Can You Bring A Pillow On A Plane? (through TSA)

credit: Yay

Planes can be incredibly uncomfortable, especially if you are flying economy and it’s a long journey. A pillow to increase comfort and help you get some sleep can make a difference. The concern many passengers have is, can you bring a pillow on a plane?

Pillows are allowed on a plane as a personal item if it is small enough to fit under the seat. Larger pillows are permitted in checked luggage or should be packed inside carry-on bags. Full-sized pillows are treated as a carry-on item. Before flying, it is always best to check with the airline for clarity on bringing pillows.

Are Pillows Allowed On A Plane?

According to the TSA and FAA, pillows are allowed in checked baggage, hand luggage, and with specific limitations, a personal item. Pillows are not considered dangerous, so there is no problem if you want to travel with a pillow on a flight.

There are no issues if you want to take a pillow in checked luggage. If it fits and you don’t exceed your weight limit, you can take as many pillows as you want in your checked baggage. You can vacuum seal them before packing to maximize space.

Does A Neck Pillow Count As A Personal Item?

Neck pillows are the most common type of cushions passengers carry on flights. They help to keep your neck from falling to the side and reduce pain and stiffness. You can also put them on the fold-out desk compartment in front if you want to sleep leaning forward.

A neck pillow counts as a personal item, but if you have flown previously, you might have noticed that airlines don’t stop you from carrying it as an additional personal item if you already have one (like a purse).

woman with travel pillow and sleeping mask
Yay woman with travel pillow and sleeping mask

Airlines allow only one personal item and one carry-on in the cabin when you board the plane. Some airlines are strict about that rule, while others are not. If you have it hanging on your carry-on bag or purse, you may still be able to take it through.

Some airlines are stricter about their regulations and will only allow the neck pillow if it fits inside your purse or carry-on bag (if you have both). They might also allow it if you wear it around your neck when boarding.

If you want to be safe and prevent an issue during boarding, you should ensure that your neck pillow can fit into one of your bags and remove it once you get to your seat so you can use it during the flight.

Do Pillows Count As Hand Luggage?

Passengers can take a pillow on board as hand luggage. If your pillow can’t fit in your checked bag and you don’t have a carry-on or just need a purse and your pillow, you will be allowed to take your cushion as hand luggage.

If you carry a standard-size bed pillow, you can only bring it on the plane by taking it as a carry-on. It is too big to be a personal item, but remember you are only allowed one personal item and one hand luggage bag.

Keep your pillow safe and clean by placing it into a plastic bag or extra casing that you can remove and wash. You will have to put it in the overhead compartment unless using it on the plane will not affect the space of other passengers around you.

Can You Take A Full-Size Pillow On A Plane?

As mentioned in the previous point, full-size pillows like bed cushions that you sleep on are allowed on a plane. Because of the size, it is best to pack them in checked luggage and vacuum seal them to maximize space if needed.

Man holding on to pillow
Yay Man holding on to pillow

You can also roll them if necessary and place them in your carry-on bag or simply take the pillow itself as a hand luggage item. You will be asked to pay an additional fee if you have a full-size pillow and another carry-on bag.

Can A Pillow Fit Under The Airplane Seat?

If you want to take a pillow that fits under the airplane seat or as a personal item, airlines consider the size of a personal item 18″ x 14″ x 8″. A neck pillow or throw cushion generally fits under this category. Baby pillows and back support cushions also qualify.

Passengers can carry pillows of the stated size in the cabin and keep them on the seat. During take-off and landing, flight attendants may request you to place the pillow under the seat in front of you for safety reasons.

If you are using your neck pillow, you can keep it around your neck. Back support cushions can stay on the seat with you, but they should not obstruct your seat belt from buckling properly.

If your cushion is not in use or cannot fit under the seat appropriately, place it in the overhead compartment.

Can You Carry A Pillow In Addition To Your Personal Item?

One of the primary concerns passengers have is whether their pillow will be allowed on board if they have an existing personal item such as a backpack, purse, hat, etc. The airlines’ rules are that only one personal item and carry-on are permitted per passenger.

Happy man putting head on comfortable pillow to sleep
Yay Happy man putting head on comfortable pillow to sleep

That means if you have a carry-on, a personal item, and a pillow, you must try to fit your pillow into your hand luggage bag. If you have a purse or backpack as a personal item, pack your pillow in there if it works.

If you want your pillow to count as a personal item, ensure that you have only a carry-on and nothing else unless it is a neck pillow that you can wear around your neck and let it count as a garment item.

Do All Airlines Allow Pillows Through Airport Security?

All airlines allow you to take a pillow on the plane, but some flights have more restrictions than others. Some airlines will let you take your pillow as a second personal item if it is small, and others will require you to pack it in one of your bags.

If your pillow cannot fit into your personal bag or carry-on, you will have to let it go or pay a fee to take it to the cabin. All airlines allow any size cushions in checked luggage, so you shouldn’t have a problem if it fits in your suitcase.

If you are carrying a pillow and know it won’t fit into your carry-on or purse, check with the specific airline before traveling to see if it will be allowed. You don’t want to get to the airport and lose your cushion or be surprised with additional fees.