Opinion: Snazzy way to nap in airports

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We had just landed at LAX, excited about our vacation. I saw a man in the terminal, head slumped over, legs draped over his carry-on bag. What caught my attention was the odd blanket covering his head and chest. Only his nose was visible.

Sacking out in airports has become commonplace. Canceled flights, airlines that won’t spring for hotels and long delays between connections all contribute to the need to toss and turn right alongside the tarmac.

A website, sleepinginairports.net, offers tips for people who get stuck overnight between flights. Apparently, what he was wearing is called The Snazzy Napper (at least, that’s what he told me when I woke him up). This is a solution for travelers who have desperately sought a flattering way to position themselves while sleeping at the airport or in their seats aboard the aircraft. Now, you can scrunch and contort any humiliating which-way. Drool and scratch to your heart’s content: the Snazzy Napper will protect your identity.

This colorful piece of cloth fully covers your head and neck like a burqa, admittedly not the most inconspicuous garb at airports nowadays. The Snazzy Napper has one hole for your nose or, if you have a cold, you can mouth-breathe there. You could place your eye or ear in the aperture, but you might suffocate, a minor design flaw casually referenced on the warning label. It also says not to drive a car or operate machinery while using their product, especially if you feel drowsy … which I thought was the whole reason to wear the thing.

When the item was first introduced, it was a big hit. But there were critics. One woman threatened a lawsuit, not because it didn’t work, but because it did. She caught some great zzz’s as her purse, iPhone and carry-on luggage were all stolen during her snoozefest.

One couple tried theirs on in the car before they left for the airport. They missed their flight, having lost precious minutes convincing a police officer that they were not on their way to a bank heist. Another guy was annoyed that the product didn’t come with a more complete set of instructions, which is odd: All you have to do is find the hole in the blanket and then stick your nose through it.

Folks who called The Snazzy Napper hotline were surprised that no one answered. Considering the product they’re hawking, it’s easy to conjure up a good mental image of what was going on in their call center.

Mary Ellen tried to order me a Snazzy Napper, because on our flight home, I snored, drooled and fidgeted in my seat. Luckily, it’s no longer available, so I’ll never have to drape myself in that contraption … but I only avoided it by a nose.

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