Name: Sure Fit Travel Cover
What it is: A fabric cover that fits over the back of an airplane, train or bus seat, ostensibly creating a barrier between you and whatever the previous passenger left there.
How it works: The cover is one piece of stretchy fabric with a large pocket, not unlike a kangaroo's pouch. It comes with a square zippered carrying case made of the same fabric. You unfold the cover and slide the pouch portion over the back of the seat.
No other installation is required.
The good: The cover is simple to install, and the material — 94 percent polyester and 6 percent spandex — is very soft. It fit the seat on my recent flight well and didn't slide or become bunched up, so it didn't impede me in any way. Once you slide it on, in fact, you won't even notice it's there. For those who quail at the thought of the drool or other objectionable residues left by countless former passengers on the seat, the cover might provide some peace of mind.
The bad: In this age of the H1N1flu pandemic, it's impossible to know if the seat cover would protect passengers from such potent germs. It's not advertised as being able to block bacteria or viruses. Also, when you install the cover, it covers up the tray lock on the back of your seat. The passenger behind you can move it aside easily to operate the lock. The passenger behind me didn't mind, but that won't always be the case. Also, the cover only covers the back of your seat, not the cushion you sit on, which could harbor germs and unsa-vory substances. What I disliked the most, though, was that when the pouch is folded into its zippered case, it measures 7 by 6 1/2 by 3 inches. That might not sound like much, but it takes up valuable real estate in a carry-on bag. In fact, I decided not to use it on the return trip for just that reason.
Cost: $14.99, plus $8 shipping if bought online
Available from: SureFit.com and some Bed, Bath & Beyond stores