One of the times you really need a travel stroller is at the airport, particularly for that long walk to baggage reclaim and the usual snaking queue at immigration. Whilst some airlines do their best to help by providing you with courtesy strollers as you disembark, this is sadly not the norm. Cabin sized strollers or ‘airplane strollers’ can make a huge difference, especially if you have a tired child to contend with.
This guide will help you decide on which is the best compact stroller for you, and even better, they are cabin sized strollers for plane travel! A carry on stroller can make things a lot easier for you when traveling with a baby, toddler or pre-schooler.
What kind of stroller can I take on a plane?
The best option is to know your airlines cabin baggage regulations and maximise them to the hilt by bringing a compact cabin sized stroller as your permittable carry on.
The good news is – at the end of this post, I’ve a guide that will help you the allowances.
I’ve spent a couple of days going through over 20 airlines lap infant carry on allowance and the adult cabin baggage allowance, so you can work out which is the best stroller for air travel and which travel stroller could be used as a cabin size stroller.
This will mean you would have to sacrifice your cabin bag to bring this on. However, if you have a potentially long wait in an immigration queue or a transit stop where you can’t access your stroller, then this could be well worth the trade off.
Secondly, I’ve looked at models of travel pushchairs and compact strollers which can fit as hand luggage. Remember, if you have extras added such as stroller sunshade covers, you will need to make sure they can either fit in the stroller, or your luggage.
Compact and lightweight features obviously make the best and the most practical choice of travel stroller. Airplane wise, double strollers are unlikely to fit in the overhead stowage bins, but will be permitted to go in the hold, so this feature does concentrate on single pushchairs.
I’ve found 7 of the best strollers to bring on a plane, which mostly meet the carry on requirements and on whole have positive feedback.
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The Latest Compact Cabin Sized Strollers
Table of Contents - Click to jump to a section
Jumping on the popularity of trend setters BabyZen Yoyo and the GB Pockit, travel pushchairs and strollers are evolving all the time – with new compact pushchairs all vying to be the lightest and smallest.
For 2023, here are the latest options, including the Bugaboo Butterfly which meet most airline cabin baggage guidelines. (The guide below this will show what size cabin baggage airlines allow and which strollers meet this criteria.)
I have some more really useful ideas, tips and insider info from my cabin crew days – flying over 80 flights in baby and toddler stage too.
Top Tip: Check what your adult cabin baggage allowance is, as you may be able to bring your compact stroller with you in place of (not in addition to) your carry on allowance.
At a Glance Comparison Table of the most compact cabin sized strollers. For further details of each – see below.
The GB Pockit + All Terrain is an upgrade from the original GB Pockit and tweaks have it made it stronger, more robust, and even more practical for travel.
This newer version benefits from a recline function, a UV50 sun canopy whilst still folding up incredibly compactly, making it a fully collapsible stroller
It folds down in 2 simple steps and can be carried via the attached handle. It is considerably heavier at 12.3lbs/5.6kgs than its predecessor, but it is still a very lightweight travel stroller, which can be moved with one hand.
Although there is no travel bag or straps with the compact stroller, some people have bought backpack straps and carabiners to attach to the stroller and wear it as a backpack, as it is so lightweight.
The adjustable recline feature makes it possible for older babies and toddlers to sleep in but it does not go completely flat.
Included are adapters to click onto a CYBEX infant car seat.
Really compact, perfect for immigration queues or day trips with a baby
It may be hard at times on cobblestones in Europe
Canopy could be better
What other readers of Flying With A Baby Say:
"So useful for plane travel. We can fit it in our backpack as carryon"
Dimensions when folded:11.8 x7.1 x13.8 inches
Storage Basket: Yes
Travel Bag: No
Sun Canopy: Yes,
Max Weight Capacity: 55lbs
Age: 6 months up to approx. 4 years
Compatible with Infant Car Seat: Yes - gb and CYBEX
The Silver Cross Jet 3 is an upgrade on the Silver Cross Compact. It boasts a coordinating, fully-extendable UPF 50+ hood with an air-flow ventilation system, rear wheel brakes, front wheel suspension and is very light thanks to the aluminium frame.
The fully extendable UPF50+ hood has an air-flow ventilation system with pop-out sun visor. Expect a full recline and adjustable footrest
Best of all, it folds small enough to fit in most cabin space on an airplane and can even be wheeled like a small suitcase!
The new Silver Cross Jet can be wheeled along like a cabin bag and the Jet 3 stands on its own when folded.
Pros: Full recline and 1 Motion Fold and rain cover included.
UPF 50+ extendable sun protection canopy and pop-out sun visor
Weight: 13.6 lbs/5.9kg
Folded: 23 x 13 x 10 inches
Unfolded: L90cm W45cm H96cm
Age suitable for: Suitable for newborns, infants and toddlers up to 55 lbs (15kg approx. 3-4 years old)
The Babyzen YOYOis another stroller, and arguably the best known – which meets most airlines cabin baggage allowances and can be used as a carry on baby stroller.
