27 January 2015

Flying with a Bugaboo

Whilst doing some essential OK magazine reading prior to my holiday to Australia, I read that one celebrity who had a baby at the same time as me wasn't taking her Bugaboo on holiday because it is not possible to fly with it.
This isn't the case and we decided to take our Bugaboo to Australia with us. And, although it was a bit of a hassle, it was worth it for us as, we were away for three weeks, and wanted something in which our son was comfortable and which was reliable.

If you do decide to take your Bugaboo or any other buggy on a plane with you, here is what I think you need to know:
  • Try to keep your buggy with you as long as you can
If you have a pretty long international flight ahead of you like we had, the last thing you want is to start the journey by lugging your child around an airport for three hours. So try and take the buggy to the gate rather than checking it in with the rest of your luggage. At check-in, the steward will put a baggage label on your buggy and then when you get to the gate, the airport staff will then just take it from you and put it into the hold.

Going through Heathrow with our buggy

  • Buy some sort of bag to put your buggy in
Whatever type of buggy you are taking with you, I suggest you buy some sort of travel bag to put it in. This way, all the items related to your buggy can go in one bag and you don't run the risk of parts being damaged or lost in transit. When we landed back at Heathrow, there was one couple desperately looking for one of the attachments to their buggy and when you have been flying for 24 hours, this is the last thing you need.

At the Etihad gate at Heathrow, they did have large, polythene bags for passengers to put their buggies in. However, I wouldn't assume this to be the case with all airports/airlines because they didn't have these at Perth or Sydney.

If you are flying with a Bugaboo, it is especially important because it doesn't lie flat and it breaks into two pieces. We bought a Bugaboo Transport Bag second hand from Ebay, but they cost around £100 new from Bugaboo directly or other retailers.

  • If you do buy a transport bag, you may not be able to take it to the gate
The official Bugaboo Transport bag is actually quite large and doesn't easily fold or roll away. Some versions of the bag have wheels but ours just had an over the folder strap. We used our Transport Bag at a couple of airports and there seemed to be different rules regarding whether you could take it through security. At Perth and Sydney airports we carried it through without a problem, which meant that, when we got to the gate, we just collapsed down the buggy and the stewards put it into the hold.

However, at Heathrow, we were not permitted to take it through security as they deemed it to be too large to go through the scanners (they must have smaller scanners in London than in Australia). This meant that we had to give the bag to the stewards at the check-in desk. They then labelled it up as air plane baggage and they then took it to the gate for us. Although this did work, we had to spend quite a long time waiting for it so we had to rush a bit to break it down and then get on the plane. And I had a bit of a panic in the meantime!
  • Practice breaking the Bugaboo down

Bugaboo Transport Bag

OK, so it isn't as easy as just folding the Bugaboo down and putting it into the transport bag. You have to completely dismantle it! And, when I say dismantle, you literally have to take the wheels off! So if you do get one of these, I would suggest you practice using it a few times before you fly. My husband got really good at breaking it down and putting it in the bag, but you want to be reasonably confident in doing it if you are in a rush and everyone watches you! 

If you've lost the instructions for your bugaboo, you can download them from the website
  • If you have to change planes, you won't get your buggy back while in transit 
This might seem obvious, but if you are flying with one airline but have to change planes en route, you won't get your buggy back at the transit airport. Once, they have put it in the hold, you won't see it again until your final destination. So if you have a bit of a wait or a delay, you might need to think about how you are going to cart around a very tired baby or child. We used our sling.

Interestingly, you can hire strollers at Abu Dhabi airport but our 12 week old baby was too small for them. 
  • Be prepared to take your child out of the buggy

On holiday with our Bugaboo

Again, this might seem fairly obvious, but if you are going through security with your child, you might have to take them out of the buggy, even if they are asleep. At Heathrow, they just felt around our baby and he didn't even wake up! But at both Perth and Sydney airports, they insisted we take him out while going through the scanners.

Hope this was useful, let me know if you think I've missed anything and I will update. 

Please note, we flew in November 2014 and it is possible that airlines will change their rules. It might be best to check with your airline before you fly. Happy travelling!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for all of your input! Flying with the Bugaboo for the first time next month and this helped