US Airways To Charge $7 For Pillows And Blankets

US Airways is planning on copying JetBlue and start charging $7 for pillows and blankets. This is how we’re going to save the airline industry, with fees for not being cold? No wonder they’re in a tail-spin. [NYT] (Photo: Presidente)

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  1. bastion72 says:

    They’ll probably turn the AC down so everyone’s cold. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

  2. BeeBoo says:

    I used to look forward to flying because I felt a little pampered even in coach. There were magazines, pillows, blankets, genuinely happy and smiling flight attendants to greet you and bring you drinks and snacks, comfortable seats, etc. The planes were clean.

    After 9/11 [I hate to say it but] flying was better than before simply because for a year or so the planes were half empty. You could stretch out in your own row half the time and that made up for the security and lack of amenities. Yes, you went through hell from the time you left your house until you were on board your flight but once you got there at least you weren’t uncomfortable. Then things went downhill rapidly, services declined, flights got crowded.

    Now it has gotten to the point that taking a bus or the train is a LOT more comfortable. And in the Washington-Philly-NY-Boston corridor, the bus or train is not only more pleasant but about as fast and usually cheaper than flying.

    So now we are in the next phase of tacking on all kinds of ridiculous fees that make you feel nickel & dimed, like those silly resort fees and in-room safe fees at hotels.

    Now most people fly only when it is absolutely too far for another form of transportation. Flying is an expensive, uncomfortable, demeaning, nasty experience. It’s an awful way to start and end a vacation and it’s something businesspeople try to avoid.

    Airlines have screwed themselves.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @BeeBoo:

      Fly on Southwest or us (Virgin America) – they/we’ll treat you right!

      The way I see it…if you spent anything more than $30/person at a restaurant, you’d sure as hell expect great service….so it’s insane for an airline that you paid $100+ to to treat you like dirt.

      I know you’re paying for the flight…however, as long as the plane is going somewhere, each extra pax is mostly extra revenue with little additional cost. Unless an airline has consistent 100% load factors, they are losing quite a bit of money for each pax they piss off.

    • jamar0303 says:

      @BeeBoo: And if you’re going TPAC, try ANA or Singapore (if you’re a Star Alliance member- if you’re OneWorld the equivalent would be JAL). Everything you liked about the old days of flying, except they’re still around. The only nasty part is US-based connections (the airline mentioned in this article for Star Alliance and American for OneWorld).

  3. pauljunk says:

    meh. Bring a hoodie and a magazine and be thankful you have the ability to affordably travel from one end of this country to the other in only a matter of hours.

    • Red_Flag says:

      @pauljunk: Yes, be thankful that airlines can lie to you by advertising a ticket price but tacking on fees and surcharges beyond that. We should all be so lucky as to live in that.

      Oh, hey, maybe we should extend the hidden charges and fees to the tax system!

  4. Mr_Human says:

    You know, I’ve always thought that airlines over-pampered its customers, anyway. I mean, take an 8 hour flight to Europe. Free drinks? Free meals? Blankets and pillows? More drinks. Movies. One of those little travel kits they like to give away. Free breakfast. Hot towels. Please. I’ve been on buses and trains for longer trips and have never received any of those things, and I’ve been fine. Flying is not the unusual, privileged activity it once was. I’d rather the experience feel safe and competent, with prices as low as possible. Too much is being made of these cutbacks in luxury. I can give up the frills, frankly.

    • jonworld says:

      @egoods: I agree with the whole part about AirTran. Despite it being a budget Airline and lacking luxuries that more expensive airlines have, It did offer XM Radio (something that United only offers recordings of on 10 channels) and the flight attendants were extremely friendly.

  5. Triborough says:

    Why can’t this horrid airline go out of business?
    If any airline deserves to die it is this one.

  6. Onion_Volcano says:

    Cut out all the frills and make air travel as cheap as possible. I approve of cutting out the crappy pillow and blanket. I always bring my own anyway.

