Jet travel has turned another ugly new corner. JetBlue announced today that customers wanting a pillow and blanket for their cross-country flight will now have to cough up $7 for the privilege. The move follows other unwelcome changes, including charging customers needing seats with extra leg room, charging anyone traveling with more than one checked bag, and hiking up fees for people like me who tend to plan poorly, then need to change their tickets. (Change fees were long $50; recently, they were bumped to $100.)
At least passengers won’t be paying for some tired coverlet that’s covered in cracker crumbs; instead, JetBlue is turning to an “eco-friendly” pillow-and-blanket kit from Rhode Island-based CleanBrands, a venture-backed startup whose fabric claims to block all “micro-toxins,” including dust mites, mold spores, pollen and pet dander.
Having a fresh pillow will be nice, I’ll concede. And there are still freebies, the airline reminds in today’s press release. Consider that its “Shut Eye Service,” which contains an eyeshade and ear plugs, remains complimentary! And “night owls can make the time fly by with 36 channels of free DIRECTV(r) programming and a selection of pay-per-view movies, or stretch their legs with a visit to the complimentary, self-service Snack Bar in the galley.” (Naturally, “snack bar” is a euphemism for “bottomless cannister of salted peanut packets.”)
For more on CleanBrands and its bedbug battling textiles, check out this BusinessWeek story from last year.