Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sleep In First Class Comfort While Traveling Coach

Stuck in Cramped Quarters Beside the Lavatories?

Ever envy those souls lucky enough to fly first class? Sitting in those nice wide leather seats that recline soooo much farther than the mediocre inch that your teeny tiny hard park bench-like seat reclines before it mashes the poor sucker's knees who's sitting behind you?

Well, envy no more. For a measly $45 bucks, you too can sleep like you're in a first class sleeper chair while flying economy cattle class. Well, almost. Kinda like first class. OK, like "simulated" first class.

Designed by an airline pilot who spends countless hours trying to get some sleep while commuting between flights, Bob Duncan came up with an inflatable device that allows you to "lie down" while in your chair and holds your head from flopping around.

Shaped somewhat like an extra tall lumbar cushion, the 1stClassSleeper lies between you and your seat and supports your back, lumbar and head while allowing you to stretch out so that your body lies almost straight in your seat at a 60 degree angle. You can check out the video showing how it works on their website 1stClassSleeper.

While I was somewhat skeptical about how comfortable it would be, and whether I'd get a numb bum from sitting further out on the seat, I must admit that the 1stClassSleeper performed quite well on a recent 20 hour flight. The feeling is almost like that of lying on a waterbed. The head area is shaped like a large "U" that cradles and holds your head upright and prevents it from flopping to the side onto some stranger's shoulder. The lumbar area is wide enough to support and cradle your back so that you don't get a sore back.

It's well designed with a large simple inflation tube that looks like the tubes on the lifevest stored supposedly under your seat. All it takes is about 10 breaths of air to inflate it to the right size. After a little pulling and fiddling, I was able to get pretty comfortable. Even the stewardess commented how comfy I looked. Combined with some cheap noise cancellation headphones, I slept like a baby.

The whole thing rolls up into a relatively small and lightweight package, not unlike a portable collapsible umbrella. It appears to be well made and durable, and should last many years.

Bob Duncan, the pilot inventor, has a website www.1stclasssleeper.com where he offers it shipped free for $45 with a 90 day money back guarantee. While you won't have any additional seat width or legroom because of it, chances are you'll be a whole lot more comfortable than without it. I tried sitting in the airplane seat without it for an hour, then put the 1st Class Sleeper behind me. Just having the lumbar support in the right place made a world of difference in making my flight a lot more comfortable.

From now on, I'll be stuffing my 1st Class Sleeper in my carry-on bag for all trips in the future.

Happy flying :)