It is not as light as the original GB Pockit for plane travel – but it weighs in at a very light 13lbs/6.2kg only a fraction more than the GB Pockit Plus City, but with a lot more functions.
It is consistently rated highly as a contender for the best lightweight travel stroller.
The YOYO comes with a storage bag and a shoulder strap so you can easily carry the BabyZen on board a plane.
Suitable for children up to 48.5lbs/22kg.
The YOYO comes with a storage bag and a shoulder strap so you can easily carry the BabyZen on board a plane. The YOYO comes with a storage bag and a shoulder strap so you can easily carry the BabyZen on board a plane.
It’s narrow enough to fit in most airplane aisles and will easily fit into the hat rack and meet many airlines cabin luggage requirements.
This compact travel stroller feels sturdy and is often used as a daily stroller because of all its features; including multi recline, a sun canopy, rain cover and generous under seat storage.
It is on the pricey end of the market but if it is used daily and used for travel, then it may save you from buying a separate travel buggy.
These compact pushchairs are quite popular in Europe because they fit through narrow doorways. The YOYO, is on the pricier end, but saying that, it does have a lot more functions and could easily be an everyday stroller, not just for travel.
I also have a full review of the original BabyZen YOYO here.
The Babyzen Yoyo2 is an upgrade with these measurements:
Lightweight for a scalable stroller: 6.2 kg (13.6 lbs) in the 6+ version, 6.6 kg (14.5 lbs) with the newborn pack or 8.1 kg (17.8 lbs) with the bassinet
The Baby Joy is a great option if you are looking for a cabin size stroller and comes with a sturdy bag for convenient carrying, making it a backpack pushchair. It doesn't recline fully but 150 degrees is close.
The Baby Joy is so small in measurements that it meets most airline cabin baggage rules when folded. This compact stroller weighs 15 lbs and measures 20" x 10" x 28.5" (L x W x H) when folded.
3 seating modes including 150 degree recline
3 footrest modes
This lightweight stroller is suitable for 6-36 months babies and toddlers.
Folded 20" x 10" x 28.5" (L x W x H)
Age suitable for: 50 lbs/22.6kg This lightweight stroller is suitable for 6-36 months babies and toddlers.
The stroller has an easy one handed fold using two buttons pressed together and it can be done with one hand. As you flick it open it often goes straight into place, but other times I have to push the back of the seat to click it all into place (I can use my knee so still one handed).
Folding it down is also done with the same two buttons pressed together and pushing down on the handle.
It doesn’t lie flat and therefore is only suitable from 6 months but it lies back enough to look comfortable for longer sleeps (111°-145°). There are two positions, upright and reclined and it can be changed one handed between the two. The seat is only forward facing.
This Bugaboo stroller is designed for children up to 22kg/around 4 years which is bigger than most in the travel stroller category. My petite 6 year old (21.5kg) has ridden in it on some longer days and it is still easy to push and tall enough in the seat to handle her. At 5 foot 9, I often struggle with stroller’s that don’t have a height adjustable bar, but I find the Butterfly is still comfortable to push.
The basket is a reasonable size and I can fit our changing bag under there. Officially, it can carry up to 8kg and I found it easier to access from the front rather than the back.
Once folded, the stroller is a very compact 45 x 23 x 54 cm which means it fits in most car boots (we have a Ford S Max 7 seater and with all 7 seats up I could fit in several folded Butterflys).
It it also approved as cabin luggage and can slide into the overhead lockers easily..
We have tried it so far on Air India, British Airways and Vietnam Airlines and it was a comfortable fit in the lockers – something that made a stopover much more comfortable for all of us! It is unusual to be given your pushchair or stroller back for stopovers as you will usually collect any stroller at your final destination. Being able to use a super compact foldable stroller in-between connecting flights was incredibly useful! Read more on the Bugaboo Butterfly here.
Weight: 7.3 kg
Dimensions when folded: 45 x 23 x 54 cm
Storage Basket: Yes
Travel Bag?: No
Sun Canopy: Yes
Max Weight Capacity: 22kg
Age suitable for: 6 months – 4 years
Compatible with Infant Car Seat: Yes - with adaptors available separately. Compatible with Bugaboo Turtle One and Air by Nuna & other Maxi-Cosi® infant car seats.
Dimensions unfolded 92.5 x 45 x 102.4 cm
INFANT BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE GUIDE TRICK
The guide below shows what many airlines will allow as carry on for a standard economy seat if you are flying with an infant. (Infant/child hold baggage is also included)
However, by looking at the adult hand baggage allowance and measurements, you can see if you can bring your foldable stroller in place of your bag cabin allowance, meaning you can have your stroller with you for the walk to baggage reclaim and passport control.Just click on the image to enlarge. With the guide above for the best stroller for airplane travel, you can see which one fits these allowances.
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Hi, easyjet have said that all prams must go in the hold even if they're travel prams?
Sunday 14th of March 2021
@NG, hello, Easyjet normally allow travel strollers inside the cabin IF they do meet the cabin baggage requirements, otherwise they must go in the gold. Some airlines are temporarily putting all strollers in the hold due to Covid-19 but Easyjet do not seem to have this an official policy.