Flying with infants and toddlers is a mission… Now add a stroller into the mix and it’s significantly more challenging! Handling strollers during air travel may be a hassle, but it’s something all travel-savvy parents must endure if they want to fly with their little one. After the first few times, it’ll become second nature to you!
If you’ve never travelled with a stroller on an airplane before, you’re probably scouring the net and asking friends who are parents for advice and tips. Luckily, we got you covered with everything you possibly need to know so that you are prepped and ready to fly!
In this guide, we will go over 10 tips on handling strollers during air travel, recommend the type of stroller to bring, and answer some of your burning frequently asked questions about travelling with a stroller! So, buckle up for the ride!
10 Tips on Handling Strollers During Air Travel
Know airline policies before you arrive at the airport
The best way to be prepared for anything that comes your way is to know everything from the airline you’re flying with policy to what to expect at every step of your journey. Anticipating and having everything ready will help you breeze through the whole process!
Before you arrive at the airport, check size regulations and decide how you will be checking in your stroller. Research how strollers will be handled as checked baggage. If you can’t readily find this information online, phone up the airline and enquire about the methods to bring your stroller through the airport. Ask if you can check it in at the gate and get them to return it to you upon exiting the aircraft or if you have to check it as checked baggage, inquire where you would have to pick it up afterward – at the baggage claim carousel or the oversized luggage counter.
Photograph your stroller before arriving at the airport
If you are travelling with a lot of luggage and carry-ons and have to, unfortunately, check-in the stroller as checked baggage, you want to make sure you know if there is any damage done to your stroller. Taking a photograph of your stroller before heading to the airport will simplify the process if you notice any damages and poor handling at the end of your journey. Making a damage claim will be easier if you have proof of how your stroller looked before your travel versus how it looks after.
Get to the airport early
The last thing you want is to be rushing through the airport while holding onto a baby, all your carry-ons, the diaper bag and a stroller to top it off! So get to the airport early, allow yourself to breathe and take your time through the check-in process. This gives you less stress and more time to anticipate and get excited about your destination!
Invest in a flight-check stroller bag
Stroller bags will keep your stroller safe from scratches, damages, dust, and germs! Look for ones that are bright in colour and specific for flights. They will be easy to spot and handled with care by the airport staff and cabin crew once you check them in at the gate. You can find plenty of air travel stroller bags online to help ease your travel with a stroller.
Look out for designated lines for family
Airport security lines are no joke. You have to put your stroller through the X-ray machine. It may take a tremendous effort to collapse and put through the machine. And sometimes, TSA officers don’t make it easy for you.
But, some airports offer a line specifically for families with small children! Keep your eyes peeled for this line and if you spot it – take advantage of it and get rid of some of that pressure you’ll feel taking everything apart to put through the machine. It will feel a little less stressful seeing other families go through the same tasks and give you a heads up on how your stroller and carry-on items should go through.
Check your stroller at the boarding gate
Try to arrive at your boarding gate before pre-boarding starts and arrange for your stroller to be checked as a “GatePorter item.” This fancy word just means you won’t have to fit it into the overhead bin. You can simply ask them to hold onto it during the flight for you and deliver it at the aircraft door as you are deplaning.
This saves you the hassle of finding a spot for it in the overhead bins along with all your other carry-on items! One less thing to worry about as you are getting on and off the plane. Usually, these items will be treated with care and you don’t have to worry about them being poorly handled by porters or getting tossed onto the baggage carousel.
If you have a connecting flight, make sure you have a compact stroller
The last thing you want is your stroller to get lost during a transfer to another flight. So if you know that you have a connecting flight, you don’t want to depend on other people to have your stroller ready for you. Buy or bring a stroller small and compact enough to carry on the plane with you.
Compact ones are easy to fold up and thin enough to store. You can tuck it into one of the overhead compartments and carry it easily to catch your next flight. And find one with a feature where you can open it up with one hand and you’re good to go! Anticipating and planning are key!
Large strollers may end up in the oversized luggage area
For whatever reason, if you were unable to bring an umbrella stroller and had to go with a larger stroller, be prepared to check it in as a “checked baggage.” This will probably be too large to pass as a carry-on item. Just be wary that checked baggage is often thrown and mishandled by porters.
You should expect to collect the stroller at baggage claim at the end of your flight. If it is larger than normal, you may have to check in the oversized luggage area instead of the baggage carousel. Just make sure there are no damages before leaving the airport!
Keep your baby away from the stroller as you open and collapse it
You want to make sure your baby’s small fingers are away from the stroller hinges when you open and fold the stroller. If they are moving, their fingers may easily get caught up in the hinges.
It’s easy to forget how fragile your baby is when you are in a rush, trying to open up or fold your stroller. Sometimes your mind is thinking about the people waiting behind you or others watching you that you may be trying to work as quickly as possible. If you can, let one parent hold the baby while another takes on the task of opening up and folding the stroller.
Pro tip: If you are traveling alone with your baby, just ask one of the cabin crew or airport staff to lend a hand. They will most likely be happy to help!
Stay calm and collected
Remember this – absolutely no one expects you to have everything together. When you are traveling with a baby, most people are too busy fawning over your beautiful bundle of joy or looking at you in awe for being a super parent or just minding their own business!
Don’t stress out and think people are judging you. You are trying your best. You got this. And you can make it out of this alive and thriving. Remind yourself of that when you start to feel stressed during travel!
