United Should Stop Calling Out Passengers Who Steal Business Class Bedding

A year ago United directed flight attendants to keep a watchful eye over passengers who might ‘steal’ business class bedding.

United’s Polaris soft product does have nice bedding, in fact I don’t know any airline business class whose bedding is clearly better. That’s an amazing statement to make. It would have been hard to imagine two years ago that anyone would have wanted to take a business class pillow or blanket off of a United flight.

When United improved their much duvet, blanket, and pillows with new products branded by Saks Fifth Avenue they found customers wanted them as a keepsake.

Telling flight attendants to scold premium passengers wasn’t enough, it seems, thinks:

  • Passengers know they aren’t supposed to take the bedding to begin with
  • It’s stealing
  • This is “sad” and “everyone loses.”

I might have certain airline blankets at home. Etihad first class blankets are the softest and most comfortable I’ve ever felt. Whenever I see and feel an airline blanket, it brings me back to the experience and makes me want to get back on board.

United doesn’t feel that extending their business class marketing into your home is a worthwhile investment. That’s up to them, but I think it’s a mistake.

Hotel towel theft is a big deal, one hotel saves $16,000 a month by cutting down of guests taking towels (!). They attach washable RFID tags. Presumably they’re not tracking down thousands of towels leaving the hotel, just telling guests the towels are tagged is enough to keep people from stealing them.

As long as they are able to keep it a secret, they wouldn’t even need the tags — just labels or notes telling guests there are tags.

Former American Airlines Chairman Bob Crandall tells a story about just signaling that you’re watching for theft (without actually doing it):

United could just have flight attendants make an announcement that there are RFID tags in the pillows and blankets. No one will need to watch customers, and no RFID tags need to be used.

Fourteen years ago Holiday Inn offered a ‘towel amnesty’. If you’d fess up that you took towels from their hotels, you could keep them. In 2013, Hyatt started encouraging guests to steal bath amenities.

Instead of scolding customers, United could take out ads offering Polaris bedding amnesty. The message is the bedding is even better onboard than what you have at home. Customers discover that and just can’t help themselves.

United could even run a promotion, buy a full fare business class ticket and get a coupon code for a full set of bedding from the United Shop.

Unfortunately the focus here seems to be on cost control, not creative marketing to drive a revenue premium for the product.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Or, why not do in the Pointy End of the plane what they already do in sub-human class and simply sell the just the spacious, lie flat seat, and then offer the whole kit n kaboodle of bedding, blanket, & gel foam pillow, etc.for an additional fee that’s everyone’s to keep?

    Theft problem solved & a new “passenger pleasing” Ancillary Fee – a “Win-Win” if ever there was one!


  2. PS: if purchased in advance during booking on a non refundable basis, discounted “X” percent..

    ..or as an oscenenely overpriced “buy onboard” “option” – ‘natch! 😉

  3. OBSCENELY overpriced “buy onboard” “option”, that is!

    With apologies for the ridiculous typo in the prior comment! 🙁

  4. How about just having the appropriate social etiquette to not take things that should not be taken?

    Shame is one of the best deterrents to repeat offenses.

  5. I would put Delta’s Westin Heavenly bed to the test. It would probably beat the Polaris bedding. I currently have an embargo on using United, so I will probably never actually know myself. But I would still want to see an unbiased tests on both. Maybe I should look on Ebay?

  6. I’ve flown on Polaris and have never even thought about taking the bedding… but I do love the duvet… guess I’ll be bringing a bigger carry on next flight 😉

  7. It’s called stealing. I’d never appreciate something I took that didn’t belong to me. Maybe if we shamed more people, less people would even consider such a tacky thing. That said, I’d just have FAs make an announcement that everything onboard can be purchased online and remind passengers that if they take something, they’ll be banned from flying for life.

  8. @JohnB: I’ve used them both recently and would call them about a draw. Better pillows on United, though.

