Allen On Travel

A 30 year veteran of world travel (but knows nil about Orlando-area attractions), Will Allen III writes about his weekly odysseys by air on business and how the airlines rob him--and you--of time, the most precious commodity on earth. Time: It's all we have, and the airlines routinely take it from us. This blog challenges the airlines to keep their basic promises.

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Location: Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

Born 1948 in Kinston, NC and raised there in beautiful eastern North Carolina, I now live in Raleigh and commute around the country and the world.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

American Eagle Blankets On Board, Revisited

I lucked out last Friday and happened to be on board an Eagle aircraft that actually had blankets for sale (see my previous post on this subject below). Good thing, too, because it was a 6:30 AM departure from chilly Marquette, Michigan, and all the formerly free plump and warm red blankets had been removed.

Several freezing customers followed my lead and coughed up a fin for the deal, which arrived as a dark blue, thin blanket rolled up tightly in a plastic tube. With it came one of those ugly, uncomfortable, and useless U-shaped blow-up plastic pillows. I gave mine away to the lady sitting in the seat in front of me.

The blanket itself was decidedly thin, to be sure, but what did I expect for five dollars? It was better than no blanket over my legs on that cold airplane, and it did its job. Not the familiar AA red; instead it looked exactly the dark blue blankets that Delta has used for years.

After takeoff, when the plane warmed up a bit, I examined the blanket's label, sewn into the edge, and my curiosity was rewarded by this bold proclamation thereon: "PROPERTY OF AMERICAN EAGLE"

What, I thought, would now be the implications of me stuffing this blanket into my suitcase. Would I be considered a thief? I had no receipt, after all.

So I pointed out this odd label information to the very nice Flight Attendant, asking whether I had bought the blanket or had merely rented it. She was as surprised as I had been, and just laughed, and said,

"Well, I never! First they remove the blankets. Then they don't provide us with any blankets for sale, which makes everyone mad. And now that we have a few for sale they claim the blankets are airline property! Now I've seen everything! I can hardly wait to point this out to my colleagues at O'Hare. Don't worry; you just rip that label off and take the blanket with you. You paid for it, and it's yours."

So there you have it, another sterling example of airline management's unparalled stupidity at work: First, get rid of the free amenity; then don't stock the replacement you wanted to make money on in the first place, simultaneously losing potential income and angering cold customers who now have no blanket option at all; and finally, when the stock for sale comes in, plaster your ownership claim on it to confuse and offend the same customers you made mad in the first place. Home run!


Blogger Charlene Ann Baumbich said...

I just ran to my five-buck blanket and checked (not that I doubted you or anything), and you are so RIGHT! My purchase DOESN'T belong to me! Of course their override is the "fabulous" cardboard (mine was already bent like origami) nametag we can fill out to claim it as our own, just in case anyone questions the sewn-in label.

I learned about the availability of American Eagle blanket purchases (must have been shortly after the free ones disappeared) when my flight attendant made The Perkiest Announcement EVER about them! She was SO excited. When I raised my hand (attached to my FROZEN arm), she all but BOUNCED down the aisle and said she was surprised at the quality for the five bucks.

Mine came in a flannel-ette tube (same "fabric" as the blanket) which makes it easy to tuck into my travel bag. When I'm not cold, I use it behind my head or the small of my back since there isn't an airline flying made for short people.

I know everyone tall might think so, but no short person's back fits into those giant swales, nor do our necks reach the bump for Tall Folks' necks. So the blanket serves double duty for its travel space.

BIGGEST BENEFIT: it is "other person" booger free, which is nice.

Anyway, thanks for giving everyone a Blanket Warning. At least I forked my five bucks over to a smiling face. I feel your pain. Flying is tough enough without those who are there to serve you getting all up in your face.

10/13/2006 10:58 AM  
Blogger William A. Allen III said...

To Charlene: Thanks for sharing your funny AE blanket experience. Maybe we should start an AE blanket fan club.

10/24/2006 11:09 PM  

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