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Are Inflatable Footrests Allowed on Planes?

Sitting on a plane for hours and hours isn’t the most fun or comfortable thing—especially if you’re travelling with kids. But there are some gadgets out there that can transform the journey completely, and one of those is inflatable footrests. 

As an ex-flight attendant, I’ve seen it all, and some gadgets are just downright pointless. Inflatable footrests, however, I can totally get on board with.

But airline policies and regulations vary. So the answer to are inflatable footrests allowed on planes, is it depends on the airline. However, this guide details exactly who officially allows, with the airline link to back it up and a discount code for a popular travel bed.

Are inflatable footrests allowed on planes

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Having used inflatable footrests on previous flights with my kids to make their journey—and my journey—a hundred times better, I will never travel without one when flying long haul with kids.

Unless the airline prohibits them, that is. 

We’ve used the Flyaway and Planepal for kids and the Planepal I’ve used as an adult too.

So, if you’re thinking about purchasing an inflatable footrest for your next flight, let’s first take a look at whether inflatable footrests are even allowed on planes to begin with. 

Plane Pal and Flyaway travel bed to help kids sleep on a flight
Inflatable gadgets to help kids sleep on a flight and you too!

What are Inflatable Footrests?

Inflatable footrests are exactly as their name suggests: footrests that you inflate. Similar to a pool floaty, inflatable footrests have a valve that you blow into.

Once they’re fully inflated, they create a somewhat solid platform that you can place in your cabin seat’s footwell to improve comfort and relaxation on plane journeys and car journeys.

Inflatable footrests are rectangular in shape and are lightweight, compact, and typically quite affordable, although the ones most likely to be approved by airlines come at a higher price pointlikely due to the additional testing and processes gone through to get approved by some airlines. 

With several airlines, the brand is important if it is allowed. These are:

kids asleep on flyaway mattress and plane pal
Kids asleep on Flyaway mattress and Plane Pal on Singapore Airlines

Are Inflatable Footrests Allowed on Planes?

Some airlines allow inflatable footrests onboard their flights but not all. The airlines that do allow, will often have restrictions and specify only certain brands are allowed.

This is because they would have been tested for air worthiness under their safety policies and regulations.

However, there are some airlines that prohibit them for safety reasons.

Qatar Airways do not allow inflatable footrests according to their website.

It’s best to check the specific airline you’re flying with to ensure whether or not they allow footrests during the flight. If your airline is not listed here – it is because there is no official policy on their website so it could be up to the crew on the day.

Which airlines allow inflatable footrests?

Airlines who officially do NOT allow most sleep travel gadgets/airplane beds for toddlers and say so on their website are:

 Airlines which OFFICIALLY APPROVE some sleep devices for children (as long as certain guidelines are met) and say so on their website:

However, note that the final decision will always rest with the crew.

American Airlines policy on inflatable legrests.
American Airlines policy on inflatable legrests- they allow most types.

Jetkids bed box by stokke, sleep device for kids and toddlers on a plane.
Jetkids bedbox by stokke on an airplane
Jetkids by Stokke Bedbox on a Virgin Atlantic flight.

Benefits of Using Inflatable Footrests on Planes

There are a few great benefits to using an inflatable footrest on planes. But the biggest is if you’re travelling with kids, you can use the inflatable footrest as a bed for younger ones.

Having a flat platform for your kids to lay on ensures your little ones have a comfortable (and hopefully long) sleep throughout the flight. Adults can use it as a foot rest in the legroom area.

Plane Pal and Flyaway travel bed to help kids sleep on a flight
Gadgets to help kids sleep on a flight!

I’ve put together an entire article on the best airplane beds for toddlers, along with airlines that don’t allow inflatable footrests, which you can check out here.

Travel footrest rules on Singapore Airlines Image courtesy Singapore Airlines. Most airlines follow these rules

How to Use Inflatable Footrests Safely on Planes

As inflatable footrests block the entire footwell of your seat, there are rules in place to ensure the safety of all passengers on board the flight. 

Firstly, inflatable footrests can only be used at the window and middle row seats. You can not use an inflatable footrest on an aisle seat as it blocks the entire row’s exit in the event of an emergency. 

Secondly, if a child is using the inflatable footrest as a bed, their head needs to be toward the back of their own seat. Their head can’t be touching the tray table, for example. And your child must be able to secure their seatbelt under their arms. 

Thirdly, you must deflate the footrest during take-off and landing

Fourth, inflatable footrests must not be attached to any part of the aircraft. And you should be able to move them out of the way if need be

Tips for Choosing the Right Inflatable Footrest for Your Needs

There are so many inflatable footrests out there that, as with any purchase, it can be hard to determine the right one for your needs. 

One of my first tips for choosing the right inflatable footrest would be to determine your budget.

There are some footrests on Amazon that cost as little as £10 or a few dollars.

However, they may not be the most durable option if you plan on using the footrest time and time again and they may not be approved by your airline to use or as carry-on.

My next tip would be to decide what you’re using the footrest for. Is it for your kids so they can sleep? Is it for yourself to improve comfort and circulation? Is it going to be used a lot or is better to get one secondhand eg off ebay?

In terms of a footrest for your kids, you’ll want one that, once fully inflated, is level with the plane seat (around 40-45 cm tall.)

If the footrest is for your own comfort, you may want a slightly shorter model so you aren’t sitting cross-legged for the duration of the flight. 


Alternatives to Inflatable Footrests

There aren’t really any alternatives to inflatable footrests aside from foot hammocks or companies that sell a thin bit of material which attaches to the seat in front.

However, I don’t recommend them, as not only do they place excessive amounts of weight on the tray table which can damage the table.

They also disrupt the person sitting in front of you. For this reason, most airlines will ban foot hammocks or any product that attaches to seat parts as they are not cabin safety tested nor are tray tables tested to be used for this purpose.

If you are looking to make the flight more comfortable for your child, then you could instead invest in a Travel Snug, which I’ve done a full review on.

flyaway bed Flyaway vs Plane Pal Travel Bed to help kids sleep on a flight
Flyaway sleep device/seat extender to help kids sleep on a flight

Discount Code For Flyaway Travel Bed

We’ve used both the PlanePal and Flyaway but have a discount code for the Flyaway. Use the code FLYINGWITHABABY and get $10 or your currency equivalent off.

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