BYOB: Bring Your Own Blanket

Beginning May 1st American Airlines will charge coach passengers $8 for a blanket and inflatable pillow on domestic flights that last longer than two hours. You will have to bring your own warmth and headrest for flights less than two hours if you are in coach. But wait there is more. If you purchase American's pillow and blanket, American will throw in a coupon for $10 off your next purchase of $30 or more at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Goodness, Gracious! [more]

My first job out of college was as an inside sales person for a steel company. The office I worked in was in front of a large warehouse full of steel. My job was to take orders from our customers and then have the warehouse personnel ship the steel to our customers. The gentleman that ran the warehouse was a large and colorful person. Whenever something would surprise him he would say, "I have been to two World Fairs and a Hog Show and I have never seen or heard tell of anything like that." I think this expression sums up this move by American.

I am certain all other carriers that have fallen in love with fees will match this silly move. This move and others like it beg the question of why don't the airlines just raise fares and be done with this never-ending and unnerving nickel and dime game? I think the answer is that if the airlines raise fares, they have to pay all of the taxes and fees associated with the "base Fare" of an airline ticket. There are some other reasons, but the long and short of the situation is the airline keeps 100 percent of all of the fees. We will keep you posted about which airlines make a "blanket" announcement.

Robert Polk is CEO of Polk Majestic Travel Group in Denver. These insights are excerpted from Robert's weekly newsletter, From the Desk of Robert A. Polk.