The HeadNest — a travel essential


The HeadNest — a travel essential

Sunday, July 30, 2017

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We were there with him Sunday afternoons spent watching Sex and The City at his Jack's Hill family home and in front-row seats at many a fashion show. In between there was marriage, fatherhood, corporate postings, photography and a sojourn in Spain at the IE Business School in Madrid where he successfully defended his dissertation in December 2016 and will take his walk in September 2017, formally receiving his PhD in Management, with a focus on Entrepreneurship Gavin Beckford has remained dogged in his resolve to do the best with whatever hand he's served. And that he's done from Detroit, Michigan where he now resides. Dr Beckford has combined resources with his wife Chrystal to help bring her airline travel headrest cover, the HeadNest, to fruition.

SO got news of the July 3 soft launch and is now eager to share news about The HeadNest, a travel innovation from Tranquil Traveller Products created by Beckord and his wife Chrystal, a flight attendant.

What's the HeadNest? “It is,” explained Beckord, “a reusable protective barrier to prevent the head, face, neck and small personal devices from coming in contact with dirt, dangerous germs and viruses left behind by previous passengers.”

Who would have thunk it? The Beckfords would have! They did the analysis and identified three distinct needs among passengers: a clean seating environment, protection of personal electronic devices and a hygienically safe travel experience that were unmet by the travel industry. According to Chrystal, “most travellers do not realise that the entire aircraft is thoroughly cleaned only once per day... overnight when it remains at an airport for maintenance. That means that your plane seat is only truly clean on the first flight out. During the day that same aircraft is given a 'once-over' during a turnaround. The primary areas of consideration are the floors, lavatories and trash from the seatback pockets, tray tables, head and armrests and screens. Seats cannot be cleaned thoroughly for upwards of 150 seating units at that time”. Plus, we all know the pressure airlines are under to stay on schedule.

“Passengers,” continued Chrystal, “often touch unsanitary surfaces without properly cleaning their hands, then touch their headrest and the headrest of other seats on their way to and from their seats. Let's not forget the tray tables, belt buckles and seat pockets; all areas that passengers interact with then touch their personal devices and then their face.”

The HeadNest not only protects the face, neck and head but also has a small pocket area for personal devices. Convenient loops also allow passengers to keep earbuds off the seat, tray table, or carpet where they are susceptible to contamination or damage. The HeadNest fits the new-generation seating offered on all major carriers, notably American, Delta, United and regional carriers. These airlines have converted most of their fleet to new-generation seating units which have four-way functional headrests that are separate from the seating unit. HeadNests are available in a variety of limited-edition colours to fit first-class or main cabin seating.

As small business owners it was important that the enterprising duo utilise other small businesses and local job skill programmes in the creation of the HeadNest. One such manufacturer is the St Luke's New Life Center in Flint, Michigan. St Luke's hosts a sewing programme to help women overcome poverty and abuse by developing the skills that go into the creation of the HeadNest. Also behind the manufacturing of the HeadNest are a Pontiac, Michigan-based manufacturer that employs local community college students who have their career sights set on design and another Michigan-based manufacturer which began operations in 1902.

With summer holidays still uppermost in our minds, check out the website at for both main and first-class head nests.

SO's not done yet! Dr Beckford's goal is to build a bridge between Detroit and Kingston, two cities in which he observes many similarities. “The challenges, spirit, pride, and opportunities are very similar between Kingston and Detroit,” he notes. “It is my hope that I can take the best from each and apply them respectively, so that both can thrive.” One such opportunity is the use of Grow Towers, an aquaponics-based agricultural system, which he has implemented in a local high school as a member of a Detroit-based foundation. Beckford sees this as a possible solution to many agricultural and unemployment challenges in Jamaica. “The ability to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables in a controlled environment, without soil and pesticides, could be a game-changer for Jamaica, creating new use for dilapidated buildings and employment directly in urban communities. In addition, being grown in a secure building, there is greater protection against praedial larceny,” he says.

As we ready to celebrate #Jamaica55 we look forward to more innovations from Jamaicans on and off The Rock.

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