Planes and pushchairs, prams, strollers, buggies, whatever you want to call them, are not a match made in heaven. I would go so far as to say that airlines don’t really like you bringing your buggies, but in their defence there are many logical reasons.
Passengers like to use their prams as far as the gate, which means the airline needs staff at the gate to collapse the prams and load them onto the aircraft… which can delay take off. Next time you are queueing to board your plane, you might notice the hostesses and ground handling agents counting the number of prams on the flight. This is to tell the staff at the air bridge so they can calculate the time needed to turn the plane around… and it’s all down to minutes and seconds in this industry. They would prefer you to check your pram in.
The same is true on arrival, airlines promise you your pram will be ready for collection at the air bridge or steps of the aircraft… which means the baggage handlers have to unload the prams first, which delays turn-around. It can also cause congestion as people wait around the steps for the pram to be unloaded. They would prefer you to collect the pram in the baggage hall.
Furthermore, because of the weight of the pram, the strapping, the different collapse mechanisms, the bumper bars/wheel/brake pads and all the other bits that stick out, prams are quite likely to get damaged in transit and are expensive items for the airline to replace.
That’s from the airline’s perspective, but from a parental point of view an airport traveling with small babies and children would be inconsiderable if you couldn’t bring a pram – all the walking, the queueing, the luggage… you wouldn’t survive a trip through an airport without a pram, much less a holiday abroad.
So, what’s the solution? It’s very easy – a pram bag.
Many airlines now will not cover damage unless your pram is adequately packed, so forget about binliners and get yourself a proper travel bag that is padded and will adequately protect your pram. The trick with the pram bag is it’s free, so you can pack your pram in (fully collapsed and preferably with wheels off etc) and then stuff spare jackets and towels etc in around the pram – it’s extra padding for the equipment, and leaves you more space in your luggage.
With this in mind, here are a couple of options;
- You can buy one, such as the Phil and Teds Travel Bag or the Stokke Pram Pack
- You can buy a super duper one from The Stork Exchange! Or better still…
- …. Hire a Stork Exchange pram and pram bag to travel with, and keep your own one safe at home!
- You could hire an Airshell
- The very least you should do however is bubble wrap your pram, but do check the fine print with your airline as a pram bag is becoming a mandatory requirement with many of them now.