JetBlue To Charge $7 For Pillow-Blanket Kit

JetBlue is launching a new fee, $7 for a pillow and an allergen-rebuffing blanket. It comes with a $5 coupon to Bed Bath and Beyond. It’s all part of what JetBlue describes as a “basket of fee changes” which they project will rake in an additional $50 million this year. I guess that’s someone’s idea of targeted marketing. “Guys, we need to figure out a way to hone in on this lucrative “buys blankets” crowd…”

JetBlue to Start Charging for Pillows [NYT] (Photo: Lil Erna)

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  1. ibored says:

    great now the overhead bins are going to be even more filled with peoples crap.

  2. Geekybiker says:

    Lovely. When do they start charging for seat belts?

  3. ARP says:

    I was recently on an American flight (ORD to Montreal) where they offered blankets for $5.

  4. Yeah I think your right. I sure as hell won’t pay for a blanket/pillow. I have one of those U shaped neck pillows already. Guess it’s time to find a really durable thermal blanket.

    I’m severely annoyed by the sheer amount of stuff that we’re starting to have to take on planes to A: Not Starve, B: Be somewhat entertained, and C: Stay as comfortable as possible in the tin-can.

  5. You know, I was skeptical until I saw it comes with $5 coupon to BB&B. Those are very hard to come by.

  6. kaptainkk says:

    This reminds me of this Carol Burnett skit with the No Frills Airline:
    [www.youtube.com]

  7. snoop-blog says:

    I think I’m going to write a song about the ‘jet blues’…

    charge me for my bags, dun da dun dun

    charge me for myself, dun da dun dun

    I sat in a seat full of pee,

    AND NOBODY WOULD HELP!! I got the blues….

    Yeaeeyeah the jet blues….

  8. Angryrider says:

    I saw this on the 12 O’Clock news. It kinda sucks that you’d have to pay to NOT freeze on a plane, but this is the era of nickel and diming.

  9. Joedragon says:

    How long be for the live set back tv goes PPV.

  10. IphtashuFitz says:

    @Michael Belisle: Yeah, I only get coupons in the mail from them every week or so…

  11. Etoiles says:

    I’ve been flying JetBlue very loyally for years (yay, TrueBlue points paying for our otherwise $1000 round trip to San Juan this December!) and I didn’t even know they had blankets or pillows available as an option. I’m always cold on planes but so far “wearing a big ol’ hoodie” has always worked for me just fine. *shrug*

  12. @IphtashuFitz: I have a stack of about a dozen BB&B coupons. It’s like they’re replicating: there seem to be more every time I look at the stack. Probably time to throw them out.

  13. SkokieGuy says:

    They are actually letting you take with the blanket and pillow for $7.00. It’s not a usage fee, it’s a sale.
    Try to find a pillow in the airport stores for that price.

    How long till a website actually consolidates all fees, charges, service, so you can ‘build’ your ticket (like a car where you select options) and you can compare total actual costs?

    Travel sites comparing ticket prices are largely becoming worthless as the ticket price is semi-irrelevant the way fees are being packed on.

  14. SuffolkHouse says:

    What’s the big deal? This is better than getting a pillow on an American Airlines flight that you picked up after the last passenger drooled on it.

    I’ve found vomit in the front-pocket after an American Airlines flight before (no kidding).

    This really doesn’t bother me.

    Just raise your prices, though, on the ticket, and compete fair and square.

  15. Ummmmm, it’s going to take more than a coupon to entice me to rent a used pillow and blanket. Ick.
    .

  16. SuffolkHouse says:

    @Michael Belisle:
    Stack them with your Michael’s 40% off framing coupons!

  17. FLConsumer says:

    @EtoilePB: Same here…never seen a pillow or blanket on the plane. Appears that they’re only on flights > 2 hrs, which excludes all of the ones I’ve done.

  18. mythago says:

    @Cranky Customer: apparently these are new pillows and blankets, which you can keep. If it were a use fee that would suck, but JetBlue is selling them. Fine by me – I’ve seen pillows and blankets on Southwest, but it’s not like they launder them in between passengers. Icky.

