The best way to spend $165 to sleep better on a flight is to put that money towards a seat upgrade, but if you’re a frequent flier, those extra fees can quickly add up. Another solution is the TruRest, a foldaway contraption that promises to support your body in a forward leaning position, letting you supposedly sleep comfortably even on a cramped economy class seat.
The decision by airlines to make the flying experience even more awful by cramming as many passengers as possible into long metal tubes has spawned entire industries devoted to trying to make air travel slightly more tolerable. The neck pillow has been reinvented again and again in an attempt to make it more comfortable to sleep in a cramped seat, but those of us who find it easier to doze while slumped forward find them mostly useless.
Travel pillow alternatives have popped up in recent years to accommodate sleeping while leaning forward in a seat, including giant inflatable pillows that rest on the seat tray, but wrangling them can be challenge when you’re on an aisle seat and the person sitting next to you needs to slip out to the bathroom. The TruRest is an alternative to those inflatable pillows, providing more support to front-leaning sleepers without exhausting their lungs.
Packing away into an included carrying case that looks a bit larger than a case for a nice pair of noise-cancelling headphones, the TruRest unfolds to provide a support for both a traveller’s head—with a padded ring reminiscent of laying face down on a massage table—and a padded support for their torso, while securely clamping to the seat’s tray table.
As a traveller who often struggles to catch some shut eye on flights unless an impending departure has me up at 3am to get to the airport on time, I’m at the point where I’m willing to try almost anything that doesn’t wrap around my neck. But I do have some serious concerns with relying on a tray table to support my body weight. Those tray tables rival the toilet paper in the bathrooms as the flimsiest thing on an airplane. I’m also worried about what might happen when I get comfortable and the person in front of me decides to fully recline their seat. The tray table isn’t supposed to move when they do, but we all know that’s as big a lie as the pilot telling everyone “it will be just a few more minutes” before departure.
The creators of the TruRest are hoping to make their invention a reality through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, which has already surpassed its modest funding goal. If you’re eager to try one out, you can pre-order the TruRest for just $125 as part of a “Super Early Bird” promotion for the earliest backers, but the full pricing looks like it will be closer to $165 once all of those are claimed.
Don’t be too eager to get your hands on one, however, as it looks like the TruRest won’t ship out to backers until January 2024, at the earliest, and that’s assuming there are no unforeseen issues as the team puts this thing into production. Crowdfunding platforms let creators offset financial risks onto the consumer, so even with a product lacking complex electronics, every Kickstarter comes with a healthy dose of buyer beware, as too many of them have unfortunately completely failed to deliver anything at all—including refunds.