Strange things are afoot in the travel world today. It seems like our inboxes have been flooded by announcements of weird and wonderful innovations. Here's a selection of the most interesting news of the day (that would be April 1, by the way).
Ever the publicity hound, Richard Branson announced that his engineering team has secretly developed the world's first glass-bottom airplane. (Picture above) The plane's underbelly will be completely see-through, allowing travelers the "opportunity to look down on the beautiful scenery of Great Britain as they fly." But rest assured: Cabin crew will be trained to calm the nerves of vertigo-prone fliers. (Amy Farley)
Thought Google had the whole world all mapped out? Its latest initiative is developing an underwater version of Street View, and the first wave of images reveals far more than coral and fish. "Archeological analysis has confirmed that Google has indeed found one of history's long lost relics," say representatives, referring to Captain Kidd's infamous treasure maps. But even the company's IT masterminds can't crack the code—so they're enlisting public help. (Nikki Ekstein)
Obnoxious subway riders, unite! The Toronto Transit Commission announced today via YouTube its innovative "personal car," which allows subway riders to lounge across multiple seats, crunch on fried chicken, and clip their fingernails to their heart's content. (Maria Pedone)
The vacation-planning website Kayak.com has unveiled its latest "search one and done" option: dating. Similar to the site's other travel services, this just-announced romance locator lets you compare hundreds of different dating sites at once while you peruse over 2.5 million singles. Kayak touts that you can save over 25% on new love. Find a hot date, in any zip-code, now! (Peter Schlesinger)
Finally, Aer Lingus is doing what it should've done years ago: Boarding passengers by clan. No more waiting for the O'Briens. (M.H.)
Canadian airline WestJet is easing restrictions on traveling with pets. Its new "Furry Family" service allows any animal to fly—kennel-free—just as long as it fits in the aircraft. As this helpful video explains, the service extends to goats, monkeys, and even bears. The service is quite a shift for WestJet, which offered child-free cabins right around this time last year. (A.F.)
What an amazing day to be covering the travel industry! Why, you'd have to be a fool not to realize today is a special day.