The Best Baby Carrier For Plane Travel in 2021
Taking a child with you is difficult enough, especially when they are cranky. However, carrying a child is even more of a pain when traveling by plane. Whether it is the unfamiliar environment, the sheer number of people, or other uncomfortable experiences, traveling by plane with a child can be a pain. That is why we bring you the 5 best baby carriers for plane travel. Not only will these baby carriers make it easier for you to quickly move through the airport, but they will also make the trip more comfortable for your child too.
|Model||Weight Range||Material Type||Check Price|
|Ergobaby Adapt (Editor’s|
|7-45 lbs||Cool Air Mesh|
|LÍLLÉbaby Complete (Editor’s|
|7-45 lbs||Cool Air Mesh|
|Baby Tula Explore Baby Carrier Bloom||7-45 lbs||100% cotton|
|Onya Baby Pure||7-45 lbs||3D Hex mesh|
|BABYBJÖRN One Air||8-33 lbs||Cool Air Mesh|
Ergobaby is a relatively new company, though it has been around for over 15 years and started by making baby carriers. That said, since its founding, Ergobaby continues to gain popularity and has expanded its product line to include far more than just baby carriers. Thankfully, the company remembers its roots and still offers one of the better, is somewhat basic, baby carriers on the market. On top of that, the Ergobaby Adapt is one of the least expensive baby carriers that we came across.
One thing that Ergobaby understands is that the baby carrier needs to be comfortable for your baby as well as you. In fact, this is one of a couple of baby carriers we came across that provides 2 different strap configurations, the standard backpack strap and the “X” cross arrangement. Though, it is worth noting that the Adapt baby carrier is not the best-fitting product for shorter or petite parents. Part of this likely comes from the fact that this is one of the bulkier baby carriers on our list, though it is at least fairly lightweight. Another feature that is good, but could be better, is the number of carrying positions which are tied for the fewest on our list at 3. Still, the Ergobaby baby carrier also sports a maximum weight capacity of 45 pounds, making it more than enough to hold a toddler. Of course, this baby carrier is also one of the better options for infants with the inclusion of a UPF 50+ hood for protection from the sun and discreet breastfeeding.
Good Build[Green] While Ergobaby Adapt may be one of the bulkier options on our list, this does at least allow the Ergobaby Adapt to secure your child better than some of the other options we came across. Even better, this is one of the few baby carriers we reviewed which is made entirely out of polyester, making it more water-resistant than some of the other options. This baby carrier features a mesh design, though it does not come with a removable panel to offer a bit of warmth when needed. However, the polyester material does not make the Ergobaby Adapt any more difficult to clean as you can just throw it in the washer. On top of that, the Ergobaby also features a solid neck support and does not need an infant insert. One of the more convenient features of this baby carrier is the inclusion of a front pocket, an absent feature on a surprising number of products.
Though LÍLLÉbaby has only been around for a little over a decade and a half, the company quickly rose up through the market. Part of this comes from the fact that the company draws from an impressive heritage where some of the best baby carrier designs hail. In fact, this is one of the few companies on our list that specializes exclusively in baby carriers, though they offer a wider range of designs than most of the other companies on our list. The LÍLLÉbaby Complete is arguably just that with one of the widest range of specs and features that we found. On top of that, it is also one of the less expensive models on our list but still has a few dodgy points.
Easily one of the best qualities of the LÍLLÉbaby and a sign of their experience is the sheer number of different carrying positions afforded. The LÍLLÉbaby Complete actually provides the most carrying positions we found with 6 in total. On top of that, this is one of the few baby carriers we reviewed which does not recycle their positions, actually providing the full number suggested. For example, the LÍLLÉbaby complete is one of the few baby carriers we found which has a carrying position for the fetal stage as well as the infant stage. Of course, the LÍLLÉbaby does not lose its functionality as your child grows, making it one of the more versatile options as well. With a maximum carrying capacity of 45 pounds, the LÍLLÉbaby Complete baby carrier can easily accommodate toddlers too.
The LÍLLÉbaby supports a wide range of different ages beyond simply offering one of the better neck supports. It also comes with a fairly impressive back insert and even features a high-end, adjustable seat to fit any age. Unfortunately, this does not seem to make the straps any more comfortable against exposed skin. While this is a problem for your child, this is actually one of the few carriers we came across that can rub you the wrong way too. On top of that, the one area where the Complete baby carrier did not go above and beyond is with the fasteners. However, this baby carrier does come with a zippered panel to further increase the LÍLLÉbaby’s 3D mesh breathability. This baby carrier also provides one of the better neck supports we found with a wider range of positions than most.
