Whether you’ve bit the bullet and bought a Maclaren, are schlepping along your trusty jogging stroller, or toting your fancy new Baby Jogger, if you’re bringing your stroller when you’re flying with baby, you’ll need to gate check it. This seemed really complicated to me before I actually did it, but honestly – it’s nothing. Depending on your airline, of course, your stroller simply needs to fold. *SEE BELOW FOR DIFFERENT AIRLINE GATE CHECKING STROLLER POLICIES*
When you check in with your luggage, you tell the counter person that you want to gate check your stroller, and they’ll either give you a tag to affix, or put it on your stroller themselves. If your stroller needs to be folded in two pieces (I’m looking at you, Bugaboo) they’ll give you two tags – one for each part. I don’t necessarily believe you need to purchase a lighter stroller specifically for travel, some airlines (like American Airlines, for example) have re-jigged their gate-checking policies so that only light ones may be gate checked.
With our jogging stroller, I was concerned we’d have to deflate the tires. We didn’t, but I had a small pump and a patch kit in our carry-on anyway, just in case we got a flat on our trip. In most cases the stroller was waiting for us as we deplaned, but in smaller Caribbean destinations like Cuba, we retrieved it at the baggage claim. I have heard horror stories about having to retrieve your stroller at baggage claim at big airports like Heathrow – it doesn’t hurt to have a lightweight carrier or sling in your carry-on just in case you have to trek a ways to pick up your wheels.
Before folding your stroller, make sure all the straps are buckled, and that you’ve emptied the basket of everything. Chances are anything attached to the stroller like Mommy Hooks or drink holders won’t stay put, so you may want to detach those as well. Our UPPAbaby Vista has a travel bag you can purchase, and most stroller brands have accompanying travel bags, but we’ve never used one. I’m considering it for our next trip, though, as we have a shiny new UPPAbaby G-Luxe and I’d hate for it to get damaged. Our Uppababy Vista suffered some slight damage on one of its trips, but not on any subsequent ones.
As you’re boarding, and if you’re lucky your airline will still have the pre-board for famiilies with young children, simply push or carry your stroller toward the entrance to the plane, and leave it with the tags showing for the baggage handlers just off to the side. Depending on your destination, that is where you should find it when you arrive. Easy right?
Here’s a list of most airline’s stroller gate checking policies – and any notes that I can add from personal experience…
Air Canada strongly recommends the use of small collapsible umbrella type strollers… 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 your carry-on allowance, regardless of destination. It can be checked at the gate to be delivered to you at the aircraft door at the end of your flight.
Because gate facilities in airports are not designed to accommodate them, large, heavy strollers will need to be checked in and will count as one piece of baggage toward the maximum number of checked bags allowed by your fare type. Large strollers are also subject to space limitations, and there is a risk that they cannot be accommodated in the aircraft.
**NOTE** We’ve taken two round-trip flights with Air Canada and a stroller, once with our Peg Perego, once with our UppaBaby Vista. For either flight, no one asked about the dimensions of our stroller, nor the weight, only that it folded.
An infant traveling on a parent’s lap receives a baggage allowance of 10 kg / 22 lb. You can also transport a foldable stroller (maximum size: 15 x 30 x 100 cm / 5.9 x 11.8 x 39.4 in.) at no extra charge. This type of stroller may also be accepted in the cabin on long-haul flights*, as long as enough space is available in the overhead compartments.
You may bring a stroller to the gate for ease of travel through the airport. The stroller may be gate checked just before boarding the plane and will be returned to the aircraft jet way upon arrival at your destination. Car seats and strollers may be checked free of charge; any other items are subject to standard baggage fees (i.e., portable crib, high chair, etc.).
Any regular size. Any regular weight. Must be securely folded and closed. Not accepted as carry-on baggage.
Can be used up to the door of the aircraft on departure. Upon arrival, strollers will be delivered to the baggage arrivals area (exception Orlando – all strollers will be gate delivered).
For children up to 11 year (before the 12th birthday) there is a free transportation of one stroller, applying on all destinations and booking classes.
Umbrella Stroller: AA highly recommends using this type of stroller. May be taken onboard the aircraft as long as it fits in the overhead bin. Exempt from carry-on allowance and baggage charges. May be checked at the gate
Fully Collapsible Stroller Weighing Less Than 20 lbs: May be checked at the ticket counter. May be checked at the gate. May not be carried on the aircraft. Exempt from baggage charges.
Large Stroller Jogging, Non-Collapsible Stroller or Heavy Stroller Weighing Over 20 lbs.: Strongly discouraged to avoid damage. Facilities were not designed to accommodate these types of strollers. Must be checked at the ticket counter. May not be carried on the aircraft or checked at the gate.Exempt from baggage charges when accompanying a child or infant who is traveling.
