Currently, the space on the seats of a plane have increasingly become small and therefore compromising your comfort. This has necessitated the need to carry personal items that may help you get comfortable during your flight. So are pillows part of these items?
Can you bring a pillow on a plane? Yes, you can bring your pillow to your flight. Most airlines treat pillow as a carry-on item, therefore, charging no extra cost. However, some planes have strict regulations that may need you to pay an extra amount to bring your pillow with you. Even more diverse is that other airlines tend to treat pillows as checked baggage. How you carry the pillow depends on other factors as discussed below.
This article will look into factors that determine how you carry a pillow to a plane, types of travel pillows, how to select a good travel pillow and other travel pillow related questions.
Factors that Determine how You a Carry Your Pillow in a Plane
As mentioned above, depending on the airline you use, your pillow may be treated as either a carry- on or checked baggage to be placed with other luggage. Should it be treated as the latter, you may have to pay an extra amount.
However, most airlines have a general rule of allowing passengers to carry two personal items. In most cases, it is usually a bag and another item including, a hat, coat, book or even a pillow. When this happens, you do not have to pay any extra fee for your pillow.
So, how do airlines determine what is carry-on luggage and what is checked baggage. Well again, this varies with the individual airline. For instance, one airline may just estimate your personal items and determine if they are too large or not. On the other hand, most airlines will require you to fit your personal luggage in a premeasured container to determine if it is sizeable for a carry-on. Yet still, other airlines do not really bother with carry-on luggage.
That said though, factors that will determine if you are allowed to carry your pillow in a plane go beyond the type of airline. They include:
The size of your pillow matters; it can determine if you will carry it to the plane or surrender it as checked baggage.
For starters, standard-sized pillows are large as compared to travel pillows. As such, it may be awkward when you are trying to pass through security at the airport. Not only will you attract the attention of the security but also those of other passengers.
Moreover, even though most large pillows are fluffy and can be rolled and compressed, their size may hinder them from fitting within your carry on. When this happens, you may be forced to pay an extra amount for your pillow.
Still, on size, should you miss a window seat on the plane, the big pillow may be a nuisance to the neighboring passenger. Big pillows can also occupy a lot of space before you settle which will generally draw attention to you. However, that said, should you secure a seat next to the window, then you can rest assured you are about to have one heavy, comfortable nap during a flight.
- Passenger’s View
As mentioned above, some passengers may not be so happy with your pillow around. Apart from slightly disrupting their comfort as you would to your neighbor, other passengers may be just jealous.
For instance, some may feel you are bringing your personal germs and bacteria to the plane. Imagine if you are trying to support your neck on a long trip and your neighbor has comfortably plunged his head on a big pillow. You might be a little jealous, right?
Alternative Pillows for Travelling
Now that we know that the size of a pillow determines if it can be allowed in a plane or not, what alternative to a standard size pillow do we have?
Do not worry; you do not have to tag along with your big fluffy pillow when you can get travel pillows. Travel pillows come in different designs and weight and are meant to see to it that you sleep comfortably even with strangers in the plane.
Types of Travel Pillows
Memory foam travel pillows
These are considered the most comfortable types of travel pillows. Memory foam travel pillows are built to be firm and offer consistent support to your neck and head. Due to their high quality, they are also the most expensive travel pillows in the market. Other than their firmness, these pillows are also compact and can fit in your luggage.
Inflatable Travel Pillows
They are usually u-shaped and are inflated and deflated for compactness. If you are looking for a lightweight travel pillow, which is convenient, an inflatable travel pillow might be helpful.
Microbead Travel Pillows
These types of pillows are filled with polystyrene beads on the inside. They are also u- shaped but due to the beads, they are a little stiff and not compactible. Microbead travel pillows are considered to offer the least comfort and convenience since they are not light.
These pillows offer comfort for travelers who tend to sleep with their head arched forward.
