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  • Can you bring a blanket on a plane? Your guide to confusing airline rules

    11 min read

    Can you bring a blanket on an airplane view out a window of a plane wing

    Can you take a personal blanket on a commercial international or local flight?

    Passengers can take their blankets and sleep pillows onboard most commercial flights as long as the items comply with the airline's ruling on hand or carry-on luggage.

    Man sitting feet up on luggage at the airport

    Airline rules periodically change more to respond to situations than actual safety forethought. The 911 attacks are a prime example of this.


    Security became a high-priority measure with many restrictions placed on carry-on luggage; fortunately, blankets and pillows were not included in these restrictions.

    can you bring a blanket on a plane and Covid

    The onset of the Covid pandemic created a health emergency, and airlines had to amend their operations to comply with health mandates.


    Airline blankets and pillows have to be individually seal packed in plastic to prevent contamination. Added security checks plus the extra lengths the airlines had to take to comply with health mandates meant higher overheads which somehow had to be recouped.


    This led to several charges being introduced over and above the cost of the airfare. Sadly, many airlines have resorted to charging for the use of their blankets, but most limit this fee to economy class passengers who opted for their budget airfare.


    As part of your health concerns, it is best to take your blanket and pillow when you fly. Not only will it give you peace of mind, but it will give you a much more pleasant flying experience. We will look more closely at airline blankets and what blankets you should consider as your flying companion.

    can you bring a blanket on a plane view from airplane cabin window

    can you bring a blanket on a plane: General airline rules on blankets.

    Airline companies each have their own set of rules as far as providing blankets to passengers is concerned. Most do not offer blankets on domestic flights due to the short duration of the flight, and for international flights, a limited number of blankets are stored onboard that will not cater to every passenger.


    Blankets are a go-to item on international and domestic flights because of the rather cold cabin temperature.

    The recommended optimum cabin temperature is 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit (22-24 degrees Celsius), which by comfort standards will warrant the use of a blanket or a warm jacket at least.


    Keeping all of the different areas of an aircraft at a constant temperature can be tricky for the pilot and cabin crew. Still, research indicates that cooler temperatures make for more manageable passengers.


    The recommended cabin temperature is ideal for the cabin crew, who are constantly working and generating body heat while tending to passenger needs. Still, you'll soon begin to feel cold sitting in a chair for a while at that temperature.

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    can you bring a blanket on a plane: Why pay the airline for ablanket when you can bring your Own

    It can cost in the region between $8 and $25 to "rent" an airline blanket. Add this cost to meal and other inflight expenses, and it may have been better to have booked a more upscale seat. Here are a few of the many different additional charges you can expect:

    • Blanket fee.
    • Change fee. Changing to another flight with the same airline.
    • Fuel surcharges. Also called an airline surcharge or carrier-imposed fee, it compensates for increases in the oil price.
    • Charges for seat assignments.
    • Printed boarding pass fee.
    • Carry-on bag fees.
    • Wi-Fi access fee.
    • Inflight entertainment fee.
    • Agriculture fee. This fee is obligatory for all international flights landing in the United States.

    As you can see from this condensed list of additional charges, it is best to do your homework and purchase the best value-for-money ticket, which is not necessarily economy class.


    Airline blankets should be clean and fresh, ready for single use before they get washed and repackaged for further use, but this is not always the case. International airlines mostly wash and repack their blankets at their home base, where they have a laundry contract for the service.

    Some great blankets to take on your trip

    Blankets are usually in short supply on most aircraft and are reused on the different legs of their round trip back to their base.

    Cabin crews are famous for the phrase, "Chicken or beef?" but when it comes to their blankets, they should ask, "Fresh or used?" Jokes aside, fresh airline blankets have been and remain a concern for many passengers, especially during the ongoing Covid pandemic.


    Airline blankets vary between the different classes. Coach or economy class passengers can expect a thin polyester fleece blanket that is too small to provide enough body coverage.


    These blankets are treated with chemicals to be flame retardant, but there is no industry standard for blankets. Business and first-class passengers can expect more upmarket blankets with a high thread count that are much warmer and more comfortable.

    can you bring a blanket on a plane view down an isle on an airplane

    can you bring a blanket on a plane: The best blankets to use on an airplane.

