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?

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.