Gate Checking Your Stroller When Flying With Baby

gate checking a stroller

gate checking stroller, airport gates, pearson terminal 3

The walks are long. You need a stroller!

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?

Below is a list of most airline’s stroller gate checking policies – and any notes that I can add from personal experience…

Airline Gate Checking Stroller Policies:

Air Canada:

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.


Air France
:

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.

Airtran:

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.).

Air Transat:

One stroller and one car seat accepted free of charge

Can be used up to the door of the aircraft on departure. Upon arrival, strollers may be delivered to the baggage arrivals area (exception Orlando – all strollers will be gate delivered).

Alitalia:

Remember to attach a label to the stroller with your full name, address, and telephone number. Strollers are sent free of charge to all destinations and for all travel classes when traveling with a child up to 11 years of age.

For flights served by Alitalia, arriving and transiting passengers2 can request at check-in to have their strollers returned to them at under the aircraft or at the gate.

American Airlines:

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.

British Airways:

If you have a small folding pushchair, you’ll be able to take this right to the aircraft door at most airports. If you’re travelling from London Heathrow Terminal 1, please make sure you use a small, fully-collapsible pushchair, weighing no more than 5kg.

CanJet:

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.

Delta:

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.

Jet Blue:

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.

KLM:

…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.

Lufthansa:

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.

Porter Airlines:

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.

Qantas:

For each infant travelling with an adult, up to three infant items, each weighing up to 32kg, can be carried free of charge including: a collapsible stroller or push-chair; a collapsible cot or bassinet; and a car seat or baby capsule.

Ryanair:

Two items of baby equipment are carried free of charge per child–one pushchair plus one of the following items: car seat or booster seat or travelcot. On arrival at the airport the two free items of baby equipment can be tagged for travel at a Bag Drop Desk, which close 40 minutes before the scheduled flight departure time

Children’s pushchairs can be used up to the aircraft steps and after landing the pushchair will be available at the aircraft steps (provided local conditions permit this).

Southwest Airlines:

Customers traveling with children will be allowed to check one stroller and one Child Restraint System (CRS) or car seat per child without charge. This is in addition to the regular free baggage allowance. The stroller and CRS or car seat allowance applies to any type of stroller (umbrella, full size, jogging stroller, etc.) and CRS or car seat. The Customer may check the stroller and CRS or car seat at the curb, ticket counter, or gate.
Southwest Airlines will not assume liability for damage to strollers, CRSs or car seats. (An optional Southwest-branded reusable car seat/stroller bag is available for purchase at any Southwest Airlines ticket counter for a $15 one time fee.)

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…

Spirit Airlines:

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!

Sunwing:

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…

Thomas Cook UK:

A child younger than two years of age on arrival back into the UK, who will be travelling on your lap, may bring three of the following items free of charge: 10kg baggage allowance, a stroller/pushchair, a travel cot or a car seat (checked in to the hold). If all four are required, one item would be part of any pre-purchased hold baggage weight allowance on the same booking. Please remember that an infant does not have a hand baggage allowance.

If an Infant has been booked in a seat, the 10kgs baggage allowance no longer applies. A stroller or pushchair and car seat are still available for carriage free of charge. All other items would need to be part of any pre-purchased weight allowance on the same booking. A hand baggage allowance would apply if a seat has been booked. The Stroller or Buggy must be completely collapsible and have a protective cover but may not contain any other items.

United Airlines:

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.

Virgin:

When travelling with children or infants, you’re welcome to bring one fully collapsible pushchair and a car seat, in addition to your free checked baggage allowance. Please note that pushchairs will fly in the aircraft’s hold.

Pushchairs may be checked in or used up until the boarding gate. On landing, whenever possible we’ll have your pushchair ready and waiting at the aircraft doors. However, you may have to reclaim it at the baggage hall, due to local customs restrictions at some destinations.

WestJet:

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!