Baby Tula is another company that is far more recent than even the other younger ones, though the company was founded by parents. However, this is one of the companies on our list that does not specialize in baby carriers exclusively, though it did get its start by making them. The Baby Tula Explore is definitely a bit closer to the mid-range in terms of cost, but it also offers plenty of features that many other products do not. On top of that, the Baby Tula baby carrier also takes a couple of different approaches compared to most of the competition.
In terms of standard specs, the Explore baby carrier is another option that tops our list in multiple categories. As is fairly standard for high-end baby carriers, the Baby Tula supports a maximum weight capacity of 45 pounds. However, one of its better features is the fact that it also offers 6 different carrying positions, tying it for first on our list. Though, it is worth noting that this is one of the few baby carriers on our list that does not feature a hip carrying positions, all the more surprising considering the number of other positions it supports. Another thing to consider is that the Baby Tula Explore baby carrier is not the most comfortable option we found for smaller parents. If you are a bit on the shorter side or have a petite build, you might it somewhat difficult to adjust the straps and waistband to your liking.
The Baby Tula comes with plenty of basic features that help make it a great pick, but the modest increase in price compared to cheaper models also goes towards other extras as well. For example, this is one of the few baby carriers that we found which comes with a front pocket that you do not need to purchase. It also features a removable hood, so you can protect your child’s head from harsh UV rays on a sunny day. It is worth noting that why the Baby Tula comes with a neck support, it does not extend beyond the child’s head for infants like with some competitors. One thing that makes the Explore baby carrier unique on our list is that it is made out of 100-percent cotton. This makes the Baby Tula one of the easier baby carriers to wash, though it does seem to rub a bit on a child’s exposed skin.
Onya Baby is actually the most recent company on our list, but it has been making strong headways in the baby carrier market. In fact, Onya Baby is one of the few companies on our list that specializes exclusively in baby carriers, focusing specifically on the more modern style of baby carrier as opposed to a broader approach. While the Onya Baby Pure is a tad bit more expensive than some of the other options we reviewed, it is not that much more expensive. The Onya Baby may not necessarily provide all of the bells and whistles that some products do, but it also avoids some of their pitfalls as well.
Out of all the different baby carriers we came across, few are as comfortable for both the child and the parent. For one, the Onya Baby Pure uses a similar 3D mesh design but adds a little bit extra with a hex profile that provides plenty of airflow. On top of that, the Onya Baby also comes with a removable front panel, so you can provide additional breathability for your infant or toddler. However, one of the best qualities of the Pure baby carrier is also one of the most overlooked aspects in general. This baby carrier comes with some of the best fasteners that we found, offering plenty of support and durability. The YKK zippers will not bunch or come loose while the WuJin double-lock military-grade buckles offer strength and durability as well as easy disengagement. Even better, despite being a somewhat larger baby carrier, it is also one of the more comfortable too.
While the Onya Baby makes it a point to get all of the basics right, they could definitely do a bit better with some of the extras. This would not necessarily be that big of a deal were it not for the modest increase in price compared to other models. For example, this baby carrier does not come with a pocket, which is not terribly uncommon for lightweight models, but it sells one extra. The same arrangement applies to head support which means this is not an ideal infant carrier without paying even more. The Onya Baby Pure is also tied for the fewest carrying positions on our list at 3, though it does cover the main ones. Thankfully, this baby carrier can handle children of up to 4 years old with a standard maximum weight capacity of 45 pounds. Even better, this actually one of the few baby carriers we came across that allows for the standard backpack strap alignment as well as the “X’ alignment.
Out of all the companies on our list, BABYBJÖRN is easily the oldest and most experienced. While BABYBJÖRN may not have invented this general type of baby carrier, they were not too late to the party either, coming out with their first model in the early 70s. This provides BABYBJÖRN plenty of experience in understanding exactly what makes the best baby carrier, for both the child and parent. However, their name recognition also leads them to be one of the more expensive companies on our list too. Though the One Air is not their first model, it is definitely one of their better options for plane travel.
