Best Baby Carrier for Air Travel: A Comprehensive Guide

Carrying a child in the best baby carrier for air travel

The best baby carrier for air travel is the Ergobaby Omni Breeze baby carrier. It is comfortable, extremely secure, easy to use, and complies with most, if not all, airport regulations. It is what we used for our kids’ entire lives and recommend you do to.

Choosing the best baby carrier for air travel can be overwhelming. We get it, we’ve been there! Juggling luggage and a little one is no easy feat.

But finding the right baby carrier doesn’t have to feel like navigating Charles De Gaulle Airport! There are plenty of comfortable, convenient, and airline-approved options out there.

Both of our kids spent their entire baby carrier ages living overseas. That means lots of long-haul flights and trial and error. Hopefully we can save you from the trial and error part!

Choosing the Right Baby Carrier for Air Travel

Carrying a child in the rear position of our favorite baby carrier for air travel

Selecting an appropriate baby carrier for air travel is essential to ensure comfort, safety, and convenience. They really will make or break your travel experience, especially on long-haul flights or those with multiple connections.

Prioritize Comfort

A high-quality baby carrier will evenly distribute your child’s weight across your body, minimizing strain. We recommend soft-structured carriers due to their wide shoulder straps and waistbands that help distribute your baby’s weight effectively.

Your little one’s comfort is equally important when choosing a top baby carrier. Opt for models with ample padding around areas where the infant’s body comes into contact with yours or the device itself – such as the head and legs. 

Also, consider whether different carry positions like front-facing, inward or outward, hip carry, or back carry options are available, which can offer variety during long trips.

Part of this will be trial and error as you, and your baby, will end up preferring different positions. These positions will likely change as your little one gets older, so be flexible. 

Quality and Safety

Your baby is going to spend a lot of time in the carrier and will do so throughout his or her toddler years. We recommend investing in a high-quality carrier. Ours lasted through two kids and more flights, hikes, and trips to the grocery store than we can count.

One benefit of focusing on quality brands is they tend to be safer. The last thing you want is to bend over and have one of the snaps release! If you stick to the brands listed below, you are unlikely to have any problems.

Cheaper models and off-market brands should be viewed with caution.

Also, we found the infant inserts to be invaluable in keeping our teeny tiny newborn snug and safe!

Ease of Use and Convenience

Air travel is a mess, especially with little ones. You are guaranteed to be tired, testy, and multi-tasking like never before. Make sure you don’t add to your worries with a complicated carrier. 

The best baby carriers for air travel are lightweight and easy to use. No need to bring the owners manual along!

We like versions that make loading and unloading the baby easy. We also loved our Ergobaby as it had a sunshield that pulls up over their head to shield the sun (and airplane distractions when they are trying to sleep)!

Will you and your partner be wearing it? Then make sure you pick an option that fits you both.

Airline Policy Compliance

Different airlines follow different policies regarding the onboard use of infant/toddler carriers; make sure you check with your airline prior to boarding. 

That being said, baby carriers are common place on airplanes. It is unlikely you will run into any issues if you choose any on our list, although you do generally have to remove them during takeoff and landing. 

Key Takeaway: 
When choosing a baby carrier for air travel, focus on comfort, quality, ease of use, and compliance with airline policy. Most soft structured carriers will meet all of these requirements.

Benefits of Using a Baby Carrier on Airplanes

Carrying two toddlers with the best baby carrier for air travel

Air travel can be a challenge, particularly when you’re taking off with little ones. However, we’ve found that using a baby carrier during your flight makes all the difference in ensuring an enjoyable and (relatively) stress-free journey.

Let’s delve into some advantages that come along with utilizing baby carriers for air travel.

Promotes Closeness and Comfort

The snug fit provided by top-rated infant carriers such as the BABYBJORN Carrier allows you to keep your little ones close while having both hands free. We found that the closeness provided by the carrier calmed our kiddos and helped them to cope with the craziness of airports and airplanes.

