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Best in-flight pillow?

Those overnight transatlantic flights are awful. If I do manage to nod off, my head falls forward and I wake myself up. What is the best neck-supporting pillow for these conditions?

Posted by
441 posts

This is the one I have.
It keeps my head in place. Best of all, it packs into a small flat square. I was worried it might be difficult to inflate, but it has a very clever valve and takes just one or two normal breaths. It deflates just as easily by pushing the small button on the valve. It is oddly shaped, but that allows you to adjust it to the seat situation you find yourself in. You can see them in person and try them out at REI.

Posted by
6511 posts

Robert, those look really good but do they squish up small in your suitcase, or do the take up a chunk of room?

Posted by
2275 posts

We scrunch ours up and wrap a band around it to minimize the volume in our carry on bag - the foam shrinks down nicely and then pops back into shape when you unwrap it. We've also used the inflatable kind which is almost as good, and which takes hardly any room at all. Either would be a good choice. The wrap-around collar keeps the head steady and, for us anyway, permits a pretty good night's sleep on the plane.
My wife loves hers, and has used it in the car occasionally on long trips. Would work well on trains too I would guess.
Might mention that in the same catalog they offer a sleep mask with scalloped out areas to keep pressure off the eyes - much more comfortable than the standard issue. With those two items and some soft ear plugs (and an occasional assist from half an Ambien tablet) we're able to sleep pretty soundly on long international flights.

Posted by
6950 posts

I use an inflatable pillow. It came from Rick Steves many years ago when I bought the packing cubes and a money belt--and it's on sale presently.

Posted by
544 posts

I use the inflatable style. They are less than $10 and available at the airport gift shops.

Posted by
11450 posts

I have two inflatables.. got them at the dollar store ( for 5 bucks).

One for my neck.. but the other one is my secret weapon against backache on those stupid concave airplane seat backs. I under inflate it and put in small of my back.. really helps.

I love the look of the ones Robert linked.. but I just could not use up all that room.. it might be fine though if one was just going to one destination .. and only had to get it to hotel from airport.. but our Europe trips tend to be longer and have many stops.. and I need to keep my luggage small and light for all the cheapo flights and the train trips.

Posted by
1678 posts

I gave up on the U-shaped pillows and invested in a TravelRest pillow. With some maneuvering, I can rest my arms in a sling made up of the cord that goes around your back and the bottom part of the pillow. Much more comfy. One key thing for any travel pillow is to not over-inflate (wait until you're airborne). Since I'm vertically challenged, when I'm not using it to sleep it can be used to support my back.

Posted by
8995 posts

I have now given up on inflatable neck pillows in favor of this wrap around neck support device:

In the middle of the cozy soft fabric is a plastic insert which supports your neck. Used it a a few weeks ago on a transatlantic flight, and am now a permanent convert.

Posted by
701 posts

Be sure to inflate your inflatable pillow at home before you leave. I was so disappointed to inflate mine on the plane and discover that it had split at the seam (it was a good quality one, too). This last trip, we took along the Therm-a-rest pillows, which were really nice. They do take up a bit more room than the inflatable, although we squeezed them down a bit more in an compression bag ( We then slid them down the outside pocket of our carryon bags.

Posted by
123 posts

Yes I used Comfy Commuter for 2 long flights. It worked ok at first (I have a troublesome neck), but didn't like it after the second flight. Decided it didn't work well enough to justify its bulk. Although I did enjoy entertaining the crew with a bug-like appearance. (Especially with eye shades).

Posted by
184 posts

I have used the Comfy Commuter on 2 international flights. I found it to be too bulky for my liking, although it was comfortable. I also found that I could not wear my noise canceling headphones and use the pillow at the same time as the sides of the pillow come up too high and push the headphones off my ears.