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).
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.
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.
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/