Taking the new United “blankets” for a test ride

It was on a United Airlines 767-200 somewhere near Memphis that I awoke with a chill running down my spine. The chill was two-fold. First, I had been having a dream that the United Club in Terminal E at IAH was setting up a space for the ShamWow guy to sell his wares in the club. Plus, I was actually cold. Given that at least one of these could be somewhat reasonably addressed, I asked the flight attendant for a blanket. She noted that they had the new ones on board. I got excited. She shook her head, suggesting that I get over it quickly. She was quite right.

The good news, I suppose, is that the blanket has a bit of texture to it. I actually like that feel a bit. But that’s the only good that there is to share.


The blanket is small. I measured it at roughly 24"x48" (photo below is it laid out on a beach towel that I normally travel with). The FA noted that I could use it like a shawl, covering either my torso or my legs but not both. She was quite right about that.


The other problem with it is that it isn’t really a blanket so much as a gauzy wrap. It provided nearly zero warmth until I doubled it over, making it even smaller than the as-built size.


There are new "blankets" coming to the United Airlines. And they suck.

Here’s hoping the ShamWow part of the dream doesn’t come true, too.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. “Taking the new United “blankets” for a test ride”

    So when you say “taking” you really mean “taking”? Or did you snap your picture on a plane with hardwood floors?

    Seriously, do you think it’s okay to steal blankets from an airplane?

    1. Yes, Colleen, I took it off the plane. I took it home so I could actually measure it and get some photos of it in a manner that actually showed the details.

      If the company is reusing them then that’s another reason to never go near them. They appear to be disposable based on the construction materials and quality.

  2. The name by which they’ve been referred to previously is “Continental Coolers”.

  3. These blankets first appeared on pmUA aircraft after the merger was completed and steps were being taken to align sUA & sCO policies – pmUA’s blankets had been much thicker. Then pillows disappeared and these gauze/cheesecloth blankets showed up. I believe they got enough complaints that they have stopped buying them but are still running through the inventory. On many sUA flights they have blankets that are the same as the pmCO blankets, which seems to be the new domestic F (and probably int’l Y) standard. I still wish they’d restore pillows in F at least on overnight and transcon/Hawaii flights.

    1. These appear to be smaller and provide less warmth than the other pmCO blankets I’ve used or seen photos of, Carl. I haven’t seen anything like this out there yet.

  4. I could hardly cover my legs with the one I had. There are way better ones that they had on some flights earlier this month, just had one of the terrible ones.

  5. The blankets are really small and thin, I had the chance to try one yesterday. The other question though is, why they do keep the cabins so freezing?

  6. @Jayson: Your flagrant confidence for the theft of onboard blankets is shameful. Airlines absorb the cost and ultimately pass it onto your fellow passengers. Theft is deplorable, no matter how rationalized.

  7. I was wondering if nayone would comment on that part. πŸ™‚

    I have been traveling with a beach towel as part of my kit for about 2 years now. It is probably the most useful analog piece of my pack. I use it as a pillow/neck roll, a blanket and even, from time to time as a towel. It straps on to the otside of my bag so it is low impact on my packing overall.

    This particular trip included some beach time in Rio so I got to use it as a pillow and blanket on the redeye and as a towel on the beach.

  8. Are you sure these are the new ones? I recently frew from Hong Kong to Narita and was given a white “plush” blanket that was kind of like a cover on my bed (I’m a guy and struggle with specific blanket terminology πŸ™‚ ). I know these are new as they have the United name and globe on one corner, so they had to come out since the merger. They are pretty big and go from below my knees up to my neck, and I’m over 6 feet tall…..

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