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Ready, Set, Fly! Finding the Best Stroller for Overhead Bins

by Vannessa Rhoades 04 Mar 2024
Ready, Set, Fly! Finding the Best Stroller for Overhead Bins

Traveling with a baby or small child can be a meticulous juggling act, and having the right stroller can significantly ease the journey. As parents, we know that maneuvering through airports can be a challenge, especially when it comes to bringing along a stroller. The good news is that many strollers are designed to be travel-friendly, fitting snugly into the limited space of an airplane overhead compartment. In this guide, we'll explore the ins and outs of bringing strollers onto airplanes, decode the TSA guidelines, and look at specific rules set by various airlines. We're also sharing our curated list of lightweight travel strollers that effortlessly meet the criteria for fitting into those compact overhead bins. So, fasten your seatbelts, parents, as we embark on a journey to discover the best strollers tailored for hassle-free air travel.

Navigating TSA Guidelines with Strollers: Streamlining Your Airport Experience

A smooth travel experience begins with understanding the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines. Parents or guardians should inform TSA officers if their child has a disability, medical condition, or requires the use of a medical device, offering insights into how best to address concerns during the screening process.

When approaching the metal detector, parents have the choice to notify TSA officers whether their child can walk through independently or needs to be carried. Carrying a child through the metal detector is permitted to facilitate the screening process, with the assurance that TSA officers will not separate the child from their stroller or mobility aid.

All carry-on items, including strollers, must be placed on the X-ray belt for screening. Strollers, umbrella strollers, baby carriers, car seats, booster seats, and backpacks are subject to X-ray screening. Items within stroller pockets or baskets, as well as those in carry-on bags, should be placed on the X-ray belt. In cases where stroller dimensions prevent it from fitting through the X-ray machine, TSA officers will conduct a visual/physical inspection. This streamlined process ensures that families can navigate airport security with ease, knowing that their strollers are accommodated and respected throughout the screening procedure.

Can You Put a Stroller in the Overhead Bin?

While many travel strollers are designed for convenience, only a select few are genuinely compact enough to snugly fit into an airplane's overhead compartment. Despite the appeal of umbrella strollers, most still require checking at the luggage counter or gate-checking, making them susceptible to dirt or potential damage during transit. Keep in mind that stroller policies differ among airlines, with some not permitting them as carry-ons, irrespective of size. Always double-check your airline's guidelines before embarking on your journey. 

Airline-Specific Stroller Rules: Tailoring Travel Plans to Fit Your Stroller

Every airline has its own set of rules and regulations regarding stroller dimensions, storage, and boarding procedures.  Parents should be aware that in many cases, checked strollers are not covered for damage, and the airline assumes no liability. You should check with your airline before traveling to confirm their specific stroller policy.

While guidelines may vary slightly, here's a breakdown of the stroller policies for some of the most traveled airlines in North America:

