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Turn Your iPad Into an Airplane Seat-Back Video Screen Using 2 Cents’ Worth of Materials

Turn Your iPad Into an Airplane Seat-Back Video Screen Using 2 Cents’ Worth of Materials

October 28, 2012

I’ve been flying more than usual the last couple of years, partly thanks to my job, and my iPad has made these travel experiences so much more enjoyable. I just load up my iPad with episodes of Top Chef, Downton Abbey, and other stuff and immerse myself for a few hours. Even after an intercontinental flight, I have plenty of charge left.

Unfortunately, an iPad propped on a seat tray doesn’t provide a very good viewing angle. You’re forced to crane your neck downward quite a bit. During longer flights, this can get uncomfortable. The best position is obviously eye level: right where a seat-back video screen is always mounted.

Earlier this year, on a flight to London on Virgin Atlantic, it occurred to me that I might be able to use a piece of string to hang my iPad’s case from the crevasse at the top of the seat in front of me. Since I didn’t have a piece of string, I used my iPhone earbuds cable instead. It worked great:

iPad as airplane video screen

A few weeks ago, for another trip to London on Virgin Atlantic, I made sure to pack a piece of string. Voilà:

iPad as airplane seat-back video screen

iPad as airplane seat-back video screen

The screen isn’t quite eye level, but it’s a big improvement.

This trick won’t work on all kinds of planes, because airline seats often don’t have the crevasse at the top. On that same overseas trip this month, I flew to Reykjavik on Iceland Express and was out of luck:

iPad as airplane seat-back video screen

I can imagine other tricks like this — for example, a lightweight iPad holder that could be attached to the left and right sides of the seat-back cushion via nondestructive pins or clips.

Better options will eventually emerge. Until then, I’m pretty happy with this.

(On another note: Go to Iceland. It’s amazing.)