Mamas & Papas Airo stroller review
Freelance journalist, Lucy Waterlow, tested the Airo on walks round the park, supermarket shops and day trips with her baby and 2 year old.
What are your first impressions of the Airo?
It was obvious this was going to be a light, compact pushchair when it arrived in a box that wasn’t very large or heavy. Getting the Airo set up couldn’t have been easier – I only had to lift it out of the box and unfold it.
I was testing the special edition rose gold version and I love this style. The frame colour complements the dark fabric and everyone who has seen me with it has commented on how they like the look. It is also available in black, grey, mint or grapefruit.
What do you think of the carrycot?
Not a carrycot in the traditional sense, but more a cocoon that attaches to the seat, it is well-padded, has a harness to keep baby secure and comes with a small head cushion for younger babies.
I started testing the pushchair when my daughter was 5 months old, so she was getting towards the upper age limit for it. She still fitted into it comfortably, except her head was too large for the cushion. As this is Velcroed in, it could be easily removed.
I have never had a carrycot with a harness before and I was impressed with this element, as it kept her secure at an age when she could roll over and push herself up a cot with her legs. Also, it adds that extra peace of mind when going up steps with the pushchair.
The large hood and foot cover made her feel cosy and I was reassured she was protected from the elements. I can imagine a newborn would feel really snug inside it too.
How do you attach the carrycot to the Airo?
The carrycot fixes quickly and easily to the base of the pushchair seat, using the attached clips and straps. Once it’s on, you don’t need to take it off again to fold up the pushchair, as it can be folded up just as compactly with it still attached. This is one of my favourite things about the Airo as it makes using it with the carrycot so convenient and means you don’t have to carry and store an additional item.
I have been known to pack a buggy on day trips in the past only to get to our destination to find I have forgotten to put the carrycot in too, but I don’t have to worry about that with the Airo!
How easy is the Airo to fold and unfold?
It folds easily, but it took me a few attempts to master it as there are some steps you have to think through.
The hood has to be folded back and then the handlebars pushed down, while twisting and pushing buttons on the handlebar. You then have to use the lever on the back of the seat to move it forward to flatten. Once you have got it into the semi-folded position, it’s really easy to grab the plastic handle and lift the seat up so the chassis all comes together and you can “clip and go”, using the attachments to keep it folded in place.
Once you know how, you can do it one-handed. Unfolding the Airo is a bit less slick, but very quick, as you just unclip it and then jiggle and pull it into shape.
How compact is it when folded?
Super-compact, which is another of my favourite things about the Airo. It folds down to just L:55cmxW:45cmxH:25cm, similar to the LeClerc Magic Fold at L:56cmxW:47cmxH:24cm, £359, and the Micralite ProFold Graphite at L:51.5cmxW:44cmxH:24cm, £195.
It takes up hardly any space in the boot of my Ford Fiesta and, thanks to being able to stand upright when folded, it can fit into the footwells of my car too.
Storing it at home is easy; you can either lie it flat or stand the Airo upright when folded. It can be tucked under a table, in between furniture or hung up with coats using the shoulder strap. I haven’t been able to test it on public transport, but it has been designed to fit into most overhead compartments on trains and planes.
What is the Airo like to push and steer?
I was impressed by how easy the Airo is to push. It’s very light and manoeuvrable, so glides along the pavements and steered well around the shops.
The wheels are EVA, with the two back wheels slightly larger than the front two. This means it rattles a little on uneven terrain, but I found it handled short grass and smoother off-road paths OK. Thick grass or mud is not so easy to cross, particularly with a heavier toddler as opposed to a baby onboard, so it’s not one to take on long rambles in the countryside.
How well does it work on public transport?
Due to Covid restrictions while testing, I haven’t been able to take it on buses, trains or planes. But as it has been designed with travelling in mind, I think it would make travelling with children less stressful.
The buggy can be carried over one shoulder or as a backpack ,when folded, which would be useful when boarding trains and planes. The quick fold and ability to fit it neatly into a storage compartment also makes it easier to take it on public transport.
Personally, I didn’t find it very comfortable to wear for long as a backpack, so I would only do this for short periods, like waiting to board a plane.
How do you rate the Airo’s handlebar?