We loved being hands free to reach for passports, food, diapers, etc. and that the good carriers evenly distributed the weight across our shoulders and hips. The fact that we didn’t have to navigate crowds with a stroller or gate check it up on boarding was another added bonus!

Enhances Convenience During Travel

Navigating through bustling airports with a baby carrier is much easier than with a stroller. You don’t have to worry about bumping into the folks in front of you and it is much easer to pull a carryon or hold an older kid’s hand.

Plus, airport security checks and boarding are simpler as many airports and airlines let you keep the infant in the carrier (more on this later in the article).

Hands-Free is the Only Way

Ever tried to put your baggage in the overhead compartment or eat dinner with a baby in your arms? It’s not easy. With your hands free, much of the inflight caregiving becomes infinitely easier. 

Key Takeaway: 
A good baby carrier will change your air travel experience forever. They promote closeness and comfort, are super convenient, and keep your hands free to look for passports, pacifiers, and whatever else life throws your way

Types of Baby Carriers for Air Travel

Carrying a kid in the rain using the Dueter Kid Comfort baby carrier

There are a couple of different baby carriers out there that work for air travel. We lean towards soft structured baby carriers, largely because we only want to carry one piece of equipment and they are very versatile.

That being said, each type offers its own benefits and possible drawbacks depending on your unique needs.

Soft Structured Baby Carriers

In our opinion, these are the best travel baby carriers. Soft structured carriers are known for their comfort and versatility in multiple carry positions. We like them because they are equally as useful on a long hike as they are running through the airport.

Our favorite soft structured carrier brands Ergobaby or BABYBJORN offer multiple soft structured models.

Baby Wraps

If you prefer something more lightweight but equally as secure, then consider using a wrap-style carrier like Boba Wrap when traveling by air with babies. This method involves wrapping fabric around yourself, creating a cozy pouch where little ones can snuggle up close against the parent’s chest, promoting skin-to-skin contact.

The tying technique does take some practice and we’ve found they are a pain when confined by tight quarters on an airplane. Another limitation is they do not offer multiple carry positions for the kids and are not great for toddlers. 

Ring Slings

Sling-type infant carriers provide quick access to your child while being stroller-friendly too. Draped over one shoulder, they create a comfortable pocket ideal for small babies.

They aren’t well suited for older toddlers due to limited support for heavier weights, but they work wonders for infants, offering ease of use and convenience during airport security checks.

Again, we know people who swear by ring slings, however they just have never been as versatile and easy to use as we’d like.

Hiking Backpack Child Carriers

Our kids lived in their Deuter Kid Comfort backpack carriers. That being said, they are not the best baby carrier for air travel. They are too big and bulky and must be gate checked. 

We would bring our on the same trips but would check them in place of a stroller as we never really liked using strollers while traveling.

Key Takeaway: 
Baby Carriers come in a variety of styles. We recommend soft-structured baby carriers, like the Ergobaby and Babybjorn models. Backpack carriers are great for hiking, but horrible for air travel.

Top 15 Baby Carriers for Air Travel

Having the right baby gear, such as a lightweight and comfortable carrier, can make air travel with your little one much easier.

Here are our favorite travel-friendly carriers that will keep both you and your child happy during air travel.

Best Soft-Structured Baby Carriers

1. Ergobaby Omni Breeze Baby Carrier

Ergobaby Omni Breeze, our number one carrier for air travel

The Ergobaby Omni Breeze is our favorite baby carrier. This carrier offers multiple carry positions, including front inward, front outward, hip, and back carry, making it suitable for all ages.. The shoulder straps and waist belt provide excellent support while ensuring even distribution of the baby’s weight across your body.

I know it is probably against the manufacturer guidelines, but we STILL bring ours on long hikes to give the kiddos a short break and they definitely are no longer toddlers! Our has lasted through almost a decade of non-stop use.

