In the competitive market for first-class flights, airlines are focused on providing value for their high paying customers.

It appears extracting the most value out of their flight is the main concern for passengers' as well.

Hands off my pillow: business-class bedding theives are a huge headache for airlines. Photo / Getty
Hands off my pillow: business-class bedding theives are a huge headache for airlines. Photo / Getty

BA, United and American Airlines cabin crews have all been on the record to complain of the increasing numbers of blankets, cutlery and other items disappearing with each flight.

American Airlines Director, Nick Richards told Skift "It's a huge problem right now."

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In an interview with the Industry website he said that this drain on in-flight amenities was causing headaches for the airline.

Silverware and dining service items - branded with airline insignia - have always been a target. These items carry a huge appeal for aviation geeks and collectors.

You need only conduct a quick TradeMe search for Air New Zealand to see that vintage airline memorabilia carries premium.

However it's not just antiques and collectables that inspire lust from high-paying hoarders.

Every time there's an upgrade of amenities, crews have to be increasingly wary.

When BA began using designer bedding from the White Co. the business-class kleptomaniacs noticed the upgrade. Their £400m (NZ$776m) investment in upgrading passenger experience began disappearing with their customers who had developed a taste for the finer things.

United have begun selling bedding online to curb thefts. Photo / unitedshop.summitmg.com
United have begun selling bedding online to curb thefts. Photo / unitedshop.summitmg.com

United cabin crews have been encouraged to collect these items off passengers before preparing to land.

An updated landing cue has been written to discourage sticky-fingered passengers.

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"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."

However, the airline has managed to put a positive spin on the issue.

"It makes us happy to see our customers enjoying our onboard amenities so much that they want to keep them when they land," said United spokesperson Jonathan Guerin, in the same report.

Though he would probably rather they bought these items from the airline's online shop, which has begun selling bedding as a response.

But will passengers begin shelling out NZ$130 for a set of bedding, provided freely on the flight?. You can imagine their response: "In your dreams."