If I had a younger kid, I'd bring it for sure. But what
about for this age? She's comfy in her car seat, but would
it be better to have the seat surface free for her to use
a sort of table when she's standing on the floor? I have
never flown w/ her (or any kid) before, and don't know
what to expect. If we don't bring the seat, do we check it
at the gate or with our other baggage? Or would it be
better to carry on or check a quality collapsable travel
car seat? (I know that airlines don't let you sit in a
travel car seat on the plane, but is it better to bring it
on board so it won't get lost or damaged?)
What's worked best for you?
Before you go, do talk about the seat-belt sign and how
important it is to wear the seat belt in the airplane. The
biggest challenge with the transition to sitting in the seat
is how interesting that seat belt is and how easy it is to
open and close.
As for checking the car seat, we've never had a problem with
one being damaged and it's really, really nice to not have
to lug it through the airport. (Trust me, you'll be carrying
plenty of other stuff.)
Have a great trip!
My husband is an airline pilot and we have flown(okay...I
have flown) extensively with our children (more than 100
flights each -- they are 5 & 7). ofetn I sit in the middle
so that they can raise the arm rests and relax on me (or
nap, even) while belted in...
If you aren't going anywhere by car while in Hawaii, or if
someone meeting you there is providing a carseat for you,
you might reasonably choose to let her just use the
plane's seatbelt and not bring a carseat at all.
But definitely don't bring a carseat and then check it
with your luggage, at the gate or otherwise. In my
opinion, anyway, the risk of non-obvious structural damage
to the seat is too high -- and if you're going to drag the
carseat to the airport with you anyway, you might as well
keep your child safer and more comfortable on the plane by
It's true that the carseat may make it impossible to use
the seatback tray table, because your child's lap will be
too high. But this is easily solved by bringing a little
lap desk for her to use. (We have one with a storage
space underneath the desk surface for paper and
crayons/pens. My daughter loves it.) You should not allow
your daughter to stand on the floor of the plane and use
the seat surface for play. For her safety, keep her
buckled into her seat except when it's necessary to visit
If the carseat she normally uses is particularly large or
heavy, you may want to consider buying a lighter carseat
such as the Scenera (if she still fits in one) or the
Safeguard Go (if she's too big for a standard
convertible), just to make it easier to carry and install,
but you will have to weigh the convenience against the
cost as well as the safety and comfort difference from her
normal seat. The other alternative is a CARES harness,
but those can't be used in a car at your destination, so
they're really appropriate only for kids who are old
enough for a booster seat in the car (which your 3yo is
Brings the Carseat
It may be cumbersome to bring along the carseat but I
highly recommend it .... When we travel with both our
daughters (3-1/2 and 1-1/2) we do bring their carseats for
their comfort and ours ... they sit, read, play and sleep
on the flights more easily than when not in their seats.
don't leave home without their seats
From what I've read, at least for American Airlines, they will
let you check your car seat at checkin, for no additional charge.
So we'll still bring DD's seat, but just check it as plane
baggage. I sure hope that is the case because I am not paying
$15 each way to drag a car seat! I'd just rent one on the other
side if I have to spend $ to check it.
We fly with our toddler at least 4 times a year to our
hometown, and the flight each way is over 5 hours. Our baby
boy has been very comfortable and safe with this device -- and
it's airline approved!
Stop using the carseat on the plane when you switch from a
harness seat to a booster for the ground transportation. Which
should not be before your child is at LEAST 4 years old. (We've
used a booster for travel convenience at 4yo even though the
child in question was still in a harness seat at home. I'm far
more of a carseat safety fanatic than many parents, I guess, but
not completely rigid about it!)
Also, we rode in taxi's and he sat on our lap. No one ever said
anything to us about it and I think that it's fairly common. If
you're bringing a stroller, be prepared to carry it up and down
many flights of stairs on the Metro -- there are very few
escalators or elevators. Also, bring a narrow stroller so it
will fit through the Metro gates -- we brought a Maclaren and it
was the perfect size.
The people in Paris were super friendly to us with the baby -- he
got lots of cookies & treats in the bakeries because he was so
Have a great time!
When I'm the sole grownup I ask for help, everywhere. Flight attendants
will carry the carseat on and off for you and help with your hand
luggage. You can get help at airport security. You're going to need
help with the hotel transfers anyway - you can't manage all of your
luggage and two kids alone.
