Yesterday I posted one of the longest articles I’ve ever written, reviewing British Airways first class. However, despite the exhaustive review and scores of glistening photos, all anyone wanted to talk about in the comments was my little USB fan. I bring the fan with me any time I’m flying an airline that has no individual air vents, since I’m almost always too warm. Given the interest in the fan, I thought it warranted its own post.
This is also a good opportunity to chastise airlines for opting not to install individual vents, since there’s literally no reason not to at least give passengers the option to be cold. I’ve read that it’s mostly due to cultural differences, since ubiquitous air conditioning is much less common in Europe and Asia than in the US, and people are generally more comfortable being warm than Americans are. However, that’s still not a reason to omit the vents, since the vents only cool one specific passenger, not the entire plane. If everyone on the plane except one person wants to sit and stew in their own sweat, allowing that one person to enjoy a blast of cold air isn’t going to disrupt anyone else.
Also, as a perpetually warm person, I feel like I have to repeat this over and over again: YOU CAN ALWAYS PUT A BLANKET ON IF YOU’RE COLD, BUT YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING ONCE YOU’RE TOO HOT. People who complain about being cold are really just complaining about forgetting to bring adequate insulation with them. People who complain about being too hot are rightly frustrated that there’s nothing they can do to get comfortable, so their complaints are more meaningful.
So about my fan: it’s called the “Arctic Breeze”, which wildly overclaims its effectiveness. I’ve paired it with an Anker Astro E1 portable power supply, which provides hours and hours of arctic breezes on one charge.
As you can see in the photo, the power supply is flat enough that you can set it on a table with the gooseneck bent up so the fan blows right at you. However, since there’s no guard around the fan blades, you’ll want to hold it in your hand for safety’s sake if there’s any turbulence at all.
Does it work? It depends how hot you are. I tried using and after running to catch a train in Switzerland while lugging a heavy suitcase, and it did almost nothing. It was probably 90 degrees outside and roughly double that inside the train, and I was so overheated that anything short of an ice bath wasn’t going to help out that much. However, on my British Airways flight, I was a little warm but not uncomfortably hot, and the fan did make a pretty big difference.
If I ever fly on an Asian airline, I’m going to need some heavier artillery, since I have a feeling those planes will be swelteringly hot, rather than just a few shades warmer than ideal. In that case, I’d probably go with something like this, since the clip attachment system lends itself well to the plane environment. I don’t love the amount of room it would take up in my carry-on, but the degree to which I hate being too hot more than justifies the downside of carrying something like this around in my backpack.
Finally, I should give credit to aviation and #PaxEx superjournalist John Walton, who frequently chides ventless airlines, and whose Twitter account alerted me to the Arctic Breeze + Anker combo in the first place. If you aren’t following him on all platforms, you should be… however, he has thousands of followers, so it’s much more likely that you follow him and have never heard of me.
Okay, now that all this fan business has been addressed, I can get back to the slew of posts that have been piling up over the last couple weeks. I hope I’ve satisfied your hunger for all things fan, and feel free to leave additional fan suggestions/ideas in the comments.