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bellusfemina's avatar

American Airlines is now charging $8.00 if you want to use a pillow during the flight. I understand cutting costs, but isn't this a little too far?

Asked by bellusfemina (803 points ) February 10th, 2010

American Airlines is now charging $8.00 if you want to use a pillow during the flight. I understand cutting costs, but isn’t this a little too far? I heard about this on the news yesterday.

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39 Answers

Snarp's avatar

I’m more concerned about charging for a single checked bag, particularly when you can’t pack liquids or a pocket knife in your carry on.

Who uses pillows anyway? I don’t see how anything can make an airplane seat comfortable enough to sleep in.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Nothing the airlines do surprises me any more. They’re all greedy bastards. Why does it cost me $100 each way to carry my 5 lb dog in a carrier under the seat in front of me? I’m dealing with her, she’s not in the cargo hold. Sometimes I pay more for her than for my own seat!

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@bellusfemina It’s not just AA, some airlines might have gone in bankruptcy if they continued to provide travel perks, free food, snacks, gums and cigarettes (those were the days)

josie's avatar

It is either charge those who use the service or charge everybody, even if they do not use it. I would rather the cost be carried by the direct consumer and not me. Same with checked bags. I would rather be given the option to not check a bag, then have a universal fee attached to my ticket.

rebbel's avatar

Maybe it’s a tactic to scare potentional attackers off?

Snarp's avatar

@josie Of course what it really means is that people take anything they can shove through the X-ray machine and pretend it is a carry on and either overstuff the overhead bins with it or gate check it, but if you’re an honest joe carrying a legitimate carry on you can’t find room for it in the bin.

I don’t think they should discriminate between checked and carry on, but just say you get to bring X number of pounds free and anything else you get charged for. That way I can check a small bag with my shampoo and Swiss Army knife and carry on my clothes. Also, they should actually check the size and enforce carry on size limits if they are going to charge for checked bags.

CMaz's avatar

I usually bring my own.

erichw1504's avatar

Next they charge for the amount of oxygen you breath inside their plane during flight.

CMaz's avatar

I thought they already did that.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

I heard one airline in Britain was thinking about charging for the bathrooms.

galileogirl's avatar

One trip where the passengers rebel and refuse to pay a potty fee will end that.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@galileogirl Or a trip where one person gets in and holds the door for everyone else; alternatively, if someone deliberately clogs up the toilet

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

It is crazy.I’ll just fall sleep on the lap of the person next to me.

Factotum's avatar

In the swingin’ early days of flying virtually all the passengers were business people and their trips were paid for by their bosses. Seats were spacious, booze was free and the stewardesses (there was no other kind) were only hired if and as long as they were young and hot. Free crap like playing cards was handed out because the passengers paid the big bucks.

The majority of Americans took a Greyhound when they traveled across the states.

Now the majority of people fly and they pay for it out of their own pockets. Seats are small because the more people you cram into a plane, the cheaper the fare can be. Perks disappear as airlines compete for the lowest price – which is what people look for on expedia and similar. Perks go out the window, maintenance is delayed, and you pay for your booze up front.

And those lucky bastards in business and first class whose seats we covet are subsidizing our cheap seats by paying stupid money for their larger area, marginally better food and free booze.

Airlines don’t go into chapter 11 for fun. They have a shockingly small profit margin since most of their customers book flights based solely on cost.

Yeah, it’s dicky to charge for a pillow, but we’re the ones that drive them to such measures.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

8 bucks!! I hope is not a rental! The tiny pillows they usually give, look like something out barbie’s dream house.

Cupcake's avatar

Frankly, a pillow is a luxury. You can even bring your own pillow on the flight if you wish.

It bothers me much more that you are not allowed to bring liquid on the plane and some airlines charge for drinks. Ridiculous.

loveurmindnsoul's avatar

Wow, ridiculous

Bluefreedom's avatar

Yes, I believe it is a little too far. Many extra costs involved with flying on commercial airlines these days are all a little too far. It’s discouraging too because I really love to fly.

missingbite's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Your greedy bastards remark is aimed at the wrong place. I know for a fact that the reason you are charged for a small dog is the liability of it. If your dog, God forbid, was to get sick and die on the flight, the airline will see a lawsuit a mile away. Maybe not from you but some people have done it and won. (that big airline can afford to pay for that little dog)

@Cupcake You can bring as many liquids you can fit in a carry on bag as long as you purchase them in the airport. These are insane TSA rules, the airlines that everyone loves to hate just follow them.

Keep in mind that about 40% of the price of a ticket goes to the Government in taxes and fees. What is left over has to pay for the airline and employees all the way down to the people who cut the grass on the airport property. With the 60% left over, the airlines have managed to get you all the way across country for sometimes less than it would take you to drive it and in most cases about 5 hours!

We all know airline travel is not “fun” anymore but I hear all the time from people how expensive it is. These same people will spend outrageous money on a concert or football game. I actually had a friend complain that it was costing him $550.00 to fly to the Super Bowl after he spent $1600.00 on his ticket to the game!

$8.00 for a pillow that you can take with you is not a lot when you pay $15.00 for a movie.

