Flights with toddlers and babies are often stressful, especially when you have to use a stroller.
The thought of packing and checking in the equipment alone is worrying, but it’s something every traveling parent with a baby must pass through.
However, as soon as you get past your first flight with a stroller, you’ll discover it’s not much of a big deal.
First-time traveling parents have to be certain whether or not you can bring a stroller on the plane.
While all airlines have TSA rules for strollers regulating them, they also have individual policies for strollers. This article reveals those policies.
Can You Bring a Stroller on the Plane in 2022?
You are allowed to carry a collapsible stroller on a plane. Children’s strollers can be checked at the airport or at the ticket counter. Child safety seats may also be brought on board in certain circumstances.
For domestic flights, you can always bring a stroller on the plane as a carry-on, but it’s not that simple for international flights.
Of course, you won’t be asked to abandon your stroller in the airport, but some factors determine whether it’s getting on the plane with you or going to be checked in.
The TSA stroller rules largely determine if your stroller is coming with you. But what are those rules? Do they favor traveling parents?
TSA’s Stroller Rules
All operating airlines have TSA stroller rules, and even though they are similar, it varies a little for many flights. For instance, Delta Airlines’ rules are slightly different from American Airlines.
For American Airlines, each ticked traveler is only allowed one stroller. It must be a light stroller and also collapsible (max of 20lbs/9kgs) to be accepted for checking at the gate.
If your stroller weighs above the requirement or is non-collapsible, it must be checked at the ticket counter.
For Delta Airlines, seat restraints and children’s strollers are not considered standard baggage; therefore, they can be checked for no charge.
For convenience, strollers can also be checked at the ticket counter, curbside, or at the gate.
For Alaska Airlines, children’s strollers are transported for free but as checked baggage, not a carry-on. You can check it in with other baggage or wait until you get to the gate.
There are likewise varying rules for other airlines, including the 15 most used airlines in the whole of North America.
Stroller Policy by Airlines
Since each airline has slightly different policies for strollers, it is best to know your favorite airline’s policy. Strollers are mostly transported for free, but there’s more to it for some airlines. Some airlines allow onboard strollers, while some don’t.
From Air France, Emirates, British Airways, to Aeromexico and others, you’re certain of getting on board with your strollers. However, some of them have specific dimensions they accept.
- Air France – accepts foldable strollers for free. However, there are size limits: for small foldable strollers, max is 15 x 30 x 100cm / 5.9 x 11.8 x 39.4 inches.
Other foldable strollers shouldn’t exceed 55 x 35 x 25cm / 21.7 x 13.8 x 9.8 inches.
- Air New Zealand – there’s no charge for transporting strollers even if your fare doesn’t include checked baggage. Collapsible strollers can come on board only domestic flights.
For international flights, a stroller only comes onboard if the flight isn’t full.
- Aeromexico – one stroller is allowed for free. When it’s more than one stroller, each will be charged the minimum fare for that particular route. The same applies to international flights.
- British Airways – small, lightweight, and fully collapsible strollers must have a max size of 117 x 38 x 38cm / 46 x 15 x 15 inches.
- Cathay Pacific – a collapsible stroller is a requirement as long as it is foldable and within the standard cabin bag weight and size after folding.
- Emirates – accepts one completely collapsible stroller as a carry-on item as long as cabin space is available. Also, you can’t bring a child seat. If there’s no space, it gets checked in.
- Hawaiian Airlines – non-collapsible strollers must be checked in. A stroller that weighs over 50 pounds must also be checked in. You can have it checked at the ticket counter or the gate.
- Eva – small strollers can be stored in the overhead cabin. However, if there’s no space available, it would be checked in. As for larger strollers, they are only checked in as baggage.
- Japan Airlines – you can come on board with one baby stroller to be placed in the overhead cabin only if there’s space onboard. If not, the stroller has to be checked in. Strollers checked in as baggage will be returned to you as soon as the flight lands.
