Car seat cart vs stroller

Old Dec 18, 19, 5:00 pm
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Car seat cart vs stroller

How do you travel with a 14 months or so as a lap infant?

Facts:
  • Must bring a car seat with me to travel destination

would you:
  • check the stroller with luggage and take the baby in a car seat attached to a car seat cart all the way to the gate and gate check the car seat ? Bonus: if there's an unsold seat, airline might allow you to take car seat on board so that child can occupy their own seat.
  • check the car seat with luggage and take the baby in the stroller all the way to the gate ?
  • check BOTH car seat and stroller with luggage and take the baby in a wearable baby carrier ?
  • other combinations or suggestions?
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Old Dec 18, 19, 5:36 pm
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Originally Posted by yulsee View Post
How do you travel with a 14 months or so as a lap infant?

...
check the car seat with luggage and take the baby in the stroller all the way to the gate ?
This. Stroller is much more convenient to haul all that endless infant/toddler stuff across the airport.
But be careful with stroller size, some carriers may impose limits on the stroller weight to be gate-checked.
Do you have stroller cover bag? - you might need one, too.
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Old Dec 18, 19, 8:04 pm
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Originally Posted by Andykh View Post
This. Stroller is much more convenient to haul all that endless infant/toddler stuff across the airport.
But be careful with stroller size, some carriers may impose limits on the stroller weight to be gate-checked.
Do you have stroller cover bag? - you might need one, too.
I bought a cheap $30 umbrella stroller for the trip
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Old Dec 19, 19, 3:43 am
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Some airlines (and some airlines at some airports) are worse about gate-delivering of gate-checked strollers than other airlines (and/or some airlines atsome airports), and they wonít deliver the gate-checked strollers (or even sometimes gate-checked car seats) to the gate. Just something to consider, since it can be a major hassle to arrive at an airport and not have access to the stroller when and where you many have most wanted it and expected it. Depending on the infant/toddlers weight and the accompanying adultís strength, my family has found body-worn baby carriers to be a major help during trips because of the issues that sometimes happen when flying with strollers. I have seen the soft Baby Becco carriers work for kids that were beyond lap-child age and who were on or above even the growth chart medians for kids in countries where kids are bigger than the American average.

This gate-checking of strollers for delivery at gate is one area where the US airlines are amongst the best, regardless of airport, in the world.

Last edited by GUWonder; Dec 19, 19 at 3:52 am
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Old Dec 19, 19, 10:07 am
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SO if baby has a seat, and the flight is more than 2/3 hours, consider car seat on plane...
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Old Dec 19, 19, 12:23 pm
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Our youngest has aged out of her stroller and is now in a car booster.

But with a 14mo we ALWAYS brought the stroller to the gate. I can't imagine why you would want to check it with luggage.

There are some people who say you shouldn't ever check a car seat with luggage because its structural integrity (and ability to protect the kid) can be damaged by being tossed around by baggage handlers. But I think the risk is pretty low of my kids being hurt in a car crash because their car seat failed failed to protect them solely due to rough handling by airline baggage workers. I'm much more likely to hurt them by clumsily dropping the car seat on their head while trying to balance a stroller, a car seat, a diaper bag, and who knows what else in an airline terminal.

So we usually checked our car seats. Exceptions were the rare occasions when we bought a seat before the kid was big enough for a CARES harness, and on Southwest, where the open seating makes it easier to snag a seat if the flight isn't full (although I only managed to do that once in several attempts).
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Old Dec 21, 19, 9:24 pm
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These sorts of things might be a case of trial and error, and it's important to consider that what works for a while might need changing later. However, we used a stroller for our daughter for just over ten years and always found it invaluable when getting through airports.

It took a few trips to figure it out, but provided we stuck to certain rules we actually found the stroller helped with everything else. First, we always made sure she was in it (the only times she wasn’t was going through security and during boarding) and one of us would push her while the other carried her car seat (we’d swap over if we needed to). As long as we kept to that routine, we had the peace of mind of knowing that if we had to talk to airline/airport staff, figure out what direction to go, get stuff from our bags, etc., we were able to focus on that knowing she was comfortable and safe.

Second, because it was not always a popular decision, we were very serious about explaining that it was best, and always made sure she had a toy and when she was older a book (either of which could quickly go into a carry-on bag). This was also important when we were trying to find somewhere to sit, as stroller acted as an extra seat so we only needed to find space for ourselves if the gate or seating area was really busy (though arguably this is also true for a car seat on a cart).

Moreover, having the stroller with us for as long as possible reduced the chance it might get damaged or lost. By gate checking the stroller, we could pick it up immediately after leaving the plane, and then we'd simply repeat the process and she would stay in it while we went through the airport which made things much easier, especially if the airport was new to us.

As GUWonder has pointed, it's worth checking with airlines what their stroller policy says, but if our experience is anything to go by, we’d suggest taking the stroller and gate-checking it because for us it made things easier, quicker, and safer. It’s different for every family and child of course, so be prepared for it taking a few trips before you know what works best for you. We were lucky that we learned fairly quickly what worked for us and that our daughter naturally travels fairly well, but setting up a routine was the key and the stroller was a massive help in doing so. Once we'd figured it out, it became clear how much it helped us and our daughter was more than happy for it to be a consistent place for herself to be in her own world; by about 8 or 9 years old she would buckle herself in the stroller and just carry on reading as if the whole flight hadn't even happened!
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Old Jan 3, 20, 10:59 am
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Airline lost checked car seat. Are they required to provide a replacement for the trip home?
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Old Jan 3, 20, 2:20 pm
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I don't think the policy regarding lost car seats is any different than other lost luggage. It's not like they have a pile of car seats sitting at every airport to hand out to people.

If the cost is your concern, check the benefits on the credit card you used to buy the plane ticket. Many travel-oriented cards include lost/delayed baggage protection that will reimburse the cost to replace items that are lost or delayed.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 2:28 pm
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It's not about the cost, which can be recovered. It's about NOT having a safe way to transport the baby home after getting to the airport. Many airports don't sell car seats, esp. not after hours. Next place to get one in this case was over 100 miles away.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 3:43 pm
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Originally Posted by altabello View Post
It's not about the cost, which can be recovered. It's about NOT having a safe way to transport the baby home after getting to the airport. Many airports don't sell car seats, esp. not after hours. Next place to get one in this case was over 100 miles away.
That's definitely one of the arguments against checking a car seat.

I don't think I've ever heard of an airline keeping car seats at the airport in case they lose one that's checked as luggage. Most rental car stations keep a handful of car seats on hand, though. And I would think most US airports would have a Wal-Mart or something similar not too terribly far away. But I'm sure there are exceptions.
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Old Jan 15, 20, 8:12 am
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As one of the posters above said, this really is a case of trial and error. 14 months can be a pretty difficult time to travel for many kids who are recent walkers and who don't understand that they can't walk all the time on an airplane. I personally varied my routine to do whatever seemed easiest for the flight. For me, that meant buying a seat for most flights where I wouldn't have the help of my husband.

In any event, having something to strap the child into is critical for the airport. I'd probably opt for the stroller rather than the car seat cart.
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