Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Airlines Freebies a Thing of the Past

First it was elimination of meals on short flights. Then it was charging for the second bag, and then charging for the first bag. Now airlines have found another way to make money. Airlines will now charge passengers who wish to have a pillow and blanket. Many free services have been eliminated by airlines since 2008 and will probably continue for several years.

Starting May 1, 2010, American Airlines will now charge passengers $8 for a pillow and blanket in coach on domestic flights which will include a coupon for $10 off any purchase at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Pillows and blankets will still be free on first-class or business class flights. US Airways and JetBlue will charge $7 for a pillow and blanket which includes earplugs and eye shades. Many other airlines will probably follow their lead.

Also, according to reports in newspapers and investigative reporting shows airlines do not wash their pillows or blankets as frequently as we think. So although pillows and blankets have been free to passengers they are certainly not free of germs.

For the past two years I have carried my own blanket. Some passengers fall asleep when traveling on airplanes - some snore, some drool, some pass gas, some wake up with slob on their mouths and more. All of this is passed on to the pillows and blankets that are used. I have witnessed with my own eyes airline stewardesses cleaning up passenger seats and taking used pillows and blankets and properly folding them up as if they were freshly cleaned or brand new and handing them out to new passengers.

Unsuspecting passengers believe they have been cleaned and wrap them around their bodies, mouths, feet and children. These germs are passed on to other passengers over and over again. Here are 6 tips to reduce your chances of being infected with airplane germs and to help you save money.

1. Carry hand sanitizer and use just before you flight takes off and as soon as your plane lands and use each time you touch a common area.

2. If you are concerned about airplane germs carry a mini-can of Lysol or other air sanitizer and spray your seat, armrests and tray table. If you are unable to find a min-can that is within the security check limits use Clorox or Lysol wipes instead.

3. The less crowded a plane and the more cutbacks in airline services, the less frequently blankets and pillows will be cleaned so bring your own blanket and pillow.

4. Get a good night's sleep the night before. Take advantage of flights that are more than 2 hours and take a nap during flights.

5. Drink plenty of water and eat properly when traveling.
6. If you have to travel when you are ill, cough or sneeze in your arm. Go to the bathroom to blow your nose and use tissues or disposable cloths to wipe runny eyes or noses. Don't leave used tissues lying around your seat or tray table. Dispose of them quickly after use. Wash your hands frequently.

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