- Lufthansa – accepts a baby stroller as carry-on baggage for free. Other carry-on baggage policies state that the stroller can be your only carry-on baggage.
- KLM – umbrella strollers are acceptable as far as it’s not over 15 x 30 x 100 cm / 6 x 12 x 39 inches. You can place it in the overhead cabin or beneath the seat in front of you for free.
- Malaysia Airlines – has two options for stroller check-ins, including checking in at the counter or handing it over at the aircraft gate.
Since cabin storage is limited, spaces are offered based on first-come, first-served. If all cabin storage space is full, your stroller will have to be checked in as part of the baggage.
- SWISS – a foldable stroller can be allowed up until the aircraft gate. “Pocket buggies” are allowed on board only if they are well packed to fit in the overhead cabin.
If your stroller is checked in, it’ll be brought to you as soon as you land.
That is so, except for Catania, Copenhagen, Rome, Dar es Salaam, London Heathrow, Olbia, Hannover, Valencia, Berlin, and Nice.
- United Nations – Strollers are checked for free as part of your baggage allowance. If your stroller is foldable, it can come on board as a personal carry-on item.
You can store the stroller under the seat in front of you in the overhead cabin.
- Singapore Airlines – you can bring your foldable stroller onboard only if it meets specific requirements.
Your stroller must not be over 7 kgs / 15 pounds, with a width and height of not over 115 cm / 45 inches.
Your stroller will be considered as one cabin bag. It must be compressed and packed into a carrier bag.
You must not open or use the stroller in the aircraft.
Airlines That Demand Checking in Strollers
As some airlines transport your stroller as a carry-on item, others transport it as checked-in baggage. But like the others, some airlines here also consider sizes.
- American Airlines – one stroller is acceptable for free but must not be over 9 kgs / 20 pounds. Anything over that must be checked at the counter.
If you have a car seat and a stroller, only one gets checked at the gate.
- Delta – seat restraints and children’s strollers are not considered standard baggage; therefore, they can be checked for no charge.
- Qantas – many mainline Australian airports have provided strollers for travelers to use as soon as you check in your personal stroller.
An airport attendant will be at the boarding gate for you to return the stroller and help you with pre-loading the aircraft.
- Frontier Airlines – there have been recent changes to make traveling more convenient for families; onboard strollers aren’t just one of them.
Strollers are allowed to the gate but must be checked in as baggage from there.
- Etihad – you can use your baby strollers at the gate, but it won’t follow you in as a carry-on item. It gets checked-in, and you get it as soon as you highlight your flight.
- Southwest Airlines – customers with kids, are permitted to check-in one stroller or car seat per child for free.
The car seat or stroller allowance also applies to any kind of stroller (full size, jogging, umbrella stroller, etc.). You can check in the stroller at the ticket counter, curb, or gate.
Does Stroller Count as a Carry-on?
All domestic airlines allow strollers on board. And some airlines usually demand a check-in for “large” strollers. However, each airline has its own definition of “large.”
So, you should check your airline stroller’s policy to be certain of the maximum size required.
Another factor that determines if your stroller would be counted as a carry-on or baggage is whether or not there’s space onboard. If there is, your stroller might be allowed as a carry-on.
What Kind of Stroller Can I Take on a Plane?
The generally accepted diameter is around 25.5 cm (10 in), with a length not over 92 cm (36 in).
With that size, you can take your stroller on board, irrespective of destination. That said, with size and weight in mind, the following are the generally accepted kinds of strollers for travels:
- Full-sized stroller
- Lightweight or umbrella stroller
- Jogging stroller
- Double stroller
- Car seat carrier
Since airport gate facilities are not designed to accommodate strollers, large, heavy baby strollers are expected to be checked in.
Also, they count as one piece of your baggage toward the maximum number of checked-in bags your fare type allows.
As earlier mentioned, large strollers are subject to space availability, and there is a risk that they cannot be accommodated onboard.
