When travelling with a baby, one of the first things you need to know is how to gate-check. This is no secret, but is not as widely known to all travelers. I only found out about it because my brother worked in the airline industry for a few years and told me about it.
Most parents who travel with infants and young children bring strollers along. While you can
check it in with the rest of your luggage, this is not the most practical way to do it. Afterall, you will need to stay in the airport for a few more minutes (maybe even an hour or so) while waiting for your flight to board. If you’re child likes walking around, you’re in luck. But for some parents with sleeping children or kids that like being strolled around, you will need it with you up until you board.
Most airlines consider strollers and car seats in the same category as assistive devices
(wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches, etc) that are eligible for courtesy gate-checking. You will need to inform the check-in counter that you will be checking in the stroller. They will give you a tag for it or tag it themselves.
Here are other guidelines you will need to know about gate-checking your stroller:
- Check for eligibility guidelines regarding strollers. This differs per airline. Some airlines only allow the folding umbrella type, while others have no particular rules about the stroller size and specification.
- Bring it with you up until the entrance and leave it there with the gate checking staff. Make sure that the tags are properly attached.
- Buckle the straps before folding your stroller.
- Empty the baskets and remove any detachable parts as these may get lost in transit (drink holders, toy hooks, rain hoods, sunshade, etc)
- If your stroller has two parts, make sure you get a tag for both
- If your stroller doesn’t have a lock for when it is folded (or has a flimsy one), you may want to secure it in the folded position with a small bungee cord.
- If you’re on a connecting flight with the same airline, the stroller — like other checked baggage — will be automatically transported to your next plane and will be available at your final destination. You can check with the check-in counter at the airport of origin if this is applicable to your flight.
- For long-haul flights with long layovers (where your stroller is already checked in to the next flight), you may way to bring a cloth carrier or rent a stroller. JAL offers it and strollers are available throughout Singapore’s Changi Airport.
Some airlines will have the stroller waiting for you when you deplane. However, other bigger airports will have it ready at the baggage claim area. Depending on the destination, it should be either right beside the assigned carousel of your flight or in the large baggage carousel.
There is usually no additional charge for gate-checking strollers/prams/push chairs or car seats for infants and toddlers.