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Old 09-13-2012, 09:30 PM   #1
syk731
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Flying - carry-ons vs. checked luggage, advice please!

We (me, DH, DS7, DD4) are flying Jet Blue (1 free checked bag per person). This is my kids' first time flying. DH and I have flown infrequently before kids, so we're definitely not expert flyers.

We like to travel light. We took a (driving) family vacation this summer and I think we're going to take the same stuff. We fit all of our stuff into one wheeled carry-on bag and one larger wheeled checked bag size bag (which was less than the weight limit for a checked bag), and we all brought a small backpack as well. On our trip to WDW, we're also going to bring an umbrella stroller, a car seat for dd and a booster for ds.

Should we check one bag, or should we put the stuff from the one larger checked bag into 2 smaller carry-on bags and avoid checking any bags? I think that the pros of no checked bags would be no fear of having lost or delayed luggage and not having to wait at baggage claim to pick it up. However, the advantages to checking a bag may be that it would be easier to get through the airport, especially with kids and the stroller and car seat. DS7 is able to pull a carry-on bag by himself, so he could pull one, I could pull one and hold dd's hand, but that would leave dh with a carry on bag, a stroller (but a light umbrella one with a carry strap), a car seat (also with carry straps), and a booster.

What would you do?
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:03 PM   #2
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I would carry on as little as possible if I could check bags for free. The kids of course need their back packs and you will need your carry on for camera, etc. I would also check the booster and car seat rather than carry them thru the airport.

You will also be bringing more home than you went with with kids. they seem to accumulate stuff! So I would check 2 bags so I had extra room for the way home.

If you are using ME you won't even have to touch the suitcases, so it is even easier.
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Old 09-14-2012, 01:58 AM   #3
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I would check the bag and carry the carseat. Either use it on the plane or gate check it. They can be gorillas getting it onto and off of the plane even with gate checking, but at least it isn't being smashed around by the machinery in the bowels of the airport while getting to and from the plane. And that's not even talking about it smashing down from the carousel.

I don't know if you already have a booster for the 7 year old, but you might look into the BubbleBum booster if you don't. Weighs a pound, does the job of bringing the child up to the seatbelt so it fits, and it is very simple to use.
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:27 AM   #4
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Even with checked luggage, we always travel with what we are going to need for the first 24 hours in our carryons. We do this just in case the airline happens to send our bags to our destination via the "scenic route" and they don't make it onto our plane.
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syk731 View Post
We (me, DH, DS7, DD4) are flying Jet Blue (1 free checked bag per person). This is my kids' first time flying. DH and I have flown infrequently before kids, so we're definitely not expert flyers.

We like to travel light. We took a (driving) family vacation this summer and I think we're going to take the same stuff. We fit all of our stuff into one wheeled carry-on bag and one larger wheeled checked bag size bag (which was less than the weight limit for a checked bag), and we all brought a small backpack as well. On our trip to WDW, we're also going to bring an umbrella stroller, a car seat for dd and a booster for ds.

Should we check one bag, or should we put the stuff from the one larger checked bag into 2 smaller carry-on bags and avoid checking any bags? I think that the pros of no checked bags would be no fear of having lost or delayed luggage and not having to wait at baggage claim to pick it up. However, the advantages to checking a bag may be that it would be easier to get through the airport, especially with kids and the stroller and car seat. DS7 is able to pull a carry-on bag by himself, so he could pull one, I could pull one and hold dd's hand, but that would leave dh with a carry on bag, a stroller (but a light umbrella one with a carry strap), a car seat (also with carry straps), and a booster.

What would you do?
Are you driving to, and around, WDW?? Or, are you just bringing booster seat and car seat for the plane??? I'm not sure I would bring them just for the plane. My dd started flying at 3 and never used anything. She also took care of her own carryon bag...she learned very early that if you want to bring it, you are responsible for it.
If you are riding DME, then go ahead and check a bag or two. If you have all that other 'stuff' to lug around, it will make life easier to check two bags...especially since you don't pay for them. And you can underpack one bag and leave room for all the stuff you will be bringing home.

I often go with just carryon bags, but we are seasoned travelers...so if the stay is under 5 days, usually no need for a checked bag. When all three of us travel (myself, dh and 19 y/o dd), we usually check one or two bags between the three of us. My dh and I are heading to Ca in two weeks...we'll check just one bag for both of us. No need to empty the house!!!
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:18 AM   #6
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I would check 2 bags but put items for each person in both bags so if a bag goes missing, you still have things in the other bag.

We checked 6 bags and had no problems. My wife travels every week for work and she has never lost a bag when checked (knock on wood).
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:51 AM   #7
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We always check everything even if we have to pay for the extra bags. So once we arrive at airport we don't have to worry about luggage till they deliver it at our room. I know it can get expensive doing that, but it just seems so much easier than having to lug around bags. We have only had lost bags once & that was coming home they somehow switched our tags on our luggage with someone elses during checkin. Our bags ended up at california when we was going to Illinois.
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Old 09-14-2012, 10:04 AM   #8
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We're flying JB out of EWR next month and we plan on putting everything except electronics in 2 checked bags. It's great to be relatively free of burdens once past security.

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Old 09-14-2012, 07:25 PM   #9
syk731
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Thanks for the advice.

We're staying off-site, so no DME. We're renting a car, so we need the car seat and booster for the car. I don't trust rental car seats. I also don't trust checking or even gate-checking the car seat or booster. We plan to have dd sit in her car seat on the plane and carry-on the booster for ds.

Lugging all that stuff around the airport does not sound good. But on the other hand, neither does potentially losing or delaying our luggage. Prior to kids, we've generally only flown infrequently and taken short trips, so we've usually just taken carry-ons. Of course, the one time we went on a longer vacation and took a checked bag, it was delayed for more than 24 hours, which was not fun.
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