Inflatable Footrests for Plane Travel: Useful or Gimmicky?

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If you are traveling in business or first class, then comfort should not pose much of a problem for you. However, if you are traveling in economy class, it’s important to be prepared.

It’s important to know whether you find it easier to relax in a window or an aisle seat. It’s important to know whether you could use a travel pillow in addition to the oftentimes low quality one provided by the airline. It’s important to know what other things such as compression socks could potentially help you in being more comfortable in the confined space.

One of such things that I see more and more pop up when I look around on the Internet are inflatable footrests for planes. Below, we’ll take a look at whether they are “the real deal” that will help you be more comfortable on an aircraft or whether they are they just a gimmick?

Before I continue, here’s the short answer: yes, inflatable footrests can be useful. And, before I explain you why, here’s a summary of the products that I talk about further in this article.

Product NameBudgetRatingMore Details
HOMCA Travel Foot Rest Pillow$$****Check on Amazon
RuiXiang Aircraft Feet Hammock$*Check on Amazon
Flypal Inflatable Leg & Foot Rest$$$*****Check on Amazon
STYDDI Inflatable Foot Rest Pillow$****Check on Amazon
Mauvana Travel Leg Rest Pillow$$$***Check on Amazon

Why Airplane Footrests Are a Good Thing

Before we look at inflatable travel footrests, let’s take a quick look at footrests in general. More specifically, at why they are a useful thing.

First of all, just think about the following: while you can adjust the height of any decent office chair, no matter how good an economy class seat is, you cannot adjust its height even if you are meant to be spending more than ten hours in it.

Inflatable Leg Rest for Flights: Useful or Gimmicky?

Combined with the fact that each passengers’ height varies, often by several inches, footrests help compensate for that difference and let (especially shorter) passengers relax their feet and stay comfortable even on a long flight.

On top of that, placing your feet on a footrest reduces the pressure on your legs. That in turn helps prevent deep vein thrombosis (blood clots forming in your legs) – something that every economy class passenger on an airplane is at risk of.

So in short, footrests definitely have benefits not only related to comfort but also to health.

But, how about inflatable footrests? Are they really useful and worth taking on a trip?

How About Inflatable Footrests for Plane?

The fact is that, as mentioned above, footrests are certainly useful. And, at the same time they are disappearing from airplanes’ economy class seats more and more, whether to reduce weight of the seats and thus reduce fuel costs, or to simplify the seats and thus reduce maintenance costs.

Inflatable travel footrests can certainly serve as a replacement to aircrafts’ built-in foot rests. But, there are also other replacements such as air travel foot hammocks. As such, whether you will go for an inflatable footrest or its alternative depends on your preference.

To help you make a decision on that, below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of inflatable footrests.

Advantages

While inflatable footrests are, in general, slightly pricier than let’s say foot hammocks, they are still very affordable, and offer a great increase in comfort for little cost. And, compared to some of the alternatives, they are arguably more comfortable as they offer more space to put your feet on.

Besides that, since they can be deflated, they are fairly compact and so they are easy to travel with.

They are also very useful if you are traveling with a toddler since a full-height inflatable travel footrest (such as this one from Mauvana) can turn an economy class seat into what – for the toddler at least – is a lie-flat bed.

Disadvantages

Now, of course, there are also disadvantages to using such leg rests compared to using their alternatives or not using anything at all.

The first of those is that, if the airplane you will travel on actually features foot rests, then the benefit of having an inflatable travel footrest will decrease significantly. And, even if it does not, many people prefer to pack as light as possible and find it just fine to spend the several hours in a slightly lower comfort than they would otherwise have preferred to have.

Also, compared to the foot hammocks, for example, the inflatable footrests block the space between your seat and the seat in front of you. As such, if you are in an aisle seat and need to let your neighbor out or if you need to access a bag you stored under the seat in front of you, things might get a bit cumbersome.

And, finally, if you take out an inflatable leg rest and start filling it with air inflight, you might get some stares from people wondering about what you are doing.

But that is not something I would worry about…

Inflatable Footrests for Flights to Choose From

As for the actual products to choose from, the fact is that there are not many differences between the different brands and specific products. After all, the inflatable footrests are basically giant inflatable pillows.

However, before ordering one, you should check the reviews and make sure that people are not reporting that the material the product is made out of is uncomfortable or scratchy and that the footrest does not leak air easily and stays inflated for a long time.

Another thing you should think about is how easy it is to inflate and deflate the footrest, and what size it is. Although, again, most of them will be roughly the same size and will fit between most economy class seats (and if they don’t, you can just deflate them a bit to make them fit).

Based on the above, the three products that seem especially worth checking out include:

  • HOMCA Travel Foot Rest (check price on Amazon): A simple and very affordable full-size inflatable footrest that is ideal both for adults as well as children.
  • Flypal (check price on Amazon): A slightly more expensive but very versatile two piece set that together forms a full-size leg rest useful for both adults and toddlers. Separately, you can only use just the smaller part as a foot rest.
  • STYDDI Inflatable Foot Rest (check price on Amazon)A smaller footrest, takes up less space both inflated and deflated than the full-sized leg rest, yet still offers a lot of comfort. Depending on your preferences, you might even find it more comfortable than a full-sized one.

Conclusion

Overall, I believe that if you don’t think it’s a hassle to carry an inflatable footrest on a plane, then they can be a great addition to your travel kit as they will considerably increase the comfort of your economy class flights.

At the same time, if you are not a fan of inflatable things, then you might want to consider either skipping on a personal footrest at all or getting something like the foot hammock.

In either case, I’m putting summary of the products mentioned in this article for quick reference below:

Product NameBudgetRatingMore Details
HOMCA Travel Foot Rest Pillow$$****Check on Amazon
RuiXiang Aircraft Feet Hammock$*Check on Amazon
Flypal Inflatable Leg & Foot Rest$$$*****Check on Amazon
STYDDI Inflatable Foot Rest Pillow$****Check on Amazon
Mauvana Travel Leg Rest Pillow$$$***Check on Amazon

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