5 Absolute Best Lightweight & Compact Travel Strollers for Airplanes in 2024

compact airplane strollers, images comparing leading brands

Take your stroller all the way to the plane door with these great compact models

One piece of essential baby kit that revolutionized for us between our first and third child is the travel compact stroller. Forget bulky 3-piece travel systems and clunky umbrella strollers; when you’re eyeing up regular travel with your tots, ultra-compact is the way to go.

You don’t have to give up on too many luxurious stroller features for an ultraconvenient way to travel with your kids – all the way to the plane! Yep, no need to gate-check these models as they count as carry-on and will fit in the overhead bin of (most) planes.

We’ve picked out our five favorite compact strollers for airplane travel and give you plenty of alternative value options to choose from too.

This post is part of our tried and tested travel product reviews and recommendations series

We’ve summarised the leading brands in an easy comparison table here, but read on below for more details to help you find the best travel stroller.

Best Compact Plane Strollers

BrandMountain BuggyBabyZenGB Baby JoggerBugaboo
Price Guide$$$$$$$$$$$$
ModelNano V3Yoyo2Pockit+ All CityCity Tour 2Butterfly
Product Weight 13lbs / 5.9kg 13.7lbs / 6.2kg13.2 lbs / 6kg14lbs / 6.35kg16.09lbs / 7.3kg
Max child weight 44lbs / 20kg 15kg - 35kg48.5lbs / 22kg45lbs / 20.5kg48.5lbs / 22kg
Folded dimensions12"x 22" x 20"
51cm x 56cm x 30cm
52cm x 18cm x 44cm - 20.5" x 7" x 17.3"12.6" x 7.9" x 18.9"
32cm x 20cm x 48cm
22.2"x 17.7" x 7.1" - 56cm x 45cm x 18cm21.26" x 17.72" x 9.06"
54cm x 45cm x 23cm
Handles (height)Single handle bar
38.5" - 98cm
Single handle bar 42"- 106cmTwo handles 40.9"- 99cmSingle handle bar 38.9" - 98.8cm
Single handlebar 40.3" - 102.4cm
Seat width21"- 54cm17.5"- 44cm 11.5" - 30cm13" - 33cm TBC
Travel system option Yes - extra cocoon & car seat attachmentschange to 0+ modelYesYesNo (but can add car seat adaptors)
Seat & positions Forward facing
Reclines to near flat
Forward & Reverse, can lie flat 145 degreesforward facing Forward facing with reclineforward facing, reclines to 145 degrees
ColoursBlack, Ruby, Nautical (blue!)Black, Blue, Grey, Pink, Red, Taupe, Peppermint, Greyvary by stockist - blue, black, pink, capri Black, Seacrest, Slate

Forest Green, Stormy Blue, Midnight Black
Canopy coverageGood
Good GoodGoodExcellent
FoldingTwo hand button press, folds in to threeOne hand, folds into threeTwo step, fold down and wheels tuck underCollapsible handle bar then pull cord on seat1 hand instant fold into 3
StorageMedium size basket, limited weight on handlesLatest model now has larger 5kg capacity basket. Easy access basket up to 11lbs Medium basket, up to 7kg capacityGenerous 17.6 lbs / 8kg
Wheels4 wheels - 5.5" hard rubber EVA4 wheels suspension - 5" hard rubberFront wheels 5.3", rear 5.7"4 wheels - EVA 5" front 6" rear - swivel & lockfront puncture proof 4.7", rear 6"
AccessoriesTravel bag included, car seat attachment cords. Extra rain cover, cocoonExtra foot cover, newborn head support, rain cover, travel cover, toddler board, bag
Travel bag and rain cover extraBackpack style carry bagComes with rain cover, carry strap and seat inlay. Cost extra for compatible footmuff, cup holder, parasol, rain cover. No carry bag

Price Guidance – $ – under $200USD; $$ – $200-300USD; $$$ – over $300USD.

