Few markets are as rife with infomercial-esque (read: mostly useless) products as the travel market. There’s no shortage of $19.99 gadgets promising to solve some problem for travelers that isn’t really a problem at all (see also: the unintentionally hilarious and now-defunct SkyMall catalog).
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So, to be honest, I was skeptical of Airhook. At first glance, it seems to be an add-on accessory designed to do exactly what every airplane tray table already does. But, the more long-haul flights I take, the more its utility grew on me. Let’s face it: airplane tray tables are nasty, they’re rarely level, and they limit the already impossibly tight amount of personal space that economy passengers are forced to live with on most typical flights.
Airhook was kind enough to provide a second generation sample — the Airhook 2.0 — for me to review. Here’s what I found …
Airhook 2.0 Review
In Airhook’s own words, it’s designed as:
… a two-in-one solution for airplane travel comfort: a stable drink holder and a secure mount for an electronics device. The Airhook uses the tray table in its vertical and locked position as an anchor, rather than horizontally across your lap as a platform.
The latest version, Airhook 2.0, adds a few new features including a neoprene travel pouch and:
… a stabilizer bar that makes setup more secure, a convertible mode where the drink holder folds away when not in use, a separate device perch for full range of viewing, and integrated can support.
The Traveler’s Take
My first impression of Airhook was that it was larger than I expected. It makes sense considering that it’s designed to support not only smartphones but tablets as well. So, the design needs enough of a “framework” to support the weight and heft of a full-sized tablet.
For my purposes, I don’t travel with a tablet. When I do watch in-flight movies, it’s always on my smartphone. So, I wish Airhook had a more compact little brother — an “Airhook Mini” if you will. The current Airhook isn’t huge, but it is large enough that I know I won’t be traveling with it on every flight. I’m also borderline obsessive about packing as minimally as possible. So, for some, the size may be a non-issue.
That said, the construction is solid and sturdy with high-quality plastic components. It’s clear someone put thought into its production. The included carry case with attached carabiner also helps protect the entire affair when it’s not in use.
Setting up Airhook is simple, and the included quick-start guide (with links to relevant online videos in case installation isn’t self explanatory) makes setup a snap. It first clips to the back of any standard airplane tray table in the closed position. Two knobs allow for fine-tuning a snug fit and ensuring that your smartphone or tablet is angled the way you want it. Finally, a bungee cord and plastic clip secure your device in place. I found this to work very well even in modest turbulence.
That’s all there is to it. It works great as a simple support for your electronics device to keep your media at eye-level. But, the cupholder also adds a convenient perch for a standard airline cup or 12-ounce can. The design will hold a bottle as well, although it does get in the way of the device screen. The cupholder also folds away when not in use.
Pricing & Availability
Airhook 2.0 is available now directly through the official Airhook website for around USD $28 or on Amazon.
The Bottom Line
Though a tad bulky, Airhook fulfills its promise of freeing up your lap for a bit more in-flight comfort. It’s a clever, versatile, well-made alternative to traditional airplane tray tables.[amazon box=”B07S3R62NH”]