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US Airways

US Airways to charge for pillows  Feb 05, 2009

US Airways passengers soon won't find free pillows and blankets in the overhead bin anymore, unless they're flying first class or to Europe.

Later this month, the Tempe-based airline will replace them with a reusable pillow-and-blanket kit that will sell for $7 in-flight and online.

The kit, which officials had said they were considering, is US Airways' latest move to boost revenue by charging for things that previously were free.

In the past year, the airline has started charging for checked bags, soft drinks, bottled water and select coach seats.

In the last three months of 2008, the fees brought in $100 million in revenue, the airline disclosed last week. The expected total for 2009: $400 million to $500 million.

The Power-Nap Sack includes a fleece blanket that measures 34 inches by 60 inches; an inflatable neck pillow; eye shades; and foam earplugs. The items come in a dark-blue drawstring bag with a US Airways logo on it.

JetBlue Airways is the only other major U.S. carrier to sell a pillow-and-blanket kit. It also charges $7. Among smaller carriers, Allegiant sells an inflatable travel pillow. Air Canada sells a kit, too.

A poll by online travel agency Lessno last year after JetBlue's decision indicated that the pillow-and-blanket fees irked travelers the most. No. 2 was charging for non-alcoholic beverages.

Separately Wednesday, US Airways reported January traffic and revenue estimates. The airline's passenger traffic on non-commuter flights fell 6.2%, but that was less than the 6.9% decline in seat capacity, giving it a slight boost in occupancy.

The airline's load factor, or percentage of seats filled with paying passengers, inched up 0.6 of a percentage point, to 75.8.

Revenue per available seat mile also was down because of the weak economy. It fell between 2% and 4%, the company said.

That was better than the 5% to 6% decline reported earlier this week by Continental, the only other major carrier to disclose monthly revenue trends.

US Airways to charge for pillows
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