 

If you purchase something after clicking a link, Have Baby Will Travel may receive a small commission.



style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-0842505543779375"
data-ad-slot="3791580385">

0
Shares

, , , , , ,

37 Responses to Gate Checking Your Stroller When Flying With Baby

  1. Jen at 14:06 #

    We’ve found that no matter which stroller we take (the Vista or our cheap-o umbrella stroller) it’s super-handy to bring a carrier (Ergo for us) for getting off the plane and to our bags.

    Our home airport, Vancouver International (YVR) always delivers gate-checked strollers to the baggage area (which means clearing customs without the stroller if returning from an international trip).

    We’ve also had to tote our luggage across Toronto’s Pearson airport when on flights connecting to the US (since baggage needs to be claimed, and re-checked for the international leg).

    Though one thing I’ve found is that despite some horror stories, our strollers have always been treated kindly on airlines all over the world – discount carriers included.

  2. Corinne at 14:13 #

    Definitely a good idea to pack a lightweight carrier – they don’t take up much room and are worth their weight (ha!) in gold when necessary!

  3. This is a very timely post for me since I’ve been wondering how exactly to work the whole “flying with a stroller” issue. Thanks for the great info! I’ve been concerned about taking a nice stroller along for fear of damage, but I feel a bit better about it after reading your post. Taking a carrier onboard is also a great idea that I hadn’t thought of!

  4. Jewel at 20:39 #

    I have always rented strollers and gear at my final destination point and put my little one in a carrier or back pack carrier through the airport..

  5. Corinne at 22:33 #

    Renting is a great option, but at some point while we’re en route I’m usually grateful for a “baby jail”!

  6. Bad Ass Dad at 20:51 #

    We’re going through this very dilemna right now. We are travelling united from yvr thru ord to mco. We have a 3 year old and a 1 month old. We won’t be bringing any carseats, as we are renting car and seats on the otherside.

    The quandry is whether to rent a stroller for wdw, or, bring our own. And if we bring our own, should it be the bob, or the joovy double strollr?

    United has told me that as long as its with 35″ x 33.5″ folded it is good to go for skycheck. The bob when folded and wheels off fit this. Barely.

    • Corinne at 22:25 #

      Bring the Bob. Seriously. We loved our Joovy but it was a great ride to/from a destination. And if you’re not bringing car seats, I doubt your 1 month old could really ride in it yet.

      If the Bob fits the limits (and I seriously doubt they’ll check anyway) you’ll be grateful for it as you know both kids are comfy in it, and you won’t want to wear your baby all the time as it will be quite hot.

      Of course you can rent strollers there – not sure on prices. The ones Disney rents at the park would be a decent ride for your toddler but not appropriate for the baby. I’d go for a proper double if I were you!

      • JOEL BRUNKER at 13:25 #

        Disney´s strollers sucks!!!

        Dirty, sticky and smelly.

  7. cdn mom in europe at 11:58 #

    We have travelled extensively in Europe with our three children, and i would like to suggest if you are going to Europe, or will be travelling within Europe, that you take the smallest umbrella stoller you can find, (that can recline for when baby falls asleep). We have encountered countless problems in getting our stroller back at the gate upon landing, as is often promised ahead of time, as there will suddenly be “no ground staff available” to bring your stoller to the gate, which in my opinion is when you most need it, to get sleeping baby/ toddler through the airport along with your other belongings and/ or children. (Esp. if you are travelling alone.) I even met a mother on the plane who had no stroller at the gate for baby and had a 8 hour wait between flights… and a toddler. I don’t know how she was going to manage. We have had this problem with reputable airlines, in France, Spain, and Germany… the exception for us has always been KLM which is very family -friendly. In three years of travelling back and forth to Canada with them we never had a problem. Now in Spain, we find many times there isn’t even pre-boarding for families with young children. I would suggest trying to get the flight attendant to put your stroller right in the cabin, as that way you’re guaranteed its appearance upon landing. Hope that helps.

    • Corinne at 22:58 #

      I have definitely heard this about Heathrow, and the pre-board is hit and miss with pretty much every airline these days!

