United Eliminates Pillows in Domestic First Class

For an airline that claims to be transforming itself into "world's leading airline," you have to question the recent decision to remove pillows from domestic first class flights.

Yet that is exactly what United has done this week, following the model of their Continental bride who eliminated pillows on most domestic first class flights two years ago.

I never really used the pillows on domestic flights--they seemed dirty to me and I was more comfortable angling the headrest wing in a comfortable position to fall asleep, but I know many people did use them, especially on overnight or early morning flights. Again, it bemuses me that UA would cut back something that all of their competitors (except of course CO) offer and something that is standard in first class sections around the world. That is not the way to be the world's leading airline.

Continental offers a nice first class product overall, but look for more cuts in the months to come as United continues to lose its identity, emerging as Continental Airlines with only the "United" name surviving. Table linens and hot food on snack and redeye flights will next to go, I suspect. At least the whole "tick off the elites by selling upgrades for cheap to anyone willing to pay up" hasn't kicked in on United yet. But it will. Just wait...


I always use the pillows on United for lumbar support, as like you my "ick" factor always prevents me from using it as an actual pillow. Sigh... what will be next (and hopefully not pawning the upgrades.

Brad May 23, 2011 at 04:58 pm

I experienced this on my FC flight today. I don't typically use them either, although back in the glory days would use them as lumbar support in coach.

Kevin May 23, 2011 at 06:00 pm

I'm not that upset about this. I could never quite get the pillow to be comfortable, given that there's basically a pillow built into the headrest. However, I DO wish they would go back to having better blankets. It does get cold on planes!

Carl May 28, 2011 at 07:30 pm

I appreciate the pillow for lumbar support. It's even more important on CO aircraft which don't have much lumbar support in the seat itself.

It's more stuff to carry. Another amenity I expect to see disappear is the decent headsets which United provides. The latest generation is comfortable and provides acceptable sound. All the CO has is inside-the-ear ear-buds - and they even charge for them on non-DirecTV flights. Crazy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

e.g. http://www.example.com/