    @Scott Wallis: They already do! (not the banned part, but the buy online part)

  9. I agree they should not shame – they should have police offices at the gate and arrest people for stealing. What is wrong with people. No wonder business class tickets are so expensive.

  10. Hyatt encouraged taking shampoo. Big difference between that and towels. And a better analogy would be stealing the sheets and comforter from the hotel bed.

  11. Oh, please, if Barbara Walters can brag about things she’s stolen from the White House, United should only be flattered that it finally offers something so good, it’s actually something the high fare folks believe is worth taking home with them after their flight.

    Sheesh. If they’re already paying $5-7k to fly, one would like tothink it wouldn’t be such a big freakin’ deal if it included the bedding or pjs!

    Isn’t it amazing how our greedy airlines LOVE calling out sub-human class pax for being cheapskates at every opportunity (not to mention using every sleight of hand to screw pax with ridiculous fare rules, penalties, punishments, etc.)…

    …yet when the airlines are guilty of the sin of being cheap as – – – – somehow they suddenly play the victim card and make themselves out as holier than thou Saints!

    Oh, PUH-LEASE, cry me a freakin’ river…

  12. Hold on Howard..I have always thought that you were supposed to take the PJs…the same as the amenity kits. Am I wrong?

    I usually end up throwing them out at home.

  13. @Jimjar,

    Yeah, probably right on the pjs…so then just the bedding, blanket & pillow for the above.

    My bad!

    It’s been a while since I last flew that far up in the pointy end of the plane on an overnight, long haul, international flight 😉

    It’s mostly Y, or an occasional PE for me!

  14. Okay let me troll this for a sec. I only consider “stealing” after certain expected amenities have already been “stolen” from me. Such as PDB being denied (or limited) cuz the FA is “busy” or having to beg for a refill on my drink or “food” being replaced with “cardboard” Polaris “meals.” I mean seriously given all the ways for airlines to lose money if every F pax took every blanket available I still think it would be a rounding error on their SEC filings.

  15. So corporate should lie about rfid tags? People should be allowed to steal?

    Suggest you take a course on ethics.

  16. I rem watching an intw of Richard Branson saying that Virgin Atlantic would have people taking its nice salt and pepper shakers from Biz class flts. What they did was just engraving something to this effort: “Stolen from Virgin Atlantic” and the theft dropped dramatically.

  17. United already gives customers an option to purchase these items. It’s basically an ad right on front of the Polaris menu. So they actually are trying sell this stuff. Are you not aware of this? And are there any reports of flight attendants actually shaming a humiliation? Or does this simply translate into asking flight attendants to ask customers not to take the bedding items? Either way, this seems like sensationalistic hyperbole and worthless. Had you done your research you’d see that United sells these items. I don’t see the point of your complaining.

  18. The ethical and moral relativism promoted by the author is very telling.

    Taking a non-consumable item is stealing. End of story.

  19. Let’s see:

    1.) $6,409 o/w EWR-LHR “C”-fare

    2.) $8,293 r/t EWR-LHR-EWR discounted/restricted “D”-fare

    3.) $11,115 r/t EWR-LHR-EWR unrestricted “C”-fare

    These are the biz class fares for dates selected at random between May 30th and mid-July for Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) – London Heathrow (LHR) airport pair non-stops on United Airlines, for flights which may not even be aboard aircraft featuring the new Polaris hard product.

    And they’re still whining about pax who “five finger discount” the bedding, blanket or pillows that ~$75-125?

    Talk about being freakin’ cheapskates!

    For that amount of coin, United (and the other greedy ones that have recently whined about their high value pax “stealing” blankets, pillows, etc.) needs to get over itself real fast.

    I mean, at those lofty fares for flights that with a good tailwind can be 6.5 hours heading eastbound, and in any event clock in at more than $1 per mile for the yield, who’s really stealing from whom anyway?