I've found several ways to cart the seat around airports - one option is
to lengthen the straps all the way and wear it like a backpack, while
you push kid one in the stroller. Kid two is old enough to wheel a
backpack or small suitcase with your toys, snacks, etc. for the flight.
Or I give my son a small backpack to wear that has all the inflight
entertainment, and put the rest of the diapers, snacks, etc. in my
backpack, and hang the carseat off the back of the umbrella stroller
(which won't tip if the baby's in it.) You can also use a small luggage
cart, strap the carseat and your carryon bag on it, and wheel the whole
thing along, if you have a stroller you can steer with one hand or the
baby in a backpack or sling.
Call the airlines ahead of time and ask about carseat and stroller
International airlines have different rules about when you can use
carseats and what kinds, and most won't gate check your stroller.
British Airways let us carry on an umbrella stroller and stashed it on
board for us. Otherwise you have to check your stroller all the way
Think small and lightweight for keeping your kids entertained and that
will help reduce what you are carting around - crayons and paper,
paperback books or kids'
''magazines'' like Ladybug, foam puzzles, or those little Magnadoodles.
I recently got a wheeled backpack for use as a carryon for airplane
trips and its been a godsend.
If you feel buried under all your luggage then ask for help - the flight
company will usually extend a friendly hand to struggling passengers eg.
over loaded moms, old people and disabled travelers. Call the customer
service line and ask what service they can provide for you.
I too will be traveling alone this summer with my 4 and 2 year old and I
will be taking the car seat, plus backpacks, suitcases etc. I will look
like an overloaded camel and I'm positive someone will feel sorry for me
and help us along the way!
not afraid to try
Also, keep in mind that those little bassinets may not work for a 10
month old. At least on Singapore Airlines, there are weight and length
limits (check your airline's website), and they're really shallow (so
your little one probably could climb
out). Plus, you can't always get them (as you mentioned).
Carseat for the Airplane? Trip to Hawaii
In January, my husband & I are taking our 9 month old daughter on her
first plane trip to Hawaii. Since we've purchased a seat for her, we'll
be bringing a carseat but she is too big for her infant carseat and I'm
not relishing the thought of dragging her Britax Roundabout through the
airport. I am thinking of buying or borrowing a smaller lighter used
carseat for the trip. Can anyone recommend specific carseats that they've
brought on planes? I checked the website for past recommendations but
no one mentioned what carseats they used. Thanks!
Until our daughter hit the 20 pound mark, we used our Evenflo carseat with
the handle for air travel, and the Snap 'n Go stroller, which can be stashed
in the overhead. We now use a large, collapsible stroller which we gate
check, and the Britax car seat. If you loosen the straps, it can be worn
fairly comfortably like a backpack (seat side against your back). I've
flown quite a bit on my own without much difficulty with the baby, stroller,
car seat and carry on bag.
Some advice on what NOT to buy for air travel: you need to make sure that
any car seat you choose for air travel does not have the seat belt running
directly under the back padding of the seat. This is fine for most cars,
because the seat belt buckle is at the side, but on most aircraft, the seat
belt buckle is at the center and would make a big lump under the baby's
back. We had this problem on a night flight home from Hawaii with our 1 yr
old and it was very difficult. The problem could probably be resolved by
bringing a seatbelt locking clip with you to fold up one side of the
aircraft belt and bring the buckle to one side. But, why not use a
childseat provided by the airline? You should make sure to call ahead and
There seems to be difference of opinion on whether or not it is
worthwhile to bring a car seat on a plane for a young child.
I will be traveling to Europe 3 separate times this Spring with my now
VERY ACTIVE 16 month old son. I have purchased him a ticket, and had planned
to take his Brytex Roundabout car seat with us -- although I was not sure
how I would single-handedly manage him, his stroller, his diaper bag, my
carry-on AND the car-seat. However, this evening i read a post from a parent
who just returned from Brussels who noted that only certain car seats fit on
Does anyone have any first hand experience specifically with the Brytex?
