“Even you, Sir Richard Branson? You should be ashamed of yourself!” was my first thought, as I took my seat on Tuesday night’s Virgin America red-eye flight from San Francisco to Florida. I even mentioned it out loud. “Looks like I need to write Richard a letter,” I grumbled.
Why? NO PILLOW. NO BLANKET. I know. BFFD—Big Fat Fudgey Deal!
I don’t have many peeves, but all those cuts in airline amenities are still high on my list of pets. Meals, baggage, earphones—what’s next? BYOTP? Bring your own toilet paper?
I was tired and cold. All I wanted to do was pull my knees to my chest, snuggle up against my window, lay my head upon their soft, fiber-filled, fairly-normal-sized purple pillow,
cocoon in my blankie and, hopefully, sleep the four and a half hours to Fort Lauderdale.
Besides, I had already been teased. I knew full well that the tourist class ensemble would not be as warm and cozy as the cushy, red fleece, plastic-covered set centered on each first class seat, but I never expected the duo to be missing completely.
“They were seldom washed after every use anyway,” the flight attendant offered, in an attempt to relieve my disappointment. Of course, he did. The picture of an alien pygmy’s drool pooling in the center of that soft purple cloud flashed before my eyes; his acrid scent attaching itself to and emanating from a napkin-sized polyester red throw accosted my nose.
Please don’t judge me. I have nothing against aliens or pygmies—once we all are able to travel into outer space, we too will be aliens to other forms of life. And, as for pygmies, I am only 4 foot 10 and ¾ inches tall myself.
After a short night tossing and turning like a roast chicken on a spit, the sun began to rise.
Still incensed by Sir Richard’s audacity, but being an optimist of sorts, I began to think about the environmental ripple effect of his supposedly greedy decision to eliminate this once common airline artifact:
Not having to clean, wrap, and transport tens of thousands of pillows and blankets per day saves mega tons of water. It even reduces the amount of detergent and its resulting toxins from being released into nature. It cuts fuel consumption—no longer having to transport the items to/from the laundry IN ADDITION to whatever fuel—petroleum, electricity, gas—is used in the production of the plastic that said blanket and pillow are wrapped in AND the transport and production of the chemicals needed in their production, the resulting effects of their production on the environment, and, and, and—well, you get the idea.
So, do I still need to write to Sir Richard Branson about my experience? After all, he does have lovely crews, good service, and well maintained, patriotic aircraft – Shall I applaud him for his environmental and sustainable decision to remove pillows and blankets from his airline’s flights?
Perhaps. Yes. Definitely.
Then I could also mention my idea for installing a reverse suction fan element into every seat to address API-SMEFS—Airplane Induced Smelly Farts. Depending on a person’s output, the passenger could, in effect, get a rebate for said output. Someone just needs to figure out how to transform these fumes into jet fuel.
So, what are your pet peeves? I’d love to know—