Brazil Bans Pillows On Airplanes

Filed Under: United

In order to minimize contact between people in light of coronavirus, we’ve seen airlines around the world adjust onboard service, and we’ve even seen some governments place limits on what service can be provided.

Well, Brazil has just introduced what seems like a rather arbitrary regulation, all things considered. Brazil has seen a huge spike in coronavirus cases, and is second only to the US when it comes to confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths.

As noted by Live and Let’s Fly, United Airlines has sent a memo to employees informing them that pillows are no longer permitted on flights to & from Brazil:

  • Pillows won’t be provided by the airline, and passengers will be banned from bringing their own onboard
  • The Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency is apparently behind this decision
  • This ban doesn’t just apply to passenger flights, but also to cargo flights (we’ve seen major airlines start to operate more of these, as there’s more demand for cargo than passengers)
  • Employees are encouraged not to travel with pillows to “avoid any issues when entering Brazil”
  • Because of this new regulation, United will increase the number of blankets and duvets it loads, for both passengers and crews — business class passengers will get two additional duvets, which can be used as pillows when folded up

This is definitely one of the more unusual regulations we’ve seen a country place on airlines:

  • I can kind of understand how strangers sleeping in close proximity could increase the risk of coronavirus spreading
  • However, with passengers wearing mask you’d think that risk would be minimized somewhat
  • Furthermore, it seems arbitrary to ban pillows but not blankets, when blankets could be used as pillows if needed

United will be loading more duvets in lieu of pillows

Also, is the alternative here just that people aren’t supposed to sleep?

Bottom line

Brazil has banned pillows from planes. At least that seems to be the case based on a memo that United Airlines has sent internally. I’ll be curious to see if we learn more about the logic of this rule, and if any airlines publicly announce this adjustment to onboard service.

What do you make of this Brazilian airplane pillow ban?

  1. Good way for airline executives to reduce spending. Keep brainstorming on more cost cutting measures .

  2. This pandemie will show the world where is the stupidity threshold of executives, and governments, all over.

  3. COVID-19 in Brazil is as out of control in their cities as it is in America. They should concentrate on solving that instead of imposing ridiculous new times that will do nothing.

  4. Brazil is led by a monster, just like the United States. Both are criminals. Both are fascist fools, and both are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths. But sure, ban pillows.

  5. Not really relevant to the pillow ban – flew GRU-IAH in May in Premium Plus (sold as Economy Plus). After take off and a nice FA handed out Polaris gel pillows to me and the other 2 people in the purple zone of the 789. I woke up in the middle of the night with another (maskless!) FA inches from my face, yanking the pillow from under my head and yelling at me for stealing. Maybe ‘Thor’ moonlights for UA.

  6. No one :
    USA, Russia : Let’s make vaccines to eradicate the coronavirus.
    Brazil : Zero pillows a day keeps the coronavirus away.

  7. While the country remains being run by a stupid sociopath who copies Trump, why are some surprised at another clueless measure??

  8. Our president here in Brazil is not the one to blame for this situation. People abroad tend to think he has done nothing to control the number of cases but the truth is that he was forbidden to take any action by our Supreme Court! The governors and mayor can do whatever they want and the president cannot take any significant measures in a national scale.

  9. @Daniel

    Stop spreading fake news!
    He was not forbidden to take any action by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court just reaffirmed what the Brazilian Constitution already states: The Federal government is not allowed to override STRICTER measures imposed by State and Municipal governments with LESS STRICT ones.
    The Federal government (aka Bolsonaro) is still allowed to impose and implement stricter measures and restrictions than the ones implemented by States and cities.
    So, stop spreading this lie.
    The Federal government may not be the only one responsible for the crisis, but it’s indeed a great contributor to that because it has the powers to adopt any measures that are stricter or have not been implemented by the other government levels.

  10. I’m sorry, Daniel, but regardless of political preferences, it is unequivocal that Bolsonaro is the one responsible for the whole mishandling of corona in Brazil and it is it obvious tactics to put the spotlight on mayors and governors, so the folks don’t focus on last year’s economical failure (1.1%), the tearing down of the Amazon, the amount of military in power to allegedly protect him, his absence of action towards corruption and, above all, the dirty petty schemes his sons were deeply involved in – all that cost, so far, 100,000 lives and the perishing of, so far, 3,000,000 taxpayers!
    Facts are facts and no political preference should cause blindness, although ignorance may be a personal choice!

