Airlines have a ‘huge problem’ with passengers stealing pillows and blankets

First-class air travelers apparently can’t resist a good deal when they see one, as staffers for various airlines report that passengers are illicitly taking high-end pillows and blankets off flights with them.

Last week, Skift reported that cabin crews from United Airlines, American Airlines and British Airways have reported increasing numbers of luxury pillows and blankets getting swiped, as all three airlines have recently equipped their upscale cabin classes with bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue, Casper and White Co, respectively.

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“It is a huge problem right now,” Nick Richards, director of premium services and customer experience strategy at American Airlines, told the outlet. “There’s the novelty of a new product, and everybody wants to take them with them. Things just tend to walk away.”

American has debuted bedding products from Casper including mattress pads, pillows and duvet, an inventory of a million separate pieces that has been shrinking from the start, he said.

Likewise, United circulated an internal memo to flight attendants last year, urging staffers to be alert in keeping its luxury bedding on board.

“To help ensure we are able to continue offering these high-quality products, it’s important to remind customers that these items remain on board the aircraft after every flight,” the memo said, Live and Let Fly reports. Proactively, the carrier even rolled out the official Saks Fifth Avenue duvet for online purchase for $59.99.

Similarly, when British Airways introduced White Co. bedding, including a “super-soft woven blanket” and a “bespoke, luxuriously soft large pillow” for their long-haul premium passengers, they made a $565 million investment in the passenger experience. Unfortunately, travelers seem to love the products so much, they’re taking them home.

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“People go, 'Oh my god, this White Company bedding is lovely,' and they take it off the plane with them, which they’re not really meant to do,” said Harry Zalk, a commercial director involved in the British Airways and White Co. partnership told Skift. “These are not cheap items.”

As carriers weigh their options for combating the theft that can quickly add up to millions of dollars in loss, United is already striking back, Skift says.

“We hope you enjoyed the pillows, blankets and bedding during your flight. Please be sure you leave these items on board as you exit the aircraft," a new departure script reads.

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