Orders soar for Erewash pilot’s in-flight invention after TV success

Mike Channon, an airline pilot from West Hallam, has won retailers' support for his TabletHookz invention after appearing on Channel 4 programme Buy It Now. (Photo courtesy of Derbyshire Trading Standards)
Mike Channon, an airline pilot from West Hallam, has won retailers' support for his TabletHookz invention after appearing on Channel 4 programme Buy It Now. (Photo courtesy of Derbyshire Trading Standards)

An airline pilot from West Hallam has secured backing from three major retailers for his in-transit entertainment invention after appearing on a Channel 4 television show.

Mike Channon, 44, pitched his TabletHookz product on the new series Buy It Now, on Thursday, April 26, and was thrilled with the reception it got from consumers and industry buyers.

Mike's eureka moment came while travelling with his two young children.

Mike's eureka moment came while travelling with his two young children.

He said: “The audience and retailers placed combined orders with a retail value of £34,183 – not bad for a 90 second pitch.

“It was a great way to launch our product after a very humble crowdfunding start, which failed first time around. We’re now selling lots and getting enquires from airlines too with an interest in selling the product on-board, it seems the sky may not be the limit.”

TabletHookz is a small pocket sized mounting device which allows travellers to securely mount devices such as a tablet, phone or e-reader on the back of an airline, train or car seat to create their own personal hands-free entertainment at eye level.

It features elasticated clips to keep the device secure, offers variable viewing angles and can also be used as a traditional table-top stand.

The product can be attached to seatbacks in various ways, and features secure clips to keep the screen fixed in place.

The product can be attached to seatbacks in various ways, and features secure clips to keep the screen fixed in place.

Father-of-two Mike said: “The idea came about on our first family holiday. A lot of airlines no longer have in-flight entertainment on short or medium haul flights, so we’d taken iPads to keep the kids entertained.

“The problem was they didn’t want to hold their iPads and there just isn’t that much room with the trays down. There had to be a way I could mount their iPads to the back of the seat in-front without the need for the tray to be down.”

After first winning support from the studio audience, Mike faced some challenging questions from retailers.

Having impressed the experts, he secured initial orders from prezzybox.com, Clas Ohlson and JML.

The invention will be of use to travellers on short- and medium-haul flights which do not have entertainment systems.

The invention will be of use to travellers on short- and medium-haul flights which do not have entertainment systems.

Mike said: “I was trying not to smile like a Cheshire cat and remain calm. It couldn’t get much better.”

For more details, visit www.tablethookz.com or watch the episode online on All 4 at https://goo.gl/fvsXJY.

The device can also be used on car and train journeys.

The device can also be used on car and train journeys.