  11. This is absolutely not a recommendation by Brazilian authorities, it’s probably a misinterpretation by United. The only information regarding pillows and blankets on the coronavirus guidebook for airlines mentions the cleaning of these items that should follow previous guidelines (last updated in 2003), and in the case of a suspected case onboard, the pillows and blankets of all rows within 2 rows of the suspected patient should be cleaned separately at a cleaning facility. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the guidelines in English, but the link below is from ANAC’s website, the Brazilian FAA equivalent .

  12. Brazil has a stupid sociopath monster running the country for almost two decades. This case seems more like bureaucrats trying to justify their high wages and, obviously, a bit of schadenfreude.

    I’m sorry but Corona Vírus, Amazon and the others you mentioned are different subjects. Talking about Corona Virus, he has no autonomy whatsoever. The Supreme Court gave the governors and mayors the power to do whatever they want. The decision is very clear in that aspect.
    That, however, does not mean his mandate has been without faliures so far. He deserves a lot of criticism but it’s not fair to try to input to him something he had no power to change.

  14. Of all of the nonsensical covid related rules and restrictions, this one may be the most ridiculous. Seriously wtf!?

  15. @ Daniel

    I’m sorry Daniel, but you are wrong. The Supreme Court didn’t PROHIBIT him from doing anything, maybe you should read the court’s decision before spreading fake facts. The Court simply said that since we are a FEDERALIST Republic, and health issues aren’t exclusive federal, the federal government can’t prohibit States and Municipalities from adopting the measures they judged better for their own states.

    What the Supreme Court decided was to grant States and Municipalities the power to decide wheter they would impose quarantine measures in their OWN states and municipalities (this is called Federalism, my friend, and it is in the Constitution). You forgot to mention that while many States and Municipalities were trying to put quarantines, this idiotic President was trying to avoid them from doing so. That’s why the Court decision was necessary.

    Now, the federal government has its own area of action and what did they do? Simply did nothing… So it wasn’t prohibited from doing anything, it simply decided it wouldn’t do anything.

    We are in the middle of a pandemic and he fired two Health Ministers who tried to follow Science and not his political opinions. We are in the middle of a pandemic and we still have no nominated Health Minister… Way to go! That’s how you handle things…

  16. @Ben

    As others have mentioned, I couldn’t find any directives about pillows being banned at any government website or news outlet in Brazil.
    It should be a misinterpretation on the United side.

  17. @Daniel,

    Please stop to spread fake news!
    Have you read the Supreme Court ruling on the fact?
    It was not even a ruling, it was just an explanation of what has always been written in Brazil’s 1988 Constitution.
    Read it and let me know where it states that the Federal Government (the president) is forbidden to implement actions/restrictions stricter than what the other elements of the federation (yes, Brazil is a federation) have implemented.
    We are all eagerly waiting for you to show us this.

  18. Why does everything need to become a political discussion these days? Nobody is interested in Brazil’s internal issues, take your partisan bickering to reddit.

    About the alleged “pillow ban”, I couldn’t find anything remotely mentioning pillows.
    This doesn’t mean the regulation doesn’t exist but I bet United is using this as another excuse to cut costs or it misunderstood something.

  19. Bolsonaro is the president Brasil ever had! The last 3 presidents were worse than any military could even be!

  20. US: Trump thinks lasers, injecting bleach, and issuing malaria meds to combat Covid.

    Brazil: Ban pillows on flights.

    Keep teaching your kids that they too can become President some day.

  21. Not a fan of either Trump or Bolsonaro, but the number of butt hurt comments made me realize their detractors are not too far removed from the loony bin too!

  22. It’s about cleaning procedures. Blankets and duvets have robust cleaning.
    If you look at airline cleaning procedures, the more expensive pillows are often not cleaned in quite the same way. For example many airlines used to only wash the pillow covers and just disinfect the pillow on the outside if at all, which means the pillows themselves don’t get sanitized as well.

  23. Has you or the other blogger confirmed this where? Would you care to update the post with the source?
    Have you realized that this is how “fake news” spread?
    Slow new days, Ben?

  24. The reason here for some – myself included! – to have gone off-topic was the fake news presented by colleague Daniel, which now has been finally put right by others: never underestimate the power of fake news and they MUST be pointed at, promptly corrected and rejected immediately!
    That said, I couldn’t find anything at all in our legislation, old or new, connecting pillows and covid-19, and now tend to agree with Bruno it may be a mis- or overinterpretation by United, since other airlines haven’t mentioned the issue at all so far!

  25. All I heard was “Brazil is open” Niiiice. Beach time in a few weeks.

    We have to learn to live with whatever this is. Take precautions, yes.

  26. no measures will stop what’s meant to happen….survival of the fittest…u just have to know what it means to be fit…but arrogance and pride means most won’t ever figure it out

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