** Whilst we have listed these brands as overhead compartment compliant and capable of being used as carry-on luggae, please do check with your individual airlines. You will have no issue on wide-bodied, long-haul aircraft, but smaller domestic planes may have tighter restrictions and require you to check your stroller at the gate. Be prepared for this eventuality with either the supplied storage back or get yourself a generic gate check bag to keep your stroller safe. 

What To Look for in a Compact Travel Stroller

(If you’re brand new to the stroller game, I suggest you read this post first to understand better what you should be looking for in a travel stroller – there is no one size fits all!). 

Compact Travel Stroller Wheels

You will notice the big difference between the ultra-lightweight stroller models and what we’d call your everyday models is the wheel size. To be so compact and convenient, wheels are not removable and tend to be hard rubber, 6″ wide or less.

You do lose some of the ride comfort and ability to glide over rough surfaces that you do get with bigger, traditional strollers, especially with pneumatic wheels. Check that the wheels still have good maneuverability and wheel suspension. Compact fold strollers are not purposefully designed to go off-road, but you still want a smooth enough ride on cobbled streets and uneven surfaces.

Compact Travel Stroller Height and Width

Another concern many parents have with a compact is that your taller toddler can quickly outgrow them.  Make sure they still have decent head clearance and bottom wiggling room. Smaller children can easily fit most models through to 4 years+, but larger children will struggle with this type of stroller, mostly on the seat width and depth.

Compact Travel Stroller Seated Position

Due to their design, compact brands are only designed for 6 months plus when you’re child can independently sit upright in a 5-point safety harness. It’s likely you still want your tot to be able to nap on the move though, so watch out as some cheaper models lack the recline function. 

It can add a little more bulk, but some sort of recline function is a necessary additional feature.

Compact Travel Stroller Suncover

Likewise, getting babies and toddlers to nap is easier when the sun is not glaring in their eyes.  Many of the brands we looked at had somewhat compromised on the adjustable canopy to get smaller and lighter, but we still think a large sun canopy is an essential travel feature not to compromise on.

Compact Travel Stroller Handlebar Height

None we have reviewed come with adjustable handles, so they may not suit extra-tall parents. That said, Mr Globetrotter is 6 foot and has had no issue with the Nano, and taller friends have used the Yoyo – the tallest we look at without complaint.

Compact Travel Stroller Folding Mechanism

The time-tested art of one-handed metal origami!  We’ve all been there, child on hip, bags dropping off our shoulders. Read the reviews, try it out in the shop; check that the folding mechanism really is as simple as they say it is!! Simply put, one-hand fold is an essential feature for air travel.

Compact Travel Stroller Basket Space

Compact size can mean compact everything.  We all know your diaper bag/day pack needs to go somewhere still, bottles, blankets, nursing cover, sling – you name it!  We have used our stroller organizer still on ones we’ve personally reviewed without issue, but still having good access to a decent-sized storage basket underneath is essential while traveling.

Lighter models are more susceptible to tipping, so be careful to hook larger bags of the handlebars. The manufacturers specifically warn you not to, but I know most will try anyway, at your peril!!

Compact Travel Stroller Storage Bag

Not all brands we reviewed included the travel bag and carrying straps.  Even though the stroller comes with you on the plane, I still much prefer to keep my stroller neatly packaged in its own bag when not in use on the plane – or in case overhead bins are full, flight attendants may still ask you to stow it.

Do You Need a Travel System?

Although we are reviewing these strollers for toddlers, we have noted for each brand when they come with a travel system, ie, with adaptors, the product can be used with a car seat attachment from newborn. 

See also our guide to COMPACT DOUBLE STROLLERS if you’re also planning for future needs with multiple children.

Value for money

Will this new stroller only be for your travel adventures a few times throughout the years, or are you looking to ditch your baby stroller and make this your everyday stroller?  Think about how much use you will get and therefore the amount you are willing to invest into yet more baby gear.