    Just sayin’… 😉

    My vote is that United, et al, shut their pie holes and take pride that there’s something about their otherwise badly debased and degraded brands that’s actually good enough that some of their elite, high value pax WANT to take with them as a keepsake to have as a reminder to give them reason to actually WANT to fly United (or the other cheapskate airlines that are passenger shaming their highest fare paying pax) the next time they fly.

    But, hey, JMHO…

  20. @Howard Miller

    Do you also take a Mercedes from the dealer, because “they have so many on the lot”? How profitable, successful or mean airlines are when they price J class tickets is completely irrelevant when it comes to theft of blankets.

    The only thing that matters is your morals. Or complete lack thereof.

  21. Taking the bedding and blankets etc from the plain is stealing…that’s plain and simple.

    I’m assuming that the author is one of those who likes to take airline bedding once he gets off?

    I myself have never had any desire to take airline bedding with me when I get off the plane.

    So yes, United has the right to take preventive measures to ensure that their passengers don’t steal the bedding’s from the plane.

    Besides, I’m pretty sure 99.9% of the full fare passengers wouldn’t even want to steal the beddings….it’s most likely someone who upgraded or used miles……

  22. @Howard I guess you wouldn’t mind if I steal a hundred dollars from you. I mean, you must already have tens of thousands of dollars saved up, so what’s a measly hundred, you cheapskate? On second thought, people like you with such little regard for other people’s property and rights usually are broke ass losers.

  23. Howard is a standard troll around these parts, may even be Gary himself. Nothing to see here, carry on.

  24. @Howard Miller,

    I’m flying UA Polaris (real Polaris, SFO-HKG) in a few days on a $1000 ticket. It’s called an upgrade.

    Are you suggesting I should help myself to “$75-125” of United stuff as well?

    Especially as (as previously mentioned) you can buy the bedding on united.com, including the gel pillow.

    I always wonder if a purchased (or even stolen) gel pillow would be allowed through security, as it’s a gel.

  25. Oh please. What a bunch of righteous Pollyannas posting here in the comments — probably bitter because they wish they’d taken loot home too.

    People steal things all the time. Judge all you want, but it’s a stupid business decision for airlines to judge or try to punish those folks who decide to take the product home, unless it defaces the aircraft or impairs its safety. Loot creates affinity, and affinity is good for business. Many of those pilferers are loyal customers with significant spend. Confronting them or shaming them does not encourage repeat business, and it’s not going to stop the stealing.

    @James, if you think biz tix are expensive because of pilfered bedding, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Biz tix prices are not based on cost. They’re priced on how much the back of the bus needs to be subsidized because economy travelers are addicted to below-cost travel and because legacy airlines have bloated labor costs.

  26. The bedding is really nice. Fortunately United sells it. They should sell the pajamas too!

    Bought two beddings and the Gel pillow in fact last year and use them all the time on the couch and in the winter as a second blanket.

    Agree with you Gary this is a marketing opportunity and not one to shame the buyer. Here’s a simple idea. The flight attendants could hand out a postcard with a 25% off coupon towards a purchase of the United blankets, etc.

    United has a winner so don’t shame the consumer for wanting some. Especially if they don’t realize it’s for purchase. Most airlines don’t sell their bedding! Sell it!

    And I like the idea of running an advertising campaign. “Most stolen blankets of any airline!”
    Fly United or buy our blankets 🙂

  27. @Deltahater:

    1.) You’re equating theft of a car, ANY car, let alone a Mercedes with a gel pillow or a blanket and I’M the one who’s morally challenged?


    2.) Oh, and btw (and this applies to others who use cutesy screen names, lame screen names, aliases, impersonations of others, etc., etc.) I take great pride in my work and stand behind whatever I put out there, good, bad, or in between.

