20 Airline Stroller Policies Around the World

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The events of the recent American Airlines flight 591 from San Francisco to Dallas where a mom of young twins had her stroller taken from her on-board the aircraft set off a chain reaction that ended with a yelling flight attendant, the mom in tears, the baby narrowly being missed by the stroller, and much more. The initial reaction of many, even frequent flyers, was that the mom should have known better than to bring a stroller on-board the aircraft in the first place.

 

I’m not 100% sure how I would carry twin one year olds and our stuff on-board without some type of contraption, but that aside, bringing strollers on-board the aircraft is far from a never permitted action. In fact, in my unscientific research, it looks to me that roughly half of the world’s major airlines outside of the US expressly permit some strollers in the cabin as carry-on luggage.

Strollers are essential for travel with toddlers

Strollers are essential for travel with toddlers

However, here in the United States it is true that the overwhelming majority of airlines do not permit strollers to go beyond the boarding door, though even the fee-happy airlines like Spirit do allow them to be checked at the ticket counter or gate at no extra charge. I know from my own travels that occasionally small collapsable umbrella strollers do make it in the overhead bins of US airlines, but that is the exception and certainly not the rule. The only US airline that I could find that does still have written policies to permit the carry-on of strollers is Hawaiian Airlines.

The mom who was flying American Airlines over the weekend was indeed on an international itinerary, and once you leave the 50 states, in-cabin small strollers are much more common-place on other airlines. This shouldn’t be too surprising as non-US airlines are generally more child-friendly than US airlines in almost every category offering things like airport family rooms, on-board nannies, in-flight baby food, child friendly meals, milk, and even diapers. In fact, several of the international airlines that don’t permit strollers on-board actually provide free strollers to be used in the airports.

Emirates Baby Stroller

Emirates Baby Stroller

To highlight that there is no one standard when it comes to checking or carrying-on strollers, here are the stroller policies of 20 airlines around the world. Of course, policies can change at any point, so please double check with your carrier of choice before travel if you need additional clarification on their current stroller rules.

Airlines That Allow On-Board Strollers

Hawaiian Airlines

If you’re an adult traveling with children, you may bring on board the following as part of your carry-on baggage allowance-as long as the items can properly fit in the overhead compartment or beneath the seat in front of you. If these items are checked in, they’ll be exempt from baggage fees for the ticketed adult passenger who’s traveling with the child. (There is no separate baggage allowance for an infant you hold in your lap.)

  • Car seats 
  • Infant carrying seats
  • Strollers

EVA

One infant’s carrying basket or fully collapsible stroller, push-chair, car seat or CARES harness. There is no limitation of volume, weight, size for infant’s push chair, or carrying basket. The fully collapsible stroller can be stored in the closed overhead bin.

Cathay Pacific

An umbrella-type collapsible stroller or any type of foldable stroller within the standard cabin bag size and weight after folding (if cabin stowage is available).

Air New Zealand

Strollers with a completely collapsible frame and seat will normally fit in the overhead locker on our 777-300, 777-200, 787-9 and A320 Domestic aircraft only. On our other aircraft they must be checked in because there is limited locker space. If the flight you are travelling on is full, airport staff may request that your stroller is checked in.

Prams, three-wheeled jogger-style buggies and larger strollers do not fit in the overhead locker and must be checked-in on all aircraft.

KLM

For each child you may always bring 1 collapsible stroller free of charge on any KLM flight. If the stroller will not fit under the seat or in the overhead baggage compartment, you can check it in at no extra charge.

Singapore Airlines

You may carry onboard any type of compact foldable light-weight stroller only if they meet the following requirements:

  • The stroller must meet SIA’s standard cabin bag dimensions (up to 7kg and sum of length, width and height should not exceed 115cm) and must be able to be stored in the cabin overhead compartment.
  • The stroller will be counted towards your cabin baggage allowance for your class of travel (i.e. your compact foldable lightweight stroller will be counted as 01 piece of cabin bag).
  • The stroller must be folded and packed into its carrier bag prior to boarding.
  • The stroller must not be opened and used in the aircraft cabin at all times.

Compact foldable light-weight strollers will be checked in if there is no space in the cabin. Strollers that do not meet the above requirements will also have to be checked in. These strollers, when checked in, will not be counted as part of your checked baggage allowance.

Air France

You can transport a foldable stroller and car seat in the hold at no extra charge. Some strollers may be accepted in the cabin, subject to space availability. Depending on the type of stroller, the following size limits apply.

  • Small foldable stroller:* dimensions cannot exceed 15 cm x 30 cm x 100 cm / 5.9 in x 11.8 in x 39.4 in
  • Other foldable stroller: this replaces the hand baggage allowance for infants and its dimensions cannot exceed: 55 cm x 35 cm x 25 cm / 21.7 in x 13.8 in x 9.8 in

Please note: strollers must be packed in a carrying case that covers the stroller fully. In addition, for security reasons, some airports may have to deny access to strollers inside the boarding areas.

