When it comes to flying with little ones, there’s a question that often pops up among parents: does a diaper bag count as a personal item? Can you bring a diaper bag along with your carry-on and personal item bag, without any extra cost?

Well, let’s find out!

Does a Diaper Bag Count as a Personal Item?

In many cases, a diaper bag is not counted as a personal item. This means you can usually bring it on board in addition to your regular carry-on and personal item bag. This is because some airlines are pretty parent-friendly and understand that you’re already carrying a lot.  

That said, not all airlines will let you bring a diaper bag along with your other carry-on bags for free. So ensure your diaper bag fits within your airline’s specifics before you need the house. 

Airline Policies on Diaper Bags

Does a Diaper Bag Count as a Personal Item?

When flying with a little one, most airlines are pretty understanding. 

If you’re traveling with a ‘lap infant (a child under 2 years who doesn’t have their own seat), you can usually bring a diaper bag for them at no extra cost. This is apart from your own carry-on and personal item, so it’s like your baby gets their own carry-on, which can be a diaper bag, breast pump bag, or other similar infant items. 

All these are in addition to your standard luggage allowance, as a parent. 

Attention to the dimension and size of your diaper bag is vital as restrictions apply.

  • Always check a diaper bag’s size before your journey
  • Opt for diaper bags designed to meet airline personal item standards

Just remember, airline rules can vary, so it’s always a good idea to check with your airline before you fly.

Examples of Airlines That Let You Bring a Diaper Bag for Free

Here’s a list of airlines that let you bring a diaper bag for your child without any extra charges. The airlines include:

  • Frontier Airlines: Frontier considers diaper bags as an additional free item. It’s not counted as part of your personal or carry-on allowance.
  • American Airlines: They also get a thumbs-up from traveling parents. Their policy states, “Diaper bags (1 per child) don’t count as your personal item or carry-on“. They also allow additional items like“breast pump, small, soft-sided cooler of breast milk, child safety seats, strollers and medical or mobility devices” without counting them against your carry-on allowance.
  • Allegiant Airlines:  This airline allows one diaper bag at no charge, along with your usual personal item and carry-on luggage allowance.
  • United Airlines: United follows a similar path. They permit one diaper bag per child, in addition to a carry-on bag and one personal item. Their website clarifies, ““if you’re traveling with a child of any age, you can bring the following on your flight for free in addition to your carry-on and personal items: Diaper bag, Breast pump, milk or formula, FAA-approved car seat, and Compact folding stroller”.
  • Spirit Airlines: At Spirit Airlines, if you’re traveling with an infant, you can bring a diaper bag for free along with your regular luggage allowance, which includes just one personal item.
  • JetBlue Airways: JetBlue Airways: JetBlue allows one diaper bag per lap child under 2, in addition to the adult’s carry-on allowance. Their website states, “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.” 

Airlines That Do Not Allow a Diaper Bag as a Free Extra Item:

These airlines treat your diaper bag as one of your personal items, rather than an additional free item you can bring along.

  • Alaska Airlines: On the flip side, Alaska Airlines does not include diaper bags as a free additional item in their baggage policy. On their website, it says “When traveling with a lap infant, a diaper bag will count toward the standard carry-on limit of the ticketed adult passenger. Lap infants are not entitled to their own carry-on allowance.”
  • Delta Air lines: Surprisingly, Delta, which isn’t a budget airline, also considers a diaper bag as a personal item. It’s listed among the “appproved personal items” to be stored store the seat in front of you during your flight.
  • Hawaiian Airlines: They don’t specify a diaper bag as an extra item either. The folks at Airlines Updates mentioned that Hawaiian includes the diaper bag in the regular carry-on allowance.
  • Southwest Airlines: Their policy says a personal item can be “a purse, briefcase, laptop bag, or a diaper bag.” This shows that a diaper is a personal item, not an additional free item.

Your diaper bag is likely to fly free on many airlines, especially if you’re with a baby. But, as you can see, policies can differ. It’s always a smart move to check with your airline before you head to the airport to avoid any surprises.

Traveler’s Experience with Diaper Bags on Flights

Does a Diaper Bag Count as a Personal Item?: Beis Diaper Backpack

From my own observations and what I’ve gathered from various travel forums and blogs, many parents have successfully traveled with a diaper bag in addition to their carry-on and personal item, particularly when flying with an infant who doesn’t require a separate seat.

This is especially true for airlines that offer complimentary additional carry-on when flying with a child (usually children under 2).