    • Red_Flag says:

      @Onion_Volcano: They want to make it cheap? Fair enough. But the prices advertised for tickets must include all fees, not the stripped-down-to-catch-their-booking-then-nickel-and-dime-them approach of today.

      A “free” market only works with transparency.

  7. egoods says:

    I used to love US Airways, truly I did, but then I stopped flying them for a few years and moved solely to NorthWest (or NorthWorst as I USED to call them), until Comic-Con in July. Finding the cheapest airfare to San Diego during Comic-con can be a pain, yes, it really brings that many people in. So I flew AirTran out, with a $40 first class upgrade, and flew US Air back. It was, unequivocally, the worst flying experience I’ve had in years. AirTran knows how to be a low budget airline with grace, they know what services to cut and what service will make them look like a monger.

    US Air doesn’t seem to know how to be cost effective and customer friendly. It was when I saw the sign by the kiosk at SAN that said “effective monday next week, US Airways will begin charging for non-alcholic beverages on ALL of it’s flights” I knew right then it would be the last time they got my business. And I fly A LOT, worse yet was the way the gate agent acted when I asked if they had any first class seats available, which US Airways (much like AirTran) is all about up selling. She acted as if I had just asked her to get down on her knees and fellat me. And when I called to complain (I was early to a red eye flight, so it seemed like a good way to kill some time) I was sent to India! That was the straw that broke the camels back for me, and I vowed right then to NEVER fly US Air again. This Doesn’t mean I love NorthWest, I honestly think most of the US carriers suck right now (save for maybe Delta or Continental), but to have that many things be bad on one flight.

    Oh, and the advertisements on the trays tables is really tacky!

  8. Anonymous says:

    US Air is the worst airline I’ve ever tried to fly. That’s right, tried. The last time I booked with them, I didn’t make it off the ground, and they refused to book me on another airline after their “mechanical” problem. After calling their customer service line, while waiting in the “re-book” line, the gentleman in India was very polite, but also of no help at all. It seems if you give your customer service people little or no authority to help customers out, you save money! They can’t make rash decisions like providing you the service they sold you, by putting you on American or Northwest, that can cost you extra cash!

    So I waited in the rebook line (there were two other US Air flights canceled for “mechanical” problems at the same time as my flight, imagine that coincidence!), and by the time hundreds of people made it through, nobody was happy. They could not get me to my destination until THREE days later, and I was returning home on the 4th day. At least they refunded my money. This experience, along with other like it with US Air, proves to me that their approach to their business revolves around one thing, transporting people (probably) and saving money wherever possible. If it costs more to put them on another airline, due to a US Air mechanical problem, DON’T do it. If you can cancel a flight here, and inconvenience all passengers by making them re-book to later US Air flights that are less-full, DO IT. I will never fly US Air again.

  9. raleel says:

    I fly a lot. Not alot alot, but enough that I’ve made 3 overseas flights this year and more than 50k miles domestic.

    Service in flight will keep you coming back to that airline. US Air.. I flew them once, then promptly told my travel people that I would not fly them again, no matter the price. It was rotten. United is rapidly moving into that list.

    Delta (and Northwest) have been good for me. They certainly aren’t always luxury, but they still have free non-alcoholic beverages, decent enough food, and reasonable sized seats (yes, not awesome in coach, but some are really tiny on United).

    If you want luxury, you have to leave the states. The few times I’ve flown Japan Air has been phenomenal. In _coach_ I get a full _good_ meal on a 4 hour flight. Hot towels in coach. extremely friendly and polite flight attendants. Always smiles.

  10. smythe says:

    Ohhhh you wanted air… that will be an extra $35

  11. hills says:

    Whatever – they’re just trying to stay in business & I can respect that.

    I recently got a roundtrip fare including fees for $212 on usair, so I’m psyched. If you really must have a pillow and blanket, bring your own – cleaner anyway:)

  12. schiff says:

    Until consumers take a stand and stop flying with airlines that partake in these practices the addition of fees will continue.