  8. Josianna at 23:07 #

    So glad I ran into this post! We are flying twice this summer with our son who will be 16 and 17 mos while traveling. I’ve traveled before with a Kolcraft Universal Carrier/infant seat combo and also an umbrella stroller and had no problems. This time, however, I think we’ll use his car seat with a Go-Go Kids travel system as we’d like the car seat with us. I’d prefer being able to have him in his seat for the flights, but we weren’t able to buy the extra fare (I know all about the safety), so my question is if anybody has recent experience checking a car seat at the gate with either US Air or United (or if it’s easy to get an extra seat for him last minute with those airlines), what should we expect? Thanks!

    • Corinne at 10:57 #

      I haven’t gate-checked a car seat with either of those airlines, but I’m sure it would not be any more difficult than gate-checking a stroller. Try to make sure all straps are secured, and for a more elaborate seat, a travel bag probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. Good luck!

    • Corinne at 12:47 #

      Sorry I just saw this comment now! You should be ok gate-checking the car seats – fingers crossed for extra seats on board but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Also, if there is an extra seat on board, they will likely make you pay for it.

  9. marta at 05:48 #

    Thanks for this. I’ve been scouring the Alitalia website and found nothing about what is permitted and their employees have told me something different each time I’ve asked!

  10. Lynn at 14:23 #

    Hi, we’re going to orlando this Oct and was concern about taking our double baby jogger city mini stroller. Don’t know if we can check it in at the gate or have to be baggaged. Have anyone use this stroller using gate check-in going to Orlando with no problem and damage to the stroller. I have two small children and going to Disney World for sure would need this stroller as renting at Disney is soooo expensive and kids will not last long with so much walking. Any advice is greatly appreciated on what is the best way to take along this stroller. Also I was thinking of purchasing the double stroller bag from J.L Childress, would you recommend to buy this and use it? Have anyone have experience with the stroller bag or can recommend one for double stroller (City mini).

    Many thanks

    • Corinne at 21:45 #

      Hi Lynn!

      The City Mini is remarkably compact (especially when folded) for a double stroller, but it is entirely up to the airline if they will allow you to gate check it. Do you know who you’re flying yet? I saw a woman gate check one of the full-sized (massive) double jogging strollers once, and JetBlue didn’t bat an eye.

  11. Sandra at 22:44 #

    I will be traveling alone with my 2 children 1.5 and 3.5. I M trying to decide if I am going to bring my single Britax Bagile or my baby trend double jogger. I have already called the airline (United) and they said it was fine to gate check either. My concern is fitting the double jogger through the jetway door and other does throughout the airport.

    • Corinne at 16:49 #

      Hi Sandra!
      The jetway is fairly wide, so your double stroller should not be too much of an issue. Airports are fully accessible, so doorways are typically larger to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices. So even though your double jogger might be wide, you should be ok. Another option if your 3.5yr old is a good walker is to bring a cloth carrier for the toddler (so long as they’re not over the weight limit) for quick jaunts when your older one needs to be strolled.
      Hope this helps!
      Take care,
      Corinne

  12. Karen at 13:00 #

    Hi
    I’m heading to ElSalvador with my 11 month old next week. Would you recommend that I bring my umbrella stroller AND mec backpack carrier? I was hoping to get away with gate checking them both. I will bring my Gemini carrier but I thought it might be too hot for ElSalvador and that’s why I want to bring the mec carrier.
    Any thoughts?

    • Corinne at 05:16 #

      Hmmm – how long will you be gone for and how do you expect you’ll get around the most? It would certainly be handy to have access to both, but not if the hassle of transport would outweigh the benefit!

      • Karen at 20:38 #

        Thanks for the reply!
        We’re only gone for a week and we aren’t doing any serious tours or hiking. Just going for surfing, the beachand local/small towns. We’ll have access to a car as well.
        I’m inclined to try to gate check the two items and hope for the best!
        Great site-I’m happy I found it!

