Anyone Traveled Recently on Plane W/infant + Toddler?

Updated on October 03, 2012
A.D. asks from New York, NY
12 answers

I am going to call the airline (United) on my lunch break as I find what is online a bit confusing ... Or maybe I am just in denial! Haha. But I thought it would be a good idea to ask you experienced mommy travelers as well.

My 5 month old is still in the infant car seat (obviously!) and I have a 4 year old. We are taking our double stroller for a 3.5 hr domestic flight this Thursday. It wasn't clear to me that I am able to 'gate check' the double stroller (meaning use it in the airport and just give it to the attendant at the gate prior to boarding the plane). Moreover, it seems like they want to charge me like any other piece of luggage? Last time I traveled it was with my then 1.5 year old and he was out of the infant seat and we gate checked his single stroller (at no charge).

We did not purchase a seat for the infant, so my questions are:
1) did you have to check your double stroller along with your luggage? If so, did that mean having to lug around your infant in his car seat all through the airport? Or did you also take a caddy that they let you gate check? What were the charges for this ordeal?

2) once on board if you have a lap child in an infant car seat, what do you do with the car seat? Do the flight attendants take it? If so, where do they put it?

Thanks mamas - boy am I always grateful for this site. I constantly wonder how my mom ever figured anything out LOL

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So What Happened?

Thank you for the responses so far - I should have probably added that we are going to Disney World, so I definitely need the double stroller and the car seat with me. I do not want to rent a stoller there... just makes sense for me to have our own stuff given that they will be using it a lot during our trip.

More Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

I have flown 3 times in the past 6 weeks. It looks to me like people are still gate checking their strollers. I do not believe they count as one of your 'items' to get on the plane and I do not believe they charge for it. If there is an open seat on the plane, they will often give it to a passenger with a lap child - then you use your car seat. If not, you gate check it or put in in the overhead (if it fits). If you checked your car seat, then you couldn't use it if there happened to be an open seat.

If I were you, I would take a single stroller. Your four year old can absolutely move through the airport quickly enough. Mine was pulling his own luggage at that age, not riding in a stroller. And you will be able to maneuver so much better.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Some strollers are too big to gate check, definitely call. However, if I were in your shoes, I would check it all at the ticket counter and carry your baby through the airport. It's easier through security. Also, if you do decide to go through the airport, you can gate check your infant car seat. Some airlines are starting to charge for another piece of luggage especially if it is as big as a double stroller. The last time I flew, I took my double stroller, it is a citi select that basically comes apart. Out of fear of them breaking it, I bought a stroller bag and was able to get everything in it, and was able to gate check it at no charge on American. The bag was as big as a carry on. I also gate checked my infant car seats. If I had to do all over again, I would have checked everything at the ticket counter.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

They will both be gate checked for no charge. Unless you're lucky enough to have a non full flight where you can bring your infant on in the car seat....but I don't think that happens much. Especially flight to Orlando.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

We travel a lot and have an infant and toddler. We keep the stroller with us and gate check it. That way it is waiting for us as soon as we get off the plane.

As far as the infant seat. If your infant is going to sit in your lap then the easiest thing to do is check the car seat with your luggage. They do not charge for infant items. Or if you need the infant seat until you board you can also check it at the gate with your stroller.

Hope this helps

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

They do not charge you to check strollers or car seats. When I traveled with kiddos that young (I flew by myself with a 9m old, 3y old, and 5y old), I put the 9m old in a Bjorn carrier, the 3y old in an umbrella stroller that I checked at the door of the airplane, and the 5y old walked. I checked all three of their car seats as luggage (for free).

Good Luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from El Paso on

Unless something has changed really recently (I flew in January with both of my girls who were almost 3 yrs and about 7 months at the time) car seats get checked with regular baggage (unless you're having the child sit in the car seat on the plane) and are NOT charged for since they are required by law in all 50 states. I have seen a full-sized stroller get gate-checked, so unless you are going to end up on one of the puddle-jumpers (we always do because we're never flying in or out of a major airport) then they should be able to do your double.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

You will have to gate check your stroller and the infant car seat and hold your 5 month old on your lap. They will not allow you to hold the baby in the car seat. You can keep the baby in the car seat if you pay for a seat.

You may want to check the car seat with your luggage and get a baby sling to carry the infant while your 4yo sits in the stroller. Unless your car seat attaches to the stroller then you won’t have to carry it around.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Unless you absolutely need (and have no other way of obtaining) a car seat on the other end-- leave it home. My husband and I recently flew (international) with a 3 yr old girl and our 3 mo. old son. We Bjorn'ed the baby thru the airport and gate-checked the double-stroller (umbrella style- purchased for $25 on craigslist with this trip in mind)

BRING THE BARE MINIMUM ALWAYS is our travel motto. In our carry-on we brought enough wipes and diapers for the trip there, an activity book & teddy bear for the tot, a bag of popchips, water bottle (consumed before and refilled after security), iPad, and emergency outfit change for the baby.

Oh and we incurred no extra charges - airline was Porter.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Since you haven't bought a seat for the infant, my suggestion is as follows-

leave your car seat at home. you can get one in the rental car you get at your destination.

take an umbrella stroller, even though yours is an older toddler, sometimes it helps to get your kid in a stroller so you can make the distance through the terminals at a reasonable pace.

use curbside check in for your luggage and your boarding passes. You don't want to have anything extra with you as you navigate the terminals, just you, baby, baby sling, toddler, umbrella stroller and diaper bag (that's plenty to handle already).

By all means check with the airline for what they allow and require. I think when travelling, less is more.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

you don't bring car seat to plane unless you have paid for a seat for your child. If he is flying free as a lap child you check the car seat in with the luggage where you will have to pay for it. Stroller is free.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albany on

You can gate check the stroller. They may charge you, however. We do that with our adaptive stroller for our physically challenged son, but since it is "medical equipment", they do not charge a surcharge (at least Southwest doesn't).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Flown many times with my kids and their gear (they are currently 3.5 and 1.5). The stroller, carseat, portable crib are all considered special assistance items and can be checked at no extra charge. You can take the double stroller and infant carrier to the gate with you and let the gate attendants know you will be gate-checking them, again free of charge. When you gate-check an item, they need to tag it before boarding and you leave it at the end of the gang-plank. That includes the carseat if your infant is a lap child. After your flight, your gate-checked items will be returned to the gang-plank right outside of the plane door.

1 mom found this helpful
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