Soo Kim, The Daily Telegraph, May 14, 2014
The 'b-tourist' band, a strange contraption made of an elastic fabric stretched between two plane seat headrests, allows passengers to “quietly eat, read a book, watch a movie and sleep without being disturbed” in their own private area.
It comes with two plastic rings that can be used to adjust the width of the band on both sides, to create either a full partition for complete privacy or a partial wall to allow interaction with other fliers or the cabin crew. It also provides a place to rest your head while sleeping by connecting the centre points of the bottom edges of the band, and has a side pocket where small items can be stored.
Created by Idan Noyberg and Gal Bulka, two graduates from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Israel, the strip is said to be lightweight, easy to pack and assemble, and can fit several seat plane seats.
There is a chance the seemingly clever design might inconvenience other fliers however. The band could potentially block the backseat television screens of passengers sitting behind you, while also preventing passengers by the window seats from getting up to use the toilet or escaping in the event of an emergency.
The ‘b-tourist’ strip joins a string of unusual travel gear and accessories that have surfaced in recent years. Earlier this month, the American brand Scottevest introduced a multi-pocketed women’s trench coat with 18 pockets that could carry all of your travel essentials, including two mobiles, a digital camera, an iPad, a water bottle as well as your keys, passport and ID card, and a USB/Bluetooth stick.
Andrew Gaule, a traveller and full-time business consultant frustrated by rising baggage fees came up with the Rufus Roo, a lightweight ‘carry-all’ type vest jacket made with several pockets and big armholes which could be worn over any coat you're wearing, however bulky it is.
In 2012, the architecture and design studio Kawamura-Ganjavian created the Ostrich Pillow, a portable device said to “enable power naps anytime, anywhere” including in airport lounges and on planes, and help travellers counter the ill effects of jet lag and long-haul flights. The distinctive-looking pillow has a hole in which to put your head, and a mouth hole designed to allow its wearer to breathe easily.
Earlier that year, cautious beach lovers on China's crowded Qingdao coastline took sun protection to another level by donning "face-kinis", masks that shield the face from exposure to the sun. The face-kini covers the entire face except for the eyes, nose and mouth, and is often worn with a long-sleeved shirt or a full body wet suit for complete protection.