Checking a stroller at the gate

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Jul 7, 2018
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#1
I will be traveling with my daughter, 2 1/2 yr old grandson, and 3 month old granddaughter in August. I know she is planning to gate check a stroller and car seat. She just told me that she is planning to take the tandem stroller since we will be changing planes in Chicago. I have flown a lot but never actually noticed the types of strollers that were gate checked. I'm wondering if a tandem stroller is okay to gate check. Does anyone have any experience with this? We have just about 90 minutes between flights. We are flying United if anyone has any experience with them. My concern is the tandem stroller might be too big to maneuver in the jetways and obviously we will need to use elevators. Any thoughts from some experienced parents or grandparents traveling with kids these days. My memories are from 30 years ago with kids and it was a totally different experience then. Thanks.
 
Jul 7, 2018
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#3
Thanks for the link Neil. I don't see anything about tandem strollers not being allowed so I will assume we will be fine. The last time we flew it was with just one child so the stroller wasn't quite as big.
 

Neil Maley

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#4
As long as it folds it should be fine. Just make sure you board when they give extra time and do your online check in early to get an early boarding number in case the airline doesn’t allow early boarding for families with small kids. You don’t want to have to gate check your carry one if you are in a late boarding group.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
United has preboarding for families with children under 2 years old. As you will be traveling with a three month old there should be no problem with early boarding. Most of the jetways at Ohare are fairly wide — if one is on a proper jet, not sure about the smaller regional jets and where they board. United lands mostly in the B or C gates, and the occasional E — if you have to change from B to C it is a bit of a walk in an underground passageway. There are elevators available.
 
Likes: jsn55
Jul 7, 2018
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#6
Thanks Christina. I put us in Economy Plus so row 8 and we will definitely ask to pre board with 2 little ones. Fortunately both myself and my daughter have TSA precheck status so that should help in that process. I am familiar with Ohare and usually just need to do the B to C gate change so I hope it is still the same for these flights. It's just been so long since I traveled with little ones and I used to be able to do it by myself without any issues. But air travel has changed so much since then and it is no longer as comfortable as it used to be as we all well know. I do remember that having lots of new toys, books, crayons, snacks, and the like make the trip a little easier with toddlers. Great Grandma is looking forward to meeting the newest little great grandchild.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Jul 7, 2018
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#7
As long as it folds it should be fine. Just make sure you board when they give extra time and do your online check in early to get an early boarding number in case the airline doesn’t allow early boarding for families with small kids. You don’t want to have to gate check your carry one if you are in a late boarding group.
Yep. I always check in 24 hours ahead. And with Economy Plus we should be good. Planning to check bags so carry on should fit under the seat.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Dec 26, 2014
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#10
Recently did some research for my niece that is traveling with a baby, found a few good sites that helped her:
http://havebabywilltravel.com/gate-checking-stroller-policies-flying-with-baby/
https://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2017/04/27/fly-stroller/

Also don't forget you will have to fold it up to get through security. (fold it up and lift it up to the belt) I was behind a family group that did not speak English very well and had a very difficult time getting through. (finally helped them understand by using charades as the TSA agent kept just barking orders at the poor woman)
 
Likes: jsn55
Aug 9, 2017
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#12
An alternative might be to leave the gear at home and rent or buy at the destination. GoBaby (https://gobaby.co/) is up to about eight to ten major cities in the States where you can rent strollers and car seats. Also, check https://www.babycantravel.com/trip-planning-resources/baby-equipment-rental-directory/, you can rent virtually anything you might need.

Another alternative, based on a trip this past Spring to DisneyWorld, is to purchase what is needed from eBay or Craiglist and have it delivered to your destination. The couple I was speaking to at Disney bought the exact stroller they use at home off eBay and had it delivered to their hotel. It was much less than the Disney "rental". When the trip was over they took it home, then planned to sell it on Craiglist. Seemed like a bit of a hassle to me but the couple assured me they do it all the time
 
Likes: jsn55

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#13
That would make getting to the airport and getting on the plane impossible with two babies. It hard enough to maneuver carry ons and a stroller let alone carrying an infant, hanging onto a two year old and humping luggage and diaper bags. A stroller is a necessity and the airlines are used to the gate check process.
 
Jul 7, 2018
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#14
An alternative might be to leave the gear at home and rent or buy at the destination. GoBaby (https://gobaby.co/) is up to about eight to ten major cities in the States where you can rent strollers and car seats. Also, check https://www.babycantravel.com/trip-planning-resources/baby-equipment-rental-directory/, you can rent virtually anything you might need.

Another alternative, based on a trip this past Spring to DisneyWorld, is to purchase what is needed from eBay or Craiglist and have it delivered to your destination. The couple I was speaking to at Disney bought the exact stroller they use at home off eBay and had it delivered to their hotel. It was much less than the Disney "rental". When the trip was over they took it home, then planned to sell it on Craiglist. Seemed like a bit of a hassle to me but the couple assured me they do it all the time
 
Jul 7, 2018
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#15
That idea works if you don't have layovers and have to try to deal with 2 children. In fact last time we did this my daughter had a couple of items she ordered to use in PA and then we donated them to a battered women shelter house. They were practically brand new and they were happy to have them.
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#16
I just hope your experience with United is better than ours. Out of 4 legs, one flight was cancelled and rescheduled for the next morning, forcing an overnight stay in Chicago. The other three legs were delayed, one of them causing us to miss our last leg home, which was then rescheduled and then DELAYED. Such a miserable trip. Only went from FL to Ohio but took us 25+ hours! When this all happens I. 4 days it is hard to stomach.
 
Likes: jsn55
Jul 7, 2018
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#17
I sure hope so mmb. I try to be prepared and knowing those kinds of things can happen, I'm always envisioning the worst case scenario. I do believe that by reading these forums understanding other's issues, I am a more prepared traveler. I'm thankful for Chris and all his volunteers that provide the assistance to those in need and the education to those of us who love to travel. Fortunately we only have 2 legs and I have flown this itinerary quite a few times. I'll be crossing my fingers though. :)
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#18
I sure hope so mmb. I try to be prepared and knowing those kinds of things can happen, I'm always envisioning the worst case scenario. I do believe that by reading these forums understanding other's issues, I am a more prepared traveler. I'm thankful for Chris and all his volunteers that provide the assistance to those in need and the education to those of us who love to travel. Fortunately we only have 2 legs and I have flown this itinerary quite a few times. I'll be crossing my fingers though. :)
Thanks so much for the kind words, Carol. We all enjoy being part of this forum and it's so nice to be appreciated. MMB's trip sounds like the worst one ever, I haven't had a trip like that since I spent the night in the Toronto airport.