    Doing a little research on the airline you plan to fly with will help clarify some issues, but no airline will admit handing out dirty blankets. Thankfully there is no restriction on passengers boarding with their blankets.


    Most airlines considerblankets a personal item, and passengers can have them draped over their arms when checking in, saving on packing space in your carry-on bag.


    If you prefer packing your blanket in your hand luggage, you will want to make sure that you pack a lightweight blanket or throw that doesn't take up too much volume.


    Natural fiberthrows like cotton, or a cotton-wool blend will be perfect. Besides the fact that your blanket is clean and fresh smelling, you will be able to wrap yourself from head to toe in your throw and stay warm and comfy throughout the whole flight because your blanket is big enough and warm enough for the trip.


    Another great benefit of using your blanket when you fly is that you can immediately wrap yourself up and not have to wait for one of the cabin crew to pass by so you can ask for a blanket.


    This helps a great deal when you have to take off or transfer at an on-route airport during the cold winter months. It is also 100% better than the small economy-class airline blankets that do very little to keep you warm.


    Taking your blanket along with you shouldn't be seen as a burden, as one extra item that will weigh you down, but it should instead be viewed as a necessity for comfortable air travel.


    You can't exactly take your queen-size duvet or blanket along because either one of these items will be too bulky, and they will certainly slow you up.


    So, you will be looking at a blanket or poncho-styled blanket that can be rolled up tightly into a small bundle and either carried under your arm or packed at the top of your carry-on bag.

    Material or fabric choice must be considered because you want to stay warm on your flight without getting too cold or overheating. 

    Natural fiber blankets tend to be more expensive than synthetic fiber blankets, and purchasing a blanket specifically for air travel could turn out to be not such a wise decision unless you have a purpose for it afterward.


    With a long-haul international flight, you may not be able to find your ideal sleep posture, but with the right blanket, you can still create your optimum sleep microclimate which will result in less wakefulness during the flight.


    If you compare your home sleep temperature to the estimated cabin temperature of a commercial aircraft, and you will find that your comfortable travel clothes plus your blanket throw that you usually use on your couch will be enough to keep you warm and snug on the plane.


    Try and avoid taking a blanket with you that blends in with the airline's corporate colors or resembles their blankets' color. This should be considered to avoid confusion when disembarking from the plane.


    You may still feel sleepy and forget your blanket on board, especially if it blends in with the surrounding color scheme. African-inspired blanket throws are lightweight and, when packed, do not take up too much space.

    zebra african blanket and thro

    Save yourself the time and money and best of all, feel more like your sitting at home cuddled up

    The colors and designs will undoubtedly be unique to the airplane environment, and it's not likely that you will walk off the plane without your trusty throw.


    Using a throw from your home will save you from buying a special travel blanket that might be a bit smaller and weigh a bit less than your favorite couch throw, but you should never the less measure and weigh your throw.


    Also, fold it up or roll it up to check how much space it will take if you pack it in your carry-on bag.


    With the specs on hand, call the airline you intend to book with and enquire about bringing your blanket along; also, find out if it will be considered a personal item or not.


    You see, everything about air travel revolves around knowing the rules and weighing the benefits against costs but don't forget about the hidden fees; enquire about them too.

    can you bring a blanket on a plane women wrapped up in Basotho blanket

    A final tips and thoughts for your next trip

    When you fly, dress comfortably, and be sure to take your neck pillow and blanket along. If you must cut down on the weight of your bags, don't look at your blanket as an unnecessary item that can be scratched off your essentials list. If you do, you may regret it sooner than you think. Happy flying.

    FAQ - The Questions You want Answered

    Do you get a blanket on international flights?

    The availability of blankets on international flights can vary depending on the airline and the type of cabin class you are traveling.


    Many airlines provide blankets to passengers on international flights, particularly for long-haul flights where passengers may want to sleep or rest.


    However, some airlines may only provide blankets to passengers in certain cabin classes, such as business or first class.


    It's always a good idea to check with your airline beforehand to see what amenities are provided on your flight, including whether or not blankets will be available.


    If you're particularly sensitive to temperature changes during a flight, consider bringing your travel blanket or layers to ensure comfort.

    Can you ask for a blanket on a plane?

    Yes, you can typically ask a flight attendant for a blanket on a plane.


