Airlines like to squeeze customers for every penny they can get.
They also like to squeeze those customers into smaller and smaller seats, despite the fact that Americans are getting bigger and bigger.
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It is of course possible to enjoy flying by coach. When there’s no one else in your row, for example, and you can stretch out a bit.
For the painful majority of humanity, however, flying by coach is a smelly and miserable experience.
It’s no different than a visit to the dentist or to a family member you really can’t stand. It feels good when it’s over.
So is it possible that any gadget could improve the purgatory of seat 32E?
Well, I bumped my head against a gadget that some people seem to swear by. It has an almost five-star rating from (maybe) real people on Amazon.
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To me, it looks like a crude straitjacket or bulletproof vest. When I first saw it, I imagined people putting it over their heads and somehow gaining some cushioning from ever-firmer airplane seats.
But it’s actually the Sunany inflatable neck pillow Used for planes/cars/buses/trains/office nap with free eye mask/ear plugs. (Amazon descriptions are simply the best.)
The idea is that, while you’re sitting in your cramped little seat, gasping for air, you save (what’s left) your lungs to inflate this thing.
Then you put your table top down and place the straitjacket pillow on it. Then you slide your arms through the two holes in the side and lay your head down to rest.
We all have our own sleep preferences. The mere idea, for me, of leaning forward to sleep prepares my back for connips.
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However, you can regularly crash after – or even during – a late night out, so this can be second nature.
I was touched by some of the product descriptions by the creator.
For example: “Like sleeping on a feather: these travel pillows [sic] are made of pvc flocking, the surface material is soft to the touch and caresses your face well.”
Who doesn’t love having their face stroked? Well, it is.
And — I really mean But — there’s this: “You can also watch movies or play games on your phone in the pillow.”
No, please no. Am I not supposed to sleep – or at least rest and doze – on this thing? Please don’t encourage me to use my phone while I’m trying to.
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It’s bad enough trying to tolerate the person next to you on the coach, as they pull out their large, company-provided laptop.
That person next to you has their elbows digging into your ribs as they aggressively type urgent supply emails.
Their growing restlessness, sweating, and maybe even growling doesn’t make you want to do anything except knock yourself unconscious.
I can’t imagine sitting there and fluffing up that pillow. On a coach, I tend to accept my fate, I hope to have a seat near the window and I rest my head there for most of the flight.
But someone clearly tried to ease the pain of sitting for 6 hours or more in a tiny space.
If it works for one person, that’s something.