Our soft structured carrier (we use the Ergo) has been a lifesaver for us when it comes to flying with our babies. It might actually be our number one thing for parents of babies and young toddlers to bring with them when traveling by air plane, aside from extra clothes, diapers, and wipes of course. The carrier allows me to be hands free so that I can pull luggage or hold my preschooler’s hand, I’m not bogged down with a stroller, and it provides a place for the child to sleep or just hang out around the airport and on the plane.
There are several important things to be aware of though before venturing off with your little one. Hopefully these little pieces of information will help you know what to expect so that your not caught off guard when approached by a TSA officer or flight attendant. Safe travels!
What you need to Know about Air Travel with a Soft Structured Carrier:
1. You don’t need to take your child out of the carrier to go through security.
Rest assured that if your little one is asleep, or you just prefer to keep your hands free, you will not have to take them out in order to go through the airport security line. Let them stay content in the carrier while you deal with emptying your pockets, removing your shoes & putting your bags through the security belt, then see #2 below.
2. You will get your hands swiped by security.
After you go through the metal detector, a TSA agent will ask you to step aside so that they can swipe your hands for hazardous chemicals. This is a precautionary step that happens with me EVERY TIME I go through security with a child in the ergo, so I just expect it, and go with it.
Extra Note: I’ve been through security dozens of times and never expected to test positive for hazardous chemicals, but on one of our recent flights, I did! When this happens, security has to do a full body check, plus a thorough look through your bags. It’s really not a big deal, but it can be super frustrating in the moment (it was for me)! Knowing it can happen and always giving yourself extra time will give you some peace of mind.
3. Any accessories need to be removed & put through the security belt.
If you have attachments on your carrier like I do (we have an extra little bag that velcros to the hipbelt, don’t forget to remove those, and put them through the security belt with your other carry-on items. TSA agents are on the look-out for them, so it’s nice to have it all taken care of before you go through the metal detector!
4. You will need to unbuckle and remove your child for take off and landing.
It seems counter-intuitive, but for safety during take-off and landing, you must remove the baby from the soft structured carrier, and just hold them securely in your lap. This was especially hard when I traveled with Georgia when she was just 5 weeks old since all she really wanted to do was sleep in her Ergo, but as babies get older and can sit up on their own, it’s not such a big deal. When Bergen was a young toddler, we loved using the Baby B’Air Flight Vest. During the actual flight, it’s safe to put baby back into the carrier.