You can take your own small folding type buggy right to the aircraft door at most airports.
**NOTE – The rest of the British Airways website does not specify the type of ‘pushchair’ permitted, only that is be fully collapsible…
For departures April 1, 2012 and onwards, a maximum of one stroller and one car seat per child/infant will be accepted at no charge. Additional items (such as playpens, booster seats, additional car seats, etc.) exceeding your free checked baggage allowance will be subject to excess baggage fees.
Children’s strollers and seat restraints are not counted as part of the standard baggage and therefore can easily be checked for free. For your convenience these items may be checked at curbside, the ticket counter, or at the gate.
JetBlue will courtesy gate-check any of the following: strollers, car seats, wheelchairs, walkers, canes, or crutches. There is no limit to the number of assistive devices a customer may transport as carry-on or checked baggage.
Note: Please be aware that strollers are not covered for damage if checked. JetBlue assumes no liability for loss, damage or delay per the Contract of Carriage Section 19.
…You are entitled to: bring a small, completely collapsible baby stroller/pram. If the baby stroller will not fit under the seat or in the overhead baggage compartment, it can be checked into the hold at no extra charge. This baby stroller/pram may have a protective cover but if this protective cover contains any other items, it will be considered to be an extra piece of baggage.
When you fly with Lufthansa you can take your baby‘s push chair right up to your aircraft. So you don’t have to check it in as a baggage item. Shortly before you board the aircraft a staff member will take it from you and return it to you after you land.
Passengers travelling with infants/ small children (under the age of 2 years, without paid seats) are permitted to carry, free of charge, the following listed items. Carry-on: One stroller (subject to standard carry-on weight and size restrictions.) One diaper bag.
Children up to 12 years of age, are permitted one car seat and one collapsible pram, stroller or push chair in addition to the checked baggage allowance. Adults accompanying infants are entitled to check in up to three infant items for each travelling infant. Infant items can include; collapsible stroller or push-chair, collapsible cot or bassinet; or car seat or baby capsule. Charges will apply for any baggage carried in addition to the checked baggage allowance and three infant items.
There is no checked or cabin baggage allowance for infants, however one fully collapsible pushchair per child is carried free of charge and does not need to be prebooked. Additional infant equipment (maximum 20kilos) such as car/booster seats and travel cots may be carried in addition to your personal checked baggage allowance at a separate fee per item/per one way flight.
Customers traveling with infants are allowed to check one stroller per infant without charge (in addition to the free baggage allowance).
**NOTE – On the Southwest website, there is no mention of gate-checking strollers, although we have flown Southwest with a baby and stroller and gate checked our Uppababy Vista without issue – well except that it got damaged on its first SW flight but not the second…
A car seat that is an FAA approved child restraint system may be carried onboard the plane if a seat has been purchased for the child. Strollers are not allowed onboard the plane; however, one car seat and one stroller may be checked at the ticket counter per child, free of charge.
We will also check your items at the gate free of charge and have them waiting in the jetway at your arrival city.
**NOTE – This is most surprising to me since Spirit charges for pretty much everything, including carry-ons!
Baby equipment (playpen, car seat or stroller) 1 item per infant will be carried as a courtesy item and is exempt from Excess Baggage charges No free allowance is permitted for children under 2 years of age with no paid seat.
**NOTE – We’ve flown Sunwing with a baby several times, with no issues with gate checking a stroller…
A pushchair, buggy or pram can be carried free of charge on Thomas Cook Airlines up to the age of 5 years. Most airlines will allow you to take your child’s push chair all the way to the boarding gate. Please advise the check in staff that you have a pushchair so that they can give you a specific baggage label. When you reach the boarding gate you will be shown where to place your push chair. On arrival you will normally collect your push chair from the baggage reclaim hall along with the rest of your baggage.
Strollers may be checked to your final destination without a fee, in addition to your normal baggage allowance. Children can be transported in their strollers throughout the airport. However, strollers must be checked at the gate. No strollers of any size are permitted as carry-on baggage. Your child’s stroller will be delivered to you at the aircraft door upon request at your connecting city or destination. Large, non-collapsible strollers cannot be checked at the gate. Please see a United representative at the airport check-in counter to check your large, non-collapsible stroller. United is not responsible for damage that occurs to strollers that are not packaged in a box and checked at the check-in counter.
When travelling with children or infants, you’re welcome to bring one fully collapsible pushchair or car seat, in addition to your free checked baggage allowance. Note that these will fly in the aircraft’s hold, rather than the cabin.
When travelling with an infant, you may check in an approved restraint system (car seat) and stroller at no additional charge. A playpen may be substituted for either a car seat or stroller.
**NOTE – We’ve flown WestJet with baby several times, and other than the fact they don’t have milk on board, have had really great experiences with them – our strollers too!
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