An industry downturn following the Sept. 11 attacks, coupled with high fuel costs, led most airlines to begin eliminating perks as they sought ways to cut costs. Also, traditional carriers have lost customers to discount airlines such as JetBlue Airways that not only offer lower prices, but, in some cases, also have more amenities for travelers. Now, with their bottom lines improving, traditional carriers are adding back perks in the hopes of luring back former customers and attracting new ones.

Carriers are also hoping to appease disgruntled frequent fliers. While business travelers tend to be more loyal because they like to amass frequent-flier miles on one airline, they can also be finicky and are prone to switch when amenities disappear or a competitor adds a better product, such as business-class seats that recline more fully on international flights. The cuts "didn't go over well with the business-class and first-class customers," said Terry Trippler, an airline expert with online travel agency myvacationpassport.com. "Once those people started to complain enough, the airlines had to sit up and listen."

The airlines are hoping to placate travelers such as Terry Jones. Mr. Jones has flown 130,000 miles so far this year, mostly on American and often in first class. Sometimes he uses upgrades; sometimes he pays the extra price so he can stretch out his 6-foot-1-inch frame and work comfortably on his laptop. Recently, "the food has improved and the hot towels are back instead of some kind of weird napkin," said Mr. Jones, who runs a travel consulting company from Lake Tahoe. "The little things can make a difference, particularly if you're a frequent flier." He's still awaiting the return of individual salt and pepper shakers in domestic first class.

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