Should We Bring Our Own Buggy On The Plane?
‘Off peak’ season is a great time to travel with babies and young children. Airports are less crowded, fares are cheaper, temperatures are lower… it’s my favourite travel time. At The Stork Exchange we rent a lot more equipment for pre-schoolers at this time of year – and we get asked quite a lot whether parents should bring their own buggy with them… and the honest answer is, it depends.
If you have an expensive buggy, then the simple answer is NOOOOOOO, don’t do it! And if you have a cheap or old battered buggy, then why not?!
Airplanes and baby equipment are a match made in hell. We’ve seen it all here – buggies with parts lost in the hold, broken brake bars, snapped wheels, torn seats and in one case the collapse mechanism damaged so the pram was permanently open. They can also come out scratched, scuffed, soaking wet (see below) and dirty… which isn’t considered as damage by the airline, by the way, and will not be covered in any claim.
So we always recommend to anyone travelling with baby equipment to follow the simple steps – collapse it, bag it, and tag it and here’s 3 real experiences which will show you why!
A recent customer of ours rented a buggy to go on their holidays but didn’t get the buggy tagged, nor did they collapse the buggy for the ground handling crew, but left it beside the aircraft steps and hopped on the flight. They arrived in Copenhagen but no sign of our buggy… they had no buggy at all for their holiday and it took a couple of days of calls between Copenhagen airport, the airline’s lost property and Dublin airport lost property for us to locate the buggy. It hadn’t travelled at all, and we can only surmise that ground crew saw it was untagged, didn’t know how to collapse it, and so simply left it there. (Oh, and by the way, anything not tagged at an airport will eventually pop up at the airport police.)
A similar but different story was when another one of our buggies travelled from Dublin to Helsinki (what is it about these Nordic countries and buggies?!) but for some reason came straight back to Dublin again… all the while our customer reported it missing in Helsinki, so the buggy was then sent back to Helsinki, probably overlapping with the customer in the skies as they came back home to Dublin! It then sat in the airline office in Helsinki until we managed to locate it, and finally flew back to Dublin again having never been used at all… I honestly would not believe such a ridiculous story if I hadn’t had to sort it out myself!
And finally, it’s not really a story but it happens so often here I thought I’d include it… we work with several airlines and provide replacement equipment for the passengers when theirs doesn’t arrive or arrives damaged. One of the most common calls we get from the airlines is when the equipment (buggies and car seats) arrive but are soaking wet… this is because it’s Ireland folks, and it rains here! If your buggy or car seat is sitting on the tarmac waiting to be loaded or unloaded and it’s not in a bag, it’s gonna get wet!
I totally understand, parents need buggies to get through airports and my advice would be to use a cheap stroller for travel if your child is 2 years+. Or, if you’ve a small baby use a sling and get a travel bag for your pram, or hire when you get to your destination.
And the moral of the stories? Collapse it, bag it and tag it!
Keep an eye here for the next blog on what to do when things go wrong at an airport!
For more from The Stork Exchange, check out our Travel Expert section.