Best Airline-Inspired Products For Home And Travel

Most souvenirs remind us of travel to a specific place, but how about products to remind us of the journey? Some crafty designers have made home and travel products inspired by (or even made of) airplane designs.


Baggage tag: You can use your initials or your favorite airport code on the baggage tag design of this messenger bag ($129).

Beverage cart: Ever thought those narrow beverage carts would look cool in your home? Bordbar has vintage and new customized beverage carts from 329 euro for a small galley box, 979 euro for the full size trolley.

Boarding pass: With mobile phone check-in, paper boarding passes might soon be a thing of the past. Take your laptop out for security in this snazzy sleeve, which you can customize with your name and flight info ($28.95-32.95).

Flotation device: The same designer as the belt below has taken flotation devices and fashioned them into sleeves for the iPad and iPhone, but we still wouldn’t recommend getting them wet (49-69 euro).

Remove before flight tag: Rather than wear one of those funny-looking neck pillows, use one made with an aircraft tag, complete with a loop for carrying. Don’t feel you have to follow the “remove before flight” instructions though, it works perfectly on a plane or at home ($25).

Safety card: You shouldn’t actually take the safety card from the seat pocket, but you shouldn’t leave your passport there either. Keep it safe with this $20 passport holder (slim wallet also available, $18).

Seat belt: Stay buckled in for safety with a white belt made with a real airplane belt (79 euro). Keep in mind you’ll likely still have remove it for TSA security.

Airplane safety applies to everyone, even Willy Wonka

So, I was flying Sun Country Airlines a few months back and happened to be seated in the exit row. Though I’m normally one of those jerks who doesn’t listen to the safety presentation (frankly, I’m often asleep by then), when I’m in an exit row, I feel obligated, so I pulled out the airplane safety card and read along. Much to my surprise, I encountered the characters in the photos above and below. What the devil are Willy Wonka and a ballerina doing on the airplane safety card?

They were subtle — I almost didn’t notice them. I laughed and showed my boyfriend when I found the ballerina, and he found the guy in tails, whom we immediately assumed was Willy Wonka. I reported the findings on Twitter, and some of my more observant friends commented that they had seen Willy, too. I had to investigate. I contacted Sun Country, who put me in touch with Trisha Carper-Ferguson, president of Interaction Research Corporation, the print and design company behind I interviewed Carper-Ferguson via e-mail.

Gadling: What’s the story behind these characters?Trisha Carper-Ferguson: It is always our goal to educate and inform as many passengers as possible about aircraft safety and security. We believe what we do saves lives. At the same time, it is difficult to get the average passenger to pick up a briefing card and spend the few minutes exploring their aircraft information. In 1997 we created a way for a few airlines to make the passenger briefings (both oral and illustrated) fun and interesting with the hopes that it would attract more attention to the information. We created the character cards as a Where’s Waldo type of project. We encouraged the carriers to make it a game onboard the aircraft. Obviously we were limited by copyright and trademark, therefore we needed to come up with universal characters that people from all over the world would be entertained by.

G: Who drew them?

TCF: Our team of illustrators drew them. Specifically Linda Goff and Krista Dunk who were two of our graphic artists at the time.

G: What other products do you make, and do you include this same sort of whimsy?

TCF: We produce (both design and print) passenger safety briefing cards and videos for airlines all over the world. We also have a full commercial print company in-house which produces all types of business printing needs and signage. Not all of our work has a whimsical feel, but if it draws attention to important information then why not? :-)

G: How long have they been like this (and how long will they be like this)?

TCF: The “Character Cards” were only picked up by a handful of our carriers, starting in 1997 with Canadian airlines. I believe Sun Country Airlines is the only carrier currently using them. Thanks again, what fun this has been to revisit.

So, there you have it, folks. Fly Sun Country Airlines and you’ll get a special surprise. Carper-Ferguson and IRC definitely achieved their goal — I’ve looked carefully at every airplane safety card since.

Making fun of Ryanair – paid oxygen masks?

When Ryanair insulted bloggers and announced they’d start charging people for using the bathroom, all in the same week, all bets were off. Normally I’m a huge fan of low cost carriers, because they help keep the legacy carriers awake, but now it’s just getting silly.

An enterprising artist over at the b3ta boards has redesigned the Ryanair safety briefing card to show how things will probably be on board the airline by next year. Check out their board for the full version of the design.

The sad thing is that jokes like this only seem to inspire Ryanair to come up with new ways to make money, just like what happened when I joked about paid bathrooms 3 days ago.