I have never been able to get any sleep on an airplane. Sure, if I am willing to fork over thousands of dollars for a Business Class or First Class seat, I can lay flat and get some rest on a long flight, but since most of my flights are business trips, Business/First class is out of the question. And let's face it, it is virtually impossible to recline an Economy class seat enough to get any relief. I have tried regular travel pillows -- you know, the ones that wrap around your neck? But, they only force my head farther forward with my chin aiming toward my chest. So, when I saw the Trtl travel pillow, I was intrigued.
The design of the Trtl is unlike any other travel pillow, hence the patent. Basically, it is a long microfiber sleeve that fits over a flexible plastic frame. The frame is designed to cradle your head and support your neck from the side while the microfiber cloth makes for a soft, warm wrap held in place with hook and loop fasteners (Velcro).
Trtl patented design
Instead of attempting to support the back of the head, like a traditional travel pillow, the Trtl acts sort of like a sling to support the head from the side. We decided to try the Trtl on a 15-hour flight from LAX to Hong Kong. We were seated in Economy-class on Cathay Pacific in an exit row seat. The gentleman sitting behind me was pretty tall, so I did not want to recline my seat and make him any more uncomfortable than he already was, so our initial testing was done with a completely upright Economy class seating position.
Rickee positions the Trtl on our flight to Hong Kong
One of the first things we noticed about the Trtl is how the microfiber wrap keeps your neck warm. That is a real blessing on a long flight where they keep the plane freezing cold. The long strip of hook and loop fastener allows for near-infinite adjustment around your neck and the Trtl is easy to re-position. You can make the wrap as loose or tight as you want.
But, does it work? The short answer is, yes. I found that I was able to get a little sleep on our flight using the Trtl, which is more than I would have been able to get otherwise. The only issue I had was the plastic frame would sort of dig into the bottom of my left ear when my head was resting on it. That may be because I was using my Bose noise-cancelling headphones at the same time. It also could be just the weird position of my freakishly giant ears. Nevertheless, I can certainly see where for many people, the Trtl will allow for hours of rest when traveling.
Trtl cradles your head and neck from the side
It should also be noted that the Trtl is easy to travel with. I had no problem stuffing mine into my backpack and Rickee was able to wrap hers around the handle of her roll-aboard. The plastic frame can easily be removed from the microfiber sleeve so that the sleeve can be washed. If you have problems getting sleep on long trips as I do, the Trtl is definitely worth a try, especially for the modest $30 investment. For more information, visit trtl.co.uk/