If you have a trip coming up soon, you may be wondering how to travel with a stroller?
This ultimate guide covers everything you need to know about how to travel with a stroller including the policies each major airline follows.
You may also be thinking about …
- What to do when bringing a stroller on a plane?
- What happens when you gate check a stroller?
- How to protect your kiddo’s ride when traveling?
- Should you bring a stroller travel bag?
If ANY of these thoughts have crept into your mind, look no further because this post has you covered!
Let’s dive in.
What to Expect at the Airport
So you arrive at the airport with your stroller, what do you do next?
You have a couple options …
To check it in at curbside, the ticket counter, the gate OR to bring it with you on the plane.
A stroller (including safety seats) are not considered part of the standard “baggage” which gives you the freedom to check these items in for free.
Let’s take a look at your choices of what to do with your stroller when you arrive at the airport.
If you don’t plan on taking your stroller inside the airport or on the plane, then curbside check-in may be your best option.
Curb side is a convenient way to check in for your flight, get your stroller and luggage checked in, and your seat assigned before even stepping foot into the airport.
Keep in mind that curbside check-in may or may not be open depending on the time of day or airline.
No need to fret because you can always check in your stroller at the ticket counter inside. 🙂
Ticket Counter Check-In
If you don’t plan on taking your stroller through security up to the gate, then the ticket counter check-in is your best bet.
You can check in your stroller along with your regular checked luggage at the counter.
The staff member should give you a tag to put on your stroller before taking it with your luggage.
This is for safety measures in case it gets lost.
Now let’s explore what to expect with your stroller should you take it through security and use it until you board your flight.
Time saver tip: IF you plan on going through airport security with your stroller to take to your gate, ask the clerk at the ticket counter that you want to “gate check” your stroller. This will save you time from having to check it in at the gate.
Gate Check-In (Going through Security)
When you get up to security, your stroller will need to be screened either by x-ray and/or manually.
Check out this helpful short minute clip about what to expect with your stroller when going through airport security (which shows you what to do with breast milk, formula, milk products, juice, teethers, bottled water, etc.)
Ok, now you are through airport security.
Head to your gate to check in your stroller (prior to boarding) IF you haven’t already done this at the ticket counter.
You will receive a tag from the gate clerk to put on your stroller for the remainder of your trip until you arrive at your destination.
When it is time to board, simply walk your stroller up to the aircraft door to fold it up and place it by the door (where you may see other strollers folded up).
After you land, your stroller will be waiting for you when you deboard the plane at the aircraft door.
Now that we’ve walked through what to expect from arriving to the airport to going to your gate, here are some tips to keep in mind when traveling with your stroller.
Helpful Tips: How to Travel with a Stroller
Keep some of these helpful tips in your back pocket when you are traveling with your stroller …
- If you are taking your stroller on the plane, the folded size should not be more than 25.5 cm (10 in) wide and 92 cm (36 in) long. If it’s more than this, it may be too big to fit on the aircraft and therefore, not allowed. To be certain, follow your airline’s stroller policy (scroll down below).
- If your stroller detaches into two parts when you fold it up, you will need to receive a tag for each part from the ticket clerk or gate clerk.
- If you have a layover and gate check your stroller, your stroller travels with you at the layover location. It will be waiting at the jet bridge when you get off the plane.
- If you travel through airport security with a large stroller, it may be too big to fit on the x-ray scanner so it could be subject to additional screening procedures.
- If you want to protect your stroller when traveling, you will need a dedicated cover or stroller bag to protect it on the plane. If you happen to forget one when you arrive at the airport, most airlines can give you a heavy duty plastic bag to protect it (some may charge a small fee, like Southwest, to provide you a bag).
- If you want to pack a stroller for your flight, it’s best to secure it with a couple pieces of twine, wrapped and tied (or knotted) around the stroller to prevent it from opening up.
- If you do not see your checked stroller come out with the luggage when you’re at baggage claim, take a peek at the oversized luggage area. It may be hanging out there.
Next, is an overview of the stroller airline policies verbatim (most are the same) but some have specific requirements regarding the size.
Stroller Policies for Domestic Airlines
“You can bring on board in addition to your carry-on allowance: stroller collapsed diameter can’t exceed 25.5 cm (10 in) and length can’t exceed 92 cm (36 in).”
“We will transport your child’s car seat and stroller free of charge as checked baggage. You can check these items with your other baggage, or wait until you reach the gate area.
Visit our Batteries and electronics page if the stroller has a battery or power bank.”
“You may check a stroller as checked baggage at the time of check-in at the ticket counter or gate check it during boarding. There is no charge for checking or gate checking one stroller per fare-paying passenger.
“Each ticketed customer is allowed 1 stroller and 1 car seat to be checked free of charge.
Strollers over 20 lbs / 9 kgs must be checked at the ticket counter. All other strollers should be checked at the gate before boarding.
If you have a stroller and a car seat only 1 can be checked at the gate.”
“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.
Pushchairs that fold down into a carry bag, such as the Yo-Yo Zen and are within the maximum hand baggage dimensions, can be taken on board in place of, but not in addition to, your larger cabin bag. As with all larger cabin bags, this is not guaranteed to travel in the cabin, but our staff will make every effort to accommodate it so long as space is available.
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 child safety seats are not counted as part of the standard baggage and therefore can be easily checked for free.
For your convenience, these items may be checked at the curbside, the ticket counter or at the gate.”
“A stroller and car seat may be checked free of charge when traveling with a child. A diaper bag may be carried on free of charge when traveling with a child.”
“When traveling with a lap child, the following items are accepted as carry-on or check-in baggage, exempt from baggage fees, when checked in by an accompanying ticketed adult.
If you prefer, you may check your stroller and car seat at the gate.”
“Strollers and car seats do not count toward your carry-on or checked bag allowance.
You may check them through when you arrive at the airport or gate-check them at the jetbridge.”
“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 for purchase at any Southwest Airlines ticket counter for a $17 one time 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.”
“We’ll accept one stroller or folding wagon free of charge for each child in addition to a car seat. This includes 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.
You’ll have to check most strollers or folding wagons at the gate before you depart. You can still use them around the airport, though.
Large, non-collapsible strollers or non-folding wagons can’t be checked at the gate, so please see a United representative at the airport check-in counter to check these items.”
Stroller Policies for Regional Airlines
If you are taking a quick trip on a smaller aircraft, you may be flying regionally.
How do you know if this is what you’re flying?
Regional flights could be any flights that are within a day’s drive, or 12 to 15 hours, of the originating airport.
If you do not see your airline listed above, check out these regional airlines and the protocols they follow when it comes to strollers.
“Strollers that are large, non-collapsible, or over 20 lbs. must be checked at the ticket counter, and are exempt from baggage charges when accompanying a child or infant who is traveling.
Fully Collapsible Stroller Weighing Less Than 20 lbs. may be checked at the ticket counter or gate, and is exempt from baggage charges and may not be carried on the aircraft.”
“Always view our partner policies for their specific baggage information; however, Republic Airways has the following additional restrictions for the aircraft we fly.
“SkyWest Airlines requires the following additional restrictions above and beyond our partners’ programs due to equipment size or other operational constraints.”
I want to wrap up by extending my gratitude to thank you for stopping by today!
If you have other travel stroller tips to recommend, questions or anything to add that I did not cover in this post, please feel free to comment below.
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