Weight Range: 7-45 lbs without infant insert

Carrying Positions: 6 Positions – fetal, infant inward, ergonomic outward, hip carry, toddler inward or backpack


  • Removable sleeping hood
  • Can be used without infant insert
  • Has adjustments to narrow the seat
  • Two-way adjustable straps and extendable back panel. Straps can be crossed in the back
  • Machine washable


BabyBjorn One Air Soft Sided child carrier for air travel

The BABYBJORN One Air is another of our favorite baby travel carriers.  The real reason the Erbobaby won for us was that it can handle up to 45 lbs vs. 33 lbs for the BABYBJORN. Other than that, they are very similar in our minds and are largely interchangeable. 

With both, make sure you buy the newborn insert for your infant!

Weight Range: 8-33 lbs without infant insert

Carrying Positions: 4 Positions – front carry, front facing out carry, hip carry, back carry


  • Removable sleeping hood
  • Can be used without infant insert
  • Has adjustments to narrow the seat
  • Two-way adjustable straps and extendable back panel. Straps can be crossed in the back
  • Machine washable

3. Lillebaby Complete All Seasons 6-in-1 Baby Carrier

Lillebaby Complete soft sided baby carrier for kids on airplanes

This Lillebaby model stands out because it provides six ergonomic carrying styles: fetal position (facing inward), infant inward-facing, outward-facing, toddler inward-facing, hip sling-style, and back carry, making sure there’s always a comfortable option no matter how old or big your passenger gets.

Weight Range: 7-45 lbs without infant insert

Carrying Positions: 4 Positions – front carry, front facing out carry, hip carry, back carry


  • Removable sleeping hood
  • Can be used without infant insert
  • Has adjustments to narrow the seat
  • Two-way adjustable straps and extendable back panel. Straps can be crossed in the back
  • Machine washable

4. TwinGo Original Twin Carrier

Twingo soft-sided child carrier for twins and airplane travel

For parents traveling with twins or two young children close in age, nothing beats the TwinGo Original Twin Carrier. Designed so one parent can comfortably carry both kids at once, yet separates into individual units when needed – truly versatile.

Weight Range: 10-45lbs (or starting at 7 lbs with the infant insert).

Carrying Positions: 2 Positions – front & back carry


  • Includes two 100% cotton sleeping hoods
  • Designed with Twins in mind
  • Both kids can be held in front, in back, or one in front, one in back
  • Extra large storage pockets

5. Ergobaby Omni 360 All-Position Baby Carrier

Ergobaby 360 soft-sided baby carrier is great for air travel

The Ergobaby Omni 360 is a versatile carrier for almost all situations. One of our favorite Ergobaby features is the UPF baby hood that provides privacy and safety from the sun.

Weight Range: 7-45 lbs

Carrying Positions: 4 Positions – front carry, front facing out carry, hip carry, back carry

Fabric: 100% Cotton


  • Baby privacy hood
  • Padded lumbar back support
  • Detachable storage pouch
  • No infant insert required
  • Machine washable

6. Infantino Flip Advanced 4-in-1 Carrier

The Infantino Flip Carrier has a unique convertible seat that can be used both as head support for infants and an ergonomic seat for toddlers.

Weight Range: 8-32 lbs

Carrying Positions: 4 Positions – facing in with two seat adjustments, facing out and back carry

Fabric: Polyester and cotton blend


  • Machine washable
  • Extra-padded shoulder straps
  • Narrow and wide seat positions

Best Wrap-style Baby Carriers

7. Boba Classic Wrap Style Carrier

Boba Classic Wrap Carrier is great for traveling on  airplanes

If wraps are more your style, then the Boba Classic Wrap Style Carrier could be just what you need. Made out of soft fabric, this wrap keeps small babies close, providing them with the comfort they crave, especially in unfamiliar surroundings like airports or planes. Plus, it allows for easy breastfeeding on-the-go, making traveling easier for new mothers.

Weight Range: 7-35lbs

Carrying Positions: 


  • One size fits all
  • 95% French Terry Cotton blend
  • Can be used as its own nursing privacy blanket

8. Boppy Comfyfit Hybrid Baby Carrier

The Boppy comfyfit hybrid baby carrier works well navigating airports

The Boppy Comfyfit Hybrid Baby Carrier is a new take on the traditional wrap. The new adjustable arm straps add versatility and fit for more body types.