Is it really worth the hassle? it does seem that it would be a bit easier
to NOT bring it (in terms of hauling stuff through several airports by
myself). also, in that i am connecting to Geneva on a commuter flight -- it
seems likely that my car seat will not fit on that flight. will i have to
check the car seat upon arriving in europe?
any comments/advice are very much appreciated. thanks!
Unfortunately, I can't answer most of your questions, but I can assure
you that I have flown 3 times with a britax roundabout and never had a
problem with it fitting on the airplane seats. I've been told that you can
only put the seat next to a window since it sticks out past the end of the
plane seat (some arcane FAA regulation), but you'd problaby want your
toddler next to the window anyway. FWIW, I've had good luck taking a
backpack instead of a stoller. Best of luck planning this big undertaking!
We traveled to and from Seattle (a short flight -- just 2 hours each
way) with our very active 16-mo-old daughter. We brought our carseat with us.
It, too, was a Britax Roundabout, and it fit just fine. Southwest
Airlines (which we flew) has one of the narrowest seat bases, so if we could
fit on SW, you should be fine. One of the huge advantages for us was that we
had not bought our daughter her own ticket. If the flight had been totally
full, we would have had to check the carseat at the gate. But there was
1 empty seat, and we got permission from the flight attendants to put
Sasha and her carseat in it. Without the carseat, there's no way we could
have cadged an extra seat. During the flight, the seat was of mixed value.
She slept for about an hour each way, and then it was great to have the
carseat, so we could do what we wanted. But once she woke up, she
insisted on standing on our laps or on the tiny slice of floorspace
available. We're flying with her to Hawaii -- 6 hours -- in a few weeks,
and I'm sure we'll spend lots of time following her up and down the aisles.
I don't think there's a way to keep bouncy toddlers from walking on a long
flight. Finally, you're right about the amount of carry-on you need with a
baby. We were ridiculously overloaded. One suggestion: we used the baby
backpack rather than the stroller to get our daughter to and from the gate.
It left us our hands free in the airport and plane. (If you have a kid on your
back, you can throw the diaper bag into the carseat and carry it with
two hands pretty easily.) Good luck!
I've traveled about 6 times with my son to Texas and Minnesota - these
trips last about 3.5 hours since I always book the non-stop direct
flights because my son is sometimes very active and squirmy (always has been).
Most recently I traveled alone with him. I took my fanny pack (with
valuables), a backpack for diapers, toys, etc, a lightweight stroller
that I checked at the plane door and his booster style Century One-Step
carseat (I sling it over my shoulder by one of the straps - it's not elegant,
but it works just fine). My son (who is an active 2 year old) stayed in the
carseat for about 3 hours and toward the very end he got restless and I
let him stand up in it for awhile and crawl in my lap - but soon we were
descending and I strapped him in again. I was relieved that he didn't
put up a fuss about being in the carseat.
However, when my husband has traveled with us, he sits in the middle
seat instead of the window seat and seems to get more restless about the
carseat. I think the window seat was more secure and had more plane
noise to lull him to sleep.
Also, now that he can understand my request that he stay in his carseat,
it's easier. And finally, I had to fight my own urge to let him out in
order to hold him. It was best for my son not to let him out of the
carseat so he got used to it.
Good luck and have a great trip!
The Britax Roundabout does fit standard airplane seats. Whether or not
it is worth it is another issue. It is difficult lugging it around,
especially with all the other paraphanalia and if you're travelling alone
with your toddler. I personally think it's worth it. Just make sure you
ask the airline staff for help and definitely board first and wait to get
off last. Good luck.
My Britex carseat fit with no problem on the airplanes I've taken it on
(sorry, don't know the types, but I flew coach and I don't think the
seats get any smaller than that). Except it did take me a while to realize
not to use it rear-facing the way I would in the car (as if I really thought
that the carseat would protect the baby in the event of a plane crash...
duh...) I would recommend taking it because I don't see how else you would
get the baby to sleep on the flight, plus it is MUCH safer for them in case
of turbulence. As for managing all that stuff singlehandedly, see if you
can make a strap for it to sling it around your shoulder. That way you'll
only have three things on your shoulder. Gatecheck the stroller, for sure.
Hopefully kind strangers will help you. The flight attendant will also
hold the baby while you get settled. (They aren't permitted to touch dirty
diapers but they can and will hold babies.)
We do not have a Britex Roundabout, so I can't speak to that issue.
