The weighted blanket is the latest vogue item on most travelers’ must-have list. The coverage not only promises better sleep but also promotes anxiety reduction effects on users.
I get asked this question a lot, so let’s answer it right away. Can you use a weighted blanket for airplane travel?
The answer is yes. But there are some challenges to it. Let me explain.
How to Bring a Weighted Blanket Through TSA
The TSA has a tighter noose on carry-on luggage, and it is, therefore, no surprise that travelers have had encounters with TSA agents but with mixed outcomes.
Some passengers have had their weighted blankets confiscated while others have been fortunate enough to be allowed to travel with them.
However, the question that begs an answer is, “is it only luck that separates travelers allowed to snuggle with their weighted blankets on board flights from those that are denied that comfort?”
There are no clear answers to this question, but there are numerous suggestions in online discussion boards and social media posts from both curious travelers and experienced ones who have encountered the same issue of carrying weighted blankets onto airplanes.
The following suggestions may help travelers increase their chances of being allowed to bring weighted blankets in planes as carry-on luggage:
Show Proof of Purchase
Travelers with weighted blankets are encouraged to bring along the receipts for the blanket as proof of purchase and to show the TSA and airline agents that it is a legitimate purchase.
Proof of legitimacy may convince the relevant authorities that the stuffing in the blanket does not contain concealed deadly weapons, but instead, they are for therapeutic and comfort purposes.
If possible, travelers are encouraged to bring small samples of the materials used as filling in the weighted blankets. The TSA and airline agents may be curious to find out what the stuffing used is, and having a little sample will save everyone the trouble of cutting open the blanket.
Examples of the stuffing can be requested from manufacturers, but this is mostly dependent at the manufacturers’ discretion.
Proof of Medical Necessity
Due to the health benefits they give people with autism and anxiety disorders, weighted blankets may be classified as medical equipment to be used in the plane as a carry on item. Travelers with the proper medical prescription from health practitioners may present their orders at the request of the TSA or airline agents and have their blankets waived in as vital medical equipment.
Calling the TSA or airline agent may be another option that may avoid unnecessary disappointment at the check-in gate. The TSA and airplane companies do not have clear guidelines on weighted blankets (though they do allow standard sheets), and therefore consider the merits of each case on an individual basis.
Travelers who call beforehand can present their cases in a non-intimidating manner, and in the process have a better chance of their situation being understood.
Keep in mind that you must always follow the rules and regulations set out by the airline to conform with baggage weight and size restrictions.
What Exactly Is a Weighted Blanket?
As the name suggests, weighted blankets distinguish themselves from regular sheets in that they are stuffed with synthetic, small pellets, beads, or discs. These fillers put a little pressure on users, giving them the feeling of a gentle hug.
Weighted blankets are made from different materials that are soft to the feel, like cotton, and adult varieties usually weigh between ten to thirty pounds. Children varieties of these blankets often weigh less but parents are advised not to use them on infants.
The most popular weighted blankets favored by travelers usually fit an individual’s size. The sheet aims to exert gentle, evenly spread pressure to users’ bodies and give them a comforting snug feeling. Some weighted blankets do not come as one piece; they have different components that are detachable and washable.
What to Look for When Choosing a Weighted Blanket
The variety of weighted blankets is as diverse as the tastes and preferences of consumers out there, and there is something for everyone. Despite the diversity, there are a few guidelines on how to choose one that suits you.
First, there is a scientific method for choosing a blanket that suits your body weight. It is recommended that you purchase a weighted blanket that is almost a tenth of your body weight.
For instance, someone who weighs 200 pounds should get a blanket of about 20 pounds. For those who are inclined to feel a bit of pressure, more extensive options are not prohibited.
This is a good example of a travel-sized weighted blanket on Amazon. It’s smaller and lighter which would work well for airplane travel.
Second, sensory considerations ought to be considered in the choice of fabric and filling. People with a sensitivity to synthetic fabric should consider organic options like cotton and wool to polyester. Skin irritation ruins peaceful moments when comfort should be the utmost priority.
Easy Care and Maintenance
Another consideration to keep in mind is how easy it is to clean the weighted blanket. It may come as a one-piece, or it may have a slipcover, but either way, it is definitely going to collect its fair share of dirt and grime along your travels. Choose a weighted blanket that is machine washable to make it much easier and way more convenient to keep it clean and ready to go for your next trip.
Return and Exchange Policies
If you have never used this kind of blanket before, then you may not know exactly what to expect. For this reason, you should make sure that the place you purchase the blanket from has a return policy in place. Some may even offer a trial period so you can see if you like the blanket. You may also decide you want to exchange the blanket for one that is a different weight.
Fit for One
Yes, weighted blankets do come in a variety of different length options, but you will soon find that the majority of them are around 48-inches wide. This is only slightly narrower than a twin size bed. Many people wish they were wider, but these blankets are typically made to just fit one person. They just aren’t designed to accommodate two people at the same time.
It is also important to remember that these blankets are heavy, and when they are being used, they can become very hot. If you are someone who already feels warm or hot while laying in bed because of your body temperature and the materials your mattress is made from, the weighted blanket is just going to add to this rise in temperature. Therefore, in these cases, you may want to look for a blanket that has a natural fiber cover and is designed to wick moisture.
Health Benefits of a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets are like vitamin pills; they are beneficial to everyone but especially useful to those in need. Whereas vitamin pills are essential to the vitamin-deprived, weighted blankets are necessities to those deprived of sleep.
The science behind weighted blankets lies in their ability to gently press on users, easing them into still positions and remain unmoved until morning. The gentle pressure lowers cortisol levels and stimulates serotonin levels to rise. The former triggers stress in humans while the latter brings along sensations of joy and wellness.
Studies have shown that weighted blankets offer users feelings of comfort, safety, and relaxation owing to their gentle pressure on bodies. These feelings go a long way in reducing anxiety to the users and thereby offering serenity. Read my story of travel anxiety here.
Weighted blankets also improve symptoms in those prone to restless leg syndrome, chronic pain conditions, or insomnia. They work well for psychological inclinations, too, with a strong advantage for those with depression and autism that want a good night’s sleep.
There isn’t a single must buy brand to consider when searching for the perfect weighted blanket for your travels. Although many larger companies offer their own variety, you will find a number of available options in store as well as online to choose from. Some places may even be able to offer you more customized options.
My recommendations for weighted blankets which can be used by travelers.
Hopefully, you found this Weighted blanket for airplane travel guide helpful.
Thanks for reading!