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Michael Hodgson

Traveler at HI Travel Tales
Born to British parents in Canada, Michael Hodgson had been schlepped back and forth across the pond since he was a toddler. In college, he took the big leap and spent a few months in Kenya – and never looked back. His biology major somehow led him into a writing career, focusing on the outdoors, hiking and gear testing. Building on his lifetime of travel with travel writing was a natural, although he still loves to seek out the wilder side of a mountain – or a city -- for a good story. Michael also is a partner in a consulting business ( built on a passion to help specialty businesses and brands succeed both domestically and internationally.
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Let’s face it, airlines continue to nibble away at personal space and comfort for airline passengers. But if you are window seat flyer, you can regain some of that coveted space with the spAIRtray travel shelf.

The spAIRtray ($24.95) is a surprisingly simple and lightweight plastic design that fits easily into a briefcase or carryon. It’s a quick and simple matter to slide the tray out of its fabric case, unfold the back plate, and slip that plate into the alignment channels in the window used by the window shade. A few tweaks to adjust the tray position right or left and, presto, you have extra personal space your seatmates will absolutely envy. On several flights where we tested the tray, we had people ask us if they could take photos to share with their friends. One even told me he’d give up his coveted aisle seat if he could use the spAIRtray.

spAIRtray holds drinks and snacks easily and securely.

The tray’s surface is non-slip rubber, and works effectively to keep your drink, phone, and other items securely in place on top of the tray. Even during mild turbulence on one flight, my drink and phone stayed firmly planted on the tray – nifty! Holes in either end of the tray provide a place to hang eyeglasses for quick access. And, because of this extra surface, the airplane tray on the seat in front of you (or in the armest) remains clear as a computer table or workspace – or left out of the way completely meaning more space for your legs and the ability to reach your under-seat stowage without having to cram your face into embarrassing places.

spAIRtray holds notebook and glasses well too

An added bonus with the tray: You don’t have to worry (at least as much) about your snacks or drink or other items coming into contact with an airplane tray petri dish of germs. Yes, if you are like us, you wipe down your tray and other surfaces with a cleaning cloth before using, but still….

HI Travel Tales Seal of Approval for Travel Product ExcellenceUnfortunately, because of the spAIRtray’s fixed design and measurements (12 inches long by 4 inches deep and ¼ inch thick) it doesn’t fit into every aircraft window. From our personal experience, the tray will not work with Embraer 175, Bombardier CRJ 700 and 800, and Boeing 767 aircraft (at least as of this testing). It does fit into Boeing 717, 737, 757 and 777 as well as all Airbus aircraft, as far as we can determine, and the manufacturer has told us it has been thoroughly tested for those. It fits especially well on the Airbus 330. Even business class travelers can benefit from that little bit of extra space for a few items.

Despite its lack of adjustability and therefore its inability to fit into every aircraft window that exists, the spAIRtray is so amazing and innovative, while remaining so simple. Thus, we simply had to bestow our HITT Seal of Approval for travel product excellence to this ingenious little flight companion.


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