”, the PDF is titled. Whatsapp indicates on the message that it has been “forwarded many times”.

When you open the message, however, there is no official message to be found, just an April Fools’ Day message.

When you open the PDF, you get a happy, floral 'April Fools Day' message.
When you open the PDF, you get a happy, floral ‘April Fools Day’ message.

Updated: April 1, 2021 12:38 PM