Travel Tips

Can You Bring A Pillow On A Plane? What You Need to Know

Bringing a pillow on a plane looks like no big deal at all. Isn’t it? However, that’s not the case!

I know you’re confused with questions like “can you bring a pillow on a plane?” or something like “Do pillows count as a carry-on?” etc. With so many options for pillows to choose from and various (often complicated) airline rules and regulations, it’s not a cakewalk. If you fly frequently, you’d probably have the experience of how uncomfortable economy seats are. And, this case gets worse if you’re traveling on a long-haul flight. It can be nothing less than a nightmare for some.

Now, You don’t need to worry because I got you all pillow-related concerns checked below. You will come across paragraphs covering every doubt and a few essential matters you should know about the processes you’ve to go through to bring pillows on airplanes. 

Do Airlines Allow Pillows On A Plane?

Do Airlines Allow Pillows On A Plane

TSA is the body that ensures flight security. According to their website, they don’t have any problem with pillows. They don’t see them as a threat to security, which means you can bring your pillow packed in either your checked bag or in your carry-on bag.

But, not all airlines accept this. In a few instances, some lost-cost airlines have charged extra to bring a full-sized pillow. You might think that wearing a neck pillow should be treated as clothing instead of luggage, but it depends entirely on that airline. 

Bringing Pillows in Carry-On vs. Checked Baggage

A. Distinction between Items Allowed in Carry-On vs. Checked Baggage:

  1. Carry-on baggage: a. Overview of items typically allowed in carry-on luggage, such as personal items, electronics, and medications. b. Explanation of size and weight restrictions for carry-on luggage imposed by airlines.
  2. Checked baggage: a. Discussion on items permitted in checked baggage, including larger and potentially hazardous items. b. Mention of restrictions on liquids, sharp objects, and flammable materials in checked baggage.

B. Security Screening Processes for Pillows in Each Type of Baggage:

  1. Carry-on baggage: a. Description of security screening procedures for carry-on luggage at airport checkpoints. b. Explanation of how pillows are screened using X-ray machines and may be subject to additional inspection.
  2. Checked baggage: a. Overview of security screening processes for checked baggage at airport terminals. b. Mention of the use of advanced scanning equipment to screen larger items in checked luggage.

C. Factors to Consider When Deciding Whether to Pack Pillows in Carry-On or Checked Baggage:

  1. Comfort and convenience: a. Consideration of the traveler’s comfort needs during the flight. b. Evaluation of whether having a pillow readily accessible during the flight is necessary.
  2. Space and weight limitations: a. Assessment of available space in carry-on luggage and potential impact on other essential items. b. Consideration of weight restrictions for carry-on luggage and potential additional fees for exceeding limits.
  3. Security concerns: a. Deliberation on the risk of damage or theft if packing pillows in checked baggage. b. Evaluation of potential delays or inconvenience during security screening if pillows are packed in carry-on luggage.

Carry On Size Limits & Personal Items

Generally, most airlines have standard measurement limits for carry-on bags, and what can they allow as a carry-on? Perception of carry-on varies from airline to airline. Some airlines want you to place your baggage inside a premeasured container to check whether it fits or not, while others might even ignore it altogether, assuming the passenger has read the rules.

It is better to get in touch and speak with your airline before the flight to know about their policies so that you don’t have to pay extra baggage charges or be forced to check your items.

Most airlines only allow travel pillows. More giant pillows may not be permitted because it comes with safety risks. Fellow passengers may even complain if it is invading their personal space.

Neck Pillows and Inflatable Pillows

These couple of pillows are excellent for traveling purposes. Neck Pillows are designed in a way to support your neck, holding its natural posture when you’re resting or sleeping during the flight. They are generally found in U-shape, but new neck pillows are also found in a handful of other shapes. Neck pillows are small so that you can bring them in carry-on or hand. Neck Pillows can also be deflated whenever not in use, which can save a lot of space. Airlines permit passengers who carry these types of pillows, provided that they don’t exceed the size.

Inflatable Pillows are not permitted in planes. They are seen as a safety risk because they can often occupy space around 2-3 seats. In some cases, they can sometimes get in the way of passengers when everyone has to evacuate from the plane without any delay in case of any emergency. 

