Traveling with infants and toddlers can be a challenge. If you add a stroller to the list of the luggage you have to carry, then you can have quite a task on your hand. This is one of the most daunting tasks for parents, especially during the baby’s early years.
If you have some of the big types of strollers, you might panic whenever you remember all you have to pack. As well as what you will probably experience during your flight.
To enable you to travel with a stroller on board an airplane, properly fold your stroller, then have the stroller gate checked. After gate checking your stroller, head to the passenger boarding bridge, show your tag to the flight attendant. Get past the flight attendant and safely store your stroller in the overhead cabin.
Unexpected events connected with air travel like delayed flights, airport traffic, and the long Transportation Security Administration (TSA) queue add more stress to your trip.
Navigating your luggage and an infant or a toddler is not an easy task at all. It is normal for new parents or parents who have not flown with their baby and the baby’s stroller alongside to have a phobia for traveling.
That is why you should know essential tips for traveling with an infant and pack as light as you can. Arriving at the airport as early as you can and with a positive mindset is also beneficial. Traveling with your kid will not be such a chore after all.
Steps to Take When Traveling with Your Stroller on An Airplane
The following are precise steps to take when traveling with a stroller on an airplane:
- Get past airport security
- Gate check your stroller
- Store your stroller at the exit of the passenger boarding bridge
- Pick up your stroller
After reading this article, you will know how to travel with your stroller on an airplane. Honestly, it is not such a big deal. After making your first flight, you will probably get a hang of the procedure.
You might have wondered if you will pay an extra fee to bring your strollers on board and so on. Interestingly, all your questions have answers. We hope to clear all your doubts.
Where You Should Begin…
Decide if you will want to have your stroller gate-checked or at the counter. Occasionally, the airline might let you board the plane with your stroller.
But it must be the small stroller models that can be folded easily into a compact size and kept in the plane’s overhead cabin.
How to Get Past Airport Security with a Stroller
To get past airport security with a stroller, follow these steps:
- Remove the child from the stroller
- get rid of any item in the stroller
- fold up the stroller
- walk up to any available security staff and have them make an x-ray of the stroller.
Some airlines might have a separate TSA line for families with infants to reduce the stress on you.
How to Board the Plane with Your Stroller
To board a plane with a small stroller, gate check your stroller. After that treat the stroller just the same way you would have treated any other carry-on luggage. Safely store your stroller in the over-head cabin.
If your stroller is small enough to fit into the plane, then you can board the aircraft with it. It gives you the advantage of having access to the stroller at once and not waiting to retrieve it when you get to your destination. It also reduces the possibility of the stroller getting lost when boarding a connecting flight.
Gate Checking Your Stroller
Almost all airlines will check your strollers at the counter for free. Bring your stroller along with you and then gate check it.
This is because it can give you some comfort while moving around in big airports. You could also use the stroller as a substitute cart for your luggage.
Some airlines have recently re-jigged their stroller policies preventing you from gate checking some heavy strollers. Make sure you make inquiries before you book your flight.
If you do not have the opportunity to have your stroller gate-checked, then it will have to be counter checked and sent to oversized baggage.
How to Get Your Stroller Gate Checked
To get your stroller gate check follow these steps below:
- Join the TSA line and get your stroller tagged immediately.
- Collet your claim stub from the gate agent.
- Sign your claim stub.
If your airline allows pre-boarding preferences for families with infants and toddlers, get your stroller gate tagged immediately when you arrive at the airport. This should be done before boarding begins. The agents at the passenger boarding bridge gate might become too busy when you wait for too long.
The gate agent might want to know the total number of strollers you have. If you have the combo stroller models that have the car seat attached to them, they will be tagged separately.
The gate agent will also inquire about your final landing destination. This helps if you will be taking a connecting flight, so you do not have to repeat this step again.
After getting the stroller tagged, you will get the claim stub. Make sure you keep this in a safe place. That is what you will use to claim your stroller after landing.
Sometimes at the discretion of gate agents, you may have to sign on the tag. This means that you will not hold the airline liable for any damages to your stroller.
How to Prepare the Stroller for Security Check
To prepare your stroller for a security check, take out all the items in the stroller, remove your baby from the stroller. Collapse the stroller and secure it in a traveling bag.
As soon as you arrive at the air bridge, the next thing to do is to get the stroller set for storage in a cargo hold. This means you must take out all items on it. Start doing this as you move along the line if there is a queue ahead. That way when you arrive at the air bridge, you will be almost ready.
When you arrive at the air bridge, take your baby out of the stroller, and collapse it. Do not forget to secure your stroller in a traveling bag if you have them. It helps to prevent damage to any parts of the stroller due to packing.
You should not have any other thing in your stroller. Although some people keep a few items inside the stroller bag like a diaper bag or baby towel.
Where to Keep Your Stroller
After packing up your stroller, leave it at the terminal of the air bridge or beside the wall. Make sure your baby stroller is stored in the right place. Most aircraft have separate bridges for premium and economy travelers.
For people flying first class or business class, you should inquire where you will keep your stroller.
Below is a video that explains how to gate check your baby stroller.
Video Title: What baby gear to check at the gate. This video shows steps to gate check your stroller.
Where to Pick Your Stroller
You will pick up your stroller at the bridge gate after the plane has landed. If you get to the bridge gate and your stroller has not been returned, patiently wait for it. Your stroller was stored in the cargo hold after all the passengers boarded the flight.
When the plane lands, the passenger boarding bridge usually becomes crowded. There will be workers getting into the plane and passengers getting out. So, it might take a while for the ramp worker to retrieve all the items kept at cargo hold and to place them back at the bridge gate.
If you travel alongside an adult who can take care of the kid, then the adult and the kid could wait in the lobby. While you wait to recover the strollers.
