Long-Haul Travel: The Longest Days of Your Life
My in-laws worked for the US Government overseas for 30+ years. Prior to retiring in 2013, they were in Kenya for 10 years. During that decade, my husband and I took 4 trips from the US to Kenya (two of those trips had small children in tow). The trip played out in roughly the same way, regardless of air carrier: take a 7+ hour overnight flight from the east coast to Europe, multi-hour layover in European airport, followed by 9+ hour flight from Europe to Nairobi. Total travel time would typically be between 18 and 24 hours, arriving in the late evening in Kenya.
We are economy class fliers all the way and these flights were, for lack of better terms, economical. We always bought an aisle and a middle row ticket, praying that no one would be seated in the window seat so we could spread out a little bit. When we made this trip with a toddler, we saved money by not purchasing him an extra seat (kids under the age of 2 can fly as lap children). That particular 24 hour trip was spent with a wiggling child sprawled out over our two laps (It gets worse though - we did our final Kenya trip with two children; 4 people in 3 economy class seats for 20+ hours = nightmare). Mid-flight, I would be so overcome by exhaustion and claustrophobia that I would fantasize about slipping into the first class cabin (by myself of course) and passing out fully reclined while a steward fed me shrimp cocktail. I would awake from my reverie realizing I had dozed off on the shoulder of the random person in the window seat next to me.
The Economy of Space: Air Travel
Imagine you are headed to the beach. You walk toward the sand from the parking lot, scanning the horizon determining where to plant yourself for the afternoon. Naturally, you land a healthy distance away from neighboring groups, creating a personal haven. Human beings like to spread out. They like physical space; this is intensified when surrounded by strangers. (Note: the concept of uniform distribution is widely studied in species distribution).
It doesn’t take a seasoned traveler to understand why people pay a premium for premium seating on airplanes. Economy seats offer a minimal amount of legroom, a small degree of pitch, and limited space for personal items. This is often exacerbated on long-haul flights where entertainment consoles eat up additional room. If you pay more, you get more, all the way up to first class, where you can fully recline (with blinders between you and your neighbor). The price gap can be extraordinary though - reaching 20x the price of an economy ticket. The average traveler cannot afford the luxury of more space. The only thing traveler-Joe can control, however, is how he uses the space allotted to him. Packing efficiency and careful product selection becomes a crucial step in ease of travel.
The Liquids Ban and the Dehydration Dilemma
The horrors of 9/11 fundamentally changed the experience of traveling. No more hanging out with your loved ones by the gate. Strict security measures lengthened pre-positioning time. Even in the planes themselves, the days of walking around to stretch your legs and hanging by the cockpit or bathrooms were over. Things continued to intensify in 2006 when the liquids ban took effect. Added measures had to be taken to search luggage. Liquid toiletries had to be contained in pre-sized zip lock bags. Water had to be dumped or drank before the security checkpoint.
IcePlate versus Standard Water Bottle: Geometric Configuration and Space Efficiency
Purchasing a bottle of water post-security but before getting on the plane is a necessity during present day air travel (after all, in-flight drink service is limited in scope and infrequent in timing). What, though, happens to these bottles of water once you are on the flight? They can be stowed in the overhead compartment (impractical and inaccessible), shoved in a backpack under the seat (again - difficult to access), or more commonly, wedged in the seat-back pocket.
In steps IcePlate. Its slim design makes it the ideal travel water bottle. IcePlate can be carried empty in your travel backpack through security (it slips easily into the laptop sleeve), filled at the filling station by the water fountains, and inserted into the seat back pocket on the flight.
Let’s take a moment to look at the geometric configuration of the IcePlate versus a typical bottle of water to understand why IcePlate’s design is so ideal in this scenario.
The IcePlate is 10” x 12” x 1” inches = 120 cubic inches. Those 120 cubic inches hold 1.5 Liters (50 ounces) of water. The 1.5 Liter bottle of water I typically buy from the airport convenient store is 3.4” x 3.4” x 11”. The bottle itself is more narrow than IcePlate, but that space has to be made up for in the girth of the bottle (3.4” for bottle, 1” for IcePlate). The implications of this difference in geometric configuration are quite profound.
Anyone who has tried to put a liter of water in the seat back pocket knows the following: seat back pockets were not designed to have that much give. Seat back pockets excel at stowing magazines, books, and the occasional bag of peanuts. Any item with girth, expands the pocket outward, taking away from your already precious leg space (Space = money; seats with extra legroom tack $100 onto a typical flight). Alternatively, IcePlate can easily slip into the seat back pocket, taking up substantially less space.
Humans like space. Air travel though has little flexibility on space (without a cost). When traveling, essential items, like water, must be ideally configured to minimize space constraints. IcePlate, with its slim configuration, is the perfect companion to your next flight.