Recently, while traveling out of state, I made the decision to take my 17” laptop instead of my tablet. I have to work while traveling, and as a writer, the laptop just seems to be the choice for productivity. Boy, was I wrong. Within the tight confines of a commercial airplane, my large laptop just wasn’t practical anymore. There was a time when those traveling on commercial jets would have a fair chance of an open seat next to them. Those days are long gone. The airline industry makes sure that flights are packed full and a tablet becomes a lifesaver in these conditions.
I had left my laptop bag at home in favor of a backpack, in order to hold more items for a 6-day trip with no checked bags. My laptop was wedged into the backpack and could hardly be squeezed out even at the security checkpoint. Once back in place, it was impractical to remove again in the packed plane. By leaving my tablet at home, I had really shot myself in the foot. Sitting next to me on the four segments of my trip, and in other rows, were passengers who had brought along tablets like the Microsoft Surface and the ASUS Vivotab Smart or the HP Slatebook. All with their keyboards, they provided a means to achieve productivity within a small footprint.
A lesson learned. While I relied on my iPod Touch for some musical entertainment, I longed for the benefits of my tablet, even minus a keyboard, to watch videos on or to read a book. The many uses for a tablet on an airplane cannot be overstated. They are just the best travel companion. And, during the 18 hours I spent on planes during the trip, I would have got so much more done if I would have taken along a tablet with an integrated keyboard. They fit smartly on those small drop-down tables and allow for typing or movie viewing. A tablet has become the ultimate trip must-have.