Flight Attendants Extort Blanket Sales From Freezing Passengers

Every once in a while, there’s a business model that’s so brilliantly evil, you just have to respect it, even while you bemoan its lack of ethics and its blatant disregard for the human spirit.

We recently heard about an Asian airline whose business model includes selling blankets in flight. The flight attendants get a commission on any items they sell. And if they don’t unload as many blankets as they want, they ask the pilots to turn up the air conditioning in an effort to boost sales.

Inspired. (Which airline? We don’t know, so we’ll traffic in rumor and speculation.) 150 people stuck in an aluminum tube, with minimal control over their personal space and carrying only whatever they can legally pack into their carry-ons, and the cabin crew messes with the environment, all in the name of a couple bucks.

Europe and Asia are ground zero for the ultra-no-frills airlines that charge you for every drink, peanut, raffle ticket, pillow, and blanket. Euroskinflint Ryanair is so stripped-down that they don’t even have windowshades on their planes.

Think that can’t happen in the U.S., where service may suck, but at least you’ve got SOME amenities? Don’t kid yourself. At some point, someone is going to successfully launch a no-frills airline in the United States that does this sort of thing, too. Startup Skybus has already said they plan to follow Ryanair’s model to the letter.

So how can we fight back? Besides wearing a sweater, how do you keep the cabin crew honest when we’re at their mercy?


Edit Your Comment

  1. homerjay says:

    I love the Skybus tagline: “The lowest fares from here to there”

    ‘Here’ being your local airport and ‘there’ presumably being a cornfield in rural Arkansas or possibly somewhere in the Atlantic.

  2. North of 49 says:

    if I have to pay for a blanket, I am taking it with me.

  3. FLConsumer says:

    How long before we start to see pay toilets?

  4. rlee says:

    Good Lord, please delete previous comment immediately! We do not want to give them any ideas!!

  5. ursonate says:

    Funny, fir some reason I thought U.S. airlines already charged for blankets and stuff. Dress in layers. Ya don’t know where that blanket’s been anyway.

  6. ajn007 says:

    My latest experience on American Airlines indicates they don’t even give out blankets to those in coach, even if you want to pay for it. And they’ve already done away with the free bag of nuts, replaced with a $5 “snack pack.”

    If it’s cold, just keep complaining until they turn down the air.

  7. Malorkus says:

    Wouldn’t it cost more in extra fuel to run the A/C at full blast then they’d make from selling blankets? Wouldn’t customers just start bringing their own blankets once word gets out? Sounds like a dumb plan.

  8. HaxRomana says:

    “Euroskinflint Ryanair?” Have you taken a look at their fares? What do you expect when your plane ticket costs less than a subway ride in New York?

  9. RandomHookup says:

    There are no cornfields in Arkansas. Plenty of rice and soybeans, but I can’t remember seeing more than 20 stalks of corn in one place growing up there. For lots of corn, go northwest and north.

  10. Pelagius says:

    The US already has a Ryanair-style airline. Allegiant Airlines – profiled in ,a href=”http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/09/21/business/21air.html”>this NYT piece has actually drawn startup capital from Mr. Ryan, flies from small, regional airports, and charges for everything but the seat.

    “The airline is also known for charging extra for just about everything besides the seat and the seat belt, a practice widely adopted in Europe by Ryanair. Allegiant gets fees for booking passengers’ hotels and car rental. Food, soft drinks and reserved-seat assignments cost extra – bringing in, during the first six months of 2006, an average of $13.58 a passenger.”

  11. acambras says:

    And if you complain too loudly, perhaps they’ll charge you $1350.

  12. Schmanz says:

    Wow, my experience was different last summer. My daughter (15) and I were bumped (our choice) from a flight from San Diego to Chicago. We not only got a free night in a nice hotel, $300 each in flight voucher, but also a free 1st Class flight back to Chicago.

    Flying first class was so totally cool, we got breakfast and it was tasty. But the topper was the A/C, my daughter got cold and asked for a blanket. The flight attendent said, “No, I’ll ask the captain to make it a little warmer.” No sooner said than done. The whole magical experience has made us eager to become elitists — so we can dictate everyone’s comfort level on all our flights