Flying with Baby: Car Seats and Strollers
I know quite a few supermoms who have flown without their strollers. That is NOT ME. For one thing, I love my stroller. Like, seriously. BOB is my boyfriend and my husband totally accepts this fact *wink*. And for another, there are just some moment when wearing Liam isn’t an option (he’s not in the mood, he fell asleep in his car seat, etc.). But almost no one can get away with flying without a car seat. So below are my tips for flying with these two LARGE objects …
Protect them at ALL COSTS
Car seats aren’t cheap, and many strollers cost a pretty penny themselves. If you’ve ever seen what an airline can do to a piece of checked luggage, do NOT doubt the havoc they can wreak on your beloved car seat and stroller. Our answer to this, was to “bag ’em”.
- We currently have a Chicco Keyfit car seat. We had to fly with both the car seat AND the base. So I did some shopping around and found the Brica
bag. We went with this bag for a few reasons…
- Thick material for protecting the car seat from scrapes and drags
- Wheels for pulling it behind us through the airport
- Straps for carrying it in hand or as a backpack
- LARGE pocket on the front
Ok, how I packed it is very important – so you don’t stand around looking like an idiot as I did. This bag is made for convertibles, but it can work for your infant cart seat too! So…
- First place your car seat in the bottom of the bag, handle back
- Set the base inside the car seat. If you have an adapter for your stroller, toss that inside now as well!
- Zip it up! I tossed all my stroller accessories (bag hook, parent console, etc) in the front pocket.
Ahhh, back to my beloved stroller. As much as I would have loved to have the BOB Black Travel Bag, I waited too long to purchase my bags AND am way too much of a cheapskate. Even when it comes to my “boyfriend”. Though I may get it now – you’ll see why later. So, instead we purchased a large Gate Check bag from TRU. It was cheap and had some great features:
- Straps on the side to carry it once bagged
- Folds up into a tiny pouch
- Cheap enough that we wouldn’t mind replacing it
- Roomy, even though our stroller didn’t fit
Yep, you read that right. The wheelbase on the BOB was too wide for the bag. But that is one of the things we love about the BOB. Another thing we love? Quick release wheels! How I packed it …
- Fold up and lock down the stroller
- Pop off the two back wheels
- Slide the stroller into the bag, then set the wheel on top
- Pull the drawstring and you’re ready to go!
This is when you check items that you need in the airport up until the moment you board the plane. These items are left right outside of the plane door when taking off, and you’ll find them waiting for you there when you get off at your next destination. This also means these items will not be thrown into the pile of luggage ferried out to the plane before take-off and it will be available for you during layovers (unlike the rest of your luggage!). We gate -checked our BOB Stroller and car seat …
Bag’Em *THEN* Tag’em:
- When you arrive at your gate, you have to go up to the counter to get a tag for gate checking your items. Do NOT let them put those tags on your items until you have bagged them! You want them to put the tags on the bag, not the item. It may get lost or over looked if they can’t see the tag when you leave it on the jetway.
Early Arrival = Early Deposit!
- Sometimes, if you get to your gate with plenty of time before the flight, they will take your items down the jetway ahead of time. This is HUGE. I plopped Liam back into the baby carrier and loaded up the goods. The gate attendant then walked it down to the plane door. Trust me – this is a GODSEND! Try hauling it down yourself, with everyone else walking down the jetway, and your baby, and your carry-ons. Trust me, it ain’t a pretty picture!