US Airways PR: United States Airways Jacks Passengers For Pillow Money

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Today’s PR Goofy Award literally flew into our offices. US Airways announced today that it is charging for pillows and blankets for those customers in coach. These “Power-Nap Sack” essentials will set those reduced to economy flying back $7, according to Yahoo! News. Airlines worldwide are scampering to find a path to profitability during this recession, and US Air is following JetBlue in what should be termed an “Airlines Pillow War”. In all seriousness, one has to wonder at the sanity of the corporate world sometimes.

Fees for checked luggage, extra this and extra that have become the airline standard as profitability sinks for the airline industry. It look s like a bigger problem for US Air is that they “cheaped” out on PR and marketing before charging for pillows. Marketing spokesman Kevin Jackson for US Air had this to say:

“Selling the pillows and blankets is a natural extension of our ‘pay for what you choose and use’ model we began rolling out last year.”

In line with this model, one can expect the following “choose and use” selections from US Air the next time traffic falls by over 5 percent:

  • Individually wrapped 1 oz. bags of peanuts will cost $1, while the loose variety found rolling in the aisles will still be free
  • Pay toilets will be in effect for flights that leave the ground. The cost will depend on a factor of how much fuel the plane saves from allowing you to jettison waste
  • Landing with the airplane will become an option, while taking the express landing via parachute will be standard.
  • Passengers will soon have a choice of pilot/co-pilot options. As an example, an experienced pilot and co-pilot will cost an additional $200. Lesser options include the basic team of Barnstorming Bob with his trained Airedale. US Air recommends the “Leave no passenger behind” program, where there is no co-pilot, but the pilot trains one of the passengers just in case.
  • Other Carte Blanche services may include – Premium or cut rate flight attendants, optional air conditioning and heating, padded seat cushions, boarding ramps instead of the convenient rope ladders for boarding, or anything else US Air deems necessary to keep their profits airborne.

The ridiculous thing to me is having some corporate stooge sound as if people are actually getting a value for their $7. Jackson actually said he thought the sleep kit was an affordable value so that customers could be comfortable! The news went on to describe the airline logo clad kit as if it were something from Neiman Marcus. Of course the airline went on to announce that Trans-Atlantic and First Class customers will continue to get pillows. For those of you out there who cannot wait for your “Nap Kit”, they will go on sale before the February 16 deadline on the company’s Website.

Well, there is no doubt that Jackson and US Air can pick up their PR Goofy Award right now on our Website. I cannot help but wonder if everyone out there thinks like I do? I mean, every time I hear about some airline getting cheaper with creature comforts and the like, I cannot help but wonder what is going on in the repair hanger? Then my mind always wanders to the pilot hiring interviews. “So Captain Skyhook, You say you have never been found negligent in any of your 14 crash involvements?” There is a psychology to air travel you know Mr. Jackson. Did you guys ever wonder if the 6.5 percent reduction in traffic was a result of your last “rewards” program?