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Checking Stroller & Car Seat Without a Baby?

Checking Stroller & Car Seat Without a Baby?

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Old Aug 11, 19, 3:45 am   -   Wikipost
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Old Jun 13, 16, 7:13 am
  #1  
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Can I take a car seat for free even though not traveling with child?

Hi,

My wife and I are going to Europe this Fall. She will be leaving earlier on a different flight with the kids to meet some family. I will go later, pick up a rental car, and meet up with her.

Can I check in a car seat with me for free, even though I am not traveling with a child that day. My flight is on United, from Newark to Brussels.

Thanks
konradsa is offline  
Old Jun 13, 16, 8:25 am
  #2  
 
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You should be able to. But rather than checking it, take it to the gate and gate-check it. This will minimize the potential for damge
Redhead is offline  
Old Jun 13, 16, 9:23 am
  #3  
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Welcome to FT!

This happens all the time with parents who are meeting the child, for whatever reason, at the destination (such as the child already being there with the other parent, as in your case). You shouldn't have a problem. I wouldn't even expect to be grilled about the reason, though you have a perfectly good one if anyone asks.

As to whether it will be free: that depends on your free checked baggage allowance. That, in turn, depends on the fare you paid and on your United or partner elite status, if any. We don't have enough information to say one way or the other.

All that said, the definitive answers can only come from United. The best FT advice will be found in the United forum. I've asked a moderator to move this thread there.
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Old Jun 13, 16, 11:32 am
  #4  
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On the page about traveling with children, UA only says this:

Strollers may be checked to your final destination without a fee, in addition to your normal baggage allowance.
No mention of the child needing to be with you or not, so kind of YMMV.

The baggage page doesn't really list exceptions for car seats, but says this on the baggage FAQs asking if there is a fee when checking a stroller or car seat:

No. When traveling with a child, you may check one stroller and one car seat free of charge.
That suggests you need to be traveling with a child. United also answers a question about wheelchairs like this:

United accepts one wheelchair or other assisstive device per customer in addition to the checked baggage allowance at no additional charge.
Not sure if a car seat is considered an 'assistive device', especially if you are not traveling with the child, though one agent put it that way a while back when I was confirming I could check both without an issue.

IMO, this all leads the answer to be YMMV. Though my guess is most agents will be able to waive the fee if you simply explain you are meeting the child at your destination.
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Old Jun 13, 16, 11:37 am
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ive checked a car seat for child while my wife and infant where nowhere to be seen
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Old Jun 13, 16, 11:55 am
  #6  
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Thanks everyboyd for the responses so far.

Originally Posted by EWRMAN View Post
ive checked a car seat for child while my wife and infant where nowhere to be seen
But did you have a child on your reservation or not? Like I said, I will be travelling by myself, my children will not be with me or on my reservation.

Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
IMO, this all leads the answer to be YMMV. Though my guess is most agents will be able to waive the fee if you simply explain you are meeting the child at your destination.
Thanks, I am pretty sure I have taken a car seat with me before and it didn't fall under the baggage allowance, so I should be able to take it with me for free. But I was travelling with child at that time.

I guess my best bet is to show up early at the checkin counter and attempt to check in the seat. If they want to charge me too much money for it, I can just return it to the car and either rent the seat at the destination, or see if I can get a seat for cheap somehwere there. I have a whole day before my family meets up with me.

It's probably best if I have the a printout with me of my wife's reservation with me the children that also show we will be returning together on the same flight.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 13, 16 at 1:35 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
konradsa is offline  
Old Jun 13, 16, 1:31 pm
  #7  
 
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Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
You should be able to. But rather than checking it, take it to the gate and gate-check it. This will minimize the potential for damge
This, LIFO (last in first out) and it won't count against your checked baggage count.

I think some people are over thinking the process, neither the person at the counter nor the red coats nor TSA will care that you're bringing it as a "carry-on". The gate agent will just have you gate check it.
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Old Jun 15, 16, 1:03 am
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Originally Posted by Efrem View Post
As to whether it will be free: that depends on your free checked baggage allowance. That, in turn, depends on the fare you paid and on your United or partner elite status, if any.
That shouldn't matter. Car seats are independent of checked bag allowance with UA and most other carriers as far as I've experienced. It's just that you can only take one car seat per traveling child. The only potential issue here is that the OP's child isn't traveling with him. I concur with others that it probably wouldn't be a problem as long as the kids are also traveling to the same destination on UA, although you never know what kind of person you'll get to deal with at the counter. Definitely good idea to print out your wife/kids' reservations. Won't hurt to check with UA ahead of time.
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Old Jun 15, 16, 2:48 am
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My last trip ewr -hnl wife, infant and I were all on separate pnrs and I checked all luggage under my name including car seat. I was not questioned - wife and infant were nor with me. They go through security first.
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Old Jun 15, 16, 5:37 am
  #10  
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Thanks everybody!
konradsa is offline  
Old Jun 15, 16, 7:55 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by thejaredhuang View Post
This, LIFO (last in first out) and it won't count against your checked baggage count.
Typically, gate checked car seats aren't treated like regular gate checked bags (like when the bins are full) - you get a pink tag to attach - which a GA adds the flight/destination info to, and you pick it up at the gate on arrival, kind of like a gate checked bag on UAX. Typically pick them up at the end of each flight - so at connection city too - I've gate checked car seats probably on over a dozen trips in the last year and it always works the same.

This might be the best bet.
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Old Nov 22, 18, 10:50 am
  #12  
 
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Checking Stroller & Car Seat Without a Baby?

I need to check a standard-size stroller and car seat but I am not traveling with a baby. Does United allow this w/o extra charges? I am 1K and theoretically get 3 bags for no cost.
warreng24 is offline  
Old Nov 22, 18, 6:09 pm
  #13  
 
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Just gate check would be fine. On a girls trip away from the kiddos my sister purchased a stroller. She gate checked it on an international flight SFO-SYD without any problems.
lainys is offline  
Old Aug 11, 19, 11:40 am
  #14  
 
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Checking in car seat while NOT traveling with child on United?

My preschooler is already at the destination site, but I have his car seat that I'm bringing on my flight.
I'm flying United domestically, and I can't figure if, according to their policy, the car seat is free to check-in if I'm not traveling with a child.

My father actually was able to check-in a stroller for free at the gate when he wasn't traveling with a child on a United flight, but idk if he just got lucky.

Does anyone have recent experience with this? I found some dated threads from years ago where people didn't have any issues.
dzdang is offline  

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