Airline Travel With a Stroller

Airline travel can be an exhausting, confusing, and exasperating experience these days. With rules and regulations on what you are allowed to bring on board changing everyday, and with each airline putting their own spin on the rules, it can be impossible to know what you can and can’t do.

Traveling with an infant or toddler makes flying about 100 times more difficult, it seems. So most parents choose to navigate the busy airports with the help of a stroller. Traveling with a stroller can definitely make things easier, but before you book your next flight, we’ve compiled a list of specific rules and regulations regarding the transportation of your baby’s stroller during your flight.

Most airlines consider a stroller to be a piece of luggage that, thankfully, is not subject to any additional baggage fees. In other words, you can have your regular carry-on and personal item just like everyone else, and bring the stroller as an additional piece without charge. Most airlines do require that you gate check the stroller unless it can fit under your seat or in the overhead bins. But since most strollers do not fit in those spaces, gate checking is the way to go. Some airlines also have restrictions on the size of the stroller. Most either recommend or even require that your stroller be a small umbrella stroller. Hawaiian Airlines specifically does not allow jogging strollers. Other airlines do not have a specific rule for it, so that may mean it is open for interpretation. If you plan on bringing a jogging stroller or other large stroller, you may want to call the airline directly before you travel to inquire if it is OK to do so.

Here is a list of several airlines and their specific regulations that we’ve compiled based on what was published on the official airline web sites on September 9, 2009. Please be aware that these regulations could change at any time, so before you travel be sure to double check with your airline to make sure the same rules apply. Not all airlines were specific in spelling out their rules about strollers, so we’ve put what we were able to find. For more detailed information, contact the airlines directly.

Air Canada: One stroller to be checked in at the gate, in addition to two pieces of checked baggage.

Air France: Children under the age of 2 are entitled to a special allowance of 10kg plus one cabin baggage item, plus one of the following items: foldable stroller, bassinet, or car seat.

Alaskan Airlines: Strollers and car seats may be checked without charge.

Allegiant: Each fare-paying passenger is allowed to take a stroller or car seat to the boarding area. The stroller or car seat can also be checked at the time of check-in. If the stroller or car seat is taken to the gate, it will be gate checked.

American: You can carry on one bag plus one personal item per passenger. You may also bring an umbrella stroller for a lap or ticketed child in addition to your two carry-on items.

British Airways: One fully collapsible stroller is allowed.

Continental: Continental accepts one stroller in addition to a customer’s baggage allowance. When checked as baggage, all oversize and overweight charges will apply. First and second bag fees to not apply to either a stroller or car seat. Continental is not liable for damage to strollers. Excess Valuation may not be purchased for strollers. If you are traveling with both a stroller and a car seat in addition to the baggage allowance, only one of these items is carried free of charge.

Delta: Strollers will be checked for free and are not counted as part of the standard baggage allowance. Strollers may be checked at curbside, the ticket counter, or at the gate.

Direct Air: Strollers may be accepted as Gate Check items, if necessary, subject to the Standard Baggage Service Fee and counted towards a passenger’s allotment of two checked items.

Frontier: Strollers must be gate checked.

Hawaiian Airlines: First and second checked bag fees do not apply to strollers with the exception of jogging or large strollers. You may check in your stroller at the gate or at the check-in counter free of charge when accompanied by a ticketed adult passenger. Jogging strollers are not permitted for gate check-in.

JetBlue: A lap infant may bring one diaper bag, one stroller, and one car seat. Infants that are jetting for free do not qualify for the checked baggage allowance. Strollers are considered a “special item” which can be carried on for free in addition to your normal carry-on item. It may go on board if it will fit in the overhead or under the seat, otherwise it must be gate checked.

KLM: A small, completely collapsible stroller may be taken into the cabin. It should be able to fit in the overhead compartment or beneath the seat in front of you. A stroller can always be checked in as check-in baggage at no extra charge.

Midwest Airlines: Strollers are not subject to any additional baggage fees.

Northwest: One fully collapsible umbrella-style stroller may be carried on board in addition to the carry-on baggage allowance. Strollers may be carried on board if space is available. Otherwise they must be gate checked. There is no charge for either domestic or international flights if within free baggage allowance.

Southwest: Customers traveling with infants will be allowed to check one stroller per infant without charge (this is in addition to the regular free baggage allowance). Strollers may also be used as carry on items or may be gate checked at no additional charge.

United: Strollers may be checked to your final destination without a fee, in addition to your normal baggage allowance. United highly recommends using an umbrella stroller when traveling. Umbrella strollers may be accommodated on board the aircraft when space permits in place of your carry-on bag. Large-sized, non-collapsible, or heavy strollers are awkward and facilities are not designed to accommodate these types of items. United is not responsible for damage that occurs to strollers that are not packaged in a box and checked at the check-in counter.

US Airways: If you’re paying 10% of the adult fare for an infant to fly on an international flight, you are allowed 1 fully collapsible stroller. On domestic flights, you can have a stroller in addition to the checked baggage allowance at no charge.

Virgin Atlantic: Strollers permitted, but must be X-Ray screened.

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