Airlines Are Sick of First Class Passengers Stealing Blankets
First class is getting more luxurious all the time. As airlines try to fill their premier cabins with the comforts of home, more passengers are tempted to take unapproved souvenirs home.
Since United introduced its Saks Fifth Avenue bedding last year, it has had to warn cabin crew that the bedding has a tendency to disappear. The airline sent a memo to flight attendants, asking for their help in keeping the bedding onboard.
“Even if only a small number of these items are taken off each flight, that can quickly add up to millions of dollars across our network over the course of a year,” the internal memo read, according to Live and Let Fly. “To help ensure we are able to continue offering these high-quality products, it’s important to remind customers that these items remain on board the aircraft after every flight.”
In order to combat the problem, United introduced a section of its online shop where passengers can purchase their own set of in-flight bedding. A Saks Fifth Avenue duvet retails online for $59.99.
British Airways partnered with U.K. linen retailer the White Co. with the same results. A few months ago, American Airlines introduced Casper products for their first class, including mattress pad, pillow, lumbar pillow, and duvet. They disappeared.
“There’s the novelty of a new product, and everybody wants to take them with them,” Nick Richards, director of premium services and customer experience strategy at American Airlines, told Skift. “Things just tend to walk away.”
Between flights, airlines launder the products between each flight. The bedding will only be replaced every 30 (sometimes up to 50) flights.
The problem isn’t limited to bedding. When Virgin Atlantic introduced its specialty airplane-shaped salt and pepper shakers in 2011, they quickly flew out of the cabin. One year later, airline brought back the shakers, only this time with the words “pinched from Virgin Atlantic.” The words didn’t deter thieves and the shakers continued to disappear.