  19. Breach says:

    Nazis

  20. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    This isn’t a bad deal at all. A travel pillow and blanket with a carrying case for $7 that you can take with you (and bring with you on future flights). From the article:

    JetBlue Airways said Monday that it would sell a pillow and blanket set for $7 on flights of two hours or more. The set, which passengers can take home, includes a 10-by-12 inch pillow and a fleece blanket, which fit into a carrying case.

  21. tundey says:

    Like others have mentioned, this is not a fee. But a mandatory purchase. So it’s not an outright rip off but what if you just happen to have enough travel blankets and pillows?

  22. RabbitDinner says:

    New! I’m in. I sat next to a woman with a horrific cold (well, she was across the aisle). She was considerate and all, during all her coughing and sneeze attacks she used the blanket. Even though I used blankets knowing they were filthy, it took that traumatizing experience for me to stop. And if you’re wheezing it up like that, then as far as I’m concerned you owe the passengers next to you $10 for some Hall’s and Robitussin

  23. SkokieGuy says:

    @tundey: Why then you don’t buy more.

  24. tundey says:

    BTW, if they can make as much as $50 million from that, any idea how soon they’ll start selling electronics? Now that’s a skymall I can get behind :)

  25. tundey says:

    @SkokieGuy: Yeah but with all the baggage fees, you can’t bring them with you (and still use your allotment of carry-on baggage).

  26. quirkyrachel says:

    But does that mean that they will actually *clean* the items?

  27. quail says:

    The fee is probably close to their replacement cost for those items anyway. Yea, it would have been horrible if it was only a rental fee. But it makes sense for everyone. You get to haul around a cheap pillow and blanket and they get to move their cost of replacing those items onto the consumer. (And make a bit of change on the transaction too.)

  28. RabbitDinner says:

    @tundey: Maybe you can’t

  29. Hogan1 says:

    Well at least you won’t have to worry about using a dirty free blanket. This is cheaper then buying them in the airport shops so it’s actually a good deal.

  30. Puck says:

    This really isn’t bad if you do indeed get new items and can keep them. It ends up being $2 bucks if you count the $5 gift certificate. I’d gladly pay just not to get something that is used, especially if I flew more than once every few years.

  31. howie_in_az says:

    How long before TSA declares pillows and blankets a national security threat?

  32. sporks says:

    $7 seems like a steal these days considering that all the stores in ORD wanted $15 for a neck pillow and I couldn’t even find a blanket in any of the stores in or near my terminal.

  33. xthexlanternx says:

    I wish they would just raise the price of the tickets and stop hiding everything behind fees.

  34. badgeman46 says:

    This has potential for the law of unintended consequences. Charge for pillows + planeload of spring breaking sorority chicks bring their own oversized ones= More weight, more potential for passenger conflict and PILLOW FIGHTING SORORITY CHICKS! Sweet policy.

  35. goodkitty says:

    I’m sure the $5 gift certificate isn’t an added value to the customer, it’s an advertising bit that BBB is actually paying JetBlue for. Soon, the airplanes will look like an aerial NASCAR race, with corporate logos painted on everything that has an inch of space left.

    “This engine brought to you by the Home Depot! This blanket brought to you by BB&B! Be sure to enjoy a refreshing Coke during the flight for only $4!” Then, “This is the captain speaking, from the official Staples ‘That was Easy’ cockpit, we’re in for a rough flight today…”

    Oh no, I just gave them ideas, didn’t I?

  36. LoganAdams says:

    @goodkitty: Actually, that has already been tried. Skybus started in May 2007 and sold advertising on the outside of their planes and was also reported to have tried selling ads on all the things inside the plane, like the overhead comparments and seatbacks. It didn’t work, though, and Skybus went bankrupt earlier this year.

    As for me, I don’t mind buying a clean blanket and pillow for $7. I hold with those who would rather avoid something that God-knows-who-else has been able to slobber and sneeze all over.

  37. Scoobatz says:

    Coming soon: Oxygen masks $8. Exact change required.

  38. bobpence says:

    Good idea. Few people use these, but they still tend to be in short supply. Charging for them means we aren’t all subsidizing the few that want them, and it also means demand for them will be less. Except that carrying fewer of these will do very little for fuel economy, this is the model of what the airlines should be charging for, not simple beverages and tiny snacks which people will go without and thus end up dehydrated and lethargic.

