Infant on Southwest

Old Jun 10, 15, 10:54 am
  #1  
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Infant on Southwest

We have an upcoming trip on Southwest (LGA-ATL-LGA). It will be our first flight as parents and our little guy will be just shy of 3 months old. We're planning on taking our full-size stroller (~20lbs) and his car seat separately as we'd like to have both the stroller seat and car seat with us in ATL (instead of just using the car seat as a the stroller seat all the time).

I presume we are able to carry the car seat and wheel the stroller through security - then gate check both? I've read that space permitting some GAs will allow the car seat onto the plane even though we don't plan on purchasing a ticket - so we could do that if the opportunity arises but we're planning on (and expecting) using a carrier.

We have the Phil and Teds Universal Travel Bag (https://philandteds.com/us/Buy/adapt...sal-travel-bag) which we can put the car seat in to keep it relatively protected, and we can purchase a separate stroller bag -and would take recommendations on [email protected]!

Thanks for your help!
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Old Jun 10, 15, 11:57 am
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Yes, you can bring both through security and check them at the gate. As soon as you get to the gate go up and get a gate-check tag for the stroller and inquire about whether or not there will be any available seats. If there are, they will let you bring the car seat on board free of charge (this is one of my favorite things about WN). We've done this 10x with our daughter in the last month and been able to bring the car seat aboard 5 times.

If your stroller is large/expensive you may want to consider getting a cheaper one to bring through the airport. We had a nice one that was sturdy but after one flight we got it and the entire hood was ripped off. We now use a cheapo umbrella stroller that gets the job done and not much more. When you gate check the stroller and car seat you have to sign a waiver that WN is only liable for loss, not damage, so just keep that in mind.

Lastly, make sure to arrive at the airport with more time than you would if traveling with just the 2 of you. One of the downsides of WN is that even if you're not checking any bags you still have to wait in line just to show the proof of babies age to get their boarding pass. I wish there was a way for them to verify the age once and then keep it in the system, but oh well.
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Old Jun 10, 15, 12:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Big4Flyer View Post
Yes, you can bring both through security and check them at the gate. As soon as you get to the gate go up and get a gate-check tag for the stroller and inquire about whether or not there will be any available seats. If there are, they will let you bring the car seat on board free of charge (this is one of my favorite things about WN). We've done this 10x with our daughter in the last month and been able to bring the car seat aboard 5 times.

If your stroller is large/expensive you may want to consider getting a cheaper one to bring through the airport. We had a nice one that was sturdy but after one flight we got it and the entire hood was ripped off. We now use a cheapo umbrella stroller that gets the job done and not much more. When you gate check the stroller and car seat you have to sign a waiver that WN is only liable for loss, not damage, so just keep that in mind.

Lastly, make sure to arrive at the airport with more time than you would if traveling with just the 2 of you. One of the downsides of WN is that even if you're not checking any bags you still have to wait in line just to show the proof of babies age to get their boarding pass. I wish there was a way for them to verify the age once and then keep it in the system, but oh well.
Thanks Big4Flyer! I think you pretty much answered everything

We've been debating on the stroller.. our main concern is that at 3 months he'll be too small for the lightweight/umbrella strollers since most don't fully recline. So for the purpose of this trip (and another in August, but on CX that time) we'll have to risk the larger one. Do you have a recommendation for another travel bag to put it in?
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Old Jun 10, 15, 4:06 pm
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Originally Posted by eyeballer View Post
Thanks Big4Flyer! I think you pretty much answered everything

We've been debating on the stroller.. our main concern is that at 3 months he'll be too small for the lightweight/umbrella strollers since most don't fully recline. So for the purpose of this trip (and another in August, but on CX that time) we'll have to risk the larger one. Do you have a recommendation for another travel bag to put it in?
Ah, you're right. 3 months would be a little young for an umbrella-type stroller. Babies "R" US has several stroller bags depending on the size and dimensions of your stroller. At the very least I would get one of the Babies "R" Us Gate Check bags. While it won't provide structural protection it will keep things from getting caught like happened to us.

Also, one item I forgot to mention is one of the soft baby carriers. We've used that through small airports and find it to be convenient because TSA doesn't make you take it off when going through security. You can leave the baby in it from the parking lot until take-off (They'll make you take out the baby during take-off and landing, I have no idea why).
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Old Jun 10, 15, 4:33 pm
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Don't check any stroller you can't afford to have trashed. They are carried at your risk and it's a high risk as they get trashed. Insurance typically won't cover anything which is excluded from carrier liability.

A bag helps keep filth off but it's not protection from being tossed around.
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Old Jun 10, 15, 6:32 pm
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What car seat do you have? Assuming you have a Chicco or Graco, you can buy a lightweight "umbrella" stroller for the car seat to snap into (the Chicco liteway plus or the Graco breaze). You might also check Criagslist or local swip-swaps on Facebook for frame strollers. Go to BRU or Buy Buy Baby to see which ones your car seat fits in. If you have a Britax seat you can use the Graco Breaze and a bungee cord through the seat belt install guides to create a ghetto snap-in stroller.
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Old Jun 11, 15, 7:48 am
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We have the Nuna Pipa car seat, so I don't think either of those will work. We also prefer to have a regular stroller for him to be in while we're in ATL and not always in the car seat to walk around. Nuna makes a lighter stroller (Pepp) that we may consider purchasing just for travel - it's not quite an umbrella stroller but does have an almost full recline.
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Old Jun 11, 15, 10:23 am
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The BabyJogger Citi Mini is only 16 lbs, has a nearly full recline, and you can get a bar for it that lets you snap the car seat in. It might be the best of all worlds: You can use it to hold the car seat and baby while moving through the airport and then leave the car seat in the car while using the stroller once at your destination.

We took our full sized stroller on our first flight with our oldest kid at 3 months, too. That was the first and only time. Way too big of a hassle.

The City Mini is really a tough stroller. I have gate checked it scores of times (no bag) and have never been worried about it coming back damaged, and it hasn't.

All this being said, if you plan to have a second child within, say, two years, the BabyJogger City Select is my dream stroller. It will hold two kids most efficiently, with the most versatility while still being easy to push. $$$, but it may be worth it depending on your situation.
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Old Jul 27, 15, 9:56 pm
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Just an update, flights went well a couple of weeks ago (barring a long delay on the return).

On the outbound we were able to take the car seat on the plane as it was maybe 80% full. The delayed return we held him.

swise, we ended up purchasing the new City Mini Zip as our travel stroller along with a the car seat adapter. Very happy with it and will be using it for our next flight in a couple of weeks.

Thanks all!
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Old Jul 28, 15, 9:59 am
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Motivation for us - thanks for the follow up
(have a 5 week old - considering booking travel soon!)
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Old Jul 30, 15, 4:17 pm
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On the subject of strollers for travel with younger infants the maclaren quest is now suitable from birth
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