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US Airways to add sales of pillows, blankets

Bloomberg News / November 1, 2008
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DALLAS - US Airways Group Inc., which already charges passengers for sodas and coffee on its flights, plans to begin selling pillows and blankets.

The airline told employees in a newsletter yesterday that it's considering a price of $7, and hasn't set a date to start the sales. The Tempe, Ariz.-based carrier would join JetBlue Airways Corp., which in August began charging that price for a pillow-and-blanket set.

US Airways has led US airlines in so-called a la carte pricing, in which passengers choose and pay extra for some products or services. Besides selling sodas, coffee, juice and tea during flights, US Airways charges extra to reserve about one-quarter of the seats in its coach cabins and to check bags. The carrier expects such items to produce $500 million in new revenue next year.

"This was a natural extension of the a la carte pricing we've been rolling out this year," Morgan Durrant, a US Airways spokesman, said yesterday in an interview. "It's great for our frequent travelers because it's theirs to take home or use on other flights. It's a better product because you know what you're getting. No one will be worried about where their pillow or blanket has been."

Further details of the program still are being discussed, and US Airways hopes to start the sales before the end of the year, Durrant said. The airline thinks passengers will accept the change, as they did the move to paying for beverages that had been provided at no cost, he said.

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