  13. Ali at 06:38 #

    We’re travelling with a 4 month old and have an UppaBaby Vista and will be using the bassinet portion. Does that class as fully collapsible? What are the views on what it counts as? Thanks!

    • Corinne at 20:42 #

      Hi Ali! I think you’ll need to check your stroller as two pieces, which is usually fine. Double check with your airline just to be on the safe side…

  14. Christina at 13:30 #

    For those considering renting car seats at their destination… please DON’T!!! You have no idea what the history is on the seat. No way of knowing whether it was replaced after a collision, no way of knowing whether the straps have been washed, no way of knowing whether it was dropped down a 20 foot flight of stairs etc. If it’s a choice between the two, take your car seat and gate check that, then rent a stroller on the other end. It’s a pain in the airport to drag the car seat but not worth the safety issue on the other end with a seat that has an unknown history!

  15. kristal at 19:53 #

    Thanks so much for the info!!! We are travelling for the first time with our 23mnth old and I was in limbo about the rent verses bringing a car seat and stroller . I don’t like not knowing the condition of the car seat and eeewww germs!!! we are bringing both. its important to me that my some have the best and safest time ever on his first trip to Disney! ;0)

  16. Caroline at 01:15 #

    Hey!
    I will be flying from Seattle to Houston with my 3 month old daughter. I will be bringing my baby jogger city mini and my car seat. Do I need to check in both, will I get charged for the car seat/stroller? will be flying United, This is my first time flying with a baby and I am so nervous!

    • Corinne at 09:08 #

      Don’t be nervous – just be prepared! Try to gate check both items – and maybe look into getting a travel bag to protect the car seat. Certainly you can gate check your stroller, and I honestly doubt they will charge you to gate check the seat. Try to figure out a way you can transport both through the airport – maybe use the stroller to carry the seat and put baby in a carrier just while you’re in transit.

  17. james at 18:47 #

    Stay away from American Airlines as they are strictly enforcing the 20lb stroller policy

  18. Tania at 10:04 #

    We are travelling with twins and last time I simply could not walk from the plane to the baggage area, where they now deliver the prams. I heard that is now security and no-one could help with bags because they are personal belongings nor with the babies. I asked for a wheel chair and not possible for the babies, nor any special assistance. I need to travel overseas again and I am almost leaving my babies behind because I simply cannot manage. Does anyone have a solutions – i.e. any help from the plane to the baggage area please? There is a company (Dimond Air that could help for about £200 each!!). Thanks

    • Corinne at 23:10 #

      Hi Tania! Can you reach out to the airport to see what assistance can be offered? We just returned home on Thursday from a trip, and I noticed airport personnel waiting at the end of our jetway for a passenger that required assistance. How old are your twins? Is there a way you could “wear” one and carry the other? Or perhaps if one’s in a car seat, attach one of the wheelie things to pull one and wear the other? Keep us posted, I’d love to hear how things work out. Good luck!

  19. Christina at 17:23 #

    This is a great post – so helpful, thank you!!! I’m going to try to gate check my bugaboo frog for my 4 month old from YYZ to Milan, with car seat.

    • Corinne at 22:09 #

      Thanks, Christina – have a great flight and let us know how it goes!

  20. Katie at 12:13 #

    I had the Bugaboo. I always checked it in its big old travel bag and used a cheap lightweight stroller in the airport. Much easier!

  21. Colleen Lanin at 19:14 #

    Very informative & thorough post!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Guest Post: 15 Tips for Flying with A Baby | Epic Mommy Adventures -

    […] can gate check your car seat and stroller for free on almost all major airlines (here’s a list to check policies) so I recommend bringing your car seat/stroller/travel system to move baby […]

  2. 10 Tips for Saving Money in Hawaii - rtw Travel Guide | rtw Travel Guide -

    […] money but traveling carry on only. You can likely gate check a stroller and car seat if you’re traveling with kids. Since Hawaii is hot and relaxed, there’s no […]

Leave a Reply