Weight Range: 8-35lbs

Carrying Positions: 3 Positions – newborn front facing in, baby front facing in and back carry


  • One size fits all
  • Adjustable waist belt to 54″
  • Budget baby carrier for travel

9. Bebamour Sling and Baby Carrier

The Bebear baby carrier combines the benefits of a soft sided carrier and sling in one design

Another hybrid option, the Bebamour Sling and Baby Carrier tries to combine the benefits of a sling style with a traditional soft structured baby carrier. While we like the parts of the design, it is just too complicated for us.

That being said, we know families who loved the hip seat as a support for holding infants and feeding.

Weight Range: 0-33lbs

Carrying Positions: 6 Positions – front & back carry


  • Includes hip seat
  • Removable head hood and bib
  • Hip seat adds versatility
  • 6 carrying positions

10. Baby K’tan Original Baby Wrap Carrier

Baby K'tan Original Baby Wrap Carrier for travel

The Baby K’tan Original Baby Wrap Carrier is a pre-wrapped wrap-style carrier. It slips on like a t-shirt and is individually sized to ensure the perfect fit.

Weight Range: birth to 35lbs

Carrying Positions: 5 Positions – front & back carry


  • Machine washable
  • Folds small to fit in diaper bag
  • Ready to wear out of the box
  • No buckles, rings, snaps, or zippers

11. Ergobaby Embrace Cozy Newborn Baby Wrap Carrier

Erbobaby Embrace is a good air travel option for newborns

We love Ergobaby, and think this is a great idea… but we really don’t like products that only work for such a short period of time. If you have a lot of anxiety around those early stages of parenthood, which is 100% OK!, then this is a great option. You’re newborn will fit safe and snug in the Ergobaby Embrace Cozy Newborn Baby Wrap Carrier.

Weight Range: 7-25lbs

Carrying positions: 2 Positions – front & back carry


  • Machine washable
  • Only for 0-12 months
  • Cushioned neck support

Best Sling / Ring Sling Carriers

12. Nalakai Ring Sling Baby Carrier

The Nalakai Ring Slight stands out as one of the best baby carriers for air travel

A leader in ring-sling carriers, Nakalai really stands out. The ring system is easy to use and these carriers look a bit more stylish if that is what you’re going for.

Weight Range: 0 to 35lbs

Carrying Positions: 2 Positions – Front carry and hip carry


  • Machine washable on gentle cycle
  • Simple ring system
  • Beautiful fabric options

13. Baby Tula Signature Handwoven Ring Sling

Baby Tula ring sling comes in many beautiful fabric options and is a lightweight and packable baby carrier for air travel

The Baby Tula Signature Handwoven Right Sling is as simple as it gets. It comes in an array of beautiful colors and fabrics that are constantly being updated.

Weight Range: 0 to 35lbs

Carrying Positions: 2 Positions – Front carry and hip carry


  • Standard and long length
  • Simple ring system
  • Beautiful fabric options

Best Hiking/Backpack Baby Carriers

14. Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL Hiking Backpack/Child-Carrier

Deuter Kid Comfort with mom and kiddo in rain jackets

For those who love outdoor activities, the Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL backpack is a great option. It was our go-to pack for long hikes, just not for the airport!

It is too bulky and cannot be worn through security or on the airplane. You can bring yours along, but check it with your luggage. 

Weight Range: 19-53 lbs

Carrying Positions: 1 – Sitting in the seat


  • Adjustable belts
  • Storage for gear
  • Optional sun tent, rainfly, and screen

15. Osprey Packs Poco Plus Child Carrier

The Osprey Poco Plus is similar to the Deuter Kid Comfort, but far more expensive. It has a lot of the same features, but again is a poor choice for airport travel.

