On a recent and very chilly flight to Greece, I was told I could only have a blanket if I paid for it. It left me wondering, am I the only one who thinks blankets should be free on flights rather than offered as optional extras?
Picture the scene. It’s a warm summer morning as I set off in the car for the short drive to Gatwick airport. I’m dressed appropriately for the temperature in a smart knee length dress made of a fairly thick material, and I have my long sleeve cardigan with me.
I’ve already checked the weather in Greece and smile in anticipation of the sunshine filled days and balmy evenings to come. As I run my final checks (passport, tickets, travel insurance), packing my winter coat or a blanket is the last thing on my mind. But would I come to regret that decision?
The cost of comfort
Boarding our Monarch flight is quick, stress free, and our flight takes off on time. However, it’s not long before the air-conditioning kicks in and the cabin starts to chill. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on the verge of catching hypothermia, but it’s cold enough to affect the comfort of my flight.
No problem though, I’ll just ask one of the flight attendants for a blanket. No such luck. I’m told that blankets aren’t carried on my flight, but that I can buy one as part of a ‘comfort kit’ at a cost of £5. My kit would include a fleece blanket, an inflatable pillow and an eye-mask.
I decline the kit on a combination of principle and the fact that it’s daytime, and I’m not planning on sleeping. Plus, I don’t want to end up carrying the pack around on holiday with me, especially as I don’t foresee a need for it in 30 degree heat.
Now the problem with having principles is that you end up spending the rest of the flight looking slightly stupid with your cardy wrapped around your legs. But it begs the question – should you really have to pay £5 for comfort?
At what point did comfort no longer come as part of the ticket price? The fact the airline even call it a ‘comfort kit’ is slightly amusing. What kind of experience can those travelling without a comfort kit expect? I was travelling alone, but if a family of four wanted to stay comfortable, their spending money could go down by £20 before they’d even landed!
A lack of blanket coverage
I know there are arguments against the provision of blankets on flights, and I’m also aware that the ‘no-blanket’ rule doesn’t apply to all airlines or to most long haul flights. I can even understand people defending the airlines, asking why they should have to provide blankets over and above other modes of transport, such as trains or ferries.
But my argument is that, compared to ferries and trains, airline cabin luggage restrictions mean space can be tight. Squeezing in a blanket or travelling with a coat that you may need to put into your bag on arrival can be an issue – especially when travelling to a hot destination where you are unlikely to need it. This is a particular problem if you plan to travel around or visit multiple destinations.
Do you think you should you be able to request a free blanket on all flights, or am I just being fussy?