    And that’s just what airlines need to determine: What is getting the “free ride” and what needs to NOT be disincentivized because it is a common need or just makes sense. Second-plus bags, yes charge for those; but allow a first checked bag or the passengers will be up to their ears in carry-ons.

    Instead the airlines are just taking a nickel-and-dime approach that frustrates people because of its ubiquity such that even sensible charges become just one more thing to despair over. I look forward to the following exchange at the ticket counter:

    Me: “I see you’ve charged me a fuel fee, a seat fee, a boarding fee, a check-in fee, a take-off fee, a landing fee, a checked-bag fee, a taxi-away fee, a taxi-back fee, two airplane parking fees, a carry-on bag fee, seven security fees, an armrest fee, a seatback fee, a runway fee, a fly-to-destination fee, a landing strip fee, an airplane aisle fee, two jetway fees, a mini-pretzel fee, a soda fee, and a trash collection fee.”

    Check-in agent: “Yes, those are all legitimate fees. And none are refundable even if it’s our fault you flight is delayed or cancelled.”

    Me: “I agree, and I’ll pay them, but I want a refund on the ticket itself. It doesn’t seem to get me anything.”

    Check-in agent: “Wait, the landing fee is refundable in case that service is not delivered.”

  39. Canino says:

    So I get one carryon and one “personal item” and now one of those is going to be used by a carrying case with a pillow and blanket? Can I still carry two items if I wear the blanket and stuff the pillow in the front of my pants?

  40. axiomatic says:

    Dear JetBlue,

    I own my own shoes, shirt, pants, jacket, AND an inflatable neck pillow that fits in a pocket.

    Good luck on that $50 Million you are hunting for. Try checking the airplane seats for spare change. You’re going to need it apparently.

  41. Nic715 says:

    Hmmm…I suddenly don’t feel so bad about taking one of their flimsy little excuses for a blanket off the plane and with me into their freezing cold excuse for a terminal at JFK last winter!

    I hope those aren’t the blankets they plan on selling! If they’re ‘gonna charge for them they should at least make them out of a substantial amount of fabric that will actually keep you warm!

  42. bittergreen says:

    I would gladly pay $7 for a *washed* blanket and a pillow that doesn’t have 10 flights worth of transatlantic random person hair-grease on it.

  43. A $5 coupon to Bed Bath and Beyond? Come to think of it I do need something cheap and utterly useless…

  44. Jerilyn says:

    I go to NJ and upstate NY quite a bit in the summer and I bring my own blanket because the busses are freezing. I notice most people do and they bring those blow up neck things. I can do the same on a plane. why would I buy anything from these shithole airlines? They just all suck.

    I used to be a travel addict but am so glad I don’t have to put up with the indignity that is post 1990 flying (the last time I remember having an enjoyable flight was 1990 and the week after 9/11/01 when the plane was completely empty) much anymore.

  45. usmcmoran says:

    I have to say that as far as air travel goes Jet Blue has been exceptional, they don’t charge for luggage, they hand out lots of snacks and 2 weeks ago we were stuck on the plane for 5 hours at jfk due to thunderstorms, they kept us informed, the lead flight attendant offered the use of his cell phone to let people know we were delayed, they kept the ac on and the beverages and snacks going and just when i thought it couldnt get better they sent my wife and I $1200 in flight vouchers as an apology for the delay that was not their fault.

  46. Jerilyn says:

    Jet Blue was the first to not do meals (they started up not doing meals) and clued others into what they could get away with if they put an idiot box into the seat.

    I’m flying to the West Coast in the fall and I’m either shipping my stuff before hand (I can’t imagine it costing more) or buying stuff when I get there (I’m not without my love of shopping) and shipping it home. Actually the second option sounds simply fabulous to me. I’m not paying their stupid ass fees.

  47. So now when I fly from warm place to warm place I need to pack a blanket so I don’t freeze my ass off in the exit row or another cold spot on the plane (usually most of the front). Wonderful.

  48. Hey, at least it’s clean!

    Unless, it was contaminated when they “factory sealed” it.