    Further, while of course I love nothing more than when the better things written resonates with others, or better yet, proves to be accurate and insightful, say the way:

    1.) I began pointing out Jetblue’s rapidly accelerating pace away from David Neeleman and Dave Barger’s original vision of being a passenger centric/passenger friendly, lower cost/higher value, game changing, disrupter to the airline industry cartel/cabal towards merely trailing the best at being the worst, or “First at Worst” Delta (an airline you claim to hate without actually having the cajones to identify WHO YOU ARE) long before others did…

    2.) …or when, after one of the bs, bone-headed, Crony Capitalism/Banana Republic-like, ridiculously inflated, dumber than dumb, trade-war instigating tariffs of up to 292% was slapped against Bombardier for its then flailing C-Series 100/300 series aircraft on October 6th at the behest of Boeing, which was/is desperately seeking to kill off by exploiting our country’s “Useful Idiot” man-child…(*continues below sidebar*)

    [sidebar: talk about morally, ethically, and criminally challenged…sheesh! …if you and others are getting your knickers knotted up (I’d use a different expression but don’t want to run afoul of banned words/terms that refer to a pair of upper body parts that rhymes with snits in a twist) over gel pillows or blankets, how come you’re not banging on the doors of your senators and congresspersons demanding a wholesale removal/locking up of the current rogues gallery of white collar criminals, petty thieves, liars, cheats and even those who only fools refuse to accept likely commited treason against our country and its Constitution?

    But hey, by all means feel free to continue villifying someone who thinks if someone pays $6,409 to fly 3,500nm and 6.5 hours to London and they help themself to a dinky blanket or gel foam pillow is no big deal if it makes you happier, or lets you continue to delude yourself in the belief you’re of a higher morality/better character than a blanket “thieving” advocate like me!!!

    Anyhow, getting back to some of my “best of” recent written highlights over the past 6-9 months…]

    …(on October 6th that Boeing was desperately seeking to kill off by exploiting our country’s “Useful Idiot” man-child…) suggested in several posts elsewhere in the blogosphere that Bombardier work with Airbus to crank those beautiful, modern Boeing 737 killing planes out in the USA at Airbus’s Huntsville, AL final assembly line…

    And guess what?

    **10 days later** on October 16th, Airbus and Bombardier announced a deal – now just days or weeks at most receiving required regulatory approvals to close! – for…wait for it…yep, you guessed it, Bombardier’s far superior to Boeing’s vintage 1960s-era (even before the 747) designed 737s to be cranked out…where???

    Oh, yeah, that’s right, at Airbus’s final assembly line facilitites in the USA, in Huntsville, AL!!!

    3.) …or how about comments I posted on March 25th in these parts that predicted Alaska Airlines post Virgin America brand extinguishing (which, of course, eliminated yet another of the already too few airlines left flying in our desperately competition-LESS skies) that predicted Alaska would:

    a.) abandon ops at LGA altogether and monetize the valuable slots via a sale or lease at that airport (and cut back ops at Washington National to just the perimeter rule “exempted” transcons);

    b.) cut ex Virgin America JFK-LAX/SFO transcons

    Oh, guess what?


    First came the deal leasing slots at WHERE???

    Yep, LGA gone altogether for the next 10 years if the perimeter rule at that airport isn’t lifted or modified using the DCA model (either of which WILL happen before Cuomo exits as NY’s governor as his quid pro quo for getting Delta to pony up nearly half of the $8 billion [for now at least] to build the masterpiece he plans to leave behind as his most prominent monument to mark his term as our governor)…

    …or allowing for the return of some slots if/WHEN the 1,500 mile perimeter rule at LGA is lifted in some form – as it will (although my bet is for a model that’s NOT a blanket lifting modeled on DCA’s limited scope of perimter rule exemptions, but using a different, locally determined formula that I would imagine is based on a percentage of overall slots in any airlines’ MAINLINE portfolio as a means of driving a compromise with both local community groups fearing increased noise and traffic at LGA from the larger guage aircraft that would replace smaller craft currently used in a blanket lifting plus upstate NY and Washington politicians who fear service to smaller cities will lose out to more lucrative beyond perimeter flights if a blanket lifting happens)…

    …plus all 8 of the ex-Virgin America within perimeter slots at DCA that were facilitated to Virgin America by the Federal government as a sop Dougie P’s highly paid, oligopolist seeking, lobbyists came up with (aka dupe regulators and an uninformed, gullible public) to gain approval from the DOJ for his long held ambition to eliminate the last meaningful vestige of competition in our skies earlier this decade…

    …which, btw, happened about a month after I predicted it!

