The amount of stuff you need to pack when traveling with a baby can be overwhelming. However, if you plan to drive or walk during your trip, packing a stroller/car seat travel system is necessary. Car seats can often be rented from car rental companies, but your baby's comfort and your peace of mind about the safety of your car seat are two reasons for bringing your own. Carrying a baby everywhere can result in sore muscles the next day, so a stroller makes long days of walking much easier for you.
Remove the car seat from the stroller. Make sure the car seat is FAA approved for airline travel. Use the car seat on your baby's plane seat. Since it can be difficult to buckle the car seat with airplane buckles, enlist the help of a flight attendant as needed. If you did not purchase a separate ticket and plan to hold your baby during the flight, you can either ask to carry on the car seat in case there is an empty seat nearby or you can check the seat as a separate piece of luggage.
Tie the handle in place if you are checking the car seat. To keep the seat clean, wrap it in a plastic garbage bag, securing the opening with a tied knot or packing tape.
Take the stroller part of the travel system directly to the gate if you want to be able to place your child in the stroller immediately after landing. Leave it just outside the airplane door -- or in another spot, if a flight attendant indicates -- and notify a flight attendant that you have a stroller that needs to be put on the plane. You may be given a tag to write your contact information on to secure to the stroller. Before the flight leaves, your stroller will be placed on the plane by airline staff.
Adjust the stroller to its flattest setting if you plan to check it as luggage at the check-in counter. Secure the stroller with two to three pieces of twine, wrapped and knotted around the stroller to keep it from opening. Enclose the stroller in a large garbage bag or use a commercial plastic-wrapping service at the airport to keep the stroller clean. Upon arrival, find the area the airline uses for oversized baggage to pick up your stroller.
Things You Will Need
Even if the airline doesn't provide a tag for your stroller, it's a good idea to furnish your own label with your name, address and contact number in case of loss.
Most airlines do not count a checked stroller or car seat against your checked luggage allowance, but call the airline in advance to check on its rules.