Flying with a baby can be stressful enough, which is why before your next flight you should be aware of which airlines consider a diaper bag to count as a carry on and which airlines do not, so you don’t have to deal with any unexpected surprises.
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What the Airlines Say
Delta state that a diaper bag will count as your 1+1 carry-on baggage allowance – i.e. a diaper bag will count as your personal item.
Southwest Airlines state that a diaper bag does not count towards your carry-on baggage.
On their website, American Airlines state that “diaper bags (1 per child)” are allowed and don’t count as your carry on.
Other infant-related items that don’t count as a carry on include “soft-sided cooler bags with breast milk, child safety seats, strollers.”
Spirit Airlines make it clear that you can bring one personal item and items such as infant diaper bag “for no additional charge.”
United Airlines are one of the most generous airlines with carry on bag allowances.
On their website, they state that you can bring a diaper bag in addition to your carry-on bag and personal item.
JetBlue are also generous with their allowances and state that “if you’re traveling with a lap infant, you can bring aboard a diaper bag in addition to a permitted carry-on and personal item.”
Alaska Airlines are one of the few airlines in which a diaper bag does count as a carry on.
“When traveling with a lap infant, a diaper bag will count toward the standard carry-on limit of the ticketed adult passenger.”
Frontier Airlines state that “an adult traveling with an infant in lap may carry a second personal item, such as a diaper bag, free.”
Allegiant make it clear that if traveling with a child, you “may travel with a diaper bag at no charge. The diaper bag will not count as the passenger’s personal item or carry-on.”
In short, almost all the major airlines in the USA and Canada permit you to take a diaper bag and one carry-on bag.
In other words, a diaper bag will not count as a carry on. Be aware that depending on the airline, a diaper bag will sometimes count as your personal item, though.
When Flying Internationally
If you are flying with one of the above airlines when traveling internationally, then refer to the information listed.
If flying internationally with another airline, in most cases a diaper bag won’t count as a carry on.
However, as there are over 5,000 airlines in operation worldwide, it’s recommended to check with the airline.
Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.
Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.
Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).