However, we have travelled a fair amount (domestic and international) with
our now 2yr 8 month son, so I have some experiences to share about car seats
Our son behaves much better (I'm sure this varies by child) when he has
his carseat on the flight. Particularly when it comes to sleeping on the plane
for long flights. We have one car seat (I think it is Century) that is FAA
approved for use on flights that we take along. Before he was two (when we
didn't have to buy him a seperate seat) the airline would allow us to
check in the seat at the gate--if there were no extra seats available on the
flight. I never bothered to put on a cover or anything on the seat, though I
have seen people do so. You can do the same when you switch to a commuter
flight. Our experience has been that European Airlines (we've flown Air
France, British Air and SAS) are much friendlier and nicer to deal
About lugging everything along. When my son still used the stroller
(and I was travelling alone) I had him in the stroller, used a diaper
back-pack (and put my stuff in it too) and held on the car seat. It's
difficult, you often have to ask for help and it takes you twice the time
to do anything. When we travel as a family it's easier, but now my
son refuses to use a stroller!!
The bigger hassle (in our experience) is once you're out of the airport.
We were recently in England, and it was a major PAIN to lug the seat around
on the subway, the trains, buses etc.etc. If someone is picking you up from
the airport, and you have some way of finding/renting a car seat once you
arrive this may not be a problem.
Hope this helps.
I have a Britex seat, and have taken on planes many times. It does fit,
and fits well. As to whether you should bring it--I swore by it when my
son was smaller, as he slept in it, and it was a great way to keep him
confined while trying to spoon feed him, get him to sleep, etc. NOw
that my son is walking and climbing (22mos) I don't travel with it on the
plane anymore. I find that it is better to have the empty seat for him to
play on (standing on the floor) or lie down on (with his head in my lap) I
have also gotten him to sleep by spreading a blanket on the floor and lying
him down there under my feet. Believe it or not, it really works. So, as
to what to do, if your child sleeps well in the carseat, and you think it
will increase your chance of naps on the plane, I would say bring it. If
not, Id say check it. (I haven't mentioned the safety issue--it is, of
course, safer to have the child in the car seat for takeoffs and landings
especially. But I knew my toddler would scream if forced to sit in it,
so I took that risk)
I have traveled between the East/ West coasts several times with the
Britax Roundabout. The times I traveled without my husband were when my
daughter was 11 months and then again when she was 22 months. It is a
challenge but doable to accomplish this with a stroller and a single
carry on bag (actually once I did with a laptop too!)
I think the carseat is well worth it since my daughter was used to
sleeping in her carseat and it made it much more comfortable for me. As
far as carrying it all-- I loosened the carseat straps all the way and
then carried it like a backpack over one shoulder. The other carry on
went on the other shoulder- leaving both hands free for getting hte
child and the stroller down the jetway. If you can have the party who's
meeting you bring a stroller- it's actually much more convenient!
I have taken a Britax Roundabout on a number of flights (local and
international) and did not regret it even for a moment. This was when my
son was 11-14 months old. It is bulky to carry between check in and boarding
but I found that if you loosen the belts you can 'wear' the carseat as you
would a backpack - not ideal but it does free your hands. I never had a
problem fitting it into a plane seat.
We have taken our Britax Roundabout on Southwest airlines many times,
and we also flew to Hawaii with it on another airline. We believe it is
safer for her to be in the carseat than a regular seatbelt, and our daughter
goes to sleep comfortably in her carseat. Facing forward the Britax seat
fits fine, although the armrest can not be moved once the seat is installed.
Even when she was facing rearward in the car, we had her face forward on
the airplane. I think there was not room for the seat to face rearward.
You should be careful when getting seats and checking in. The carseat has to
go by a window on most planes so it won't block the aisle. Also, Southwest
often just assumes my daughter is a lap child, so we have to make sure
we get a boarding pass for her too.
It is a pain to carry all the stuff through the airports. We often get
those little carts to put everything on, and they usually have a seat
for a child too. Also, I have found the when I am alone with my daughter and
all the stuff, other kind people (often parents of slightly older kids)
offer to help get on the plane.
My other advice for longer plane trips is to bring some new small toys,
books, etc. and wrap them up so the child spends time unwrapping them.