What Stroller to Bring for Air Travel
You want to make sure you are bringing the right type of stroller when traveling through airports and on airplanes. With a plethora of baby strollers on the market, the one you may have at home for regular use may not be the right one for air travel! Usually, people buy full-sized strollers with adjustable handles so that it caters to the parent handling the stroller at any given time. But that type of stroller is not fit for air travel.
It’s agreed that lightweight strollers or umbrella strollers are the best strollers to take on your travels. Umbrella strollers fold nicely and airlines are more likely to accept and stow away them. Full-size strollers may not be accepted by the airline because they do not fold as neatly as an umbrella stroller and they take up too much space.
Here are 3 umbrella strollers that you should consider buying for your travels if you don’t have one already!
Summer 3D Lightweight Infant Stroller
This lightweight stroller makes every outing and travels easy! It weighs 11 pounds, has a full-sized seat, and is collapsible. It’s compact but built for long-term use, so no matter how many trips you go on, this umbrella stroller will weather the storm! Perfect to collapse and tuck into overhead compartments or whisk out when you are on the move with your baby – this infant stroller is hassle-free and airport-ready!
Kolcraft Lightweight Travel Baby Stroller
This travel-friendly lightweight stroller will make your life a lot easier! Weighing at only 11.8 lbs, this baby stroller is perfect for air travel or long day trips. It has a large, easy-to-access storage basket that will hold anything you need and is easily collapsible when you need it tucked away. It folds effortlessly with one hand and is a gem to have and use when travelling by flight! If you don’t have an umbrella stroller just yet, consider this one that is high in reviews and still at an affordable price!
Pamo Umbrella Stroller
This compact and lightweight stroller can fold small and flat, very convenient for travel. It weighs approximately 15 lbs and is quick to set up and collapse. This umbrella stroller has an extra-large storage compartment on the bottom where you can hold any of your baby’s items while you’re breezing through the airport and is sturdy enough to collapse whenever you need to tuck it away. If you want an umbrella stroller that is made of high-quality material and won’t cause you hold-ups in airport lineups, say yes to this!
FAQs About Travelling with a Stroller in an Airplane
Q: Can you bring a stroller on a plane?
Typically, most airlines will allow you to bring a stroller free of charge, in addition to your regular baggage allowance when you are flying with an infant under the age of two. It doesn’t hurt to check the airline’s policies on baggage allowance and traveling with a baby on their website or by calling them directly.
Q: How do you travel with a baby stroller?
Baby strollers are not counted as part of the standard baggage so you can get them checked in for free. When travelling with an infant, a stroller can be counted as their “carry-on” luggage. It can be checked at the curb, the ticket counter or at the gate – whatever is most convenient for you.
Q: Can you take a stroller and car seat on a plane?
There are only certain circumstances where you can take a car seat on a plane. It may be counted as a checked item if it does not fold up. But a stroller will always be counted as an infant’s carry-on luggage which is free of charge. If these items fold up and are small enough to fit into the overhead compartment, it should be okay. But there is a possibility to have the cabin crew hold onto it for you and deliver it to you at the end of your flight.
If you talk to the airlines ahead of time and explain you want to bring a car seat as a child safety seat and your child has their “own seat” then you can bring it into your flight.
Q: What size stroller can I take on a plane?
You can only bring a stroller if it’s collapsible. According to the TSA, a stroller with a collapsed diameter not exceeding 25.5 cm (10 in) and a length not exceeding 92 cm (36 in) is allowed, in addition to all your carry-on allowance. It can be checked at the boarding gate as a GatePorter item which will then be delivered to you at the airplane door at the very end of your flight so you don’t need to fit it into the overhead compartment.
Q: Do airlines charge for strollers?
Typically, you will not be charged for strollers. Some airlines view strollers as your child’s carry-on luggage while other airlines allow each ticketed adult one stroller to be checked free of charge. How accommodating an airline will be is up to their discretion. So it’s best to check updated policies online or call in before you start your travel with a particular airline. You don’t want any surprises at the airport on the day of your trip.
Q: Do you need a bag for the stroller on the plane?
If you don’t want any scratches or damages to your stroller, you can wrap it up in an air travel bag specifically made for strollers. This will protect your strollers from dirt and germs through the whole process of checking in and delivering. The best air travel bag for your stroller will generally come in a bright colour and a large check logo to easily identify and ensure a safe return.
Travelling with an infant and a stroller can seem like an impossible feat, but it’s very doable. As prepared as you may think you are, going through airport security, boarding planes, catching connection flights, and disembarking from your flight will be long and tedious. Merely thinking about carrying a stroller and/or a car seat can be draining.
But all parents wishing to travel with their little one and show them the joy of exploring various countries must endure this. Think of it as a rite of passage into the parenting world, if you will!
In this guide, we brought together tips and tricks to handling strollers in airplanes, discussed the type of stroller to bring on your air travels, and answered some FAQs about travelling with strollers. If you had any questions before reading this comprehensive guide, we hope you walk away with a little more assurance and peace of mind!
Travelling with your baby shouldn’t be all stress! Think about the life-long memories you will take, the photos to show them when they grow up, and the family time you will be spending at your destination and when you’re safely back home! The hassle of carrying strollers will seem so minuscule when you look at the big beautiful picture!
Safe travels and enjoy every minute of it!