Weight Range: 23-49 lbs

Carrying Positions: 1 – Sitting in the seat


  • Adjustable belts
  • Storage for gear
  • Optional sun tent, rainfly, and screen

Key Takeaway: 
There are a ton of baby carriers out there. Our favorites are the standard soft-structured like Ergobaby and Babybjorn. They provide the right level of safety and versatility and can be used in almost any circumstance. We also loved our Deuter Kid Comfort for hiking, but NOT air travel.

Tips for Flying with a Baby in a Carrier

Making good use of the Deuter Kid Comfort baby carrier

Jetting off to new destinations is always exciting, but when you’re traveling with your little ones, it can also be quite challenging. A comfortable baby carrier can help ease the journey and make air travel more manageable.

Here are some helpful tips on flying smoothly with your infant or toddler developed over years of Quill Family trial and error!

Think Ahead

The first step towards successful air travel involves careful planning and preparation, and I credit my wife. She makes to-do lists for her to-do lists. But the end result is a well-oiled family machine that is ready for anything.

Pack both parents’ carry-on bags with must-haves like diapers, wipes, extra clothes, toys and books so they’re quickly accessible in flight, regardless of who’s holding the little one.

Also, take a look at the airports you will be flying through and make sure you understand how they are organized and where you will be going!

Babies’ ears often experience discomfort due to changes in cabin pressure during takeoff and landing. If possible, try nursing them at these times; swallowing helps alleviate this issue by equalizing ear pressure. If nursing isn’t an option, we’ve found anything that gets them chewing and swallowing helps.

Make sure you start the process long before their ears hurt, otherwise it is difficult to calm them down again.

Practice, practice, practice

You and your child have to be comfortable using and being in a carrier prior to flying! Please don’t buy a new child carrier right before your flight! Make sure your and your partner are competent in using the carrier and that your kiddos have learned to love being in it!

You also should figure out which carrying positions work best for you. For newborn babies who cannot yet hold their heads up (typically under 4 months), front inward-facing positions offer optimal head support while keeping the baby close for bonding time.

If you have an older infant who enjoys looking around or a toddler keen on exploring their surroundings visually, consider switching between front forward-facing and back carrying or hip carriers to add variety and keep them happy!

Maintaining Comfort Throughout The Flight

To ensure comfort during long flights, not only for yourself but also for young babies, opt for lightweight breathable mesh fabric like the Ergobaby, which keeps parent and child cool during extended periods of wear. 

You can also unbuckle the carrier or loosen it up while seated. That will provide some additional airflow while making sure you can re-buckle it in a snap. 

Key Takeaway: 
Flying is challenging with kids. It just is. But a great baby carrier can help a ton. Just make sure you plan ahead, practice using it, and adjust during the flight to maintain everyone’s happiness and comfort.

Airline Regulations and Policies

Getting ready to hop on a flight in Malta

Each airline has unique rules regarding baby carriers and are often focused on the baby’s safety. That being said, there are some common policies that apply across most airlines. 

To be perfectly honest, we often chose our airlines based on how supportive their policies are of flying with babies. Sometimes a slightly more expensive flight is worth it in the end.

Baby Carrier as a Carry-On Item

Most, if not all, airlines allow parents to bring their baby carrier onboard and it does not count against your under-seat or overhead bin allowance. 

However, this isn’t always the case; each airline has its unique set of guidelines regarding what counts towards this limit. Some airlines consider items like diaper bags or stroller friendly carriers separate from your standard carry-on baggage and some do not. It is best to call ahead with any questions.

Use During Flight Takeoff and Landing

The use of infant carriers during takeoff and landing phases is typically prohibited by most airlines due to safety concerns. The general rule dictates that babies should either be held securely in arms or placed safely strapped into an airplane-approved car seat during these times.

This regulation stems from various safety studies indicating that young babies are safest when secured firmly in designated seats, especially during periods of turbulence or emergency situations. You can find more detailed information about safe practices for flying with newborns on the FAA’s official website if needed.

We found over the years that each airline treats this rule differently. We often had luck wearing our carrier but unbuckling the front straps. That way the flight attendant could both our seatbelt AND the additional one they require for children sitting on their parents laps. 

