New business aims to make air travel easier
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Some people would think twice about starting a business during the uncertainty of COVID-19, but that isn’t stopping Jin Chen. On Monday, Chen was packing up the first batch of her new travel product, called a Planeket, to fill orders across the country.
Chen is a frequent flyer who also owns a travel business. Originally from Beijing, China, she has lived in Alaska for 10 years. Chen said there’s a lot about air travel she finds annoying.
“This is a product to solve all the problems that I personally have,” she said. “And I believe that represents a big percentage of the travelers out there.”
The Planeket is a compact pouch that clips onto your carry-on or purse. Inside is a blanket that comes with a special clip to keep it in place behind your neck. Chen said that feature also makes it popular as a nursing blanket since it won’t slip off. The Planeket can double as a pillow, and the case can convert to a stand to watch movies on your phone. There’s also a hidden compartment to store credit cards or cash.
Chen said she decided to launch her business now because, while COVID-19 had put the brakes on her travel business, it has also given her the time to research a product she’d wanted to make for years. In addition, she said, she considered Alaska’s future.
“I think it is trying to look far,” said Chen. “And I mean not in the next one or two years far, it’s next 10 or 20 years far.”
Chen said she is hoping to build a business that will bring more diversity to Alaska’s economy and the Planeket is a solid start. Right now the components for the product are made in different parts of the world and assembled in Anchorage. But Chen said if demand is high enough, she would like to bring the manufacturing process to Alaska as well.
“I am a huge believer in be the change you want to be, and I want to promote putting more jobs in Alaska.”
Chen is taking orders online for the product, which sells for $32.99. It can be shipped or picked up in Anchorage.
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