Get a grip: Flight attendant helps develop device to open minis

5/2/2014 3:59 p.m.

Alaska Airlines Flight Attendant Jennie Bartz has helped develop an innovative opener to twist the caps off mini bottles of alcohol served on airplanes.

"Anyone who has been tasked with opening a mini knows how hard it is and sometimes even impossible it can be to open one even for our customers," said Bartz, a Seattle-based flight attendant for more than six years. "I've had linebackers on a plane not be able to open their own mini and hand it to me completely embarrassed."

Jennie's solution is an innovative opener designed by her father, Robert Bartz of Yakima, Wash. In a nod to the airline industry, the opener is shaped like a propeller.

The project is seeking funding on Kickstarter.com , a website where creative projects try to connect with financial supporters. The project will be funded only if it reaches its $20,000 goal by May 6. So far, about 100 people, including CEO Brad Tilden, have contributed a total of $2,000 to the projet..

"We've made a few tweaks and think we have come up with the perfect tool to open the liquor mini bottles, beer bottles and aluminum can tabs," said Robert Bartz. "It's made her job as a flight attendant so much easier and we know it could help so many other people too."

Learn more about the project: Mini opener on Kickstarter


Robert Bartz first developed the opener as a surprise gift for Jennie's birthday almost three years ago, after she mentioned that she couldn't find a similar tool to do the trick.

"He's a very talented man, he can fix or build anything," Jennie said. "I was completely surprised and started using it right away at work. Instant success. It worked so perfectly. Other flight attendants started noticing me using the opener and wanted to know how I got it and where they could buy one."

She added: "I figured if I am going to be doing this job for awhile, I better do everything I can to protect my hands, arms and wrists."