Reader Question: Do I need a stroller bag when I fly?

I recently received this question from a reader. It's a good one, and I thought it would be useful to share the answer

I am flying back East and will be gate checking my stroller. I am traveling with two kids and have one layover. I need my stroller to get the two kids between flights. I'm curious if people have found stroller travel bags a good idea? Sounds difficult, but maybe is good to protect your stroller? Let me know you experience. Thanks!

Here is my response:

Most airlines consider strollers and car seats to be fragile items and will not reimburse you for damage that happens when a stroller or car seat is checked. One way to avoid this is to travel with an inexpensive umbrella stroller or a small stroller, like the Quinny Zapp that fits in the overhead bin.

A stroller bag, as you point out, is another great way to protect your stroller (or car seat). I particularly like (and own) the heavy duty Maclaren Buggy Bag Single Carbon. With this bag, there's enough space to stuff in heavy jackets or other items that you don't need in-flight. It also works well as a cover for kid-carrier backpack. That said, it is large, and best suited for trips where you plan to check your stroller at the baggage check instead of bringing it to the gate.

A less expensive and lighter weight alternative is the Gate Check Umbrella Stroller Bag

Finally, you can consider one of my favorite travel-light options. Just fold up a large garbage bag in your carry on bag, and when you get to the gate put your stroller inside and knot it. It's not as heavy duty as a purchased stroller bag, but it will afford you some protection from damage and grime and you can use the bag for trash when your trip is finished.

Do you have a question about traveling with kids? Send me email: debbie at deliciousbaby dot com

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  1. Cat on November 25, 2008 at 4:19 p.m.

    I may be in the minority, but we've gate checked our MacLaren Volo several times with no bag and without incident. It may be that we've just flown very conscientious airlines. The stroller has made several international flights with Korean Air, Asiana and Japan Air, and several times the air line put the stroller in a simple plastic bag themselves.

    I would love to get a stroller bag, though, just to have somewhere to stash extra jackets, etc. as mentioned above. Just wanted to say that it's a really good idea, I think, but not totally essential.

  2. Tamara on November 26, 2008 at 9:38 a.m.

    Thanks for these - I am about to go on a 9 hour flight to St Lucia with an 18 month old - have copied all of these on to my mobile so I can reference if we are delayed!

  3. nara on July 14, 2012 at 2:01 p.m.

    I'm using quinny zap xtra and I'm leaving to Thailand and would like to gate check the stroller. Question is when I gate check I have to strip the stroller in to 2 pieces. I have the bag for the stroller frame hut I don't have for the seat that cone with it. Any suggestion? Or should I load them all under the plane and us there any charges? For the stroller? Hope to head from u soon. Thank you.