flying with stroller
A father pushes a stroller in airport – Jupiterimages (canva)

Going on a trip with your kids is fun but it requires a lot of planning. To ensure that everything runs smoothly at your destination, you need to bring the items that you typically use at home. Here is everything you need to know to prepare yourself for bringing your stroller on a flight. 

Tips for Flying With Your Stroller

Before you head to the airport with your bags and your stroller, some things need to be done to prevent misunderstandings and unfortunate events, like damage or theft. 

1. Take Pictures of the Stroller

It is important to have a recent or brand new picture of your stroller before you check it in. It would be even better if you could snap a quick picture of the stroller at the airport. By doing this, you’ll make it easier to find your stroller when you land because you’ll be able to show the picture to security or the baggage claim personnel. 

Plus, a recent picture will give you a foot to stand on if your stroller got damaged during the flight. The picture could be your proof to show that the stroller was in good condition before departure. The same goes for the case of theft at the airport because you could prove to security that the stroller is indeed yours.  

2. Bring a Compact Stroller

If your everyday stroller is very expensive and it would set you back a lot if it got damaged or stolen, the best option would be to bring a cheap, compact stroller. Bringing the compact stroller could also be the better choice because it would be able to fit in the overhead bin on the plane. Additionally, most airlines have a weight and size limit on the strollers that they’ll allow you to check in for free. 

3. Remove All Accessories Beforehand

Don’t bring your stroller to the airport with all the accessories still attached, especially if your young children are traveling with you. There may not be enough time to remove everything at the airport and it could become a bigger hassle if your children are running around. You will also be required to remove everything when passing through security, which won’t be a pleasant experience if you are running out of time and struggling with bored children. 

If you leave accessories, like toys, on the stroller, it increases the chances of your stroller getting damaged. Plus, the accessories could get lost, damaged, or stolen on the baggage carousel. 

4. Bring the Stroller to the Cabin

Most airlines won’t let you do this, but it is recommended that you try to bring your stroller on the cabin with you. Even though most airlines will let you check it for free, things will be much easier at the airport if your stroller is traveling with you in the overhead bin. You could simply grab it as soon as you land and your children could start using it as soon as you get off the plane.

Here’s our recommendation for a travel stroller that is both lightweight and folded small enough so it adheres to the maximum dimension for overhead bin.

5. Do Research Before Your Flight

Apart from finding out what your airline’s stroller policy is, there are some other things that you need to research before the day of your flight. If your stroller is an absolute must-have item on your trip, you need to have enough information on alternatives if it were to get stolen or damaged. The first thing to find online is a place that sells new strollers or replacements. The closer the shop is to the airport where you’ll land, the better.  

Remember that the minor details behind a successful trip go far beyond bringing the stroller. Have a look at our comprehensive guide on flying with kids for more tips.  

Know the Airline’s Stroller Policy

All airlines have their own rules and regulations when it comes to bringing your stroller. Some will let you bring it at no extra charge, while others may have a stricter policy in place. It’s important to know what your airline expects of you before you set off for the airport.

Note: the measurement here is in linear measurement. The number is in linear inches and is a result of adding the length, weight, and width of the stroller.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines allows you to check one stroller per child but they won’t let you bring it to the cabin. Granted that the stroller is smaller than 62 linear inches (157.5cm) and weighs less than 50 lbs (22.7kg), you will be able to check it for free and it won’t count towards your standard baggage allowance.  

For a detailed overview, read more about Southwest Airlines’ stroller policy

United Airlines

United Airlines gives you the choice to bring a collapsible stroller on board or check it in with the rest of your baggage. If your stroller is smaller than 62 linear inches (157.5cm) and weighs less than 20 lbs (9kg), they won’t charge you anything extra and it won’t count towards your standard baggage allowance.  

For a detailed overview, read more about United Airlines’ stroller policy

American Airlines

American Airlines’ stroller policy is fairly standard with a weight limit of 20 lbs (9kg). They’ll let you bring one stroller per passenger up to the boarding gate, where they’ll load it into the overhead bin. If your stroller exceeds the weight limit, it needs to be checked at the ticket counter. 

For a detailed overview, read more about American Airlines’ stroller policy  

Delta Airlines

With Delta, you can bring a 62 linear inch (157.5cm) stroller up to the weight of 50 lbs (22.7kg), which will be traveling in the hold. They won’t charge you for this and it won’t count towards your standard baggage limit but you won’t be able to bring it as a carry-on. 

For a detailed overview, read more about Delta Airlines’ stroller policy

Other Airlines

Gate Checking Your Stroller

You can take your stroller to the boarding gate, where they’ll require all the necessary documents to process your stroller. They’ll assign you a claim tag and if your stroller collapses into multiple parts, they’ll add a tag to each part. You’ll be able to get your stroller with the rest of your baggage at the baggage claim area when you land. 

Have a look at our article on gate-checking your stroller for 15 tips that are sure to make your next trip much easier. 

Protecting Your Stroller During a Flight

Strollers are expensive and the smallest amount of damage could ruin your entire trip. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to protect your stroller on the plane. 

1. Use a Stroller Travel Bag

There are terrific stroller and car seat travel bags that you can use to cover your valuables. These bags are waterproof and they’ll prevent scratches and other types of damage. They’ll also keep all your stroller accessories safe and in one place. Additionally, they typically have straps for you to carry them on your back as you move through the airport. 

2. Wrap Your Stroller 

Whether you choose bubble wrap, foam, or regular plastic wrap, it is always a good idea to add an extra level of protection to your stroller. Not only will it prevent damage, but it will also keep all the different bits and pieces together.

3. Secure Your Stroller With Zip Ties

A stroller unfolding while the baggage personnel are loading it can become a hassle and it increases the chances of your stroller getting damaged. Using zip or cable ties to secure the various parts to prevent unfolding can make things easier for you and the staff at the airport.  

Other Alternatives to Bringing Your Stroller

There are some other options to opt for if you decide against the stroller on your next trip. 

1. Borrow a Stroller 

If you will be visiting friends or family, you could always borrow a stroller to use during your stay. In this case, you get the stroller when you land and you can simply leave it behind when you head back home.

2. Opt for a Wrap

If your baby is still small, bringing the stroller could be an unnecessary hassle. It could be much easier for you to bring a sling or wrap to carry your baby around because it doesn’t take up as much space. Plus, carrying your baby close to you in an unfamiliar setting is much safer. 

3. Purchase a Cheap Stroller 

If you can’t go without a stroller, you have the option to leave yours at home. Find a store that sells cheap travel strollers at your destination and use it for the duration of your stay. When you are done, you could bring it back home, donate it to the needy, or sell it before you depart.

You probably already have the stroller ready, but is your baby ready to travel? Before you book anything, check out our article on when it’s safe to travel with a newborn.

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