Last holiday season when the annual avalanche of gift guides hit websites across the land, the new Znzi Travel Stuff Travel Pillow* made appearances on lists ranging from the New York Times’ to Bustle’s to the The Dallas Diva’s. Heeding the widespread advice, I bought one for my boyfriend for Christmas.
And then I was the one to use it, mostly because I’m the one in this household who always has to fly coach. Touted as a 21st century improvement on those ubiquitous horseshoe-shaped pillows you can by in most airport terminals, the Znzi pillow comes with six magnets embedded in it, which enables the pillow to be configured in a number of shapes. It also has two suction cups, for attaching it to the plane window.
On a flight from New York City to Frankfurt, Germany, I tested the pillow out over the course of the seven and a half hours between takeoff and landing. Here’s what I found…
MATERIAL AND BUILD
I don’t have any complaints here. The pillow is covered in a sort of faux-fur material that’s soft and velvety to the touch. And it spot-cleans well. (The pillow is also machine washable, but I haven’t gone down that road yet.) As far as “cushiness” goes, it’s a good combo of soft and firm.
I do with the white tag came off more easily. As you can see in the photos above, I’ve left it on for fear of damaging the pillow.
THE MULTIPLE CONFIGURATIONS
After playing around with the pillow quite bit, I found that you can do a lot with the magnets, and less with the suctions cups.
One of my favorite configurations involves folding one third of the pillow over and securing with the magnets, as in the upper right of the photo above, then placing the bulky end on my shoulder and the remaining pillow up against the wall. This results in a cushion against the wall and support for the head at the same time.
You can mimic the horseshoe pillow by folding the pillow ways and attaching the magnets at all three points. It worked well and makes an acceptable replacement for it.
Folding both wings toward each other and attaching them together makes a really nice, thick pillow that works well when there’s no wall to lean against.
The suction cups are great, but the conditions have to be right for them to work. Namely, the window shade has to be up and the window has to be aligned properly with the seat. I’d say that more often than not, the stars won’t align here.
Unless you’re in business or first class and actually lying horizontal, I can’t imagine a scenario in which it would make sense to leave the pillow flat. And if you’re in business or first class, you’re not going to need to mess with a travel pillow in the first place.
STORING AND TRANSPORTING
The pillow folds into thirds and fits well into the bag that comes with it. The strap and clip slip over a suitcase handle, making for a convenient hands-off way to get the thing onto the plane with you. However, the strap is way too long to secure conveniently to backpacks or travel bags. I find this to be the most glaring flaw of the product as a whole.
At $38.99, the Znzi Travel Stuff Travel Pillow is pricier than other travel pillows you tend to come across. If you’re even a semi-frequent traveler on long-haul flights in economy, this pillow is worth the price for the improvement it makes to the passenger’s general comfort. Whatever weird sleeping position you’re trying to achieve, you can manipulate this pillow to get you there. We need all the help we can get in economy class these days, and this pillow provides it.