Don't Get Knee Defensive: 4 Better Travel Products for Comfort

It's unlikely that these non-invasive items are going to make anyone want to throw a glass of water on you.
airplane seating

"Knee Defender" briefly became one of the fastest-growing searches on Google this week, after the small, plastic product — which prevents airline seats from reclining — caused a fight midair. A United Airlines flight from Newark to Denver was forced to divert to Chicago after a passenger refused to remove a Knee Defender from the seat in front of his, and the woman in that seat threw a cup of water at the obstinate, long-legged traveler.

We here at DealNews completely sympathize with what a knee- and soul-crushing experience commercial air travel can be, but it seems unwise to anger those around you by interfering with someone's seat operation while in such close quarters. (Throwing water also seems unwise, for that matter.). So in the spirit of avoiding such conflicts, we'd recommend one of many other travel items that can improve your comfort without bothering your fellow travelers.

Deals to Help You Travel in Comfort

A simple pair of earplugs, like these Hearos Xtreme Protection Foam Plugs ($14.12 for 42 pairs with free shipping with Prime, lowest by $1), can go a long way in blanketing you in serenity. If that's not enough — or if you just want to listen to some tunes while drowning out the salesman in 4B who's had one too many Bloody Marys — check out these Editors' Choice Monster Inspiration Noise-Cancelling Headphones ($99 with free shipping, low by $51).

If you really want a cocoon in flight, you'll have to get this Ostrich-Style Pillow ($12.79 with free shipping, low by $12). It's the closest you can get to having a private cabin in coach, and you won't have to see all the weird looks you're getting.

Finally, if you're traveling with children, keeping them comfortable — and asleep, hopefully — will benefit everyone's sanity. Try this Eddie Bauer Hedgehog Travel Buddy Neckroll ($9.99 with in-store pickup, lowest by $4).

No matter what happens, we'd all do well to heed the advice of Ira Goldman (inventor of the Knee Defender) which he says is printed right on the packaging: "Be courteous. Do not hog space. Listen to the flight crew."

What do you think, reader? How do you stay comfortable on a flight? Let us know in the comments below.

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Benjamin Glaser
DealNews Contributing Writer

Ben was Features Editor at DealNews from 2014 to 2017, when his shopping insights were highlighted by Good Morning America, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. Though no longer in consumer news, Ben still loves getting a great deal (and writing about it!).
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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If I can I always book extra leg room seat, it's worth the $50 more to be able to walk off a plane without knee pain when landing! People need to stop blaming airlines though, the majority of people book the lowest price they can find and for airlines to compete and stay in business, then they have to fly as many people as they can on flights.
If they made 2 story seating it would double the number of people they could seat! There is plenty of room for the upper row to extend their feet into the the empty space in front of the lower person's face. It might even be possible to add a third or fourth story with a little expansion of the air frame! All the carry ons could go in a separate compartment that passengers would be able to drop them into as they boarded the plane!
Justin Kalm
Have any of you at DealNews actually tried one of these counterfeit Ostrich Pillows? I'm wondering why you are recommending a product that is representing itself as something it is not, by advertising itself with pictures of the authentic item, from the authentic item's website. Aren't you guys supposed to be watching out for consumers.
Any tall people have recommendations for sleeping on a plane? Mostly I need some neck support, and the neck rolls don't even come close to supporting anything. I've seen a few "tall" neck pillows for sale online, but I don't want to spend $70 for something that might work for me.
Scroogus Maximus
Do: Pick up a high-quality bar of chocolate before you hop on the flight. Once takeoff is over, make your way to the rear of the plane and give it to a flight attendant, saying you bought it for the crew "because you all work so hard, and I want you to know how much I appreciate it." You may not get an upgrade, but the difference on both this flight and any later ones may be tangible.

Do: Smile at the crew. They DO remember that.

Do: Ask the flight crew if the Knee Defender is allowed on their airline. If it isn't, DON'T USE IT.

Don't: Use the CALL button. Ever. If there was one thing airline crews would change, it would be to permanently disconnect all Call buttons.

Don't: Give in to the temptation to tear a small hole in the bottom of the airsickness bag. The idea seems funny, but you'd be amazed how quickly you'll discover it spreads- usually on your next bump-laden flight.
First world problems. :)