Trip Planning - 7 min read

Can You Bring A Pillow on a Plane? (TSA Rules & Regulations)

Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall, Updated November 10, 2022

When packing for any trip, you sometimes want to pack the essentials of home. Bringing your favorite blanket or book feels right, but many love to bring their own pillows. You might prefer to use your own pillow when you travel, but can you bring a pillow on a plane?

The TSA rules say you can bring a pillow in checked baggage or a carry-on, or it can count as a personal item. A pillow will need to fit in your bag or fit the allowed dimensions of 18” x 14” x 8”, whether travel or standard size. Be prepared for your pillow to undergo screening when going through security.

So pillows are safe whether you bring a neck pillow, a small travel pillow, or an average size one. The TSA will have guidelines and rules on scanning and traveling with your pillow. By reading on you know what kind of pillow you can bring, how to pack it and carry it. 

A Quick Look at the TSA’s Rules for Pillows 2022

The TSA has few restrictions on pillows and simply states they are safe for travel. You will still have to take your pillow with you through security, so you must meet some requirements. You should check the TSA website if you have any questions, but it’s pretty straightforward on what is allowed.

  • You can bring a variety of pillows with you in carry-on and checked luggage.
  • Neck pillows, travel pillows, and standard-size pillows are allowed on all flights.
  • The biggest dimensions of a pillow should not exceed 18” x 14” x 8”.
  • Your pillow will have to go through screening at airport security.
  • Pillows can count as a personal item or must fit into a carry-on.

Does A Pillow Count As A Carry-On Or Personal Item On A Plane?

Depending on how you pack or carry your pillow will determine if it is a carry-on item or personal. If your pillow is small enough to fit into your bag, you can count it with your carry-on. Pillows that fit this description are neck pillows and some travel pillows.

A pillow typically counts as a personal item since you can carry it by hand and fit it under a seat. In security, the TSA will scan your carry-on and your pillow separately. Many passengers pack a carry-on bag and hold their pillow.

You might also use the pillow and its case as an extra storage space for travel. Since pillows count as a personal item, it’s a travel secret to sneak a bit more books or objects on. Security will scan and check your pillow, and all items must be clear for flight.

Does It Matter What Size Pillow You Bring On A Plane?

The TSA website says nothing particular about the pillow size you can bring, but most airlines do. The dimensions the airlines wish you not to exceed is the average pillow size of 18” x 14” x 8”. 

Typically the pillow standard size is the biggest you should bring on a plane. This is to avoid invading the space of others around you, and you can keep it comfortably at your feet.

You can carry any smaller size in a carry-on or personally for your use. As long as you meet the airline’s requirements, you can bring pillows on the plane for a comfortable flight.

Can You Pack Things In A Pillow?

A trick of the trade is that bringing a pillow with you does not count towards your two-bag limit. If you travel only with a carry-on, many passengers may utilize their pillows as extra storage. Packing things into your pillow can save you money at the check-in desk.

Packing things in your pillow does not excuse it from going through security checkpoints. It will get scanned and x-rayed like any other carry-on or personal item. Most travelers will utilize their pillow for packing extra clothes if a checked bag is less desirable. 

If the pillow is small enough to fit under the seat in front of you, it counts as a personal item. And depending on what you pack in the pillowcase, you should be clear for travel. Here is a list of common things you can pack in a pillow.

  • Cellphone
  • Headphones
  • Clothes
  • Blanket
  • Ipad/tablet
  • Wallet

Related Read: Can You Bring a Hydroflask on a Plane?

The TSA still has the final say in whether or not the items in your pillowcase are permitted. So be sure to follow all TSA guidelines and rules when packing and know that nothing will slide. If needed, you may be subject to extra screening for your carry-on bags and pillow.

How Should You Pack Your Pillow?

The TSA does not have a specific way they prefer you to pack your pillow. When it comes to traveling with a pillow, it is purely up to the passenger. The TSA has little to contest with a pillow that counts as your personal item, so long as it passes security.

Your pillow can be packed in your checked luggage, in your carry-on, or not even packed at all. Packing your pillow with you can be as simple as walking through the door. How you travel or what you want to bring will determine how you pack your pillow.

Can You Pack A Pillow In Your Checked Baggage?

You can pack your pillow in your checked luggage if you do not wish to bring it with you on the plane. You should pack it on top of all your clothes to ensure it does not get squished. You can also use it as padding for any personal or fragile objects you may have in your bag.

If the pillow is larger than the given TSA dimensions, you should pack it in your checked luggage.

Related Read: Can You Bring An Electric Toothbrush On A Plane?

Can You Bring A Blanket On A Plane?

The TSA says yes to blankets and pillows for travel. If you wish to bring a blanket and a pillow on board, you are welcome to do so. Bringing a blanket and pillow goes hand in hand with happier travelers.

Although the airlines offer blankets to passengers on the planes, many prefer their own. You can even bring your blanket in your pillow to use later on the plane.

Related Read: Best plane Seat? Avoid turbulence/Motion Sickness!

Still Not Sure? Ask the TSA

If you’re still unsure if a pillow is allowed, you can check out the TSA website for answers. You can type in anything from tasers to pillows and find a precise answer. The website is set up to help guide you in the right direction.

You can call customer support if you cannot find the answer using the search bar. A TSA agent will help guide you through the website or answer your questions directly. You will be able to get all the answers you need about your travels.

If you are at the airport and need assistance, then you can ask a TSA agent at security. They will be more than happy to assist you. The TSA agents have the necessary training to answer all questions and concerns from various passengers.

Related Read: How Big Can My Toiletry Bag Be To Fly? Quart-Size Bags

Summary

The TSA has minimal precautions or regulations regarding passengers bringing pillows. Since pillows often count as personal items, they will not interfere with your two carry-on max. You can bring any sized pillow so long as it falls under the dimensions of 18”x14”x 8”.

To ensure you travel comfortably, note if your pillow fits under the seat in front of you. You can utilize your pillow for extra packing space if needed. It will, however, need to go through security checkpoints and be secure for flight.

If you want to pack a pillow in your checked luggage, you can do this without any hesitation. You can also bring along a blanket if you see fit. You can look at the TSA website or ask an agent if you have any questions or concerns.

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