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American to Charge $8 for Blankets, Pillows

The New York Times reports (via Joe Brancatelli’s subscription-only site,, that American Airlines “quietly announced last week that it would eliminate free blankets in coach and sell an $8 packet that includes a pillow and blanket starting May 1.”

According to American, the charge is effective on all domestic flights two hours or longer, including flights to/from Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and Central America. The set comes with a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon worth $10 off a purchase of $30.

First- and business-class cabins on all flights and all cabins on international flights and South America flights will not be affected.

American isn’t the first carrier to charge for a little bit of in-flight comfort. JetBlue led the charge several years ago, and US Airways followed suit. Both those carriers charge $7 for their pillow-and-blanket set. Virgin America charges $12 for a sleep set that includes a pillow, eye mask, blanket, and ear plugs.

Those two airlines pioneered the idea, but more importantly they taught us that people don’t necessarily mind paying for a brand new pillow and blanket. When you consider how many times an airline pillow is used, that $8 can quickly become money very much worth spending. Heck, plenty of people already buy their own travel pillows as it is.

Readers, what do you think about this? Is it a ripoff, or is it better to spend $8 and avoid those dodgy reused pillows and blankets?

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