The $8 airline blanket
American Airlines becomes the latest airline to charge for a blanket and pillow. It's also charging for standby flights.
American Airlines, a unit of AMR (AMR), will pull all free blankets for customers flying coach starting May 1. Instead, it will sell an inflatable pillow and fleece blanket together for $8.
It's not the first airline to do so -- JetBlue and US Airways charge $7 for a similar set. But the blanket fee comes just as American said it will soon charge $50 for most customers who want to fly standby.
American tried to spin the standby fee in a positive light, saying that the crush of standby hopefuls on some flights delayed the boarding process. But, said one spokesman, "there is probably some revenue involved here." You think?
Matthew Buckley at TheStreet.com wonders if American will order pilots to lower cabin temperature just to increase sales.
"A business so focused on the tactical generation of revenue rather than developing a strategic business plan that makes sense is a business that is destined for trouble," Buckley writes. (Post continues below video).
AMR lost $1.5 billion last year, and $3.6 billion in the last two years, as business dropped in the recession, reports the Associated Press.
So now it becomes all the more clear that the amount you pay for an airline ticket is just the starting point. It'll cost more for anything else, including staying warm.
Next time you fly one of the legacy airlines, bring a sweater.
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The electronic retailer won't have much financial cushion to fund its turnaround plan, the ratings agency says.
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