HOT: Plane Pal – Review of an Essential Family Travel Accessory

Do you want your kids to sleep on the plane?

‘NO I don’t want my kids to sleep on the plane, I prefer that they are climbing the walls instead!’ said NO PARENT EVER.

Plane Pal

So Samantha Cardone, a jet setting mother of three (including twins!) from the Gold Coast Australia, decided to create a product that would help families to travel with less stress and more comfort. Enter the Plane Pal!


What is the Plane Pal?

The Plane Pal solves every travelling parent’s problem with a simple solution. It’s an inflatable cushion that fills the space between your child’s seat and the seat in front.

Plane Pal

The Plane Pal seat extender allows babies and kids up to 8 years to sleep on a plane. We took ours for a nearly 7 and nearly 9yo to use on our trip from Melbourne to London and it enabled EVERYONE (adults and kids) to get some much-needed sleep. 

Plane Pal review

Can adults use the Plane Pal? YES!

It can provide extra comfort for older kids and adults. Just being able to raise your legs and lower your seat back means your centre of gravity is in a recline and not upright position, so you’re more likely to be able to travel more comfortably and even fall asleep.

The Plane Pal travel pillow is made from high-quality nylon, is lightweight and compact and comes with a pump for stress-free, easy inflation after take off. You can stow it in your hand luggage easily or the backpack packaging means that kids can carry their own!

Plane Pal review

Note if you are purchasing the Plane Pal travel pillow for the first time you’ll need the Plane Pal kit which includes the pump and the backpack into which you can stash the pump and deflated cushion.

Plane Pal Kit

If you don’t want to take the pump you can try to blow it up yourself! I also find the pump somewhat noisy/squeaky at times so in order to be more discreet I just blow it up myself. 

Also, you may find that due to the differences in air pressure you may have to inflate the Plane Pal a few times over the course of the flight. 

The Plane Pal travel pillow can also be used on train, buses and cars.


Which airlines allow the Plane Pal?

Plane Pal is currently approved for use by more than 40 international airlines, with the list growing every day.

Plane Pal

In Australia the Plane Pal can be used on Virgin Australia and Qantas/Jetstar’s current policy with the Plane Pal is that it can be used at the discretion of the cabin crew. So on our trip Melbourne – Singapore and Singapore – London we are able to use it on both journeys, but we are not allowed to use it on our London – Singapore, Singapore – Melbourne legs. 

To help ensure that you can use the Plane Pal travel pillow for your flight you should:

  1. call the airline ahead to check if you can use the Plane Pal;
  2. book your seats ahead of time for seats that can use the Plane PalPlane Pal can be used on window seats, middle seats and bulkhead seats. Avoid aisles and exit rows;
  3. have your child’s seatbelt fastened whenever they’re in the seat. Most injuries in children occur during unexpected turbulence;
  4. practise inflating and deflating the Plane Pal at home so it’s not a big drama on the plane. You can download the instruction card here or cut it out from the Plane Pal‘s cardboard packaging; and
  5. be respectful and follow the cabin crew’s instructions when using the Plane Pal. If they tell you to deflate it, don’t argue – just do it quickly and politely! 

Plane Pal is also the only travel cushion/seat extender which has been approved by the International Air Transport Association, which supports aviation with global standards for airline safety. Plane Pal‘s design incorporates safety features detailed in the IATA Cabin Operations Safety Best Practices Guide Edition 5 (2018) 7.4 Non certified comfort devices – Risk Assessment 7.4.1 and Decision Tool 7.4.2.

Beware of competitors’ products that are not of the same quality!


Packing Pals Packing Cubes

In addition to their signature Plane Pal travel pillow the range includes high-quality packing cubes Packing Pals.

Plane Pal review

In my post-Marie Kondo world I am obsessed with packing cubes – I have a colour-coded set for every member of the family! Using Packing Pals means that packing and unpacking is easier because clothes and items are grouped and separated and stuff is compressed.

The Packing Pals are different from other (cheap) packing cubes I’ve tried because each cube is fully meshed on both sides (and not just a small window of mesh) so you can see exactly what’s inside at a glance.

Plane Pal review

Plus the zips are sturdy, with large easy to pull tabs that kids can’t wreck.

Plane Pal review

I particularly like the double-sided packing cube that separates into two compartments, so you can pack tops on one side and bottoms on the other side, for example.

Plane Pal review

Finally, a large, medium and small packing cube together can fit into a standard hand luggage suitcase.


Waterproof Packing Pals, Laundry Bag and Shoe Bags

You can fully deck out your luggage to include extras such as double sealed waterproof Packing Pals for liquids, toiletries and snacks.

I’ve seen them in action – a bottle of water poured inside leaked not a drop! Definitely a better option than a zip lock bag or a single use plastic bag.

To protect clean clothes you can also keep your dirty clothes separate with a laundry bag and pop your shoes into shoe bags that have two separate compartments for each shoe.

Plane Pal review


Pram Pal Travel Pram Bag

Prams are often one of the most expensive items you’ll buy for your child. Yet it’s one of the most commonly lost or damaged items when you fly. If you want to claim insurance for your broken pram then guaranteed the first question the insurer is going to ask you is whether your pram was in a bag.

Better safe than sorry with the Pram Pal pram bag!

Pram Pal

The Pram Pal pram bag comes in single or double size and helps to ensure that your precious pram is protected from baggage handlers.  It packs away easily into a small pouch which you can hang from the pram’s handle.

Is the Plane Pal worth it?

I strongly believe that any product that helps family travel to be less stressful and more comfortable is worth the investment – and the Plane Pal kit is only $79.95 for a high-quality product that’s a cut above its competitors.

We have two of them, one for each child, and I borrow their Plane Pal when I’m travelling long haul on my own.

The Plane Pal travel pillow, as well as the other accessories such as the Packing Pals, should be part of the essential travel kit for every jet setting family!


Get 15% off your Plane Pal items with the discount code ‘LOVE’ now!

plane pal review
PIN this picture to save this post!

This post contains affiliate links. If you book using the links there is no extra cost to you and I earn a small commission that helps me to provide free, valuable and useful information for you! Thanks Joyce

About Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

Discover Melbourne's top family fun in 5 minutes, for free

Our weekly newsletter brings busy parents and carers the best activities for kids in Melbourne + Victoria. It's your best 5-minute read for creating quality family time!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.