    Flight attendants are there to assist passengers with their needs during the flight, and they can provide blankets upon request, subject to availability.


    Remember that during the COVID-19 pandemic, some airlines may have temporarily suspended the provision of blankets or reduced the availability of other in-flight amenities to minimize contact between passengers and crew.


    However, many airlines have resumed offering blankets and other amenities with enhanced cleaning and sanitization protocols.


    If you need a blanket during your flight, you can ask a flight attendant politely, and they will do their best to assist you.

    Are airplane blankets free?

    Generally speaking, blankets provided by airlines are free to use during the flight.


    The cost of providing blankets, pillows, and other amenities is typically factored into the overall cost of the flight ticket.


    However, some airlines may only provide blankets to passengers in certain cabin classes, such as business or first class.


    If you have specific questions about the availability or cost of blankets on your flight, it's always a good idea to check with your airline ahead of time or ask a flight attendant during the flight.

    How do you sleep on an international flight?

    Sleeping on an international flight can be challenging, but some tips may help:


    1. Choose your seat wisely: Try to choose a seat that suits your sleeping preferences. If you prefer to sleep with your head slightly elevated, choose a window seat to lean against the wall. If you like to stretch out, choose an aisle seat.
    2. Bring sleep aids: Consider bringing earplugs, an eye mask, or a neck pillow to help you sleep comfortably on the plane.
    3. Dress comfortably: Wear loose, comfortable clothing and layers to adjust your temperature easily.
    4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can disrupt your sleep, so it's best to avoid them during the flight.
    5. Use in-flight entertainment: Many airlines offer a selection of movies, TV shows, and music to help pass the time and relax you.
    6. Practice relaxation techniques: Deep breathing, meditation, and other relaxation techniques can help calm your mind and make it easier to fall asleep.
    7. Adjust to the destination time zone: Adjust your sleep schedule before your flight to better align with your destination's time zone.

    Remember that sleeping on a plane can be difficult for some people, so don't be too hard on yourself if you can't get much rest.


    Try to relax and make the most of the flight by watching movies, reading a book, or enjoying the in-flight food and drink service.

    How do you get a blanket at the airport?

    Airports typically do not provide blankets for passengers to use while waiting for their flights.


    However, if you are in a situation where you need a blanket at the airport, there are a few options:


    1. Bring your own: Consider packing a travel blanket in your carry-on luggage that you can use while waiting for your flight.
    2. Purchase one: Many airport shops and kiosks sell travel blankets that you can purchase if you need one.
    3. Ask at a lounge: If you can access an airport lounge, they may provide blankets for guests.

    Keep in mind that most airports can be chilly, so it's always a good idea to dress in layers and bring a sweater or jacket to stay warm.


    If you have any questions about amenities available at the airport, you can always check with the information desk or ask a customer service representative.

    How much is a blanket on a plane?

    In general, blankets provided by airlines on planes are free to use during the flight.


    However, it's worth noting that some airlines only provide blankets to passengers in certain cabin classes, such as business or first class.


    In some cases, airlines may offer blankets for purchase as part of an in-flight amenity kit, including other items such as earplugs, an eye mask, and socks.


    The cost of these kits can vary depending on the airline and the kit's contents but typically range from $10 to $20.


    If you have specific questions about the availability or cost of blankets on your flight, it's always a good idea to check with your airline ahead of time or ask a flight attendant during the flight.

    Does United Economy give blankets?

    Yes, United Airlines provides blankets to passengers in economy class on most of its international flights and select domestic flights that are longer than two hours.


    The blankets are typically distributed after takeoff and collected before landing.


    If you have specific questions about the availability of blankets on your United Airlines flight, it's best to check with the airline directly or consult their website.

    Do airlines provide pillows on international flights?

    Yes, most airlines provide pillows to passengers on international flights, especially long-haul flights.


    The availability of pillows may vary depending on the airline and the aircraft used for the flight.


    Some airlines may provide pillows only in certain cabin classes, such as business or first class.


    In addition to pillows, airlines may offer other in-flight amenities to make passengers more comfortable during the flight, such as blankets, eye masks, earplugs, and slippers.

    If you have specific questions about the availability of pillows or other amenities on your international flight, it's best to check with your airline directly or consult their website.


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