Do Neck Pillows Count As Carry On? Rules By 19 Airlines

If you’ve traveled by air lately, then you know that there seem to be increasingly smaller seats on planes so that more people can pack onto the flight. That means comfort isn’t always top-notch anymore when you’re traveling by air. As a result, people search for ways to make air travel more comfortable, including the use of a neck pillow.

Is a neck pillow a carry-on? Yes, on most airlines, a neck pillow can be considered a carry-on. If you purchase a smaller neck pillow, you can also make room for it in your carry-on bag, and have both the bag and neck pillow together during your flight.

It’s not uncommon to see people with neck pillows on long flights. Many people bring along a neck pillow to help them with extra comfort as they travel. Since several individuals like sleeping during their trips, you can see why a pillow might feel like it’s a necessity to the weary traveler.

Are Neck Pillows Allowed on Airlines?

A neck pillow, or almost any other type of travel pillow, is typically allowed on most airlines. As long as you opt to bring along a smaller, more compact pillow on your flight, you shouldn’t have any problems.

Several airlines even allow passengers to take standard-sized bed pillows, too. While this practice isn’t as common as allowing neck or travel pillows because of the size of standard pillows, some airlines still permit it. However, it can be cumbersome to travel with a regular-sized pillow, and better to bring along something smaller.

Depending on what airline you use, you might wind up with different circumstances surrounding your in-flight item allowance. Different airlines allow different types of things during their flights, and pillows are generally allowable. Many airlines allow a carry-on bag and a few personal items like a purse and a backpack.

Most travelers purchase a pillow that will fit easily into their carry-on bag so that they still have other essential items with them during their flight. There are several different items that qualify as carry-ons for a variety of airlines.

Jackets, neck and travel pillows, books, etc., are also items that count as your attire when you are on a plane. You are allowed to travel with the clothes you have on your back.

However, when thinking about bringing a pillow along with you, consider size issues. You want a pillow that can fit in your carry-on bag or personal backpack so that you can still bring along other vital items. So, in that case, you’ll need to think about some carry-on and personal items rules.

We made an article where we review 19 pillows, with all the information you might need. You can check it out if you need some help by clicking here.

19 Airlines and Their Travel Pillow Rules

Below I have created a chart that outlines the carry on size and neck pillow rules for 19 popular airlines, just to make things simple!

Airline Standard Carry on Size in Inches Standard Carry on Size in Centimeters WeightNeck Pillow
AeroMexico 22 x 14 x 9 55 x 35 x 22 22 lbs.Yes, in addition to a carry-on – Up to 21.5×15.7×10 inches
Air Canada 21.5 x 15.5 x 9 54 x 39 x 22 22 lbs.Yes, in carry-on bag
Air France 21.7 x 13.8 x 9.9 55 x 35 x 25 22 lbs.Yes, in addition to a carry-on – Up to 21.5×15.7×10 inches
Air New Zealand 46.5 total linear 118 total linear 15 lbs.Yes, in carry-on bag
AirTran Airways 24 x 16 x 10 60 x 40 x 25 -Yes, in addition to a carry-on – Up to 24x16x10 inches
Alaska Airlines 22 x 14 x 9 55 x 35 x 22 -Yes, in addition to a carry-on – Up to 22x14x9 inches
Alitalia 21.7 x 13.8 x 9.9 55 x 35 x 25 17.6 lbs.Yes, in addition to a carry-on – Up to 21.7×13.8×9.9 inches
Allegiant Air 16 x 15 x 7 40 x 38 x 18 -Yes, in carry-on bag
All Nippon Airways 22 x 16 x 10 55 x 40 x 25 22 lbs.Yes, in addition to a carry-on – Up to 22x16x10 inches
American Airlines 22 x 14 x 9 55 x 35 x 22 -Yes, in addition to a carry-on – Up to 22x14x9 inches
Delta Airlines 22 x 14 x 9 55 x 35 x 22 -Yes, in addition to a carry-on – Up to 22x14x9 inches
El Al 21.2 x 17.7 x 9.8 53 x 44 x 24 15.4 lbs.Yes, in addition to a carry-on – Up to 21.2×17.7×9.8 inches
Frontier Airlines 24 x 16 x 10 60 x 40 x 25 35 lbs.Yes, in addition to a carry-on – Up to 24x16x10 inches
Hawaiian Airlines 22 x 14 x 9 55 x 35 x 22 25 lbs.Yes, in addition to a carry-on – Up to 22x14x9 inches
IATA 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 54 x 34 x 19 -Yes, in carry-on bag
Icelandair 21.6 x 15.7 x 7.8 54 x 39 x 19 -Yes, in carry-on bag
Japan Airlines 22 x 16 x 10 55 x 40 x 25 22 lbs.Yes, in addition to a carry-on – Up to 22x16x10 inches
JetBlue Airways 22 x 14 x 9 55 x 35 x 22 -Yes, in addition to a carry-on – Up to 22x14x9 inches
KLM 21.5 x 13.5 x 10 54 x 34 x 25 26 lbs.Yes, in addition to a carry-on – Up to 21.5×13.5×10 inches