    But, wait! There’s more!

    Drumroll, please….TA-DAH! Just last week CNBC reported that Alaska Airlines was closing its ex-Virgin America JFK pilots base in September and shipping those 100 pilots jobs/families out west…

    But that’s NOT all!

    CNBC also reported that frequencies on the NYC-LAX/SFO transcons “may” (yeah, yeah, let’s see how long until “may” becomes “has”…) cut frequencies down to just 2x daily.

    That’s just three of my recent insightful analysis that turned out to be pretty darn good!

    Oh, lest I forget (Toot! Toot!) all those (yeah, yeah, often tedious!) posts/rants about how our country’s airline industry has become the raging poster child/“Exhibit A” personification of what an abusive, toxic, economy endangering OLIGOPOLY is over the past six or so months.

    And gues what?

    Within the past few weeks:

    – a study published by researchers at the very much respected University of Virginia (IIRC) concluded our airline industry has become an (yeah, I know sucks so much to be vindicated!!! Hehehe) **OLIGOPOLY**

    – a leading expert in Anti-Trust law (an Ivy league professor at the VERY, VERY, VERY prestigeous Columbia University no less!) in one of the most highly awarded, highly respected by those with functioning brains, newspapers, The New York Times, where he’s a featured Opinion contributor, also characterized our airlines as literally being THE TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE AND “EXHIBIT A” of why the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger is “A TERRIBLE IDEA”. (Emphasis added)

    And his, Tim Wu, that is, reason: the ugly airline industry OLIGOPOLY we now have infecting another vital sector of our country’s economy, telecommunications.

    He even coined the term: “TRIOLPOLY”

    But hey, don’t take my word for it, information confirming all of the above highlighted written accomplishments I’m so very proud of, are all available for confirmation for those who remain doubtful of the value of a great many of my posted readers’ comments here – or elsewhere.

    Mind you, nobody’s perfect, so yes, some comments are full on dogs, if only because they’re poorly written/edited, etc.

    Then again, I never claimed to be capable of writing as amazingly as Tom Wolfe, William F. Buckley, F. Scott Fitzgerald or Earnest Hemingway, just to name but a few of the literary greats out there I respect and admire.

    Oh, and before I sign off here, I forgot to note the INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS stuff about a company with a CEO who allegedly stole sand from a public beach to pay a fraction of the cost to restore eroded dunes that protect his multi-million dollar, ocean front vacation home?

    Are you seriously expecting me, or anyone for that matter, to give any weight to his company’s whining about passengers who paid THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS of that upsell extra to sit in fancy pants, privileged class aboard an otherwise 3rd rate airline that pockets billions of dollars in obscenely large, billions of dollars stock buybacks (that offer nothing back to flyers who paid to be stuck aboard his airline’s mostly crappy, densified planes that he and others like him can’t even be bothered to offer state of the art seatback IFE that the better airlines he, and others like him, complain about instead) who “steal” blankets or pillows that they paid beaucoup bucks to to be comforted/cosseted by for their flight?


    Yeah, such high morality by the same CEO who’s first impulse was to blame Dr. Dao as deserving the beating he took for having the nerve to demand being able to remain in the seat he paid for!

    Give me a freakin’ break!

    You’re actually defending THAT?

    And I’m morally challenged?

    If I’m your definition of morally challenged – I’ll wear it proudly across my chest illuminated in the most brilliantly colored LED lighting!!! 😉

    Have a nice day!

