The timing couldn’t have been better for this blistering critique of neck pillows by Kelly Conaboy over at The Atlantic. I’m mentally preparing myself for a 5+ hour red-eye from Maui to Phoenix next week. Unless more main cabin extra space opens up, the duration of my flight will be spent in an economy window seat. Theoretically, that’s the type of setup where a neck pillow should come in handy. Unfortunately, travel neck pillows are the worst and don’t even work for their one intended purpose.
Neck Pillows – Why?
I’m convinced most people buy these contraptions out of desperation. They arrive at the airport knowing that sleep is crucial for an upcoming flight. Front and center at the gift shop are these u-shaped pillows that you’ve seen countless travelers using. They must be on to something, right? Why else would they be walking around the terminal with a ridiculous contraption around their neck? Eager to see what they’re missing, travelers plop down around $35 in the hopes of getting some great sleep in the air.
I learned my lesson about 10 years ago that these pillows are a fraud. I tried wearing the thing, but it wasn’t comfortable. Then I tried using it as a standard pillow, which was a failure. At that point I just realized a normal pillow is probably better. My wife learned a couple years back when she returned home from Liz’s bachelorette party with a neck-pillow and not a second of sleep. The pitiful contraption has sat in our closet ever since. Never once considered on any of our subsequent flights.
Kelly Conaboy deserves an award for exposing travel neck pillows for what they are: An overpriced, useless piece of junk. I’m one of those travelers that can’t sleep unless I’m in a lie-flat seat. It’s great that somebody else reinforced how worthless these things are. I’ll no longer be tempted to buy one thinking, “this time it’s going to work!”.