  • American Airlines: One small, collapsible stroller (up to 20lbs/9kgs) can be checked at the gate. Larger or non-collapsible strollers 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.
  • United Airlines: You can check one car seat and one stroller or folding wagon per child you’re traveling with, for free. This can be done at the gate or ticket counter. Large or non-collapsible strollers and non-folding wagons must be checked at the ticket counter. However, they’re also free.
  • Southwest Airlines: Southwest Airlines permits customers with children to check one stroller and one car seat at no cost. This complimentary allowance applies to any type of stroller and/or car seat and is an addition to the standard baggage allowance. Customers can check these items at the curb, ticket counter, or gate, with the option to obtain gate check tags from an Agent at the Customer Service desk. Additionally, Southwest offers an optional reusable car seat/stroller bag for purchase at any ticket counter, priced at $17.
  • Delta Airlines: Delta doesn't charge any fees for traveling with strollers or child-restraint seats, like an FAA-approved car or booster seat. These don’t count towards your (or your ticketed child’s) baggage allowance. You can check these items before you go through security or at the gate.
  • JetBlue: 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.
  • Alaska Airlines: Alaska Airlines offers complimentary transport for your child's car seat and stroller when checked as baggage. You can check these items with your other baggage or at the gate. This policy extends to collapsible stroller wagons actively designed for carrying children, provided they are collapsible to under 90 linear inches and 35 pounds. Standard baggage fees/rules apply to larger wagons, those not designed for child transport, or those carried in addition to a stroller.
  • Frontier: You can bring a stroller to the airport, but it must be checked at the gate (free). Upon arrival at your destination, the stroller will be returned to you by Frontier's ramp agents, allowing you to use it at the arriving airport as well.
  • Spirit Airlines: Spirit Airlines offers complimentary check-in for one stroller and one car seat per child at the ticket counter. For those traveling with two children, a double stroller is welcome. Alternatively, these items can be checked at the gate, and they will be ready for you upon arrival in your destination city.
  • Air Canada: Air Canada allows one stroller per child in addition to your carry-on and checked baggage, regardless of your destination. Small collapsible umbrella-type strollers, with specific size dimensions, can be checked for free at the baggage counter or boarding gate. Large, heavy strollers are only accepted at the baggage counter due to space limitations, with no additional baggage fees.
Ready, Set, Fly! Finding the Best Stroller for Overhead Bins

The Compact Marvels: Lightweight Travel Strollers That Fit in the Overhead Compartment

Say goodbye to the days of struggling with bulky strollers that seem to have a mind of their own. ANB Baby’s comprehensive list introduces you to lightweight travel strollers that not only adhere to airline regulations but also promise convenience and ease of use. These compact marvels are designed to fit seamlessly into airplane overhead bins, making your travel experience with little ones a breeze. We encourage you to independently verify your airline’s size restrictions with your stroller’s specific dimensions before traveling.

  • Nuna TRVL Stroller: Designed with travel in mind, the Nuna TRVL stroller easily fits into compact spaces, whether it's the trunk of your car or the overhead compartment of an airplane. Nuna has even included the Travel Bag for free with your purchase!
  • UPPAbaby Minu V2: At just under 17 lbs, you can easily bring the UPPAbaby Minu V2 on large planes, trains, and ferries thanks to the built-in carry handle and included shoulder strap. For smaller planes, UPPAbaby recommends gate-checking the Minu and using the TravelSafe Travel Bag.
  • BabyZen YOYO2 6+ Complete Stroller: Since 2012, the BABYZEN YOYO2 6+ Plus Complete Stroller (folded dimensions 52 x 44 x 18 cm / 20.5 x 17.3 x 7.1 in) has been accepted or recognized as cabin luggage by most airline companies. It also fits it fits very easily in the trunk of a small car and under a train seat.
  • Mountain Buggy Nano V3 Stroller: Weighing at just 13 pounds and with the ability to compact fold into its included travel bag, the Mountain Buggy Nano V3 Stroller fits into overhead luggage compartments for families who value ease and pure functionality.
  • Joolz Aer+ Buggy: Designed to make traveling with your little one as smooth and comfortable as possible, the Joolz Aer+ Buggy provides even more features than its predecessor. Weighing only 13 lbs and airplane-compatible, the Aer+ is easy to fold, comes with a smart shoulder strap, and is the ultra-compact travel companion for all your adventures.
  • Bugaboo Butterfly Complete Stroller: The Bugaboo Butterfly Stroller has an ultra-compact fold (IATA-compatible) to store in overhead compartments, car trunks, or small corridors

The Takeaway for Air Travel with Strollers

Convenience matters when it comes to finding the right stroller for air travel. Armed with knowledge about TSA guidelines and airline-specific rules, you can navigate the airport with confidence, knowing that your stroller is not only welcome but well within the prescribed limits. ANB Baby’s lightweight travel stroller recommendations add an extra layer of ease to your journey so that your little one's comfort doesn't compromise your travel experience. As you plan your next family adventure, consider the stroller not just as a necessity, but a reliable companion that effortlessly glides through the skies, making your travel memories truly unforgettable. Safe travels, fellow parents!

Shop Lightweight Strollers


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