It should come as no surprise that passenger space on airplanes is tight. As airlines fit more and more seats in, we feel the squeeze in the economy cabin. Think of narrow seats, reduced space between your knees and the seat in front of you and good luck getting comfortable with your tray table down.
That said, travel companies have been innovative in coming up with tools that can make flying more comfortable. Recently, I tried out a smart product that aims to help travelers avoid feeling cramped and get more organized at their airplane seat. The BevLedge fits in many standard-size plane windows and helps you store all your small belongings — think your phone, headphones, writing utensil, glasses and more — without taking up any room at your seat or on your tray table.
You can get the BevLedge for less than $20, and it’s small and lightweight enough to take wherever you go. But you may be wondering if this nifty organizational tool for flying actually works. I tested the BevLedge out on a couple of recent flights.
What we liked about it
The BevLedge markets itself as an “in-flight window seat organization station,” and that’s exactly what it is. For the most part, the BevLedge is a custom piece of plastic that holds all your small essential items so you can have more breathing room and space to chill out in your small seat.
Because the BevLedge slides within the window of an airplane, you need to pick a window seat in order to use it. When I tested the BevLedge out on a Boeing 737-800 aircraft and again on an Embraer 175, I found it to be incredibly lightweight and portable. It’s a basic piece of plastic that weighs just 5.9 ounces, measures less than 12 inches long and folds in half and flat for easy storage. The compact size made it perfect for slipping into the laptop compartment of my travel backpack when it wasn’t in use, and it was also easy to get out and unfold once I was situated in my seat.
The BevLedge is designed to hold two drinks and your smartphone, and there are additional slots to hold and organize sunglasses and headphones to boot. Installation of the BevLedge couldn’t be easier. After unfolding the device, one end easily inserts into the other to create a box-like structure. The rounded end of the BevLedge then slides right into the window frame of the airplane with some light maneuvering.
Because of the way the BevLedge sits in the window casement, I found there to be almost no chance of it falling out, especially with the weight of drinks and other items pushing it tighter into position. When you’re finished using it, you can pull it up to remove it from the window frame and fold it back to its flat, easy-to-transport shape.
Being able to continue working on my laptop on the tray table while also having a separate place to keep my drink and other items was a game changer. The fact is, the BevLedge lets you take advantage of your entire tray table without having to use part of it to store your drink or your snacks. But all your items remain easily accessible if you need them.
Between the compact size and easy-to-use functionality, the BevLedge is a great tool for flyers.
What we didn’t like about it
While the BevLedge is a simple, easy tool for staying better-organized and comfortable in your plane seat, there are some drawbacks. First and foremost, the BevLedge isn’t guaranteed to work on every single flight. That’s because the BevLedge is only designed to work on some aircraft models. For example, while it works on most Boeing 737 aircraft, it doesn’t work on Boeing 787 aircraft. In fact, on one recent flight, my BevLedge didn’t fit the window frame and only could be inserted on a crooked angle, rendering it useless.
If you want to guarantee your BevLedge will work on your flight, you’ll need to do some research in advance to ensure the aircraft operating your flight can accommodate it. Additionally, some passengers have reported that cabin crew have not allowed them to use the BevLedge on their flight. Because the BevLedge isn’t guaranteed to work on all aircraft types, it may not be the best investment for the infrequent traveler. That being said, at less than $20, it isn’t a massive investment in the first place.
The BevLedge also isn’t a great option for travelers who prefer the aisle seat because, well, the BevLedge can be used exclusively by window-seat dwellers. Additionally, the company says that the BevLedge cannot be used by passengers seated in the exit row.
The drawbacks are few, but they can make a massive difference — in fact, the difference between being able to use it and not being able to use it. But if you can use the BevLedge, I think its benefits outweigh its drawbacks.
The bottom line
There are all kinds of items you can buy to be more comfortable when you fly, and the BevLedge is another to add to your arsenal of travel essentials. If you can use it on your flight, it goes a long way to helping make for a more enjoyable journey.
I’ll keep the BevLedge in my backpack when I travel from now on. I don’t always sit in a window seat, and nor do I always want to whip out my laptop so I can work while in flight. However, the BevLedge is so easy to transport that having it with me is a no-brainer. During those times I’m crammed next to strangers and wishing I had more room, I know I’ll be glad I have it along.
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