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I split my time between Austin and Los Angeles, and while the flight between the two cities is rather quick (about two and a half hours), I make the trip so often that every little upgrade, hack, or improvement makes a big difference. Aside from having the ability to go into airplane mode and work without the usual cacophony of constant Slack, IM, DM, and SMS notifications, there is really nothing that I enjoy about airline travel. As a result, I look for any way to make these regular treks more comfortable. I usually fly business class—and somehow almost always wind up in the dreaded middle seat—which means I’m usually subjected to being crunched between more ostensibly comfortable fliers and forced to give up my armrests.
Another fun fact about me: I never check a bag (voluntarily). Even when I got married last year, I used the same carry-on to transport my wedding dress (including my beauty products) along with everything I needed for a honeymoon abroad in Paris. Clearly, I’m pretty proud of my highly-evolved, minimalist packing prowess. Not having to worry about a checked bag automatically makes flying much less panic-attack-inducing, and there are plenty of hacky products to help you maximize your space in a carry-on or even just that ‘personal item’ for shorter trips.
Even if you aren’t willing to tote around a carry-on for your next flight, you’ll still want to stick around to check out the rest of the underrated flying accessories to make your next airport journey hassle-free and a little cozier. From circulation-boosting foot hammocks and luggage with cup holders to bizarre-yet-amazing travel pillows, scroll through below to check out our favorite game-changing travel products to make your next flight a breeze.
Ostrichpillow Original Napping Pillow
Does this wearable pillow look borderline crazy? Yes. Is it also genius? Yes. If you’re like me and have never been able to sleep on airplanes, do yourself a favor and invest in the Ostrich Pillow. It allows you to sleep comfortably just about anywhere, including in that awful middle seat. People are going to do a double-take when you wear this pillow, but who cares? You’ll be sleeping soundly.
Airplane Travel Foot Rest Hammock
Another slightly strange travel accessory that will be well worth the stares, this foot hammock helps prevent swelling and cramping by promoting circulation. Plus, it also just makes you feel like you’re in first class.
Infinity Pillow Travel Pillow
This patented, noise-canceling (yes, really!) travel pillow is a game-changer for in-flight comfort. It’s designed with a Möbius shape, allowing it to transform from an eye mask, neck scarf, window pillow—you name it—instantly.
Airplane Pockets Airplane Tray & Table Cover
Having to reach down to fumble through your under-seat personal item to find your headphones, chapstick, notebook, chargers… well, you get the idea… is a straight-up hassle. This germ-blocking tray cover also doubles as a personal item storage container, and it’s worth every penny (especially if you’re traveling with kids!).
Airplane Seat Covers (2 Disposable Covers Per Package)
Airplane seats are gross—COVID-19 or not—just look up the stats… or maybe don’t, and just invest in these disposable seat covers instead. They’re designed to fit most airline seats and are a godsend for germaphobes.
The SeatSleeper – Travel Pillow That Stops Head Bobbing
Head bobbing is one of the biggest obstacles when it comes to getting some solid shut-eye on a flight. Fortunately, this mask-pillow hybrid is designed to combat precisely that—and it works like a dream whether you’re in the window, aisle, or middle seat.
Whether you’re on board (pun intended!) with the full-on seat cover or are only a D-list germaphobe, these disposable airplane tray covers just make sense. I certainly don’t trust that the flight crew cleans each tray—pandemic measures or not—so I took matters into my own hands.
Lantsun Smart Riding Suitcase Carry-On Scooter
This two-in-one adult electric-powered scooter and carry-on suitcase is a major game-changer for frequent fliers. The smart suitcase is a life-saver when you’re battling the clock during tight layovers, and it’s equipped with other premium built-in features, including USB charging ports and a TSA-approved luggage lock.
Bluetooth Wireless Headphones Sleep Mask
Down from $50
For under $25, this wireless Bluetooth-powered sleeping mask is a no-brainer for jetsetters. The mask is engineered with high-quality audio and features noise-canceling functionality to help you focus on work or sleep.
Perilogics Luggage Travel Cup Holder Attachment for Suitcase
Nothing is more annoying than having to chug your $17 latte before boarding in anticipation of having nowhere to set it down while stowing your carry-on and settling into your seat. This detachable cup holder for suitcases is pure hands-free convenience.
EverSnug Travel Blanket and Pillow
Gone are the days when airlines would provide free disposable blankets for domestic flights… at least, most of the time. Frankly, they were never that cozy or warm anyway, so why not just shell out $25 and get your own super-soft travel blanket? You’ll thank me later.
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