Also, for premium cabin travelers, inquire about where your gate-checked stroller will be kept when you land.
If your flight is international, then expect the procedure to be different. Each country will oversee luggage handling in diverse ways. Even though you are on a United States airline arriving in a foreign country. Do not expect the procedure of luggage handling to be consistent with that of the US.
For example, in Germany expect the stroller to be delivered at the terminal, you will have access to the stroller after you get off. While in Norway, usually they send the strollers to the baggage claim.
we suggest you ask before boarding the plane to find out where your strollers will be kept when you land.
Saying the obvious do not forget the stroller. Most airlines will not let you back into the passenger boarding bridge after you get off. Do not panic though, the only implication is that you might wait a little longer. Contact an airport agent and explain to them that you have forgotten to pick up the stroller which you gate checked.
If you think you might do something wrong, ask a host before you exit and head up to the gate.
Here are some other great articles on strollers we recommend you check out:-
- How to Get Your Cat Used to A Stroller
- How To Pick A Stroller And CarSeat
- When Can Baby Sit in Front Facing Stroller
- How to Make A Rain Cover for Stroller
- How to Gate Check A Stroller
- What is the Best Double Stroller
Alternatives to Traveling with Your Stroller
The following are alternatives to traveling with your stroller:
- Rent a stroller.
- Ship your stroller.
After considering all the tips and you have decided not to travel with your stroller, these options below might appeal to you.
Consider Renting or Buying A New Stroller Locally
Where can you rent a baby stroller?
Car renting companies also offer to rent a baby car seat upon request. Others may even let you rent one for free. If you cannot find a good rental deal, you may buy an inexpensive baby car seat. This is an excellent choice if you travel often to this location.
You could store the car seat, and whenever you return, you can always make use of it. This way you will not have to fly with strollers.
You might also want to donate the car seat to a charity home if you do not need the baby car seat anymore.
Ship Your Stroller
How do I ship my stroller to my new destination?
To have your stroller shipped to your travel destination, enter the destination address and have the stroller mailed to that address. Parents who have a strong affinty for the baby stroller they already own will find this option very viable. If you will lodge in a hotel, that can manage your mail on your behalf then you can also use that as your mailing address.
Have your stroller mailed to your hotel before you fly.
Final Thoughts — How to Travel with A Stroller on An Airplane
Traveling with your kids could be stressful. Bringing your stroller along should not contribute to the stress. The procedure of getting your stroller gate checked and reclaiming them when you get to your destination is consistent in most airlines.
Once you make your first trip, you will get a hang of the process and travel like a champ. When traveling abroad, remember that every country will do things differently. Ask locals or airline staff when you have any doubts. Most people will be eager to help you.
How to Travel with A Stroller on An Airplane — Related FAQs
How Do I Install A Car Seat on An Airplane?
Follow these simple steps to install your infant car seat on the airplane:
- Select the right direction your car seat is going to face. Either forward-facing or rear-facing. Read the instruction manual that came with the car seat for information regarding height, age, and weight requirements.
- Place your car seat against the backrest of the airplane’s seat. Rear-facing seats have to be set level with the ground, using the in-built level line attached to the car seat.
- Insert the lap belt through the right belt path on the car seat.
- Pull the belt under the pad across the shell. Make sure you do not twist the belt. Rear-facing seats must have the lap belt before the crotch buckle strap.
- Buckle the airline belt.
- To tighten the belt, place your hand on the car seat, then push the car seat against the airplane’s seat while you are doing that push the car seat downwards. To ensure it completely laps on the airplane’s seat. Next, pull the free end of the belt to tighten it.
- Double-check that the seat is securely fastened to the airplane seat. Your seat should move no further than one inch after you have securely fastened it.
Is A Car Seat Required On An Airplane?
A car seat is not mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for traveling by air with a child. Ensure you make use of a child safety seat or any other infant restraint when flying with kids, infants, and young children.
The use of an airline car seat implies you have to purchase an extra ticket for the child, further increasing the cost of air travel for families. Travel by air is much safer than travel by road, therefore you are better off with an improperly restrained child on an airplane than taking the roads.
What Type of Stroller Can I Take on A Plane?
You can get on-board an airplane with a stroller whose collapsed diameter does not exceed 25.5 cm or 10 inches. The length of the stroller must not be over 92 cm (36 in). One of such strollers is the collapsible umbrella stroller. Regardless of your travel destination, you can board an airplane with the stroller and any other carry-on allowance.
Gate checked stroller will be delivered to you at the door of the plane as soon as your flight lands. Heavy and large strollers will have to be checked in.
Do Airlines Charge for Baby Strollers?
Every customer can have one stroller and a car seat checked in free of charge. Strollers that weigh less than 20 pounds or 9 kilograms will be checked at the gate just before boarding. While every other type of stroller that weighs more than 9 kg must be checked at the ticketing counter.
Parents who wish to travel by a car seat and a stroller will only have one gate checked. Remember, only one car seat is allowed per row.
Do I Need A Stroller Travel Bag?
You need a stroller travel bag for the safety of your stroller. To prevent scratches from getting on your strollers have your stroller stored in a travel bag. This will also prevent the stroller from popping open after you have folded it.
However, a stroller travel bag is not mandatory to get your stroller gate-checked. When traveling on an airplane with a stroller, all you need do is empty the stroller, fold it properly and have it tagged. You can pick up your stroller at the gate of the plane when you arrive at your destination.
Ensure you secure your stroller with a bungee latch.
Which airlines allow onboard strollers?
The following airlines allow strollers on board:
- Air France
- Air New Zealand
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- United Airlines
The following airlines require you to check your strollers:
- American Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
When in doubt, give the airline customer care a call to clarify any confusion.