US Airways Charges For Blankets, Pillows

Gird yourselves — there will be no more complimentary blankets and pillows in domestic coach on US Airways, which is introducing a $7 kit with an inflatable pillow, blanket, earplugs and eye shades.

“The US Airways Power-Nap Sack provides our customers with a personal, affordable way to boost their comfort when they fly,” quoth Kevin Jackson, managing director of consumer and partnership marketing, in a press release.

Affordable? Really? More affordable than free was?

But it will be personal, for sure, which I think means “drool-free.” I guess that once you stop cleaning or replacing things, you can charge for cleanliness and sanitation.

( I don’t mean to rap the public relations attempt here because it’s the way the game is played and this press release is far less insulting than most. Still, for the purposes of academic research, note that all press releases announcing new fees must use the word “option.” You now have the option of paying a fee you did not have the option of paying before. You lucky chump.)

Anyway, first-class passengers and international flights will still get free blankets and pillows. For the rest of us, there will be no more free warmth and comfort, drooled-on or drool-free, even if that 737 has been parked in sub-zero temperatures overnight.

To be fair, US Airways isn’t the first airline to charge for blankets and pillows — that distinction goes to JetBlue. But it has been a real leader in the nickel-and-diming competiton, and is still the only airline charging for bottled water.

Some good news: flotation devices remain complimentary. And I’m betting that if they ditch you in the Hudson River in January, you could get that blanket at a discount.


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