SkyMall’s Air Travel Pillows

Cover of SkyMall magazine, featuring a machine for making soft drinks at home

I’ve cut my carry-on travel bulk by switching from “dead-tree” books to electronic books on my iPad, but you can’t use electronics during takeoff and landing. Luckily, I was flying on “Continited”, the merged airline made up of Continental (“Cheap like Northwest, but our pilots are sober!”) and United (home of “Economy Minus” class), who provide a copy of SkyMall in every seat pocket.

SkyMall is always fascinating reading. It’s the finest catalog of things best described by Japanese terms: gomi, which means “junk” and chindogu, a neologism used to describe “unuseless” items: seemingly clever yet impractical solutions to First World Problems. If you’ve always wanted Draco Malfoy’s snake-headed cane, a kind of device that lets you make your own soft drinks at home or a fancy laser helmet that supposedly reverses male-pattern baldness, SkyMall can satisfy your needs.

Since the February, I’ve been averaging a flight every two and a half weeks, so I thought I’d check out the section for frequent travellers. These two items, both air travel pillows, caught my eye.

SkyMall ad for the EZ Sleep travel pillow, featuring a woman leaning against an inflatable wall mountedon the armrest of her airline seat

If you’re the kind of person who likes something to lean on while sleeping and extremely well-defined boundaries, the EZ Sleep travel pillow was made for you. If you’re by the windows, this pillow turns your seat into a little fort, and if you’re closer to the aisle, you can play “border guard” to the passengers in your row now trapped behind your inflatable Berlin Wall. The EZ Sleep pillow’s design also ends resolves the battle between you and the poor schlub beside you over the armrest by forcing a stalemate: it’s not-win-not-win!

SkyMall as for the SkyRest travel pillow, featuring man leaning forward on a large blue pillow mounted on the seatback tray table

While the ad for the EZ Sleep pillow amused me, the ad for the SkyRest pillow cracked me up. If you prefer to sleep on your stomach and you place a much higher value on 40 winks than on dignity, you’ll love this pillow. It seems designed specifically to make you look as if you’ve drunk too much and passed out right at the bar. Pair this with a dark suit and you’ll look like you had a successful three-martini business lunch with Warren Buffett; wear an aloha shirt like the guy in the ad above and people will think that you had a rip-roaring’ time with Jimmy Buffett.