The leatherette handlebar is comfortable to grip, and it comes with a wrist strap, which is a welcome feature as it made me feel safer when pushing the stroller down hills.
The handlebar can be adjusted to different heights, which is another plus point as it can be adjusted to suit the pusher. However, the lower it is set, the further you are away from the carrycot/seat, so it’s not as easy to see or check on your baby.
What do you think of the seat unit on the Airo?
Once my daughter was 6 months, I transferred her to the seat – which can only be used in world-facing mode. I also tested the pushchair this way with my 2-and-a-half-year-old son. Both liked the fully upright position of the seat, which allowed them to see all around and grip the bumper bar – perfect for exploring new places.
The seat can also be reclined to lie-flat, and a position in-between, plus the footrest can be put up or down. The seat fitted my baby perfectly but was a little snug for my toddler whose legs extended beyond the leg rest when that was up. His head is just starting to reach beyond the back of the seat too, so he wasn’t really comfortable in the lie-flat position. He did like being sat upright when the leg rest was lowered, and he could put his feet on another footrest attached to the chassis. I expect him to outgrow the pushchair before he reaches the weight limit the brand says it can carry; I doubt he will fit into it comfortably beyond the age of 3.
In lie-flat mode, my baby was happy but the sides are quite exposed and the seat is low to the ground, which meant she didn’t fall into a deep sleep when pushed during her usual lunchtime nap. I don’t think she felt as cosy as when she had been in the carrycot. My toddler disliked being in the lie-flat position as he didn’t like the exposed sides and having nowhere to rest his head.
I tested this alongside the Didofy Aster which has the same target market, and is also easy to fold and ideal for travelling with. Between the two, the Didofy wins for me as it is slightly cheaper but more comfortable for both my baby and toddler.
Is it easy to adjust the seat?
Very. I liked the fact the seat can be quickly adjusted up and down by pulling a lever on the back of the seat, as opposed to grappling with straps while holding the seat up with my head, as I have had to do with other pushchairs before!
Can the Airo’s hood be extended?
It can be extended nearly all the way to the bumper bar, which is great for sun protection, but meant neither my baby or toddler could see anything, so they weren’t happy to keep it in this position for long. It would be useful to fully extend it on a sunny day if my baby fell asleep while out and about though, and it’s a good feature to have on a pushchair you may want to take on holiday with you.
Part of the hood fabric can be folded back to reveal a peephole mesh, so you can check on your baby while on the move, which I always find handy.
Does the Airo have a good storage basket?
To make the buggy so light and easy to fold, it seems storage space has been sacrificed. There is a basket underneath the seat, but it isn’t very deep so you can’t fit much into it. I found it just about big enough for storing a water bottle, lunchbox and spare jumper, so ended up having to carry additional items such as a changing bag and my son’s scooter helmet when out in the park.
What’s in the box?
– The pushchair (complete and folded)
What are the additional accessories that you can buy?
- Car seat adaptors
- Changing bag
- Bug net
Some of these items can be bought as bundles from Mamas & Papas, which makes it cheaper than buying them all separately.
What would you have wanted to know about the Airo before purchasing it?
That once the carrycot has been outgrown, it’s not a pushchair suitable for leisurely, lunchtime walks with napping children, as they wouldn’t be comfortable enough to sleep for long.
Who is the Mamas & Papas Airo best suited to?
City dwellers, jet-setters and day trippers. Thanks to its compact fold, it’s great for anyone short on space at home or in their car. It’s also an excellent buggy to travel with, as it’s easy to fold and unfold, and to carry when folded, so will save you time and stress when trying to catch planes and trains with little ones in tow.
How does it compare to similar pushchairs?
Where can I buy the Mamas & Papas Airo?
If you are looking to only buy one pushchair to cover all your needs, then the Airo probably isn’t it. But if you can afford to have more than one pushchair, this is a fantastic option, particularly with a newborn thanks to the convenient carrycot attachment.
The pushchair’s portability and quick fold will make your life easier when popping to the shops, going on holiday or on the school run, and as it is so compact and easy to store (even with the carrycot attached), it won’t take up much space in your home/car during the times when you don’t need it. At £399 it’s quite expensive as a second buggy, but it comes into its own for travelling – so if you frequently travel with children on trains and planes, then you can do so with ease and style with the Airo.