By Steve Rose
Thursday, October 24, 2002
1) Porter Case! Check out their site, www.portercase.com, or ours, www.happypassenger.com or www.carryoncase.com. This case literally pays for itself, as well as protecting your back. It is carry-on legal, but offers excellent hard shell protection for fragile items, such as cameras, computers, projectors, and CPAP machines, and still has room for a change of clothes and toiletries (always carry a minimal toiletry kit and a change of clothes for that occasional trip when your luggage arrives on the next flight). By the way, with luggage matching required, luggage problems have become less frequent. The Porter Case works with precision, is a snap to speed through X-Ray, and always makes a favorable impression with its versatility and cool engineering.
2) Velcro head restraint -- more information to come.
3) Attitude at security: First, carry a couple of interesting gadgets so that your inspection can have a "show and tell" flavor that can be fun. Second, remember that these are fellow human beings who under other circumstances might be friends or family. Consider it an opportunity to make friends with folks you might not otherwise ever meet. A little aloha here goes a long way, because most of the other people they have had to deal with today treated them lke dirt. You'll be surprised at how much positive feeling there can be under adverse circumstances!
4) Check out the in canal earphones from Etymotic. (Sony also has some I haven't tried). They can make flying a different experience. Unlike "active noise canceling" earphones, which only work at low frequencies, they attenuate the entire spectrum and introduce no noise of their own. Plus, they are excellent earphones in terms of sound quality. And you'll be protecting your hearing, since you have to make normal earphones significantly louder than the ambient noise level to be able to hear quiet passages, meaning that the absolute sound level in your ears is very high. With these in-canal earphones, the actual sound level is much lower. You will forget you are flying, and be less fatigued by the constant noise.
5) Scott e-Vest: This 12 or so pocket vest is like having another carryon, but it counts as clothing. It is useful, functional, and fun to wear.