Flying with babies and toddlers is never easy but we’ve made it a bit simpler to see what baggage you can take on the plane and in the hold.
It’s also good to know what the major airlines, popular for family holidays, say about taking your child’s buggy on the plane with you.
So, does it cost extra to bring a buggy? Or can buggies stay in the hold for free? And what’s the heaviest buggy you can bring aboard each plane?
As of April 2019, here’s what you should know about bringing your buggy on a flight…
It seems that you can bring one lightweight, foldable buggy as FREE checked baggage, as long as it weighs 10kg or less.
This won’t affect your checked baggage purchases or allowances.
But it sounds like there are a few stipulations: this extra 10kg also includes any car seats you need to bring on board. Any buggies and car seats that weigh more than 10kg in total will incur extra charges.
Plus availability for the freebie is on a “limited release basis” which could mean that if too many families are doing the same, you may get stuck paying out.
Best to chat to an adviser over the phone for this one – or get there super, super early to ensure your buggy’s one of the first to go through.
We quite liked easyJet’s baggage policy – and indeed their buggy policy feels similarly family-friendly.
You’re entitled, in addition to your hold and checked baggage allowance, to bring 2 baby/toddler items for FREE if you are travelling with a child under 5 years.
These can include:
- a travel cot
- double pushchairs
- car seat
- collapsible or non-collapsible pram
- booster seat
- baby back carrier.
There’s no specification on the weight of these items on their site. Car seats, we can assume, go with you into the cabin, whereas buggies and travel cots go into the hold.
easyJet’s website’s not 100% clear on this – so we’ve reached out to them for comment and we’ll let you know if we hear back.
With BA, in addition to your checked baggage, you can take 2 free items from the list below for your baby or child:
- one fully-collapsible pushchair (stroller)
- one car seat or booster
- travel cot
- baby back carrier
Most buggies can only go as far as the departure gate – and are picked back up at the baggage carousel at your destination.
However, if your stroller is smaller than 117cm x 38cm x 38cm when the pushchair is collapsed, you’ll be able to take it all the way with you to the plane door, and (most likely, where poss) pick it up at the door on your way out. Woo!
P.S. BA recommend checking in at family area Zone A if you’re flying from London Heathrow Terminal 5.
TUI let mums and dads take a pushchair and car seat for little ones under the age of 2 for free. You can also take a 10kg hold baggage for your infant included as their own allowance.
Items will be stored in the hold – and collected from the baggage carousel at your destination.
As for using the buggy at the departing airport? “You will usually be able to use your pushchair at the airport and hand it to a member of staff at the gate before you board,” says TUI’s website.
“But please confirm this with our ground staff when you check in.”
Ryanair’s cabin/hand baggage rules have changed slightly since 2017 – so make sure you brush up on the latest info.
However, you’re still allowed, per child:
- 1 pushchair
- either a car seat, booster seat or travel cot, max weight 20kg
And these are completely free, in addition to all your other baggage.
When you get to the airport, the 2 free items should be tagged for travel at a Bag Drop Desk (these close 40mins before the scheduled flight time).
You can also take buggies up to the steps of the plane, and if your destination country allows, you can pick it up at the steps, too.
Any extra stuff (max 20kg) can be checked in at the airport for a ‘Infant/Child Equipment Fee’ – around £15 online and £25 at the airport.
P.S. Ryanair’s site says: “if you’re booking a separate seat for your infant (8 days – 23 months) using an airline approved car seat onboard, you will need to contact the call centre to make the booking for all passengers, add the car seat details and allocate a suitable seat onboard.”
You’ll still get any website discounts, though. Phew!
Thomas Cook’s policy is pretty simple. Any child under the age of 2, who is sitting on mum or dad’s lap, is entitled to have the following on board for FREE:
- 10kg checked baggage allowance
- a stroller/pushchair (checked in to the hold)
- a travel cot or a car seat (checked in to the hold).
If you need a travel cot and a car seat, then you’d have to book one of them in as baggage.
If your infant has their own seat booked, you can still bring a stroller/pushchair and car seat on board, to be stored in the hold, for free.
Buggies must be completely collapsible – and it can’t contain any other items. Thomas Cook says they’d like you to have a protective cover for your buggy if poss.
Car seats automatically go in the hold – unless your infant has a seat booked and obviously needs it in the cabin.
They say: “The car/child seat must be able to fit between the armrests of the aircraft seat and your child and the child seat need to be secured according to the seat manufacturer’s instructions.”
You can also reserve a seat if you’d prefer to borrow one. “You need to reserve a car/child seat in advance,” says Thomas Cook’s website. “Please contact our customer service team on 01733 224 808.”
Families with small children can bring a fully collapsible pushchair and car seat, in addition to their free check-in baggage allowance.
We’ve not see any recommendations on weight or size of the buggy allowed on board – or any indication of when your buggy will be popped in the hold.
We’ve reached out to Virgin Atlantic and we hope they’ll get back to us soon.
Images: Getty Images/Airline logos