Tips for Traveling with Pillows

A. Packing Recommendations to Ensure Compliance with TSA Regulations:

  1. Choose the right size: Opt for a travel-sized or compact pillow that fits within TSA regulations for carry-on luggage dimensions.
  2. Pack strategically: Place the pillow in a dedicated section of your carry-on bag to ensure easy accessibility during security screening.
  3. Consider compression bags: Utilize compression bags to reduce the size of your pillow and maximize space in your luggage.
  4. Know the rules: Familiarize yourself with TSA guidelines regarding pillows and ensure compliance with any specific regulations or restrictions.

B. Communicating with Airline Staff and Security Personnel about Pillows in Luggage:

  1. Be transparent: Inform airline staff during check-in or security screening if you have a pillow in your carry-on or checked baggage.
  2. Cooperate during screening: Follow instructions from TSA agents and be prepared to remove the pillow from your bag for inspection if requested.
  3. Provide necessary information: Be ready to explain the presence of the pillow and its intended use if questioned by airline staff or security personnel.

C. Strategies for Safely Transporting Pillows without Causing Inconvenience or Delays:

  1. Secure packaging: Use a durable pillowcase or travel pouch to protect the pillow from damage during transit.
  2. Avoid overpacking: Ensure that the pillow is packed snugly in your luggage to prevent shifting or displacement during travel.
  3. Plan ahead: Allow extra time for security screening if you anticipate that your luggage may require additional inspection due to the presence of a pillow.
  4. Consider alternative options: If traveling with a pillow proves cumbersome or impractical, explore alternatives such as purchasing a pillow at your destination or using available amenities provided by airlines or accommodations.

Frequently-asked Questions

Question:- Does a pillow count as a personal item or carry-on?

Answer:- Airline luggage regulations rules differ from one airline to the other. Full-service airlines like Delta, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines got no problems with pillows being carried as a personal item or carry-on. Whereas low-cost airlines like Spirit & Frontier always try to apply luggage penalties on passengers to recover margins. Suppose a passenger carrying a pillow in his hand might get under the scanner. 

It would help if you packed your pillow inside a small bag and stuffed it well inside it to get its measurement more diminutive than the limits. 

Question:-  I bring a full-size pillow on a plane?

Answer:- Yes, Most airlines will count a full-size pillow as a carry-on item. If you’re carrying a small pillow, there will be no obligations from TSA or most airlines. But, still, it is advised to contact the support department of the airline you’re going to travel to.

Question:- Is a travel pillow worth it?

Answer:- Yes, travel pillows are always a better idea. Although most travel pillows suck, a good travel pillow is always worth it. A travel pillow will surely help you get proper rest if you’re traveling on an overnight flight.

Question:- Can you bring a pillow to American Airlines?

Answer:- Yes, You are permitted to bring a pillow, but you need to pack your pillow inside one of either bags when boarding the plane. 

Question:- Can you bring a pillow and blanket on a plane?

Answer:- Yes, airlines usually allow a person to carry one personal item. That can be a laptop, purse, briefcase. However, a blanket is not categorized with these things. But, still, airlines allow passengers to take a jacket, a newspaper, a hat, a book, and a blanket as well.


With an increase in the number of small seats to accommodate more passengers in flight. Your comfort level has to be compromised. That’s why most of the passengers try to bring their own sleep products. There is no valid reason, because of which you can’t get your pillow—just being aware that different airlines may view it in different ways and even ask for extra fees.

If you are about to take a long-haul flight, and before you pack your luggage and head to the airport. A pillow can help you get some much-needed Z’s. It is always a better idea to bring with you a travel pillow that fits entirely to all measurement standards, and the airline will permit you to take it inside the cabin.

If you are carrying a standard-sized pillow, try to fold it so that it can fit well inside your carry-on. But to be on the safer side and avoid any allegations from the airline authority, always consider contacting the agent and clarifying any doubt with the airline before your flight takes off.  

Hi, I'm Bhavesh Bhati thanks for visiting my blog! I've been traveling and exploring epic locations around the world for the last four years. I'm always looking for real adventures like treks, waterfalls, and Offroading!

Write A Comment