American Airlines announced Thursday that they will no longer offer pillows for passengers on any of their flights. "We can save up to 375,000 dollars a year by dropping the pillows. Blankets, however, will still be available," an airline spokesman said.
Other airlines have followed suit by making their own cuts in service. Southeast Airlines states they will now offer festival seating only. "Our large passenger seats have been replaced with stadium bleacher type seats. They are very hard to sit on, but passengers are welcome to bring their own carry on cushions, which may also act as a floatation device."
We asked if the airline would offer floatation devices for those that do not have one? "No," they said. "Seat cushions may be purchased from the airline at check in time. If you do not have one, it's either sink or swim."
Community Airlines said they have fired most of their flight attendants and baggage handlers. "We have gone to a passenger limited assistance co-op service policy. When you get your boarding pass, you will receive your co-op work assignment. Some passengers will be asked to help load the luggage onto the plane, while others will share in passing out the drinks, napkins and snacks during the flight. We have reduced our fares and our overhead. Passengers seem very willing to help out in exchange for lower fares."
"One passenger complained after he did not get the work assignment he wanted, which was to help fly the plane as co-pilot. People have to understand as a co-op, they might not get the job they want every time, but there's always the next time."
Consumers have long complained that the service provided by the airline industry, as a whole, gets worst every year. "When profits fall, service takes a nose dive," consumer advocates say. "We took a poll and the airlines ranked number one, by consumers, for poor service. First, they took away the peanuts and the free drinks in first class. Now it's the pillows and the seats. Passengers need to prepare for the day when they'll be asked to ‘chip in for gas.'
"The last straw will certainly be when the airlines remove their lavatories and pass out the ‘Depends' at the beginning of every flight, or maybe they'll just instruct passengers to ‘cross their legs' when nature calls."