American Airlines to remove pillows from most domestic flights

Wednesday, February 9th 2005, 2:35 pm
By: News On 6

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ Perhaps this will soften the blow of American Airlines removing its pillows from most domestic flights next week: The blankets will still be there.

The Fort Worth-based carrier said Wednesday that pillows will be removed from most flights beginning next Tuesday in a cost-cutting move expected to save another $370,000.

``Almost all of our domestic aircraft have adjustable headrests, and we'll still provision blankets for lumbar support, which is what the pillows were used for by customers a lot of times,'' American spokesman Tim Wagner said Wednesday.

American announced in November that it was removing pillows from its MD-80s, which saves time and money by enabling workers to clean cabins faster. Now the pillows will be tossed from 737s, 757s, Airbus A300s on nearly all flights within the continental 49 states, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.

Passengers flying coast-to-coast _ New York to California, for example _ won't be affected.

``It won't affect international flights to Europe, Asia, and South America, and pillows will still be stationed on Hawaii and transcontinental flights as well,'' Wagner said. ``It covers most domestic flights. The coast-to-coast transcontinentals will still have pillows provisioned on those flights.''

American saved $300,000 a year by removing the pillows from MD-80s, and expects to save another $370,000 by expanding the move. Savings include the cost of restocking the pillows.

``It may not seem like a lot on the surface, but as we go through our program of cost cutting, going through the process of overturning every stone to find operational efficiencies and costs savings, these smaller savings add up,'' Wagner said.

The airline received some initial resistance when it removed pillows from the MD-80s, Wagner said, but complaints dropped dramatically in a few weeks.