For example, a traveler on Reddit shared their experience, saying, “We put all my son’s things for the flight (diapers, toys, bottles) into a bag with the pump so it would all count as ‘medical device’ and not against our carry-on total.”

This was echoed by another traveler on the
American Airlines subreddit: “We flew with a lap child and diaper bag the other day. Our diaper bag is a fairly large backpack. It was stuffed. Nobody even looked at it. We each had a carry-on and personal item as well.”

Even airlines where this isn’t explicitly part of their policy sometimes make exceptions. A traveler mentioned their experience with Delta: “We got an infant diaper bag as an extra carry-on!” And on Trip Advisor, a parent noted about Frontier, “When my son was less than 2 years old, I was able to bring a diaper bag in addition to my personal bag. It’s not supposed to be counted.”

But It Can Differ with Older Children and Certain Airlines

While some airlines allow a diaper bag as an additional item for parents traveling with infants, others may count it as part of the standard carry-on allowance. For instance, a member of the Bump forum pointed out, “it counts as a personal item, as long as you can fit it under the seat in front of you.”

Also, the situation changes as your child gets older. In communities like What To Expect, a few parents pointed out that if your child is older and has their own seat, the diaper bag may count as a personal item. One member stated, “Yes it is. And your infant only gets his/her own carry on if you have purchased them a seat.”  

Travel bloggers who focus on family travel often stress the importance of checking with your airline before you fly. Wayfaring Humans and Family Travel Planet, for instance, recommend calling ahead or checking the airline’s website for their specific policy on diaper bags. This is particularly important for international flights where rules might differ.

My Verdict…

Based on all these discussions, it seems wise to always check with your airline about their specific diaper bag policy. While most are accommodating for infants, things can change for older children. And remember, even if it’s supposed to be free, try not to overpack your diaper bag. A bag that’s too large or overpacked might still raise eyebrows at the gate.

It’s always better to pack efficiently and ensure that your diaper bag isn’t bigger than what’s permitted under your airline’s policy.


Does a Diaper Bag Count as a Personal Item?: INDI NEOPRENE DIAPER BACKPACK

Does diaper bag count as a personal bag?

Typically, no. Most airlines allow you to bring a diaper bag in addition to your personal item, especially when you’re traveling with an infant. This is generally seen as an essential item for your baby, not as part of your personal luggage. However, this can vary, so it’s best to check your airline’s specific policy.

Does a diaper bag count as a personal item on Spirit?

Spirit Airlines is known for its strict baggage policy, but they do provide some leeway for parents. A diaper bag for a child is usually not considered as a personal item, allowing you to bring it along with your regular personal item.

Is a diaper bag included in hand luggage?

For most airlines, a diaper bag is not included in the standard hand luggage count. It’s only considered a necessary addition for those traveling with infants.

Do diaper bags count as a carry-on Sun Country?

On Sun Country Airlines, similar to many other airlines, a diaper bag does not count as your carry-on. It’s considered an extra item that you’re allowed to bring for your infant.

Does a nappy bag count as hand luggage?

In many cases, a nappy (diaper) bag is not counted as hand luggage. Airlines often allow it as an additional item for passengers traveling with a baby.

Tips for Traveling with a Diaper Bag

Can I put my toiletry bag in my personal item?

Yes, you can put your toiletry bag in your personal item, as long as it complies with TSA guidelines. Remember the 3-1-1 liquids rule – liquids, gels, and aerosols must be in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces and all containers must fit in a single, quart-sized, zip-top bag.

Can a diaper bag be used as a backpack?

Absolutely. Many diaper bags are designed to be versatile and can easily function as a backpack. This can be a convenient way to carry all your baby’s necessities while keeping your hands free.

Can I Bring a Diaper Bag and a Carry-on?

In most cases, yes. Airlines usually allow parents flying with an infant to bring a diaper bag in addition to their standard carry-on luggage. It’s seen as an essential item for the baby, separate from your own luggage allowance.

Are There Restrictions on Diaper Bag Contents?

While diaper bags are allowed, they must still adhere to security regulations, especially regarding liquids. Items like baby formula, breast milk, and juice for infants are exempt from the 3-1-1 liquids rule, but other contents of the bag must comply with standard TSA rules. Always check for any specific airline restrictions before packing.

So, is a diaper bag considered a personal item?

In most cases, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the diaper bag won’t count against your personal item allowance. This little bit of flexibility from airlines can make a big difference when you’re traveling with a baby or toddler. 

Just remember to check your specific airline’s policy before you pack, and try to keep the diaper bag light and organized. Happy travels with your little one! 

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