    Somewhat related: I have stopped flying with Jet Blue because they lie about the reason for a flight cancellations, which results in non-payment under their Bill of Rights. I had been flying Jet Blue fairly regularly between Roc and JFK until a flight was canceled for “Weather”. Skies were calm and blue in the city of departure and city of arrival. According to weather reports skies were calm in between as well. I called Jet Blue and explained that if they did not honor their bill of rights and give me the payment I deserved for a non-weather related flight cancellation I would no longer fly with them. The rep explained that while I feel skies were clear I’m not a meteorologist and have no way to prove otherwise, so she would not issue the cancellation payment and that it was certainly my right to chose another airline. Fine by me – truth is with the cost of flying and the time associated with flying its not much longer and is actually easier to drive (2 hour early arrival for security, delays, additional fees). I was willing to fly just because it was – on a whole – less stressful than driving. Not gonna happen if they are going to take advantage of me.

    Since airlines seem to be losing customers left and right why do they think the way to fix things is to piss them off even more? Everyone needs to take a stand!

    • picardia says:

      @schiff: It’s hard to say no to bad airlines when all the U.S.-based airlines (with the exception maybe of Southwest) suck. I can join those who say that when traveling overseas, ALWAYS go with a foreign carrier; I flew LAN (Chilean) last month, and the experience was far more pleasant and congenial (free computer games and individualized movies in coach, free wine and beer for all, comfortable seats) than any I’ve had on a US airline in a while — in fact, I had to transfer onto American halfway home and was appalled at how much grungier and squalid it was. Chile is a third-world country, and they’re kicking our ass on this.

      I’ve gotten off the subject somewhat, which is to say that the one thing we can do is not fly when it isn’t necessary. Both my vacations next year will avoid air travel — one cruise, one train trip. I would not be making that choice of flying sucked less.

    • jamar0303 says:

      @picardia: Yes- let the US-based airlines die and let foreign airlines run some US routes. For example, I’d be quite happy to take any of the Asian airlines trans-con. As it is now I’d rather leave days in advance and go Amtrak.

  13. neekap says:

    This makes me feel better that I’ve “pocketed” a few of those blankets. I usually use them for lumbar support and by the end of the flight they’re usually pretty hot and sweaty. I’d feel bad if I were the next person that had that same blanket nestled up by my cheek.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @neekap: I’m fairly certain they wash them (at least, if we’re speaking of the plastic-wrapped ones).

      I mean.. what if you somehow cut yourself and bled on the thing and then they expect someone else to use it? They *must* wash them.. right?

      • neekap says:

        @Oranges w/ Cheese: Can’t say I’ve -ever- seen one in plastic. The pillows were usually neatly laid on every few seats and blankets were usually available on request, which was either grabbing one from the overhead compartments or asking the flight attendant to grab one from the overhead compartments. They were just folded up in a pile.

  14. jerros says:

    $300 the price of a ticket on US Air. 2, the number of hours the flight has been delayed. $50, the offer US Air makes to it’s customers because they over booked the flight and now want someone to forfit their seat. $14.00 the price for a pillow and blanket on a uncomfortable jam packed flight.

    The look on US Airway’s face when you tell them you’d rather walk across the united states than fly with them again? Priceless.

  15. rpm773 says:

    You can keep your $7 disease sponges, US Airways.

    US Airways – Airline of the Damned.

  16. psuchad says:

    The last flight that I was on was a 5 hour trip from the west to east coast. I had a exit seat and the air coming through the door was ridiculous. I stuffed every blanket they had around the door and I still had frost on my leg and shoulder.

  17. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    So.. in order to ensure a profit like the movie theatres, are you going to be banned from bringing in outside blankets and pillows?

