If you needed proof that people will do anything to make the hell that is sitting in an airplane coach seat a little nicer (I said "if"), all you need do is look at two campaigns on Kickstarter that are proving to be wildly popular.
The first is for Airhook, a plastic device that hooks onto the tray table of the seat in front of you.
If you've ever struggled with trying to get something out of the bag at your feet while your tray table is in the down position with a bag of pretzels and a can of Coke on it, you can see why this device would come in handy. It's a pretty simple affair consisting of the hook, a cup holder and a clamp that can hold a variety of tablets or smartphones.
The idea is that you can slip your soda in, slide in your tablet (the clamp opens to 7.5 inches, so it can accommodate an iPad in landscape mode) fire up a movie, and enjoy the ride without feeling like you're imprisoned by the flight attendants who -- we all know -- delay picking up those drink cups because the horizontal tray tables keep us seated for a few extra moments on the flight. (Am I right?)
Right now, Airhook is closing in on the $50,000 mark after an initial ask of just $15,000, proving that many of us want access to our laps as much as possible during a flight. If you're interested, you have to act fast because the campaign ends in four days. You can snag one for a pledge of $20, which represents a $10 savings off the eventual retail price. Airhooks are due to ship in December, just in time for winter travel season.
While the campaign for Airhooks has more than tripled its goal on Kickstarter, the true champ of the moment in terms of improving airline travel is the Baubax travel jacket. According to the inventors, it's just become the most well-funded clothing item in crowdfunding history (we've asked Kickstarter to comment on this and will update when we hear back.) It's an easy claim to believe because the selection of sweatshirts, windbreakers, bomber jackets and blazers filled with oodles of pockets and other features has raised nearly $1.3 million on an initial ask of just $20,000. Think folks are a bit tired of the circus that clearing security in the airport has become?
With the Baubax jacket, you can store all your stuff in its plethora of pockets. There's one for your glasses, one for your passport, one for a blanket, one for a phone, another for its charger and lots more. So when you go through security, you don't have to empty your pockets, you can just take the thing off and put your pockets right through the scanner.
Once you're on the plane, the jacket keeps working for you. It's got slide-out gloves in case your hands get cold, plus there's a neck pillow built in that blows up with one puff, and an eye mask that descends from the super-jacket's hood. There's also a built-in pen/stylus for filling out those annoying forms and -- most fun of all -- a drink pocket that works a little like the Airhook. It stores a can of soda so that you can leave the tray table up.
The first round of early-bird rewards are long gone for the Baubax, but there is a second round that lets you get them at a discount. The sweatshirt can be had for $109 (about £70, AU$147), and prices for the windbreaker, bomber and suit jacket go up from there. The eventual retail price of the sweatshirt is expected to be $160 (£102, AU$216), so this is a significant savings.
And really, what price can you put on making sitting in a coach seat just a little more pleasant? The jackets are expected to ship in November.
Till then, I have another way I'll be keeping comfortable in coach class: Scotch.