It’s a rare and beautiful thing when a Kickstarter seedling blossoms into a real product, and all the more so when itâ€™s one that could make a meaningful impact on your life. Or at least, the part of it you spend inside and airplane. The premise behind Craig Rabinâ€™s Airhook sounds, appropriately enough, like something out of SkyMall: a cup holder that mounts to your upright tray, that can also hold your tablet or smartphone at eye level so that you can customize your in-flight entertainment. And like all great inventions, it was mothered by necessityâ€”or at least, inconvenience.â€œI was flying from Seattle to San Francisco basically just for lunch, so it was the only time Iâ€™d ever worn a sport coat on an airplane,â€ recalls Rabin, who was working as a â€œvirtual events consultantâ€ at the time. â€œI figured I had three options: Ask if they have room to hang it, let it get horribly wrinkled in the overhead, or I wear it and Iâ€™m just sweating buckets by the time we land.â€
There was no room to hang it. The overheads were full. Sweating it out wasnâ€™t acceptable. So Rabin spent the flight with jacket draped overlap, staring at the tray table in front of him, dreaming of a better way.