  18. jdmba says:

    Between the TSA and and the airlines, flying is a double-whammy of inconvenience and abuse. The 3 lines you have to wait in (4 in Hawaii – you need to clear ‘agriculture’ first) is the model of inefficiency and puts people in a bad mood to begin with. The new rules about checked luggage (no locks despite RAMPANT thievery by baggage handlers), charges for each bag, and the third line, lead people to just carry on. Carry-on’s, however, slow down the TSA screening line and make exiting the plane interminable as people try to wrestle all their bags down from the overhead. Basically, the hodgepodge of random rules and policies have made flying one of the worst experiences out there.

    Loss of food, pillows, movies, etc., that’s just the icing.

  19. TheStonepedo says:

    I rode a US Airways plane from PHX to STL the other week. They had an in-flight movie on flip-down LCDs with 1/8” stereo mini-plug jacks built into the armrests of each seat. Before starting an in flight movie with the sound played through the miniplug, everyone in the cabin was subjected to several ads for US Airways, Coca Cola, and Budweiser at full volume on the cabin speakers. I was then asked if I wanted to pay $1 for water, $2 for soda, and some other amount (not quite $7) for a pillow and blanket. With no crying children, a decent exit row seat, and an uneventful flight US Airways managed to ruin my experience by assuming everyone on the flight was in information overload withdrawal. If they want $2 for soda and $7 for a pillow and blanket they could have charged every passenger $9 more, a fairly minor hike to the price of a 3+ hour flight.

  20. picardia says:

    I bring my own blanket and pillow on every flight. It’s more of an investment upfront, but you can find lightweight, compact travel blankets online (try Travelsmith) and inflatable neck pillows in most drugstores, and it pays off down the line.

  21. scingram says:

    US Air needs to die.
    They totally fu*ked my flights for my wedding and then had the balls to make me jump through hoops for months to get it resolved and to receive a refund.

    They can keep their god damn blanket. They will need it to keep warm when they finally file for bankruptcy.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Yeah eww…you’re better off without airline blankets away…same goes for the pillows. At least earlier this year when I flew “deluxe” economy on Eva their blankets and pillows came in sealed plastic bags. Of course I realize they aren’t new…at least they give the sense of being cleaner…and I didn’t have to pay extra.

    Seriously folks I don’t get the fuss over things like this…if you want better service…well you’d better be willing to pay for it. For flights in the continental US…you can do without a pillow or a blanket. If you’re flying overseas…pay extra and upgrade your class/seat – it’s worth it for a 13 hour flight like mine. If you can’t afford it…well be happy to ride in coach because you’re lucky to be able to afford that.

    Same goes with checked bags…I’d rather pay $15 each way then try to shove my toiletries into small containers then into a small plastic zip-lock baggy…it’s just easier and saves the hassle…especially if you have layovers and transfers.

    If you’re traveling on business…you have even less to complain about…just bill your company.

    Airlines nickle and diming us really does suck for us the consumers…but what’s the alternative? Take a train across the U.S? Take a boat to Europe or Asia? No thanks… Just deal with it.

    Now what DOES bother me is that they STILL charge you “fuel surcharges” even though oil has fallen to less than half of what it was before…so what the hell are they charging us for exactly…

  23. Burgandy says:

    Any other crafters see an opportunity here? I make blankets out of boredom (and yarn) for less than that and can whip them out fast. I’ll bring extras next time I go to the airport.

  24. banmojo says:

    if we all boycotted the airlines for JUST A WEEK, we could force them to change their f$#@ed up policies overnight. I’ve been saying this for 2 years now, y’all not listening to the monkey. FTW

  25. electrogeek77 says:

    Yes, the fees are getting ridiculous. And birds go tweet.

    But are you going to die without a blanket? There’s plenty of better quality, more sanitary travel blankets out there if you really need one, anyways.

