First Class Sleeper
Magically makes coach class travel
You might feel self
conscious when pulling out your First Class Sleeper.
But soon you'll be blissfully asleep, while people
around you are looking enviously at you enjoying your First
Coach class travel is never
comfortable, and on a long flight there's nothing you'd like to
do more than sleep, but achieving this is often difficult and
The First Class Sleeper -
designed by an airline pilot - provides a simple and innovative
solution to this common need.
Developed based on years of
Bob Duncan has been a pilot
with Alaska Airlines for many years, and over this time, has
spent too many hours wedged into coach class seats himself.
He wanted to have a more
comfortable way of being in his seat so he would have a chance
at getting some sleep during flights at odd hours of the day and
night. After considerable development, we all now have an
opportunity to benefit from the results of his ingenuity.
What You Get
The 1st Class Sleeper
comes in a nylon carrying tube, and includes a helpful color
'Quick Start' instruction guide on a piece of light card.
There is also a plastic
tube that can connect up to the overhead air vent (assuming
you're on a plane that still has these things) for easy and
quick inflation of the Sleeper. Personally, I'd hesitate
to use this, for fear of what people (and flight attendants)
might think I was doing!
The Sleeper and its carry
bag weighs 1lb, and packs up into a tube of about 2.5" diameter
and 11" long - slightly larger than a travel umbrella.
The Sleeper has a 90 day, no
questions asked, money back guarantee, and a one year warranty
on the seals not breaking.
Using the Sleeper
You're either going to feel
very superior to your fellow passengers, or perhaps slight
embarrassed, when, while other passengers are struggling to get
comfortable with nothing, or with one of those around the neck
inflatable collars, you pull out your much larger 1st Class
Sleeper and start inflating it!
But, for sure, the first
impression that the people around you have will quickly be
replaced by awe, wonder, and envy, while your own feelings will
change to smug satisfaction, comfort, peace, and soon, sleep.
Using the Sleeper is simple,
but in a manner reminiscent of a water bed, it is important to
get exactly the right amount of inflation. Too much, and
it is uncomfortably firm, too little and it is uncomfortably
An inflation tube extends
out of the top of the Sleeper. Bob recommends '10-11 big
breaths' into the Sleeper, at the end of which it looks very
limp and uninflated. But this is all it needs, no matter
how it looks.
You then simply drape the
Sleeper over the back of your airline seat (or car seat or bus
seat or whatever) and sit back into it.
Your body pushes the air out
of the middle and into the sides, causing it to wrap slightly
As your bottom moves forward
on the seat, the gap between your lower back and seat - instead
of staying empty, stressing your spine, and causing you pain -
fills up with the air that your upper back is displacing, and so
gives you good firm support from top to bottom.
Bob has designed the head
area so that the center piece of the head rest doesn't much fill
with air, but the part around the sides does, so you truly have
excellent neck and head support.
When I first used it, I blew
the recommended 11 breaths into the Sleeper, and with beginner's
luck, decided I had it absolutely perfect. I then retested
by first over-inflating it, and then, little by little, letting
air out to experience the different feel of the Sleeper, until
reaching the point where there was clearly not enough air in it.
Correct inflation is
important, but there is a fairly wide zone of acceptable levels
of inflation, and it is easy to 'calibrate' the Sleeper by
simply putting in a bit too much air, then letting it out,
little by little, until it feels just right.
There is also a 5 minute
video available for viewing on their website. This clearly
shows you how to get best use and maximum comfort from your
It doesn't use up valuable seat
The obvious concern is that
this device will take up valuable space and push you forward in
your seat, jamming you up even more tightly against the seat in
front of you.
In theory this is
correct. But, in practice, a different situation occurs.
When you are lying back in your seat, you slide forward on the
seat cushion anyway. The 1st Class Sleeper does not push
you appreciably further forward, it merely fills in the empty
space behind you (which would otherwise stress your lower back
and cause you discomfort) and wraps slightly around the side of
This seems like 'something
for nothing' - more comfort and padding, but not taking up more
space! Maybe it is. But, unquestionably, the Sleeper
makes your journey more comfortable while you're trying to
sleep, without wasting valuable seat space.
The Sleeper can also be used
for lumbar support alone. You only blow 3-4 breaths into
it, fold it in half, and it fits between your lower back and the
The inflation tube was easy
to blow into and easy to open and close. Many of the small
inflatable neck collars have horrible inflation tubes - too
small to easily blow into, and a plug to close it which keeps
slipping out. The Sleeper tube is of a good size and has a
screw valve to open and securely close.
The nylon construction of
the 1st Class Sleeper seems to be robustly managed, and has
the same types of welds as you'd find on a water bed mattress,
making it resilient and likely to last a long time without
In addition to the video and
the instruction card, there are also instructions printed on the
Sleeper itself (triple redundancy - Bob's pilot training and
caution is obvious, here!), making it easy to quickly
re-familiarize yourself with the unit if it is a few months
since you last used it and you somehow forgot the simple concept
of unfold, inflate, enjoy.
Bob says the Sleeper acts as
a cushion and shock-absorber and so reduces the effect of
turbulence. I have yet to be using it during a period of
strong turbulence, so can't comment.
The unit is for sale on
Bob's own website,
www.1stclasssleeper.com, and is priced at $29.95,
plus $7 shipping.
Other travel sites also sell
it at $29.85, plus shipping.
Travel Essentials have it listed for $29.95 and you can get a 5%
discount on this and just about everything else they sell by
using the 'travelinsider' discount code (without quotes) when
checking out, making the saving more substantial. And
sell it for $29.95 with free shipping.
This is one of these
wonderful and simple 'why didn't someone think of this before'
type devices that really do help make a long plane flight more
At a cost of about
$30, depending on where you buy the 1st Class Sleeper, it is the best investment in improving the comfort of your
journey you'll ever make. But if you want something
lighter, simpler, and less 'obvious', you might want to also
consider the innovatively designed
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9 Apr 2004, last update
28 May 2011
You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.