New device helps passengers sleep better in flight

For many of us who don’t always fly First or Business class, one of the challenges of long airplane flights is sleeping comfortably. Now, a version of a device that has been available for automobiles may help meet that challenge.

The device is called Cardiff Wings. As the name implies, a wing-like platform extends from the headrest of a car seat – and soon, airplane seats – to give the passenger’s head somewhere to rest, making it easier to get to sleep and stay asleep.

Although I have no problem falling asleep on planes, I do not use those U-shaped neck pillows that have been around for several years, so my slumber lasts only as long as it takes for my head to slump forward and wake me up. San Diego-based Cardiff Products, the makers of Cardiff Wings, says that although their device positions a padded rest next to the passenger’s head and not under the chin, the head then has somewhere to call home.

Cardiff Wings headrest in use on an airplane
Passenger using Cardiff Wings
“We’ve found that when your head actually has a place to rest, you fall asleep using it,” the manufacturer’s rep told TheTravelPro in an email. “When there is nowhere to rest your head, your head goes where it wants. It’s the true beauty of the product.”

Cardiff Wings attaches to the seat using a U-shaped clamp that holds the adjustable, padded platform where the passenger’s head will rest. Made of lightweight materials, the manufacturer calls it “ultra-portable.”

An automobile version has been on the market for the last three years, so the product has been proven to a degree. And yet, planes are not automobiles, nor do the same rules apply.

You may recall the issue that arose two years ago with the Knee Defender, a device that keeps a passenger’s seat from reclining into the space behind it. Among the reasons the airlines cited for banning the device were safety concerns associated with attaching anything to an airline seat that wasn’t designed by the manufacturer. But the makers of Cardiff Wings say they have already addressed that issue with aviation authorities.

“We’ve met with the FAA,” their rep confirmed. “The product cannot be used during takeoff, taxi, or landing, but other than we have the green light.” At least from the FAA; individual airlines still have the authority the prohibit the use of certain devices even when the FAA does not, as with the Knee Defender

The device carries a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of US$54.95. However, the manufacturers have launched a Kickstarter campaign and discounts are available to backers who make financial pledges to support the product’s development. The headrest's fabric sleeves come in three colors: black, a gray melange or camouflage.

Cardiff Wings are expected to be available in December.

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Photo provided by Cardiff Wing
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