How to Gate Check a Stroller
Looking for gate checking stroller tips?
Maybe you’ve bit the bullet and bought a travel stroller. Or perhaps you’re schlepping along your trusty old jogging stroller. 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, tell the counter person that you want to gate check your stroller. They’ll either give you a tag to affix, or they’ll 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. However, 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.
Gate Checking Stroller Info: Before You Board
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 have considered it, though. We had a shiny new UPPAbaby G-Luxe and I didn’t want it to get damaged. Our Uppababy Vista suffered some slight damage on one of its trips, but not on any subsequent ones.
Gate Checking Stroller Info: Boarding
If you’re lucky your airline will still offer pre-boarding for families with young children. When the time comes, simply push or carry your stroller toward the entrance to the plane. Fold it, and leave it with the tags showing for the baggage handlers. Put it just off to the side at the end of the jetway. Depending on your destination, this is where you should find it when you arrive.
Below is a list of most airline’s gate checking stroller policies, and any notes that I can add from personal experience…
Airline Gate Checking Stroller Policies:
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. They 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.
You can transport a foldable stroller and car seat in the hold at no extra charge. Some strollers may be accepted in the cabin, subject to space availability. Depending on the type of stroller, the following size limits apply.
- Small foldable stroller:* dimensions cannot exceed 15 cm x 30 cm x 100 cm / 5.9 in x 11.8 in x 39.4 in
- Other foldable stroller: this replaces your child’s hand baggage allowance and once folded, its dimensions cannot exceed 55 cm x 35 cm x 25 cm / 21.7 in x 13.8 in x 9.8 in.
Please note: strollers must be packed in a carrying case that covers the stroller fully. In addition, for security reasons, some airports may have to deny access to strollers inside the boarding areas.
One stroller and one car seat accepted free of charge
Compact, foldable strollers that do not exceed our standard carry-on dimensions (23 x 40 x 51 cm / 9 x 16 x 20 inches) may be taken into the passenger cabin in lieu of a regular carry-on bag
Please ensure that checked equipment is properly wrapped/secured for transport to prevent loss or damage.
At most airports, passengers can use strollers up to the boarding gate. Upon arrival, strollers are delivered to the baggage arrivals area (except in Orlando, where they are delivered to the gate).
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.
- Each ticketed customer is allowed 1 stroller and 1 car seat to be checked free of charge
- If you have a stroller and a car seat only 1 can be checked at the gate
- Strollers over 20 lbs / 9 kgs must be checked at the ticket counter
When it comes to pushchairs, the size is all important if you want to be able to collect your pushchair at the aircraft door on arrival.
If you have a small, fully collapsible and lightweight pushchair/stroller (with maximum dimensions of 117cm x 38cm x 38cm/46in x 15in x 15in when the pushchair is collapsed), you will qualify to take this right to the aircraft door and collect at the aircraft door at most airports.
Please arrive at your departure gate no later than 45 minutes before departure time, and prepare to pre-board the aircraft.
The staff will put your pushchair into the hold and will do all possible to return it to you at the aircraft door.
All other, larger pushchairs, including double and multi-piece pushchairs can be taken to the departure gate, however, on arrival you must pick up these larger pushchairs at the baggage carousel in the baggage hall.
Please be aware that walking distances at airports can be long, and if you bring a pushchair that does not fit within the criteria to be collected at the aircraft door, you should be prepared to transport your child to the baggage carousel by another method. Many parents find slings useful to carry their baby whilst keeping hands free for baggage.
Children’s strollers and seat restraints are not counted as part of the standard baggage. Therefore, they 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, child carriers/backpack carriers, booster seats, wheelchairs, walkers, canes, or crutches. If you chose to check any of these items (at the check-in counter or gate-check), it will not count as one of your checked bags. There is no fee assessed. There is no limit to the number of assistive devices a customer may transport as carry-on or checked baggage, within reason.
Additionally, this courtesy is extended regardless of whether the customer is traveling with the infant/child or is meeting the infant/child at their destination.
On all KLM flights, you can take one collapsible stroller/buggy per child. You can check in the stroller/buggy as hold baggage at no extra charge or hand it in at the gate so it can be put in the hold. The stroller must have a protective cover, but it may not contain any additional baggage.
You can keep your buggy or pram with you until just before boarding; it will be handed back to you immediately after landing.
When travelling with infants and small children, a collapsible stroller and a car seat are accepted at no charge in addition to your checked bag allowance. You can choose to check these items at the check-in counter. Or bring them with you to the gate where they can be accepted as GatePorter items. Porter will Gate Check them for you. For your convenience, GatePorter items will be returned to you at your arrival gate.
Your stroller must be checked if it is:
- Weighs over 50
We have flown Porter with a baby, and it is a very baby- and toddler-friendly airline.
To make your time on the ground easier, most mainline Australian ports have strollers. They are available for you to use once you have checked-in your own personal stroller. Staff will be on hand at the boarding gate ready to collect the stroller and to further assist you with pre-boarding the aircraft.
You can carry 2 items of baby equipment free of charge per child. This can be 1 pushchair plus one of the following items: car seat or booster seat or travelcot.
On arrival at the airport the 2 free items of baby equipment can be tagged for travel at a Bag Drop Desk. They 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).
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, CRS’s or car seats.
An optional Southwest-branded reusable car seat/stroller bag is available. Purchase at any Southwest Airlines ticket counter for a $17 onetime fee. Bag dimensions are 42”X20.5X12.5”.
We will happily check one stroller and one car seat per child for no extra cost at the ticket counter. If you are traveling with two children, you are more than welcome to check a double stroller instead. You may also check these items at the gate. We’ll have them waiting for you in your arrival city when you get off the aircraft.
**NOTE – This is most surprising to me since Spirit charges for pretty much everything, including carry-ons!
Parents are allowed one courtesy item such as a stroller, playpen, or car seat. This is in addition to their own luggage allowances.
**NOTE – We’ve flown Sunwing with a baby several times, with no issues with gate checking a stroller…
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. However, the accompanying parent/guardian is able to take infant food for consumption alongside their own 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 of 6kgs would apply if a seat has been booked.
A stroller or buggy can be taken to the boarding gate. It will then be taken to load into the hold. It must be completely collapsible and we would recommend having a protective cover, but may not contain any other items.
United accepts one stroller and one car seat free of charge for each child, including children under the age of two traveling on an adult’s lap and infants traveling internationally on 10 percent of an adult fare, charged at the time of infant ticketing (it is usually less expensive to purchase the infant ticket in advance).
If requested by the customer, United can check strollers at the departure gate. United is not liable for damage to strollers. Customers cannot purchase excess valuation for strollers.
Note: Wagons and similar products are not considered strollers. Customers who bring them to the airport will need to check them as part of their checked baggage allowance before passing through security.
You’re welcome to bring one fully collapsible pushchair and a car seat, in addition to your free checked baggage allowance.
Car seats can be used onboard (in Economy only) if they meet the necessary requirements.
Pushchairs can be checked in or used up until the boarding gate, after which they will be put in the hold. Once we land we’ll have your pushchair ready outside the aircraft doors, whenever possible. However, at some destinations you may have to reclaim it at the baggage hall, due to local customs restrictions.
When travelling with an infant, you may check in a 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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