Have you ever been on the plane, n the train, the bus or in the backseat of a car and been left to hold your media player so you can see what’s playing on the screen? I have, plenty of times in fact, and it can get your arms very tired very quickly depending on how you hold it. There’s a reason while portable DVD players for cars come with headrest mounts, and now you can get an accessory that will give you the same feature anywhere you have a seat in front of you. Enter the Flightstrap.
How it works
The concept of the Flightstrap is so simple that you ‘re left to wonder why no one has thought of it before. It’s simply put a clamp that grabs your media player and a set of straps that are designed to work on different types of seats. The most ingenious way of mounting the Flightstrap is to use velcro: many seats have removable paper or fabric covers attached to the headrest of the seats, and these are often attached with velcro. The Flightstrap is designed to be inserted in between the velcro on the covers and the velcro on the seat and securely attach to the seat without annoying the person in the seat you’re attaching the Flightstrap to.
If the velcro option is not a possibility, there’s always the two other methods for attaching the Flightstrap. First, there are two hooks on the strap with the velcro, primarily meant to be used to attach the Flightstrap to a headrest post, or any sort of groove or net that you can make work with them. Finally you have a straight forward wide adjustable strap that go around the seat itself. This is the most universal method of the three and almost guaranteed to work, but if the seat in front is curved (which most are) to fit the shape of a person it won’t sit flush and might annoy the person in front if you’re unlucky.
The media player itself fits into an adjustable clamp that grips it softly and secures with a screw on the back. You then snap it onto the strap you attached to the seat and get on with watching whatever you wanted to watch.
As an added bonus the clamp can also be used separately on a table or flat surface as a video stand. They also include a pair of earbuds (not earphones, just the type that blocks noise) and a sleeping mask in case you want to relax for a bit. A nice bonus, although a screen cloth would make much more sense to include if you ask me.
The concept of the Flighstrap is so brilliantly simple yet utterly invaluable on a long trip, and for the most part it does what it promises. The two main grips I have with it is the size of player it can accept and the viewing angle you end up with when it’s all in place on the seat. The first point is simple, while it will accept rather large devices up to say 7″, in these days of tablets it would be nice to be able to fit even larger devices in it. Of course weight might end up playing a role if you tried putting something that weighs several pounds in there, but the Viliv S5 I put in it had no trouble hanging in place and it’s heavier than many similar devices with larger screens.
The other gripe I have is the viewing angle that results from using it on some type of seats (positions). I predicted this would be a problem the moment I saw it, and unfortunately it didn’t prove me wrong when I tested it out. Basically the problem is that the strap attaches to the back of the clamp, meaning the center of gravity will be too far back and the weight of the player will make it tip forward and point the screen down, unless the seat is perfectly vertical and stops it from doing so. The Flightstrap will normally rest on the headrest part of the seat (if there is one) so whether this is a problem or not depends on what seat you’re mounting it on and what angle it or its headrest has. If you have a thin player you can compensate a bit by inserting the device in the clamp at an angle, but it’s still not a perfect solution. To fix this, the strap should have been attached to the clamp either in the center of the player or in the front (or even better, be an adjustable part) in order to angle the screen towards you (given that you’re in an upright position), but that would have required more material and a bit more of a complicated design.
The Flighstrap has a couple of limitations, but it’s still a great product. For $20 it’s an invaluable accessory for people who travel of commute and it’s small enough to not be a bother to carry around. It’s a perfect example how simple solutions are sometimes the best, and there’s really not much more to say about it other than “it works”.
Flightstrap is a new start up and still looking for distributors, but if you want one you can get it from Conics for $21.60.