United Airlines stroller policy
Make sure to know the stroller policy when you fly on United with kids – Ralf Ruppert (pixabay)

Getting through an airport can be tough, especially with children. Nowadays, you can take a stroller so you can carry your child and some of their things with you. But not all airlines will let you check in a stroller before boarding for free. What should you do then?

Key Takeaway
If you’re flying with United Airlines, you can check a stroller up to 20 lbs (9kg) at the baggage drop-off or at the gate for no extra cost. You can also take it on board if it’s a collapsible stroller.

Keep reading to find out more about United Airlines’ stroller policy so you are fully ready and comfortable when traveling with your child.

Which stroller you can bring on board in United?

There are several places where you can check and store your child’s stroller. This can depend on what type it is. United Airlines split children’s strollers into:

  1. collapsible strollers
  2. compact folding strollers
  3. folding wagons
  4. non-collapsible strollers.

Collapsible Strollers

Collapsible strollers can be brought on board because they are the most compact. Some of the best can fold down to the size of a backpack. If you have one of these strollers, you can bring it with you all the way through the airport, then place it in the overhead storage on the plane.

Folding Strollers and Folding Wagons

Folding strollers and folding wagons aren’t as small as collapsible ones. This means you’ll have to either check them in at the ticket counter and get through the airport without it, or check them at the gate. This second option gives you the chance to make moving through the airport more manageable. If you’re not too familiar with gate-checking a stroller, read our article with 15 proven tips for doing so.

Non Collapsible Strollers

If you have a stroller that doesn’t collapse at all, you will need to check it at the ticket counter. It cannot be brought into the cabin.  Of course, some airports now provide strollers for parents who have checked-in on their own at the ticket desk.

Keep in mind that some airlines such as Southwest and Delta do not permit you to bring a stroller to the cabin regardless of the size so United’s policy is very reasonable.

Price of traveling with a stroller in United

Strollers up to 20 lbs are free to travel with if they do not exceed the checked baggage allowance size of 62 linear inches. This is calculated by adding the height, length, and width of the stroller. It doesn’t matter if you bring one on board, to the gate, or check it in at the ticket counter.

*linear dimension can be calculated by adding height, weight, and width of the stroller in folded mode.

However, you can only have one per child for free. If you have, for example, a collapsible stroller and a folding wagon, you will have to pay for one of them.

It’s important to know that a stroller doesn’t count toward your regular baggage allowance. For example, if you buy a ticket that gives you one cabin bag and one hold bag, you can take the cabin bag, hold bag, and stroller for the same price.

Note that if you’re an active US personnel, you can get a military discount for your checked baggage.

United policy for stroller brought into the cabin

In order to bring your stroller into the cabin, it will need to fold up and be equal to or smaller than 9x14x22 inches (22x35x56cm). You can measure it when you’re packing for your trip. And, to be 100% sure, place it in one of United’s sizers at the airport. If it fits snuggly, you can bring it on board. If not, you’ll have to check it at the ticket counter or the gate before boarding.

The stroller with the smallest footprint in our top travel stroller list met this tight criteria. Check it out!

What if the stroller is damaged in transit?

According to United Airlines’ Contract of Carriage, the airline isn’t liable for damaging or losing your stroller if it is checked into the hold. The same applies if it is delayed in being delivered at your destination. When you buy a ticket and accept the terms and conditions, you agree to this fact.

What should I do if I have a stroller and a car seat?

The policy for using car seats on United Airlines is similar to the policy for strollers. You can bring one without it being counted toward your baggage allowance. So you can check both a car seat and a stroller at the gate or ticket counter for free. If you want to bring the car seat on board so your baby can use it during the flight, you will need to pay for an extra seat.

If you want more information, take a look at our article on United Airlines’ car seat policy. You’ll find all you need to know.

Can I bring a diaper bag as well as the rest of my luggage?

Yes, diaper bags don’t count towards your baggage allowance. You can bring your cabin bag and personal items for yourself and your baby’s diaper bag on top of that.

Check out our summary of United baggage policy to know the rules for your luggages.

How old does a child have to be to fly with United Airlines?

United Airlines are quite accommodating with children. Aside from the free checking of car seats and strollers, they allow babies older than seven days to fly with them. If your child is under two years old, they can fly in a car seat or on your lap. If you’re flying with your infant on your lap, you don’t need to pay for a ticket within the US. 

International travel will incur some charges. You have to pay the taxes associated with a regular ticket when you fly to Canada or Mexico, but not the full fare. And for other destinations around the world, you need to pay the regular price. However, some discounts may apply, depending on the destination.

How do I get through security with a stroller?

If you decide not to check your stroller at the United Airlines ticket desk, you’ll need to put it through the X-ray machine at security.

  • Remove all the items you keep with the stroller first. For example, any toys in the bottom basket, a diaper bag hung on the handles, etc. You will be given a tray for all of these items.
  • Fold up the stroller so that it will fit through the X-ray machine. You can collect it on the other side and put everything back once it’s been cleared.
  • Remember to remove any baby food or breast milk so that it can be screened separately. It might need to be tested for explosives, but won’t need to go through the X-ray.

For any other doubts on what needs to be screened, you can check the Transportation Security Administration page on traveling with children.

Stroller is only one factor to consider when traveling with kids. Read our article about flying with kids to ensure a smooth trip.

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