So, it is usually recommended you check it in at the ticket counter.
How to Pack a Stroller for Air Travel
How you pack your stroller can sometimes determine if you can bring it on the plane or not.
Detach the car seat from the stroller and check to be sure the car seat is approved by FAA for air travel. If it is, you can place the car seat on your baby’s plane seat for more comfort.
Since buckling the car seat with airplane buckles can be difficult, you can seek the help of any of the flight attendants to get it done for you.
If you did not buy an extra ticket and are looking to carry your baby on your lap during the flight, you have two options.
You either ask to bring the car seat along as a carry-on item in case there’s an empty seat near yours, or you can check in the car seat as an extra piece of luggage.
How to Protect Your Stroller During Flights
Having a baby in a stroller allows you to pass security and gate checks. However, if your main stroller gets damaged, it will most likely break once it gets hit.
How to pack: Wrap the stroller in two to three pieces of twine around it to keep it from opening. Tie the stroller’s handle firmly in place if you are checking in the car seat. To keep the car seat clean, you can wrap it in a clean plastic garbage bag.
After packing your stroller, you can leave it outside the aircraft door, so when a flight attendant indicates, you can notify them that you have a baby stroller that needs to follow you onboard.
You’ll be given a tag to put down your contact information for easy identification and in case of an emergency. Before the flight takes off, your stroller will be placed on the plane by a staff.
How to protect it at the airport: You should bring all your bags with you, but not the stroller. Once at the gate, the agent will ask you to put your bag on for you or bring it with you on the plane.
What to Do if You Can’t Find Your Stroller?
If you can’t find your stroller on the aircraft or after landing, you can look for it at the aircraft gate. It is usually waiting for you at the aircraft door at your final destination.
Meanwhile, large or non-foldable strollers cannot be checked at the aircraft gate, so you have to see your airline representative at the ticket counter to check your item.
Remember that airlines don’t usually take responsibility for damages that occur to non-packed strollers or strollers not checked at the counter. So, ensure to have yours in a box and checked in.
Are Children’s Strollers Allowed on a Plane?
Both children’s strollers and safety seats are allowed on the plane. They are not counted as the standard baggage and can be easily checked without paying.
Most airlines allow you to check a stroller at the gate for free. A stroller with a collapsed diameter of not greater than 25.5 centimeters is allowed on board. It can be checked at gate or delivered to the designated carry-on bag.
What do you do with a stroller on a plane?
strollers can be checked at the ticket counter or with your regular checked bag. On American, each adult is permitted one free stroller. Gate check is the process of giving the flight attendant your boarding pass. It’s also very helpful if you have a stroller that’s left behind.
What does it mean to gate check a stroller?
Gate checking refers to the practice of allowing passengers to check in their bags without having to go through the security line. Strollers can be checked with your regular baggage at the ticket counter or with your stroller at the gate.
How do you travel with a stroller and luggage?
You can either check in the stroller or the bag drop at the check-in or bag drop counter. Or, if you need to travel with the stroller, then you can check it around the airport. Unfortunately, it can also come with an extra charge.
Will my stroller get damaged on planes?
If you forgot to bring a bag, most airlines offer a heavy-duty plastic bag to protect your stroller. The bag has wheels and a handle, making it easy to pull through the airport. It’s also designed to keep the stroller at the gate.
How do I protect my stroller at the gate check?
Not to worry, but make sure that you bring the stroller with you to the gate. The agent will then tag it and put it on for you once you board. Getting used to taking a 1-month-old infant with you can be challenging. As a result, many parents find it difficult to travel with their kids.
Can you check a double Bob stroller at the gate?
Gate checked strollers are also allowed on any type of plane. Just make sure that the tag is attached to the bottom of the bag, and leave it in the jet bridge when you get on the other side. We bought a double stroller for our two kids soon after their birth. It was very comfortable for both kids and we can’t wait to use it again!