We promise you, if you are regular travelers this is one of the best investments you will make in those early years. 

Compact plane strollers that will actually fit on the plane with you

Top 5 Best Travel Strollers Small Enough For The Overhead Locker on an Airplane

Let’s look at the best travel stroller brands in more detail:

Mountain Buggy Nano 2

The Mountain Buggy Nano Stroller was our first foray into compacts, and it quickly became our everyday stroller. Better known for making robust joggers and outdoorsy models, the Nano immediately exceeded our expectations with a comfortable, roomy ride, a good reclining seat, large sun canopy and easy access storage space.

You can see our full review of the Mountain Buggy Nano in action here.

Mountain Buggy Nano V3 Stroller (Black)
Mountain Buggy Nano V3 Stroller (Black)

The Nano also offers two newborn solutions, it has car seat adaptors so a capsule can be added in the full recline position, or alternatively, you can attach the Mountain Buggy Cocoon making it suitable from birth.

Are you seeing Double?

Mountain Buggy has branched out to offer a double in the compact Nano range. We cover this more in our review of Double Travel Strollers, but if you are curious, come and check out the Mountain Buggy Nano Duo here:

Mountain Buggy Nano Duo Buggy, Black

NB – technology hasn’t quite advanced enough for any brand of double stroller to be compact enough to fit on the airplane with you.

Babyzen Yoyo2

Babyzen was one of the first movers in this market – and still remains one of the best and most trusted brands. The maneuverability of the latest model, the Yoyo2 is brilliant, and the recline and storage space is great; taller parents prefer it due to the handle height.  Many parents now lean towards this product as their everyday stroller.

BABYZEN YOYO2 Stroller - Lightweight & Compact - Includes Black Frame, Black Seat Cushion + Matching Canopy - Suitable for Children Up to 48.5 Lbs
BABYZEN YOYO2 Stroller - Lightweight & Compact - Includes Black Frame, Black Seat Cushion + Matching Canopy - Suitable for Children Up to 48.5 Lbs

Yoyo2 can also be used for newborns giving it extra versatility. Using the Yoyo newborn attachment set you can add any compatible car seat.

And as your family grows, they also offer a branded Babyzen stroller board for a toddler to travel seated at the back.

My only real issue with the Yoyo is the price tag’; is it THAT much better than the rest? Maybe.

gb Pockit + All City Lightweight Baby Stroller

gb have long maintained their title as the creator of THE most compact and lightest strollers for travel. The smallest and lightest of them all, the base model Pockit is a simple and cost effect solution (under $150 USD), but it has undoubtedly got its critics – ourselves included – with its severe limitations and lack of comfort features.

The Pockit Plus undoubtedly addressed some of these concerns, but the latest model, the gb Pockit All City is our current favorite. Design tweaks now give this ultra-compact stroller a generous SPF50+ sun canopy and a recline feature, without compromising too much on weight.

gb Pockit+ All City, Velvet Black
gb Pockit+ All City, Velvet Black

For those looking for a little bit more than just the basic features, consider the gb QBit+ All City Stroller. Weighing in at 17.6 lbs it’s a little heavier than other leading compact stollers, but does give the option of a bit more seat recline and canopy and has a a higher weight capacity up to 55 lbs, good for older children.

With adaptors, it can also be used from newborn, with a compatible infant car seat.

gb QBit+ All-City Stroller, Velvet Black
gb QBit+ All-City Stroller, Velvet Black

Note the Pockit brand doesn’t come with a travel bag like the others, you will need to purchase this separately if you want to store and carry the stroller. There are several generic brands that specifically market to the QB Pockit users seeing this gap from the manufacturer:

Stroller Travel Bag Compatible with GB Pockit and GB Pockit Air Plus All Terrain, Lightweight Stroller Travel Backpack for Airplane (Black)
Birdee Foldable Stroller Travel Bag Fits ALL GB Pockit Strollers Durable Backpack For Airplane Travel
Stroller Travel Bag, Compatible with Gb Pockit Stroller and Gb Pockit Plus Lightweight Stroller, Lightweight Stroller Travel Bag

Baby Jogger City Tour 2

A brand we have used for years, perhaps better known for some of their hugely versatile double combinations, they also have an ultra-compact model suitable for the plane. The City Tour 2 is almost on par with the Nano as its closest comparison in size and weight, though it is a little narrower.