  26. JoshC96 says:

    I dated a flight attendant a few years ago who warned to NEVER use the pillow or blanket. The airlines don’t wash them unless they are noticeably “soiled” and simply refold and place them back into the plastic bag (which are also reused occasionally). This is particularly disturbing considering the high occurrence of nasty stuff people (single or in pairs) would do that she witnessed. *ack*

  27. boobert says:

    These comments are just annoying and totally retarded. ALL airlines are like this. Now, I don’t want to heat no stupid and asinine thing about Southwest. They are the airlines for essentially white trash. They did one right thing, which was essentially lock the price of fuel they bought for 10 years. That 10 years is almost up. What happens next? They will not be what they are now.

    When all you people who called to complain or challenge US Airways, were you polite or confrontational? Being confrontational never solves anything. In fact, most likely, it will worsen YOUR experience. Be nice and sweet talk the gate agents/ticket counter employees, you WILL get rewarded.

    And, Mr. Popken, thank you for saying that they are in a tailspin. I think the industry as a whole is in a tailspin. Your very keen observances brightened my day. Whatever the airlines do, they are screwed. Raise fares or charge for things, people will complain. It is a no win situation. This is a result from Americans being over pampered during the years that flying was relatively cheap. The winds have turned and now we have to deal with it.You were used to getting what you want whenever you wanted it and free flights for weather, for weather of all things. Something that is beyond anyone’s control.

    Finally, to all you bastards who have commented with hoping it goes out of business. That was real mature. You essentially wish people to lose their jobs when everything is as shitty as it is. That is classy. Keep up the good work of only thinking for yourself.

  28. trujunglist says:

    I flew US Airways for the first time (at least, since I’ve been old enough to pay attention) 2 weeks ago and suddenly realized why everyone hates flying… it’s because of US Airways.
    Even though you book a few months in advance, the only seats open are middle seats. How is that possible, you wonder, but then see that you can pay extra for a premium seat if you so choose.
    They charge $15 for the first bag and then expect that the boarding process will be completely smooth and free of hassle. Suddenly, everyone and their baby has a huge carry-on that has to go in the overhead compartment, causing delays, hassle for the flight attendants, and bad attitudes. People argue over the space and people get tossed around. Elbows bump you and people slide into seats over you, or stick their ass in your face so someone else can get by.
    You get in the air and that’s when you realize that, shit, they’re going to charge you just to get some water! You’re tired having only gotten half an hour of sleep, and you left your full bottle of water sitting on the seat next to you in the terminalYou ponder for a moment, wondering what state you might be flying over. If it’s Arizona, they legally have to give you water, but you think that they might just tell you to go stick your head under the bathroom faucet. You remember that you randomly had a $5 in your wallet, even though you never carry cash. Lucky you, you get a Coke.
    On the way back, you’re flying Southwest, your usual airline. You score a middle 30s A group ticket, even though you were logged into your iPhone and waiting for the 24 hour window to roll around to check-in. Still, you manage to get a seat in the exit row, which is good, because you’re 6’5″. People are happily boarding, except for the lazy few who forgot to check-in until too late. Most of them, though, are just happy to have made it on the plane.
    You take off and are offered as many drinks as you wish. The lady next to you offers you a drink coupon, which you gladly except. You’ve never had a beer on a plane because you hate using the tiny lavs (you’re 6’5″ in case you forgot), but since it’s free this time, you jump at the chance. The flight attendant takes your drink orders and comes back a little later, apologetic that she forgot your beer. You don’t care, because you’re sitting comfortably and it’s not like you’re dying of thirst on a US Airways flight; you know your drink is coming, so you wait. 5 minutes later the flight attendant brings you your drink, AND an extra beer. Why? You wonder for a moment, but then realize that it’s Southwest. You drink your 2 beers quickly to experience the wonders of intoxication on an airplane. You resist the urge to smack a flight attendant or pray while taking off or landing.
    You decide never to fly US Airways again, and wonder why you did in the first place. Oh yeah, it was the only flight available! You write to Southwest asking them to destroy the abomination that is US Airways and all others that stand in their path to airline domination.