Sleep on This: In-Flight Aids

Sunday, August 23, 2009

On long flights, using the palm of your hand as a pillow and your coat as a blanket hardly re-creates your bed at home. A variety of companies offer products that attempt to address the discomfort of sleeping on planes. Here are five that caught our wide-awake eye.

-- Andrea Sachs

Cocoon Ultralight AirCore Pillow ($25; 800-254-7258, http:// The synthetic-stuffed accessory is bi-material, with a fuzzy microfiber on one side and cool nylon on the other. The 3.7-ounce inflatable pillow squishes into a small nylon bag, expands with a few puffs of breath and deflates with the turn of a knob. Those who prefer hard pillows will feel right at home. It also works well against lower backs, which never complain about having too much support.

Snoozer Neck Rest ($15; 877-354-4481, The neck pillow takes the bulk out of the back so you won't feel as if you are being strangled by a giant boa. The inflatable accessory is worn higher up the neck than typical styles. The wide-ribbed middle panel behaves like a thin pillow, while the two air-filled side compartments cradle the head. It also packs flatter than a pair of socks.

Skyrest ($29.95; 800-572-1380, The cushy wedge is built for tray-table dozers. The 20-ounce cushion blows up to the size of a giant flotation device but packs flat. At rest, our head reached full horizontal position, while our body maintained a comfortable 45-degree angle. The pillow fits within the confines of the inter-seat space. We felt a childlike urge to hug it, stuffing our hands in the back pouch as if it were a plush kangaroo.

Neckii ($20; 800-962-4943, The neck pillow gets downsized and de-fluffed. Shaped like a rolling pin, it is made of a lightweight foam that molds to your neck and head and is covered with soft velour that caresses the cheek. The product sits comfortably in the crook of the neck, offering a snug hold, and the contoured ends provide a ledge for your head. To tuck the Neckii away, simply clip the carabiner to any luggage strap.

1st Class Sleeper ($29.95; 866-766-6946, The inflatable mini-bed cocoons the body from hip to head. With a few breaths, the bag transforms into an air mattress and you will be embraced by a pouf of air wrapped in a cool, nylon covering. The distribution of air gives the back, neck and head the necessary lift and hold. Our noggin never bobbed, our neck did not ache and, for a short spell, we forgot where we were.

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