  28. It’s theft. You can rationalize it any way you prefer but it’s still theft. Passengers who think it’s ok to steal should be shamed or arrested or whatever is necessary. I have no sympathy for them.
    My S.O. is one of them. I don’t want to get into what she made off with from an EVA Hello Kitty flight. It’s embarrassing.

    Here’s what’s going to happen if the theft continues at its current rate. United will downgrade the product in order to mitigate the cost of replacements. We all lose then on account of a group of selfish bad apples.

  29. @ Howard:

    Man, we must have hit a nerve for you to dribble on for this long. Of course, we stopped reading after the first paragraph.
    I guess your message is that you are the messiah of travel and your deep insight matches your entitlement.


  30. @howard miller

    Good stuff.

    Would be silly to shame a passenger, you would lose them as a customer for life and save thirty dollars on a blanket. And make every other passenger go past the glaring eyes of flight attendants now police looking for thieves. It is actually the airlines who are the thieves in this relationship and it is, in some cases, just take back for the lies and non delivery on promised features and performance.

  31. In order for passengers to STEAL the bedding, wouldn’t United have to offer and provide the bedding?

    They don’t offer the mattress pads, gel pillows and slippers on Polaris flights unless you ask for them. Lame.

  32. I love the Polaris bedding. So much I went to Saks and bought some for home use. FYI paid for it did not shoplift. What I don’t understand is how many people sleep in a flat bed seat at home and thus the need for bedding to fit?

  33. I can’t believe this is even up for discussion.. the accommodations made at any venue, including onboard a plane, does not mean they are there for the taking. Go to a restaurant and because the steak was expensive, you steal the china? Or bar for an expensive cocktail and steal the crystal… such warped thinking if you feel it’s approptiate to take anything from anywhere that has been put there for your enjoyment, convenience while a guest/client. Let’s tell it like it is.. it’s stealing and everyone ends up paying for it.. even those stuck in “basic economy” who pay dearly with their skinny seats and no checkef luggage.!!!!!

  34. Yep, fine…let’s all get so morally correct, rulesy and sanctimonious about this issue of petty theft of United’s luxe-y Polaris blankets and pillows (since, as those who actually use these types of products have pointed out the bedding is hardly something useful unless one has an airline-like lie flat seat in their own home) by people who otherwise mostly have already coughed up large sums of cash, or are burning mileage accrued from other spends that the airline profits from…

    …all while the “blanket & pillow police” are also completely omitting any discussion about the current CEO of United, who is geneously compensated per year in numbers that are measured in increments starting at $10 million and up allegedly pilfering ~$25,000 – 30,000 (which, btw, is basically the equivalent of an entire 767-400 using the low number and an entire densified international 777-200ER for the high number of pax taking this stuff for themselves!!!) of taxpayer paid sand from the community he where he has a multi-million dollar ocean front home…

    …Or of course, is the same CEO who’s first impulse was to assert that Dr. Dao deserved the beating he got last year when he had the nerve (how dare he!!! 😉 ) to refuse giving up a seat he was sitting in – that he paid for…

    …and all this at a company where the CEO before the current morally and ethically challenged (not to mention alleged pilferer of public property valued in the TENS of thousands) one resigned (very generous Golden Parachute intact, ‘natch) after all manner of graft, bribery, corruption and malfeasance of public officials in order to gain taxpayer funds instead of using the company’s own cash to fund construction of hangers to maintain the company’s jets, all while said company was shoveling copious sums of money to fund obscenely large stock buybacks that benefited him, his lieutenants and company shareholders – or basically engaged, or oversaw the bribing public officials to get taxpayer money that then frees up other company resources (aka SUBSIDIZED) those outsized stock buybacks during his bumbling, and corrupt tenure as CEO (Jeff Smisek, of course).

    So, let’s just put ALL of the facts on the table since some seem to selectively enforce morality, ethics, or even prosecute petty theft of company property, all by portraying the issue in the simplest terms such that it’s an open and shut case where “poor United” is doing nothing more than asserting its prerogative as the “Good Guys” (the airline) being so terribly “victimized” by high fare paying “thieving passengers”.

