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Chicco KeyFit 30 and Gate Checking Stroller

Chicco KeyFit 30 and Gate Checking Stroller

Old Mar 7, 16, 11:19 am
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Chicco KeyFit 30 and Gate Checking Stroller

Hi All,

Preparing what will hopefully be our flight home from DFW to LGA with our newly adopted son. We have purchased the Chicco KeyFit 30 car seat and stroller frame -- came highly recommended by several friends and family. It is one of those systems where the car seat pops out of the base and into the stroller frame. Convenient, in most cases.

Baby will be a lap child on this flight. I know there are mixed views on this, and I am not 100% convinced it is the right thing to do, but that's the game plan.

We will fly home on AA. According to AA's website, you are allowed to gate check either a car seat or stroller if you have a lap child. My question is: what if the car seat and stroller work together as described above? Does that count as one unit?

Obviously, the stroller is useless without the car seat, so if we had to check one, it would be the stroller, but carrying the baby in a car seat would be heavy and cumbersome and also not ideal. Do you think it would be better just to carry the baby at that point and check both the car seat and the stroller? Are there any newborn strollers that are one unit (i.e. do not require a separate car seat and stroller?

Lastly, when you either check or gate check a car seat and/or stroller, do you typically put them in a bag first or just let them go unprotected? We have a bag for the car seat and diapers.com sells a bright red carry-on bag for the stroller, but I've never really noticed what other people do in this scenario.

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Old Mar 7, 16, 2:44 pm
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Congratulations on becoming a parent very soon, if not already.

The combo carseat+stroller contraptions do get to the gate for gate checking in the US, but you may want to disassemble them for security screening and the gate checking, assuming the carrier and TSA allows it to go airside. I have seen such things make it to the gate of my AA flights and get one or two valet tags. Make sure to get two valet tags if you're not able to take the car seat into the cabin in the off-chance that there's a spare seat next to you/your significant other to use for the car seat and a child who would otherwise be a lapchild infant.

Put the car seat and stroller in a protective bag of some sort, if only to reduce the chances of grease and other dirt making contact with the stroller/car seat and getting on the child or the parents thereafter.

Even with a protective covering, when these items are gate-checked (or even checked in at the check-in counter), they aren't always handled with the greatest of care by baggage handlers. I have seen strollers tossed from up high and onto the ground or thrown down shoots only to crash into the ground rather hard.
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Old Mar 11, 16, 6:57 am

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I have taken the car seat/ stroller combo and gate checked them many times on AA with no issue.

I have a big backpack that I use for the car seat when gate checking and highly recommend it.

You can also fit some extra clothes or diapers around the car seat in the backpack for extra padding
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Old Mar 12, 16, 2:18 pm
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Yes, congratulations!

Some airlines state specifically that if the car seat and stroller are one unit, then you can check both but you've already checked their site.

Let's talk reality. I know plenty of parents who have had both checked for free without a comment. Often gate agents will give parents a break. Please though, don't blurt anything like this out. Take your travel system to the gate, take two gate-check tags and be done with it! I'm not saying to be dishonest or anything but sometimes, if you point something like this out, and their supervisor is in hearing range, they might decide to stick by their rules more strictly!

Same goes for overweight bags, etc. If it's not totally over the top, just stay quiet. Don't ask, don't tell!

But while you have a lap baby, it's still possible to use your car seat on board, even if you haven't purchased a seat. Ask at check-in if it's possible. If it's a single aisle aircraft, the car seat has to go in a window seat (or a center seat in the center section, on a dual aisle plane).

The airlines will not reseat other passengers to accommodate this request, so no getting upset if you get on board and there are empty seats and you weren't given one.

You are traveling low season so this is entirely possible. Plus there are three of you so you would just take one row, assuming seats are three together.

If you're not successful, simply gate check the car seat. You can bag it to keep it clean and dry but no padded bag will keep it from being damaged or sent to the wrong city. It might not be worth it buying an expensive padded bag that would be bulky to carry through the airport but it's up to you.

Hopefully your baby is not used to a warmed bottle or you have time to get the baby to take it at room temperature. I found the bottle systems with disposable liners the most convenient for travel and I premeasured the formula in the liners before the trip. Pack about 1/3 more diapers than you would need for your travel time to cover for delays. Change of clothes for baby and at least a change of top in your carry on for the adults (in case of spit up, etc.)

No need to make the baby suck on anything for take-off and landing. This is a common myth. Your baby will have seen a pediatrician before being released to your care so you would know if your baby has any ear problems like an infection. Healthy ears can handle pressurization changes. Let your baby sleep peacefully without being jarred awake to do this unnecessary task, especially if you get the car seat on board, and feed when truly hungry.

Good luck with the homecoming!
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