I really don't get some of these statements. Claiming that this is a good thing is ludicrous. Sure they aren't the cleanist or nicest things, but pillows are an amenity that obviously see a use. People use them and want them. Some use them for lumber support and others sleep on them, and might cover them with a shirt, but overall people use them. Justifying this as a non service cut by saying that "well since I don't like them, therefore no one will miss them" is a logical fallacy.
This is just like Anet opionions on the lack of IFE. Many here say that they read books so therefore IFE serves no purpose. Well some people do use it and it does contribute to the overall ambiance of the plane. More options make for a better flight; be them sleeping on a dirty pillow, watching a bad movie on a small screen or eating a free low quality meal, these details make a flight better overall. If you don't like these specific amenities, then you don't have to use them, but remember that there are some people that do use these features. A better flight will increase the chance of a first time passenger wanting to fly NW
again, which could be good.
I was on an AA MD
-80 flight in December after they removed pillows and I saw a number of people complain to the flight attendants (especially in first class) that there were no pillows and ask for them. The flight attendant just passed out blankets, and people used those as pillows, which were just as disgusting as a pillow.
Overall I don't like seeing service cuts from legacy carriers, but if it is what is necessary to ensure a carrier's future, then I see it as justified. If the savings from the loss of pillows outweigh the cost of losing a few passengers or lowering passenger's service opinions, then it is a good move, and I am sure that NW
management has already evaluated the situation like AA
has. If worse comes to worst, then they can always bring them back, but NW is betting that people won't really miss them too much, and this won't show up in them purchasing tickets elsewhere. Another factor to remember is that good service does increase load factors. At the same fare, people will chose their preferred airline, which usually is the one with the best service or best route structure. More passengers is always good, and having people desire to fly on NW is what management should seek.
The thing that still brings people back to legacy carriers are the frequent flyer options and service to a wide varying selection of destinations. Most flyers won't miss them much, but still they should be viewed as a service decrease.
[Edited 2005-02-17 00:09:41]
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!