It Came in the Mail: Cup-Pilot

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.

WHAT: Cup-Pilot, a portable beverage holder.

AIMED AT: Travelers who need a third hand for their drinks.

HOW MUCH: $18.95.

BUT DOES IT WORK? If we pooled all of the liquids we have spattered or lost in airports and planes over the years, we could fill a Great Lake. The abandoned water bottle in the bathroom. The kicked-over coffee on the terminal floor. The sloshing cup of orange juice in coach. The Cup-Pilot, designed by a former Vermont secretary of transportation, attempts to stop the spills by keeping the beverage where it belongs: inside the container.

The collapsible contraption resembles a basketball hoop for Team Smurf, with a small net pouch attached to a plastic "backboard." A metal hook fastens to a number of surfaces, including luggage, airplane trays (open and closed) and your spouse's finger. Although this item might seem a bit excessive, much like lipstick holders, it does come in handy in flight. We imagine using it while settling into our seat, when our arms are otherwise busy storing a carry-on, and at high altitudes, when we have important papers and gadgets arrayed on our tray table and don't trust the shallow indentation to do its job. Think of how happy your boss will be when you deliver a report not smelling of bloody mary.

-- Andrea Sachs

The Cup-Pilot is available through the company at 877-287-1130,

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