Emirates

Cabin baggage

Passengers travelling with infants in any class of service are also permitted one (1) handbag for infant food (weight must not exceed 5 kg/11lb) and other inflight necessities and one (1) fully collapsible stroller / carry-cot, as a carry-on item if cabin space is available or else as checked baggage in the hold.

Malaysia Airlines

Since storage space is limited in the aircraft cabin, the acceptance of baby prams/strollers as cabin items will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Once the storage space is taken up, these items will need to be loaded in the aircraft hold.

Aeromexico

  • Flights within Mexico: One bassinet or strolled is allowed. Infants traveling on passenger’s lap are not subject to additional baggage allowance.
  • International Destinations: one additional piece of luggage besides the stroller or bassinet, not to exceed 20 kg (44 pounds) in weight or 1.15 m (45 inches) in size as a carry-on is allowed.

Japan Airlines* (seems to be that gate checking is strongly encouraged, but it does not say it is required)

 

Airlines That Require You to Check Strollers

British Airways

If you have a small, fully collapsible and lightweight pushchair/stroller (with maximum dimensions of 117cm x 38cm x 38cm/46in x 15in x 15in when the pushchair is collapsed), you will qualify to take this right to the aircraft door and collect at the aircraft door at most airports.

Lufthansa

Approved car seats, baby baskets or foldable pushchairs (these will be transported in the hold) may also be carried as carry-on baggage. Further information on this is available on the Carry-on Baggage page.

American Airlines

Each ticketed customer is allowed 1 stroller. Only small, collapsible and light strollers (up to 20lbs/9kgs) can be checked at the gate. Any stroller that weighs over 20lbs/9 kgs, is too large or is non−collapsible must be checked at the ticket counter.

Customers are allowed 1 stroller and 1 car seat per ticketed passenger. Both items may be checked at the ticket counter or one item can be checked at the gate and one at the counter. These items are checked at no charge, when traveling with a child or to adopt.

United Airlines

Strollers may be checked to your final destination without a fee, in addition to your normal baggage allowance.

Children can be transported in their strollers throughout the airport. However, strollers must be checked at the gate. No strollers of any size are permitted as carry-on baggage. Your child’s stroller will be delivered to you at the aircraft door upon request at your connecting city or destination. Large, non-collapsible strollers cannot be checked at the gate. Please see a United representative at the airport check-in counter to check your large, non-collapsible stroller.

United is not responsible for damage that occurs to strollers that are not packed in a box and checked at the check-in counter.

Southwest Airlines

  • Customers traveling with children will be allowed to check one stroller and one Child Restraint System (CRS) or car seat per child without charge. This is in addition to the regular free baggage allowance.
  • The stroller and CRS or car seat allowance applies to any type of stroller (umbrella, full size, jogging stroller, etc.) and CRS or car seat.
  • The Customer may check the stroller and CRS or car seat at the curb, ticket counter, or gate.
  • Southwest Airlines will not assume liability for damage to strollers, CRSs or car seats. (An optional Southwest-branded reusable car seat/stroller bag is available for purchase at any Southwest Airlines ticket counter for a $15 one time fee.)

Delta

Children’s strollers and seat restraints are not counted as part of the standard baggage and therefore can easily be checked for free. For your convenience these items may be checked at curbside, the ticket counter, or at the gate.

SWISS

Take your fold up one-piece buggy right to the aircraft. You will be given a label at the check-in desk. Depending on your destination, your buggy will be returned to you either when you disembark or on the baggage carousel. Because of their size, prams and buggies for more than one child must be checked in as baggage.

Etihad

Visit the check-in desk for your cabin of travel. During the check-in process, we will place luggage tags on any push chairs or strollers. You will still be able to use these within the airport. They will be placed in the aircraft hold at the departure gate shortly before boarding.

To make life a little easier, Guests arriving at our home base, Abu Dhabi, are welcome to use one of our complimentary strollers, which are available in the terminal, close to the gate. They’re bright orange in colour, so you can’t miss them!

Qantas

To make your time on the ground easier, most mainline Australian ports have strollers available for you to use once you have checked-in your own personal stroller. Staff will be on hand at the boarding gate ready to collect the stroller and to further assist you with pre-boarding the aircraft.

When you stop and think about it, the number of rules and policies that impact flying families is pretty overwhelming, especially when you factor in how much it can all vary from carrier to carrier and country to country. What has been your experience when traveling the world with your stroller?

If you want to start traveling the world with your family for much less, head to this Beginner’s Guide to Miles and Points and feel free to follow along on Twitter and Facebook for daily miles, points, and travel tips!

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Pingbacks

  1. […] You should check each airline’s policies carefully if traveling with children and their necessary accoutrements. As my wife and I don’t have kids (yet), I hadn’t looked into stroller policies until now. I highly suggest you do so if you’re flying with young children. Here is a word of warning specifically for AA, and Mommy Points covers everything under the sun. […]

Comments

  1. The smartest idea would to not be traveling by yourself with 2 young twins. You would have to pay me to travel like that.

