American and Delta airlines announced that they’re eliminating pillows on most flights. While that may reduce the transmission of germs embedded in the purse-size puffs, many fliers still want a place to rest their head. One solution: Bring your own. Here’s how six travel pillows measure up.
Mood Bolster Pillow (800-820-6126, www.ebags.com) and Austin House Perfect Pillow/Squeezable (800-523-5029). $12.50.
What: Smushable pillows filled with minuscule beads.
Pros: Has satinlike covers in explosive colors like raspberry and lime green. Nice for people who prefer ultra-soft pillows over firm ones. Available in neck, contour and lumbar pillows.
Cons: Doesn’t give much support, particularly if you use it as a neck pillow. Though small, pillows can’t be compressed too well into carry-on bags.
Eagle Creek Comfort Travel Pillow (800-962-4943, www.magellans.com). $15.
What: An affordable, inflatable neck pillow covered in short-ply washable fleece.
Pros: Our favorite among the many inflatable neck pillows available. Inflates in just three breaths and deflates easily. Folds into a built-in pocket a little larger than a passport. Opening large enough for most neck sizes.
Cons: Not many, except common problem with inflatables: When cabin pressure changes, so could the air in the pillow, making it too tight or too slack.
PB Blanket/Pillow Case (305-444-7595, www.pb-travel.com). $16.95.
What: A blanket that folds and slides into a pillow case.
Pros: The cozy coverlet in baby-soft fleece is a good size for a plane seat. Folds up easily and slips right into the pillow case. Comes with an eye mask.
Cons: Since the blanket constitutes the pillow’s guts, you can’t use both pillow and blanket at the same time. Pillow case is made of that odd not-quite-paper/not-quite-fabric hybrid that airlines also use.
Bare Essentials Pillow Coat (925-631-6878). $240.
What: A pillow that unsnaps into a chic women’s rain coat.
Pros: Coat folds into itself without effort – no spare pillow case to lose, nor complicated folding instructions – and snaps closed, to size of laptop. Jacket’s comfy inside lining creates the outside of the pillow case. Waterproof material is impermeable to drool.
Cons: As a pillow, it’s flat and dense and doesn’t give much support. That’s a lot of money to pay for a pillow.
Travel Essentials Auto Neck Rest (800-523-5029). $21.95.
What: A battery-operated massager that straps around a plane seat’s head rest.
Pros: For those who suffer from neck, shoulder or upper-back discomfort, the 10-inch-long tubular bolster could make for as restful a flight as using a pillow. Has two speeds and fits easily around a head rest with an elastic band.
Cons: With a whirring motor in your ear (particularly at the higher setting), you might feel as if you were sitting on the plane’s engine.
Snuggl’up pillow (305-705-1608, www.snugglup.com). $25.
What: A pillow for children, invented by a mom who cut up a pair of silky maternity shorts to make a pillow for her son.
Pros: No tiny beads or pellets within – the Snuggl’up is filled with worry-free polyfiber fill blend and can go in the washing machine. Even finicky kids can find a fave design among the 30 patterns.
Cons: A bit large (around the length of a baguette) and difficult to stuff in a small carry-on.