    Oh, bother…

  49. jacques says:

    Thanks, JetBlue, for leaving me in Boston last week! I know it took a lot of effort to email me at 12:30am to let me know my 6:30am flight was cancelled (due to crew scheduling), and even more effort to tell me that there’d be no compensation for a hotel since your next flight wasn’t until the next day. I also appreciated your fine offer of “we’ll give you your money back and you can find another flight the day of your flight”, and I’ll pretend I didn’t hear the smug tone. I also really appreciated spending more money to fly to 4 airports on US Air, who at least got me to my destination the same day.

    Sad thing was, I paid more originally just to fly JetBlue, telling my friends it was worth the extra few bucks. Guess I’ll save those few dollars to feed into the flying vending machine next time.

  50. Asvetic says:

    Haha, I think I know that girl in the photo. What a strange feeling.

  51. Brazell says:

    I like this. Don’t want the blanket, don’t buy one. I’ve always enjoyed flying JetBlue. I used to be a really nervous flyer and their TV helped me sort of zone out, and then I discovered the competative trivia game and it changed my flying life for ever.

    I look forward to flying, now, because it gives me a chance to show up all of the other passengers in high-stakes trivia. The stakes? If they lose, I throw them out of the plane. If I lose… I throw myself out of the plane.

  52. GoldHoops says:

    I flew Jet Blue on July 12 from Las Vegas to JFK. Two days before my flight, I called customer service and asked them if they supplied pillows and blankets for their overnight flights. The customer service rep assured me that they did. She said, “We’ve started a new program in cooperation with Bed Bath and Beyond. You can purchase a pillow and blanket for $7, and you get a $5 coupon for the store.”

    So, we get on the plane, and I ask the flight attendant for a pillow and blanket and she gives me a blank stare. She’s like, “We don’t have those on board anymore.” And I’m like, “Not even for sale?” “Um, no. But I can get you a sleep mask and ear plugs.”

    The thing is, I tried to be proactive! I called to find out whether they offered these items, was assured they did, only to find out, once on board, that they do not.

    So now I’m like, “Well, if I can’t sleep, I’ll watch TV.” But no. My armrest control doesn’t work. I point this out to the flight attendant and she’s like, “This is a full flight, so I can’t move you, but if you call Jet Blue they’ll issue you a credit.”

    So, I get back home, and call Jet Blue to complain. The customer service rep is all, “Oh, um, hmmm. No pillows and blankets? Let me check with my manager.” She puts me on hold for a good 5 minutes and comes back and says, “They should have been on sale at the gate.” There was nothing for sale at the gate except earphones. I ask her about the credit for the tv and she’s like, “Oh, we have to wait for the crew to put in a work order for that seat’s armrest in order to give you a credit.”

    So, Jet Blue can suck it.

  53. CorrieCJ says:

    Just flew Jet Blue cross-country with husband + 3 kids. We also asked about blankets and were told they were not available, nothing about this program. I had our hoodies stashed in the carryons anyway. They are very accommodating and there are plenty of free drinks and snacks to go around. Like others here, I like the idea of buying/keeping if it’s something you really need – though I haven’t seen them so I can’t vouch for the quality. Anyway, for me Jet Blue is great, especially when flying with children.

  54. CapitalC says:

    Why don’t the airlines just grow a pair, drop the nickel-and-dime routine and charge everyone $200 more for EVERY ticket. This will not only cover more than their expenses but generate additional revenue to spend on things like, oh, I don’t know … customer service training.

  55. if i get to KEEP the blanket, and i KNOW that they’re clean, i’m down for a $7 fee.
    but if i have to pay $7, and it’s covered in someone else’s drool and dander, i’m not up for it

  56. charliux says:

    @CapitalC: because you would see an article on the consumerist 10 minutes after blaming the airlines on charging $200 more to consumers….

    Most of the consumer goes for the cheapest price available. Whoever charges $200 more as you suggest is a death sentence. You dont want a pillow? Dont ask for one. Problem solved.

  57. scamps says:

    @Michael Belisle: But they’ll often still accept them after the expiration date, AND they’ll accept them for past purchases.

    Sure, the $7 blanket/pillow fee is a bitch, but 1) it’s a new, sanitary set that you get to keep, and 2) it’s not like you’ll die without a blanket and pillow. What’s with acting like they killed your father and raped your mother?