Snarp's avatar

I wonder about the economics of air travel. It may be that in addition to being environmentally unsustainable if it is also economically unsustainable. It shouldn’t matter at this point if the passengers are many and cheap or few and willing to pay more, the money ends up the same to some extent. If there aren’t enough people at either level to pay what the airlines need to provide service, then the airlines are using an economically unsustainable model. I wonder how long they can continue this way if these minor charges are really supposed to be making up for huge problems with their balance sheets.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@missingbite Sorry, but I’m sticking to my “greedy bastards” quote. How many lawsuits have actually happened? Enough to charge each person $100 each way? After all, how many people will actually leave their pet at their destination? Once you’ve flown the pet down, you’re pretty much locked into flying the pet home. Charging another $100 here is greedy. I can (maybe) see $100 round trip, but not each way.

Snarp's avatar

My friend had a cat to whom we gave a full name that consisted of every nickname the cat had had plus 240 plus my friend’s last name, plus .com. It was 1996, .com was just beginning to be attached to everything, but 240 was what it cost us in Marks to bring the cat from Germany to the U.S. sitting under my seat.

Just thought I’d share.

missingbite's avatar

@Dr. Dredd No need to apologize! To answer the question, I have no idea how many lawsuits but I do know they are being sued for various reasons almost every day. I think $200.00 is a little high as well but I understand the reasoning. How much would it cost you to board the dog for say a week? I know if PHX we pay about $37.00/ day. It also boils down to the fact that the airline simply doesn’t want the animal on board. They are limited to the number of pets they are allowed to carry by the FAA. It’s all based on what are people willing to pay.

One week trip for us could be $200.00 round trip and the dog is with me or $259.00 for boarding and the dog is in a kennel.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@missingbite I’m not sure how much it is to board here in Rochester. (I didn’t check.) My puppy was 4 months old at the time, and I didn’t want to leave her anywhere! :-)

missingbite's avatar

@Dr_Dredd I wouldn’t want to leave her either! We love our dog like a child!!

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Oh, yeah! Me, too…

lilikoi's avatar

@Snarp Agree w/ your checked back fee comment. When they ban so many things from carry-on, they should be required to allow at least one checked bag on for free. On long trips, I’ve been USPSing stuff home as it is cheaper than paying their stupid fee (it’s also not usually that inconvenient as major post office hubs tend to be right next to the airport).

As for charging for a pillow though, I thought it was bad when they started charging for peanuts. Those pillows are not worth 8 bucks; they are pieces of synthetic crap. Still, if you happen to get the extra well worn seat that has had its padding compacted as though a dinosaur previously occupied it, maybe having it becomes slightly more attractive…

Air travel is quickly becoming an unbearable experience. I always opt for alternative modes of transportation when I have the choice.

When will the industry stand up for itself and fight back the irrational TSA?

lilikoi's avatar

@Tropical_Willie That’s true, but doesn’t it bother you that what they could once provide in the way of comfort to their passengers while still making a decent profit they can no longer provide without filing for bankruptcy? It sure bothers me.

Supacase's avatar

@Dr_Dredd There is also the liability issue of the dog getting out of its crate and possibly biting someone. $200 would probably not even cover the salary of the customer service reps taking complaints if a cat or dog under a seat barked or meowed through the entire flight. I am actually surprised that they let dogs and cats fly in the passenger compartment considering how many people are allergic.

spiritual's avatar

@Dr_Dredd You are right, an airline called Ryanair was thinking of implementing £1 per visit to the bathroom, ridiculous!
I think a lot of airlines are adding costs where there weren’t any before, but there have been falling passenger numbers. They probably came up with it in some board meeting to generate income.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@lilikoi The airlines work on an extremely small margin for profit with HUGH overhead and variable costs. Millions for aircraft and fuel costs. The money of your ticket does not go straight the bank as profit, and many times the aircraft are owned by a large leasing company. All that said $390 tickets may net a couple of dollars profit.

Factotum's avatar

@spiritual I’ve flown with them. Thing is there aren’t cheaper tickets anywhere. A lot of flights – this was maybe six years ago – cost $12 (American). But then you had to pay the taxes and fees (thank you, government).

They had an interesting business model: they were a point-to-point service which meant that if you wanted to fly to meet another flight and were delayed that was just Too Bad – even if it was another RyanAir flight.

This points up another hidden cost of most airlines; that they agree to make good on delays where people miss their connecting flights.

They also don’t charge for passengers younger than a certain age. I’d say how nice that is of them but it’s really nice of us as costs incurred are made up in other passengers’ airfare.

Snarp's avatar

Meanwhile all your tickets are subsidized by people like me who live near hub airports for a single airline that has near monopoly control, making it one of the most expensive airports to fly in or out of in the United States, on a par with JFK in spite of being a much smaller city.

Factotum's avatar

@Snarp I’m not clear on how you are subsidizing my tickets.

Snarp's avatar

You argue that those in first class are subsidizing the tickets of everyone else but you don’t see how I am? In this case my flight is just as full, takes the same amount of fuel, same maintenance, same security costs, taxes, etc, but is likely to cost me twice as much as it costs you, for no other reason than that there is no low cost competition at my airport, and I don’t even get the benefit of a less dense section of the aircraft like the first class passengers do. They are at least paying for a tangible and costly benefit – space on the plane that could be occupied by more paying passengers.

Factotum's avatar

@Snarp So drive to a different airport like everyone who doesn’t live next to a hub does.

davidbetterman's avatar

$8 for the rent of one of those little pillows? WoW! I wonder how much I can get on EbAY for the pillow I took from my last flight?

galileogirl's avatar

I’ve carried my little neck pillow for years

davidbetterman's avatar

@galileogirl I bid $880 for yours!!!!

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