    Hot dang!

    In Yiddish, we have a word for that: CHUTZPAH!

    …and that’s before we even begin discussing a company that’s among the biggest offenders of this industry’s perfection of Orwellian “doublespeak” to lie, cheat, and intentionally mislead consumers by portraying higher fare fences, badly degraded/devalued products, not to mention intentionally engineered to create discomfort and misery, sadistic cabin manipulations to drive an ever expanding “menu” of conveniently offered for a fee counter measures to escape those carefully calibrated miseries that just so happens to have a matching fee to buy ones way out of!

    …and please, don’t even think about getting me started about the ethics and morality of a company that’s a dues paying member of a “trade association” that earlier this year submitted a wish list to government regulators seeking to once again make legal all manner of sleazy, shady, dishonest and deceptive selling practices that regulators from BOTH political parties saw fit to either impose or vigorously enforce existing regulations in order to curb some of the industry’s most egregious sins…

    Or most despicably of alll, included on its wish lish of regulations it has no use for, to lawfully impose ancillary fees on elderly and disabled passengers for assistance at airports when they travel.

    Yeah, right, THIS is the hallmark of an industry that can rightfully seek to claim the legal, moral or ethical high ground, or is deserving of anyone’s sympathy…

    I’d love to ask Dr. Dao if he thinks so – but alas, he can’t answer this question due to the NDA that came with the settlement he so rightfully deserved after how he was treated by our so perfect, and Saintly, airlines that have the unmitigated gall to point fingers at ANYONE about who’s stealing from whom, or who, in the end, is really the party who’s ethics and morality is so desperately lacking, it’s practically laughable that we’re even having this discussion at all, or that there’s actually some individuals out there whose sympathies lie with corporate predators whose hypocrisy, as this attempt to “shame” passengers by a company led past and present by such famously corrupt leaders in a previous, and saner time, wouldn’t even be questioned or doubted when considering the impossible to miss “pot calling the kettle black” dimension of issue that until so much time and effort was required to put this aspect of the discussion on the table for inclusion with this discussion.

    When United, or others in the airline industry cartel start behaving responsibly, morally, ethically and LEGALLY…

    …and hire CEOs and other Senior Executives with clean hands (or at least “cleanER hands”) instead of one already fired for corruption and mealfesance, replaced by one who is alleged to have stolen public property of a high enough value to constitiute a felony with some jailtime were it most of us ordinary Joe’s who stole upwards of $30,000 worth of property…

    Maybe then I might be less strident in my criticism of United’s actions against passengers helping themselves to its pricier Polaris branded blankets and pillows.

    But under the recent past and present circumstances at this (or most of our now cartelized airlines), even if in objective, “perfect universe” terms these blanket and pillow pilfering passengers are thieves deserving of a good long glance with featuring full-on stank eyes, there’s just now way companies whose own behavior is so questionable, has any right to expect its passengers to behave any better than it does.

    That’s the problem our country faces on matters of far greater importance than these silly blankets and pillows that I’ve been pilloried for by some.

    It really is impossible to demand lawful conduct by some that is enforced selectively for some things, while others, especially the leaders, can get away with far greater sins with seemingly unquestioned impunity.

    But hey, I didn’t claim open the door to the moral or ethical high ground…

    I merely suggested that it’s hard to feel sympathy for a rich, powerful, and very profitable company to engage in passenger shaming among those who have paid very high fares and just so happen to take the nice blanket and pillow with them as a keepsake reminding them of something they liked about flying United Airlines!


    Spare me the sanctimonious lectures and (faux) righteous indignation for having suggesting the airline was being ridiculous.

    Yeah, in a perfect world, United would be right and the thieving passengers would be wrong.

    But we don’t live in a perfect world…

    …and United’s recent history or the attitudes and actions of its recent and current CEOs certainly would not be characterized by most rational minds as fitting the definition of the word “perfect”.

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