Checking your car seat or stroller on an airplane Regardless of whether your flight is long or short, traveling with a child can be a complete pain. Associated gear and luggage such as strollers and car seats can make the process challenging at the check-in line.
While some airlines make it easy for traveling parents by providing convenient boarding options for car seats and strollers, most do not.
Car seats and strollers are one of the biggest sources of confusion, especially for new parents. There is a lot that one has to figure out when deciding whether to bring or not to bring your gear along. Should you check your equipment with the rest of your luggage or could that cause significant damage to your investment? Should you bring your car seat with you on board or will it present too much of a problem ferrying it around?
Whichever scenario you prefer, there are generally 3 main options when it comes to checking your stroller and car seat on an airplane. The three options are:
1. Check your stroller on the plane You can check your stroller and car seat at the baggage counter or you can wait and check it at your gate. The best thing about checking your equipment at the same time your luggage is that it can be off your hands until you land or until you have to make a connecting flight.
If you choose to check in your stroller, it may get damaged. If the risk is acceptable to you, you can reduce the risk of damage by covering your gear with a protective covering or a sturdy gate check bag to prevent it from being damaged.
2. Check your stroller at the gate Most people prefer to check their strollers at the gate because it allows easy movement around the airport, and it provides great space for your little one to take naps before you can board. Additionally, by checking your equipment at the gate, you can be guaranteed that it will not be packed in the wrong plane.
Gate checked strollers are also less likely to undergo damage because they are handled less and by fewer people. If you plan on checking at the gate, consider going for a bucket car seat and stroller frame combo to make it easier to drop off and pick up.
3. Carry it on the plane Alternatively, you can carry your car seat on the plane to store in the overhead bin or to install in an empty seat next to you. Be sure to buy an extra seat on the plane for your baby so that both of you can be comfortable for the entire duration of your flight.