More and more people enjoy traveling annually. Thus, with limited seating capacity to accommodate hundreds of passengers per flight, airlines sometimes do not pay much attention to the passenger’s comfort anymore. You may notice that while pillows and blankets were abundant in your flight a couple of years ago, currently, you may find these amenities unavailable anymore.
For longer flights, passengers may opt to bring their own pillow and blanket to keep themselves comfortable and cozy. However, you might be wondering, does a travel pillow count as a personal item? Do airlines allow passengers to carry them onboard? Or do you need to pay extra just so you can sleep the flight away? This article will answer your questions about whether or not it’s acceptable to bring your own pillow on a flight.
Bringing a Pillow During Flights
Generally, the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, does not mind passengers bringing along a pillow when onboard. They only prohibit items that are deemed “security-risk.” Since pillows are not a security threat, then they do allow them. So yes, you can get past the security carrying your fluffy pillow. Some may tuck small pillows inside their luggage or even their carry-on bags. However, whether you can bring it onboard will still be determined by the airline.
>> Worried about jet lag? Try taking a jet lag pill.
Types of Pillows
For some airlines, the type of pillow may impact whether they will allow you to bring it on board.
Travel Neck Pillow
A travel pillow is probably the most popular type of pillow usually brought during travels. As its name suggests, it’s small enough that it can easily rest on your neck while boarding. Some airlines actually consider neck pillows as part of your clothing rather than your baggage. You might easily pass through gate agents even when you have a neck pillow worn.
Some passengers also strap on their neck pillow in their wheeled bags and just take them out when they have boarded the plane already. Its small size also allows you to tuck it inside your carry-on, so you can take it out easily when it’s time for a nap.
Some people find unique ways to hide stuff they want to carry on board from gate agents. However, a full-size pillow may not be so easy to hide. Due to its size, some airlines may disallow you from bringing it during your flight. Firstly, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may deem a full-size pillow as an impediment for emergency situations.
Most economy flights only allow two places for baggage storage- one in the overhead bin and another one under your chair. If you have a suitcase and a carry-on, bringing another full-size pillow means you have three items you need to tuck away while on a flight. Having a pillow on hand means another carry-on. So, to answer the question, does a travel pillow count as a personal item? Apparently, a full-size pillow may be too big to consider as a personal item, so carrying it won’t help much.
If you really see the need to bring a full-size pillow during a flight, you can try to pack it inside one of your bags. Find a smaller pillow that can fit easily in your carry-on so you won’t have a problem with gate agents. Some passengers also use compression packing, so you won’t need to worry about your pillow taking too much space in your bags. Compress it when boarding, and decompress it when it’s time to sleep.
For personal items, different airlines might have different limitations in terms of carrying a personal item. For most flights, you are only allowed a carry-on bag and a personal item like a backpack. Some airlines even impose strict measurements on what they consider personal items. So do check with your airline prior to your flight so you won’t need to leave anything behind as you board your plane.
Though neck pillows may not be an issue, a standard size may not always be acceptable. So to avoid any hassle during the flight, find a smaller pillow or a neck pillow you can easily tuck in your bag. Jackets, books, together with your neck pillow, are all considered a part of your attire. So you won’t have a problem bringing them with you on board. Anything you cannot fit inside your bag may be considered as another item, which may require additional costs.
Keeping yourself comfortable during long flights is essential, especially when you have kids or older people with you. Blankets and pillows ensure you’ll have a relaxing rest while waiting for the plane to reach your destination. However, due to luggage restrictions, you may not be allowed to bring a full-size pillow when boarding.
Thus, the most practical thing to do is to bring a neck pillow since it’s considered as part of your clothing, rather than an extra personal item. Most airlines have strict luggage protocols, so to avoid all the hassle, it’s best to bring a pillow you can easily keep in your bag. You can also compress your pillow so you can bring other more important items such as a laptop, a backpack, or a handbag.
While comfort is essential, we also have to abide by the rules so that we can have a hassle-free travel. You can also contact your airline prior to your trip to ensure that what you plan to bring on board is accepted and can get past all gate agents. We hope that everything was made clear and your question “Does a travel pillow count as a personal item?” was answered.