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Pillows, blankets, and a little something from Givenchy: The Economy of Flying

When I was a child just being on a plane was excitement enough. Nowadays though, we aren't satisfied playing with old sweet wrappers (I had quite an extensive collection): we expect personal TVs with a choice of programmes and videos, eye masks, dinky menus bulging with on-board gourmet delights.... Anything, in short, to distract from the fact we still haven't arrived, and we're still stuck in economy. Because if you travel business or first, of course... you can expect anything from your own private cabin to Givenchy-designed pyjamas, a shower and a double bed. Heady days, fellow travellers, heady days indeed.

But all good things must end, and with the announcement US airline JetBlue is to charge for the use of the humble pillow and blanket (one of the scant comforts of economy travel - and at symbol(pound)3.50 a pop) - you can see the writing on the wall from 36,000 feet. Expect to pay for food too (see Ryanair, Easyjet and United), inflight entertainment (Ryanair) and luggage (Ryanair, Easyjet).

Obviously these cuts are in response to rising fuel costs, but they also open the way for a whole new area of commerce: ie, if everything is suddenly an extra you have to pay for, what extra creature comforts would you like to see on sale? Think how you could use the time - a bit of yoga, a language lesson, pedicure, maybe even career advice? The opportunities are endless. And anything's got to be better than Ryanair's latest money spinner - inflight mobile phone use.

What would you pay for during your flight? Take part in my survey below:

Q: American airline JetBlue Airways has begun charging passengers for the use of a pillow and blanket, Ryanair is planning to let people use their mobile phones on the plane for a fee, United Airlines, Ryanair and Easyjet all make you pay for food, and most airlines now charge for alcoholic drinks and internet use.

Which of the following would you be prepared to pay for?

1. Yoga

2. Wii

3. Botox

4. Karaoke

5. Speed dating

6. Oxygen

7. Wine tasting

8. Palm reading

9. Nothing

10. Other

Q: How much would you be prepared to pay?

a. up to £5

b. £5-£10

c. £10-£15

d. over £15

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