Traveling with your little one?
When flying with toddlers and babies, you will often travel by a stroller or a car seat. Having the opportunity to put down your little one that you just carried through the flight is a great rest and joy for your tired arms.
However, most parents ask:
“Should I gate check my baby’s stroller and car seat?”
Yes. But why do you need to always gate check your stroller and car seat?
Firstly, if you are escorting your stroller or car seat at the gate, then there will be fewer people to handle it, so the chances of your baby gears being damaged through the airport are smaller. Still, you might want to protect your gears from germs and dirt it might come in contact with under the plane, so consider getting a protector bag that you can put in before handing it over when boarding your flight.
Also, gate checking at the plane means that you can use the stroller and car seat at your arrival and departure airports. Although it may take 10 to 15 minutes before your baby gears are delivered to the jetway once the plane has arrived at the gate. Waiting for a gate checked car seat and stroller also helps ensure that you are the last in line at customs and immigration behind a couple of other passengers which may be on your flight.
So, how do you gate check your baby’s stroller and car seat? Well, it is not that hard to figure out how to check your baby gear, however, if you have never done it before, then you might be confused about what to do.
Here is an easy guide in order to make you look like a pro— whether you are just bringing your baby’s gear with you for the first time or it is your first time flying with a baby.
1. Get A Tag For Your Car Seat And Stroller
Get checked car seats and strollers requires to get tagged to their final destinations. This process is not as complicated (for most US airports) as checking your stroller an car seat since it is just a tag that the gate agent will handwrite with your flight information and seat number onto.
2. Drop Off Your Car Seat And Stroller
Once your baby gears have been tagged and you have been called to board, you will need to drop your stroller and/or car seat at the bottom of the jetway.
There must be a little door that leads to the outside. This is where the loading crew will come out in order to grab your baby gears and other passengers’ roller board suitcases which could not fit in the overhead.
Make sure that you do not lean your car seat or stroller against this door so that it will not fall down on the steps to the runway. Just lay your stroller and car seat to the side and wait for them to be picked up.
3. Pick Up Your Car Seat And Stroller
Just as you dropped off your baby’s car seat and/or stroller at the jetway, you will also find it there when you get off your flight.
Just wait to the sides in case you don’t see your baby’s gate-checked stroller and car seat. It might take several minutes for them to get all the car seats and strollers up the steps. In addition, bad weather may add to that delay as well.
And once you have your baby gear, if you need to load your little one into the stroller, then please be courteous enough to your fellow passengers. You can either wait until you are off the jetway and load your little one into the stroller or step aside so you are not blocking the path.
International Flight Variables
This is when things can go a little sideways.
Some gat agents tend to take all strollers and/or car seats and pile them up by the door. There are some crew members that’ll take the whole pile down ahead of time. Some agents will even ask you to drop it off at the jetway.
Whenever in doubt, you can always ask the gate agent about what you need to do. Do not get angry or frustrated if you are asked to check your items in the cargo hold. Each country has their own rules for different reasons. As long as you and your little one get on the flight, that is all that matters.
Traveling by airplane can be a tiring experience and can even get worse when you add a little one into the picture. It is crucial to think about your little one’s comfort and safety and in doing so, a car seat and strollers is a must to make your flying experience much smoother. Plus, gate-checking a car seat and stroller will never be a hassle, as long as you follow the simple guideline above!