How to Choose a Good Travel Pillow
Before you can enjoy the luxury of a travel pillow, you will have to select the best. It doesn’t help that the portable pillow market is currently swamped with pillows of all types. So how do you select a good travel pillow?
The following are factors you should consider before selecting a travel pillow.
- Head and Neck Support
Before buying a travel pillow, consider how you sleep. Do you lean forward or backward? Have you ever slept during a car ride and woken up with a stiff neck?
Well, a good travel pillow should offer support to both your neck and head to avoid this stiffness. To do this, it should support the weight of the head from the sides starting from the ear level. With a good travel pillow, you should feel safe to relax your neck muscles and sleep.
To pick a good neck support travel pillow, test them before purchase. Rest your head to the side of the pillow, if your head remains steady, then the pillow is good to use, but should your head fall to the side, you might want to test a different pillow. Even better, while testing, request for a recliner that imitates the seat of an airplane.
Alternatively, there are specific pillows that are known for good neck support. They include a memory foam travel pillow and an inflatable pillow. For those that lean forward when sleeping, neck braces can be resourceful in offering the head and neck support.
Other than the head and neck support, a good travel pillow should be soft and plush. The whole idea of having a travel pillow is to be comfortable during your flight, so you may as well go all-in when it comes to matters comfort.
- Size and Weight
Choosing a good travel pillow based on its size and weight boils down to convenience. Listen you are traveling, not moving out to a new home. As such, it is recommended you go for a small lightweight travel pillow.
A good travel pillow should be compact enough to secure it in your luggage. It is not only convenient as stated above but also reduces the chance of extra charges.
When it comes to this, memory foam and inflatable travel pillows come in handy since they are light pillows and can easily be secured in your luggage.
On the other hand, a microbead travel pillow is bulky making it less convenient.
- Type of Fabric
The type of fabric of your pillow will determine if your flight is comfortable or not. For instance, plastic travel pillows tend to cause some irritation to the skin.
When choosing the fabric of your travel pillow consider the climate of your destination. For hot climate, cotton and smooth plastic work best. On the other hand, for cold climate, fleece will do you justice
This is not a popular factor but it a profound hack. If you have carried a plane before, you will realize that it is normal to, leave your travel pillow behind especially if the color of your pillow and that given in a plane are similar.
It is embarrassing to have people looking at you like you would steal a pillow even when the pillow is yours. To avoid all these, purchase a pillow with a different color. A color that is not common for pillows
Colored pillows can also be useful when you go to motels. So that you don’t have to be suspected of stealing a motel or lodging pillows
The lifespan of your Travel Pillow
If you are a frequent traveler, you might want to invest in a durable travel pillow. The idea of buying a travel pillow every time you travel is not only costly but also monotonous and boring.
Therefore, to get the value of your money, go for a high-quality travel pillow even when it is relatively expensive. Remember, you are not only paying for quality, comfort but also longevity.
As such, a travel pillow with a zip cover may be a durable pillow. It is also favorable since it allows you to clean the cover often
Why not just use the pillow offered in a plane?
For a long time, airlines have been known to provide pillows and blankets for a comfortable flight. However, other than due to comfort, this trend has slowly been eroded. The hygienic conditions of these pillows have been questioned and even worse, flight attendants have revealed that sometimes, pillows are not cleaned after use.
This has contributed to why you should avoid these pillows offered in a plane. To start, just in case they are not washed after the previous use, you risk sleeping on bacteria, dust and dead skin that may have accumulated. Notice that this can also lead to other skin conditions
So, why not carry your pillow that you know exactly where it has been. Also, travel experts recommend carrying your own travel pillow.
How can I tell if the pillow in a plane is clean?
If you insist on using the pillow offered by airlines or you cannot afford a travel pillow at the moment, here is how you tell if the pillow is clean or not. According to flight attendants, they advise that if a pillow is wrapped in plastic, then they have the seal of approval from the airline that they have been washed.
However, if a pillow is presented to you without the seal, then it is possible it has been recycled from previous use without been cleaned. In such a case, avoid using such pillows.