Though BABYBJÖRN may be a good bit more expensive than many of its competitors, it does cover the bases in terms of comfort– something cheap baby carriers occasionally overlook. The BABYBJÖRN also comes with a built-in, removable infant insert to prevent young legs from rubbing against the leg openings. On top of that, this baby carrier is made out of a combination of cotton and polyester, with the softer cotton used in locations that might rub against your child’s skin. Like many other baby carriers we reviewed, the Air One is woven into a 3D mesh and is also machine washable. This is also one of the few baby carriers on our list to come with an adjustable head support that offers full support to an infant’s entire head as opposed to just the neck. Even better, the BABYBJÖRN also comes with an absorbent teething bib as well as a carrying case, free of charge.
Considering that this Air One is the newest version, you would expect BABYBJÖRN to have at least fiddled with some of the specs to try and squeeze a little bit more out of it. That said, it seems the company feels that if the original was not broke, then there is no reason to fix it. As such, the BABYBJÖRN is actually one of the few products on our list with a lower maximum weight capacity, sitting at only 33 pounds– more than 10 pounds less than the other options we reviewed. That said, the BABYBJÖRN can still offer support to a toddler up to 36 mo old with a maximum height support of 39”. While it may not offer the most positions, the Air One does at least provide the second-most carrying positions with 4. One minor issue is the absence of a pocket for carrying your phone and the inability to even purchase an addition.
While this may not be the quality that parents tend to look for, it is actually one of the more important as it impacts many other features. For example, some materials are more durable than others or can withstand the elements better. On top of that, breathability hinges on the materials as well, though a couple of design features can also influence that aspect. It is worth noting that the difference in materials may not be immediately noticeable but will become more so the longer you use the baby carrier.
Cotton – Cotton is a good material, but it does have its limitations. In fact, cotton is best used at particular points on a baby carrier as opposed to the entire structure. That said, cotton is one of the more comfortable materials used for baby carriers and has a tendency to respond better against bare skin than some others. On top of that, cotton is one of the more breathable materials as well, but it is not the most durable over time. Cotton’s general durability also entails less resistance against the weather and can hold odors more.
Polyester – Polyester is a far more common material used for baby carriers than common, though both materials are sometimes used in conjunction. By far, the main reason for using polyester as opposed to cotton comes from its overall increased durability. However, polyester also provides some mild water-resistance against the rain and does not retain odors as much as cotton. On top of that, polyester is just as easily washed as cotton, but it comes with some caveats. This material tends to retain heat more than cotton and can also be more abrasive, though it depends heavily on the weave.
When choosing a baby carrier for plane travel, this will likely be one of the more important considerations. For one, airports and planes entail a lot of people, and all of that body heat just adds to the body heat shared by you and your child. On top of that, neither airports nor planes are noted for their air circulation, so breathability can help prevent stagnation. That said, since you cannot really control the temperature while traveling, it can help to have the option of reducing breathability when necessary.
Mesh – Easily, the best feature for increasing breathability is the use of a mesh weave design. Mesh allows for air to permeate while still providing enough material to retain body heat in general. For most high-end baby carriers, the material uses a 3D mesh weave, also known as an Air Mesh weave. This kind of mesh entails the layering of multiple mesh weaves in asymmetrical patterns, making it easier to clean. This provides plenty of airflow, but it also strengthens the durability of the fabric and weaves used.
Panels – Depending on what you plan to carry, a panel can actually offer a good way to regulate the breathability of a baby carrier. Generally, a baby carrier panel will be connected by a fastener of some sort that you can open and potentially remove. The point of a panel is that it restricts airflow when on, providing more protection from the elements as well as a warmer temperature. However, should things get a bit too warm, you can then remove the panel to increase airflow once more.
For all of the features provided for the comfort of your child, one of the main reasons you get a baby carrier in the first place is to make it easier for you too. In this instance, you will want to make sure that the various straps over your shoulders and around your waist provide solid padding. On top of that, you want to make sure that the waist strap also offers lumbar support for extended carrying. One feature that can help is the ability to adjust the strap’s arrangement so that they cross your back, providing further weight displacement.
In the end, the best baby carrier for plane travel will heavily depend on your child as well as you in a multitude of ways. The BABYBJÖRN is probably the best option for infants but begins to lose its value as children grow. On the other end of the spectrum, the Onya Baby is great for babies and toddlers, but you need to purchase additional accessories for infants. The Baby Tula comes with a wealth of features and extras, but it is not ideal for all sizes of parent or child. The LÍLLÉbaby works well for all ages of children, but it is not the most comfortable for either the child or you. That is why we think that the Ergobaby Adapt might be the best option with plenty of comfort for baby and you, except for smaller parents.