    • It’s not something I would do for fun either, but there are a million reasons why sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

  2. While I can understand the removal of the stroller it was the way that it was done. You would think that before bording someone would have talked to her quietly about the issue of the stroller and then offer her help. I do know that sometimes people get busy with there jobs but feel it’s no excuse for bad behavior. I am sorry it happened and hope it does not happen again.

  3. I fly by myself with my son to Brazil 1-2X a year to visit family and LATAM policy is horrible. You have to gate check the stroller and pick up at separate area near luggage claim. Imagine arriving in Brazil with a baby/toddler after 9 hours on a overnight flight without a stroller. When my son was young I had a Ergo carrier, but now he is too heavy. Last month I got the Baby Jogger City Tour and it was a bliss. The stroller is the same size than a carry on bag and comes with a backpack. I was able to place the stroller in the overhead bin and unfold as soon I steeped out of the plane.Best $200 investment.

    • this is the thing about strollers: less is more when traveling. baby jogger city tour is still 15 lbs (and that’s apparently the lightest baby jogger) you’re trying to carry the baby, while unfolding the stroller (not all gate cargo handlers unfold/fold your strollers, depends on their mood) that weighs as much as a barbell.

      after 2 (domestic) trips, I gave up on our mclaren (which is already considered a light weight umbrella stroller).

      the only answer are cheap costco umbrella stroller “types” – 7 lbs (or less), $20. and I’m never afraid of the gate handlers losing/breaking them, I just buy another one.

      i think there’s even a cheapy twin umbrella strollers, but not sure it would’ve saved this twinning mom. i mean, nothing would’ve saved her, i woulda just stayed my butt home…

  4. Great blog post and thanks for all the research.

    On reviewing the airlines that “Allow On Board Strollers”, most of the airlines have a space available modifier and list that cabin staff can require the stroller to be gate checked if there is no room in the overhead bins. This could have been a factor on AA591, although we will never know for sure.

    Not wanting to cast any spurious allegations against the AA591 mother, but it is conceivable that someone in her situation was trying to make space in the overhead bin for the stroller by displacing the legal carryon of another pax that boarded in zone 1-4. While I have not seen a stroller in the overhead bin, guitars and other small brass musical instruments are a frequent lament of my travel career. I board in zone 1 or 2 only to have some amateur musician claim that my legal wheels in rollaboard should be gate checked so that their musical instrument doesn’t get damaged. Don’t get me started about cowboy hats in the overhead bin, I’m YYC based and top connection point is IAH.

    The biggest nonconfirming carryon item I have witnessed (on numerous occasions) is the wedding dress. On wedding dress box 1/2 fills the overhead bin, but takes up the whole bin volume wise as absolutely nothing (not even coats or small personal item) can go on top of the box WITHOUT the bride bursting into hysterics and accusing the fellow passenger of ruining the whole wedding. Apologies, I should have put [rant] [/rant] PHP quotes around this paragraph.

    Putting AA591 incident aside, there is a growing issue with carryon items that do not fit the standard rollaboard dimensions. The list of nonconforming carryon items is not just strollers; but small musical instruments, hats, duty free items, suit bags, etc. With a standard bin, one nonconforming item took up the space of 2 rollaboards. However with the Boeing Space Bin, the ratio more than doubles to one nonconforming item taking up the space of 3-6 rollaboards.

    Back onto the topic at hand, I think its best if airline policies are amended to exclude onboard strollers and other nonconforming carryon items.

  5. “…..a mom of young twins had her stroller taken from her….”

    -If both twins fit in the subject stroller, it had to be fair size and probably couldn’t fit in the overhead anyway.
    -Another question arises as to seating. Where both twins flying as “lap babies”? What were the seating arrangements for these two young twins and their mum?
    -Me thinks there might be more to this story than what’s being presented here and in the news(?) media —–

  6. Being a parent of twins and having flown with them alone when they were 2 years old, I can assure you that each airline has different rules with regards to child travel and how these rules are applied! One comment above states that travelling alone with 2 under 2 year old babies cannot be true. Well some Asian airlines expressively permit it (CX I think). etc. etc. etc. So travelling with twins, you never know which rule will apply. And yes parents of twins not able to walk alone need help while boarding. How are you supposed to hold on to all your stuff (where is the terrorist?), have both childrens in the arms and fold your stroller?

  7. Regulations may vary not only among the airline but among ground staff and onboard crew.

    Ground staff weren’t allow me to board Miami-Dallas AA flight with two strollers. Even though both together can be folded into a back pack.

    It was the cabin crew that witnessed the argument that finally allowed me in.

  8. Just adding a data point from this past July. Virgin Atlantic allows you to store a stroller on-board only if you are flying in Upper Class. It wasn’t stored in the overhead bin but in a different closet (perhaps a coat closet).

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