The City Tour 2 has replaced the original City Tour, and it’s definitely sleeker, slimmer folding, and a slightly wider seat. We also like that it comes with its own stroller bag for protection. But with these improvements, the price has also crept up. A nice addition is that with a pram bassinet attachment it can now be used from 3 months as a travel system.

Baby Jogger City Tour 2 Ultra-Compact Travel Stroller, Jet
Baby Jogger City Tour 2 Ultra-Compact Travel Stroller, Jet

Other compact options from Baby Jogger

Those looking for a little more flexibility in their Baby Jogger product (confession, we’ve owned 4 different types!) may prefer the City Tour LUX model. The LUX has a reversible seat and slightly larger dimensions meaning it can hold a slightly larger child. It’s definitely the superior model to the City Tour – but it comes with the corresponding price tag! The Lux is around 30% smaller than their best-selling City Select model.

Baby Jogger City Select LUX Stroller | Baby Stroller with 20 Ways to Ride, Goes from Single to Double Stroller | Quick Fold Stroller, Taupe
Baby Jogger City Select LUX Stroller | Baby Stroller with 20 Ways to Ride, Goes from Single to Double Stroller | Quick Fold Stroller, Taupe

Bugaboo Butterfly 

This new kid on the compact stroller block is seriously impressive. As you’d expect from the leading luxury stroller, it comes with an eye-watering price tag, but it’s almost impeccable in terms of looks and function.

A step further than their original ‘light’ models, the Bugaboo Bee and Bugaboo Ant, this latest iteration is even lighter and has a great storage capacity as well as a generous child weight limit. Where it differs from the Bee is that you can’t adjust the handlebar height, your fixed at 40.3″ – a faction shorter than the Yoyo2.

A rain cover and seat liner are included, but you don’t get a carry bag, just a carry strap.

Bugaboo Butterfly - 1 Second Fold Ultra-Compact Stroller - Lightweight & Compact - Great for Travel - Forest Green
Bugaboo Butterfly - 1 Second Fold Ultra-Compact Stroller - Lightweight & Compact - Great for Travel - Forest Green

And the Rest: Other Ultra-Compact Strollers That Work as Airplane Carry-on

Yes, there are more! We first started our compact stroller reviews back in 2016 when the Yoyo was fresh on the market. We have seen more than a dozen stroller brands now follow suit trying to achieve that perfect balance between ultra compact size and functionality.

This review highlylights for you what we think are the top 5 best-selling brands that have stood the test of time, but many fabulous compact products are entering the market all the time that might be just right for you. You could also consider:

A newcomer we have not yet tested is the Silver Cross Jet Travel Stroller – check out this review though, for more on this snazzy new compact with quite a unique folding design.

We’re also curious about the Joolz Aer – a great review here – which comes in at the higher end of the price spectrum but looks ultra-sleek and can be adapted to use as a travel system from birth.

Over to you, do you have a favourite compact brand that has worked well for your family?  We’d love to hear the pros and cons of different brands you’ve tried.

Not quite ready to buy?  Bookmark this page in your browser or Pin it for Later

Compact Strollers so small you can take them on the plane.

Looking for more handy travel products?  Check out all our handy buying guides before your next vacation:

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3 thoughts on “5 Absolute Best Lightweight & Compact Travel Strollers for Airplanes in 2024

  1. Pingback: Plan the perfect Dubai Stopover · Dubai Travel Planner

    • Globetrotters Admin says:

      No this wasn’t available when we first put the review together so not had the chance to have a push. It looks pretty sleek though.

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