Am I the only one to always feel freezing on planes? One glass of champagne is never going to stop me bleating to flight attendants about why the AC has to be so fearsome before take-off. Usually I carry a blanket-sized shawl to wrap up in – an item that leaves not an inch of room in my carry-on bag – so it was a stroke of genius for a dear friend to present me with a Casha poncho (£160).
Casha was founded in 2009 by businesswoman Vanessa Wright, herself a regular international traveller, who was given a similar cashmere poncho by a friend who had visited Nepal. It quickly became one of her favourite possessions when she realised what a difference it made to the comfort of a long-haul flight. Buoyed by the number of times people asked her where to buy one, she decided to launch her own range and found a small business in Nepal from which to commission similar ones. Casha ponchos are made using 100 per cent of the best cashmere – from the downy undercoat of the goat – and come in 10 mainly neutral colours. My own is a soft and versatile ocean grey.
The beauty of a Casha is not only is it cosily warm, it is more elegant than my thick, wool wrap. Casha fans are just as likely to wear these ponchos off the plane as on it. Measuring 70cm by 70cm, a single one is small enough when folded – about 16cm sq – to pop in a handbag. Genius. It can also double as a very handy, cosy pillow. As Wright says, “They are perfect for air-conditioned places at night.”
Not only am I now a much happier, warmer traveller, but I suspect flight attendants are offering silent thanks to Casha too.