How To Make Your Airline Seat Back Pocket More Useful (And Clean!)

What’s grosser than gross? Reaching into the seat back pocket in front of you and finding a used tissue. During the pandemic. Which then also makes you realize that all of the ‘clean commitments’ that your airline made aren’t really being carried out.

Fortunately there’s a product to both ensure a sanitary tray table and seat back pocket, and make that seat pocket more useful so you can have all of your items well-organized in front of you: Airplane Pockets.

For $30++ you get a tray tray table cover with four expandable pockets. You don’t need to touch the table at your seat, just your own tray table cover. And you don’t have to reach into the seat pocket in front of you – while making that storage space more useful. And the ‘airplane pocket’ is washable, too.

My major concern is that while I like the idea of a better seat back pocket – and something more sanitary – that I don’t want to schlepp it with me and stuff it into my laptop bag. However they point out that it’s foldable and even claim it can “fit in your pant pocket.”

Here’s how it installs at your seat:

There are many inventions, not all uncontroversial, meant to improve the inflight experience. The knee defender keeps the passenger in front of you from reclining but has also led to conflicts. Less so the armrest splitter or the spAIRtray which gives you a little ledge beside the window seat that you install in the aircraft window.

You can even install a stained glass window beside your seat.

Even these were more than niche products you’d expect airlines to monetize the opportunities themselves. But while I worry about whether most of these products will be considered acceptable on board, the idea of installing your own seat back pocket seems like something you can do without too much controversy. Whether or not it’s worth $30++ likely depends on your need to nestle in for a long flight and whether you’ll have the opportunity to wash it before your return journey (or connecting flight?).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I have always carried a small pack of wipes even before pandemic. Depending on where you may be sitting this will not work. A small bag of Clorox or lysol wipes will do the job for the tray. Not the pocket.

  2. How is it sanitary if it has touched the back of the seat and you then take it and stuff it in your briefcase. Seems to me you are dragging all the contaminated seat stuff with you.

    BTW the political CDC now says you can’t get Covid from surfaces.

  3. What a shock that germaphobe Gary (well before COVID) is shilling a product like this. Only question is what commission do you get from all the suckers that buy it!!!

  4. I like the idea but also would be concerned in re to the germs it picks up, CDC opinions aside re covid and surfaces. I would want to stash this thing in a bag of it’s own to prevent transfer of whatever until I could wash it, or have a disposable version that could be bagged and gotten rid of at end of flight. Not running to buy one yet….

  5. I like the idea. However…

    Right after you install it, and fold that tray down – whatever you’ve put in that pocket is now going to bang against either your knees or your shins (or both).

    This could probably be solved with a few tweaks (tie-down/straps of some kind attached to the outside bottom of the pocket to keep it against the seat).

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