Carry-On and Personal Item Rules

Most airlines offer a standard measurement for carry-on bags and define what they feel is a carry-on item. However, these rules vary vastly from airline to airline. For example, some airlines force you to put your bag in a premeasured container to ensure that it is sized correctly. Other airlines will eyeball your bags for size. And, there are other airlines that might ignore the size requirements altogether.

However, where pillows are concerned, most problems arise when travelers bring along a standard-sized pillow. Standard sized pillows are much bigger than a travel pillow, and they also take up more room. Learn more about different types of pillows and sizes by reading this post.

While you might be able to roll easily and compress them, especially standard-sized feather pillows, if the pillow doesn’t fit inside your carry-on bag, and most standard-sized pillows will be too large to fit in a carry-on bag, then you’re out of luck. You might have to pay an extra baggage fee to bring your pillow if you can’t fit it in your carry-on bag.

TIP: The best way to handle any carry-on questions you might have about pillows and other items is to call the airline in advance. 

That way, you can try to avoid having to pay an extra baggage fee by planning.

Problems You May Experience

Your biggest potential issue might come from the airline itself. If your pillow is standard-sized and too large to fit in your carry-on bag, then you’ll wind up having to check-in an extra item. That also means paying for that additional item. That can make your flight experience unpleasant right off the bat if you aren’t ready for the possibility of that occurrence.

Pillow Types

Remember to factor in size as you pick out your pillow. A standard sized pillow might be too large and awkward to take along with you when you travel. Plus, a standard-sized pillow will also take up a lot of room in your seat.

Plus, if you don’t have a window seat, you’ll need to worry about your standard-sized pillow getting in the way of things. Also, when you’re not using it, the only place you might be able to fit it is in your lap since it’ll be too large to put anywhere else.

Instead of bringing along a standard-sized pillow, take some time out to find a neck pillow or a travel pillow, since both are small options that fit into carry-on bags. We’ll cover some of the types of pillows you may want to purchase for your travels below.

Travel Pillows

The word “travel” or “neck” pillow makes people think about the horseshoe-shaped pillow that wraps around the neck. However, there are several other types of styles of pillows that are fantastic for traveling and designed to be easy to pack and carry.

For example, there’s the J-Pillow (Amazon link), which can be manipulated in a few different ways to keep you comfortable. There’s also the Ostrich Pillow (Amazon link) which works well to cushion on many kinds of surfaces while you travel.

If you want to see the full review on the best pillows on the market, take a look at this article.

Feather Pillows

Feather pillows provide another option, as long as they can be tightly compressed and are great for traveling. Most smaller feather pillows are exceptional items to pack in your carry-on luggage and should fit comfortably. You’ll get plenty of long-lasting comfort with this type of pillow.

Compressible Camping Pillows

Another excellent option for traveling is a compressible camping pillow (Amazon link). These pillows are made much like your standard pillow, but they’re much lighter and made to be easy to pack. These types of pillows include both inflatable pillows and compressible pillows and are made to be both comfortable and relaxed to pack