It’s almost certain that whoever came up with the phrase “a pain in the neck” was a frequent flier. Human beings simply aren’t designed to sleep sitting up, while economy class seats just aren’t designed for anything else.
Airlines could, for instance, hang noose-like contraptions from the overhead bins to keep passengers’ necks straight while they’re sleeping, but this seems unsafe and possibly a little awkward. Numerous other solutions have been tried, but despite their designers’ best efforts, these just don’t seem to work at all well.
We can all breathe a sigh of relief today: there’s now a travel pillow that actually seems comfortable, and it’s little more than a glorified scarf. This feels comfortable on your skin and makes the Trtl Travel Pillow very easy to keep in a suitcase or even a handbag, while using it only requires you to wrap it around your neck.
The special feature of this design is a kind of semi-rigid brace that supports your head and neck in a slightly tilted position. Unlike horseshoe-shaped pillows, this system doesn’t make you feel like you’re choking or encourage your head to droop forward. It suits most body types other than children’s (who can sleep anywhere if they feel like it anyway) and is machine washable.
There are a few criticisms to make about this product: many people don’t like the feeling of a scarf wrapped tightly around their necks, it takes a while to figure out how to adjust it for best comfort, and the synthetic fleece-like material, while okay in an air-conditioned cabin, can get uncomfortably hot in warmer environments. It’s also on the pricey side, especially if your favorite airline hands out neck pillows for free.
Still, while international flights and long bus trips will probably never be all that comfortable, this Trtl pillow is worth a try. If you’re a backpacker or a frequent business traveler, you’ve probably found yourself willing to sell your soul for a good night’s sleep while in transit. Anything that could help with this has our vote.