Sizing Restrictions

Most airlines also impose sizing restrictions on all cabin luggage, including lightweight backpack-style toddler carriers like the Deuter Kid Comfort series. This is why backpack carriers are not a great choice. 

Soft-structured baby carriers, wraps, and ring-slings will not cause any issues. We never once had a flight attendant address an issue with our carriers. 

Key Takeaway: 
Airline policies differ depending on which company you are flying with. That being said, most allow soft-structured baby carriers and wraps to be used as carry-ons, and they do not count against your standard allotment.

Waiting at the airport with two kids

Security and boarding are where you will likely run into conflicting procedures depending on where you are flying.

For example, in most countries we were able to walk through the security line with our kids sleeping in their carriers. At Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, they always made us take the child out and send the carrier through the scanner, much to the dismay of our sleeping children!

Making Sense of TSA Airport Security Protocols

Each country has a different safety regulator, with different rules. We’ll focus here on the TSA in the United States. 

TSA rules specify that “infants may be carried in a sling/carrier (to include lap baby) through the walk-through metal detector or while being screened in a wheelchair, but may be subject to additional screening.”

In additional, parents must “Remove infants and children from strollers and car seats and carry them in arms through the walk-through metal detector.” Another vote for using one of our popular carriers over a stroller!

Another nice addition from TSA is that “Formula, breast milk, toddler drinks, and baby/toddler food (to include puree pouches) in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters are allowed in carry-on baggage and do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag.”

Check out the Traveling with Children section on TSA’s website for updated information. While they generally get a bad rap, we think they are lightyears ahead of their global counterparts in reducing stress and anxiety for traveling families. Please thank them on our behalf the next time you breeze through security!

Preparing for a Quick Security Screening

A bit of planning goes a long way when you’re preparing to navigate airport security smoothly while baby wearing!

  • Know before you go: Get familiarized ahead of time about all relevant TSA policies related to carrying newborns aboard flights as well as any specific airline requirements regarding popular carriers.
  • Pack wisely: Keep essentials handy and in both adult’s carry-on luggage!
  • Dress comfortably: Select clothes without excessive metallic accessories which could potentially trigger alarms leading towards unnecessary delays. Breathable fabrics will keep you and your kiddo cool!

Simplifying the Process Of Boarding With A Baby Carrier

Finding yourself juggling between handling luggage and keeping your toddler calm might seem overwhelming initially but remember – preparation is key.

  • Make use of pre-boarding options: If offered, leverage family pre-board facilities provided by many airlines. This gives families extra time to settle down before general boarding commences. You can often get that infant to fall asleep before takeoff!
  • Babywear during boarding: Keep your kiddo in your carrier during check-in and boarding. It makes ticket and passport management less stressful and keeps your hands free for other tasks (like chasing your older kid through the airport crowds in Amsterdam!).

Key Takeaway: 
Airport Security is a pain. Thankfully the TSA in the US has made this procedure much easier for parents over the years. Make sure you read their Traveling with Children section to stay on top of the rules.

FAQs in Relation to Best Baby Carrier for Air Travel

What is the best baby carrier for travel?

Soft structured carriers by brands like BabyBjorn and Ergobaby are the best baby carriers for travel. They combine comfort, safety, and convenience and can accomadate infants and toddlers.

Does a baby carrier count as a personal item?

No. With most airlines your baby carrier does NOT count as your personal item. It is included as an additional item free of charge.

Can I wear a baby carrier through airport security?

Yes, TSA allows you to wear your baby through the screening process. You may be asked to remove it

Should I bring a baby carrier on the plane?

Absolutely. A baby carrier can make air travel easier by freeing up your hands and providing a comfortable space for your child during the flight.

Is it better to travel with a baby carrier or a stroller?

Baby Carrier. They provide more flexibility, keep your hands free, and do not have to be checked on the airplane. They also are easier to use when walking through large crowds or tight areas. 

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The Quill Family

We are the Quills! An ordinary family sharing our extraordinary travel experiences. 


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