My daughter (at about 16 months) spent about 10 minutes putting the paper
back over her toy and then pulling the toy off.
Car seats that are labled for FAA approval should fit in any standard
airplane seat. But if you are still concerned... as I was, you can call the
airline in advance to get the measurements of their seat. It took a little
while because the customer service person had to call the tech people to
get the "specs" for the particular plane type used for that flight, but
that way I was sure that the seat would fit.
Someone else responded about FAA requiring that you put the seat by the
window. The information that I received was that the car seat could not be
in a position where it blocked another passenger's access to the aisle.
However, when I flew with my baby, I was also with my mom. We were seated
in a row that had 3 seats together next to the window. My mom wanted the
window seat so we put the car seat between the two of us. One passenger
tried to make a stink about it, but the flight attendant said that it was
ok, as long as the passenger who was "trapped" was a relative and had
I would highly recommend taking a carseat! The first reason is for your
child's safety, both in the air and on the ground. If there is
turbulance, you can not hold your child, he will fly right out of your arms.
You can also put him down when he is asleep or you need a break! Do several
things- first check to see if your carseat is flight approved. The manual
should say, as well as a sticker on the carseat itsself. Second, bag the
stroller and rent or buy one at your final destination. (It is more trouble
than it's worth to carry with you). Third, combine the diaper bag with your
carry-on. That leaves only your child, the carseat, and one bag to worry
about. I hhave a 5yr old girl who has been flying with me since she was 6
weeks old for a total of about 25 trips all over the place. I have always
gotten her her own seat and have taken the carseat. It is a lifesaver!!!!
Just returned from a trip with air and taxi travel with a 15 month
old. Checked a car seat as baggage and used it in taxis (once had to refuse
an offer of a taxi because the seat belts didn't work, but just took the
next taxi). It is a cheap seat that is easy to get in and out. One day
carried it with us, mostly by putting in in the stroller seat (sort of a
hassle, but not bad really). For air travel we got a window seat which
worked out really well, lots for baby to see. Did the lap child thing
which worked just fine. Next time I'll bring backpack as well or instead
of stroller for the airport since our child likes the backpack most of the
time, but doesn't like the stroller a lot of the time. For walking around
a big city a backpack is a great idea too...maybe a stroller for pushing
the carseat in???
Which Carseat on the Plane?
Hi! We're about to take our fourth long-haul transatlantic
flights with our son in May and I would appreciate some
up-to-date advice about travel car seats (what's in the archives
is from a few years back). Are there any good travel safety seats
on the market (that work in both planes and automobiles), or are
we best off lugging our Britax along with us? We have the
Go-Go-Babyz wheels for it, but it is still quite a load to haul
through airports. He will be a large fifteen-monther around
thirty pounds and 33-34'' by the time we go. We will need to use
the seat on the plane, in a cab and a rental car. Thanks!
Safety first makes a travel seat that would work for your
child, i think. We plan on using it mid may for the first
time, but friends have highly recommended it.
not lugging the big one
We will be travelling to Cabo San Lucas this fall with our daughter who will be a little
over 2 years old at that time. We've decided not to use a carseat on the airplane, but
do want to bring one for the trip from the airport to the hotel and back (about 45
minutes travel each way). My preliminary research suggests we have 4 options:
1. Tote'n Go Travel Vest
2. Sit N Stroll Travel Carseat/Stroller
3. Purchase cheap/small carseat specifically for our trip and check with luggage
4. Bring our large/heavy Britax Decathalon and check with luggage
I'm sure someone out there has been in our position. Do you have any advice about
which option will be easiest but also safest for our daughter? Any advice about the
two specific travel products above? Any general advice about bringing a 2 year old
to Mexico? Any input would be appreciated!
I know this isn't a travel carseat, and it's only good in the
airplane, but there's a fantastic product out there called the
CARES harness. It was designed by a Berkeley grandma and is a
little pricey but is totally worth it for convenience and safety
- it's the only harness certified by the FAA - you can read more
about it at Kidsflysafe.com. If you went this route, you could
check your carseat but still have a ''seat'' on the airplane and
totally win on the safety side.
We have traveled several times with our son. Bring your own
carseat. Airlines will give you a sturdy large plastic bag to
put it in if you check it. It's worth the peace of mind (and
safety). Cheap ones are uncomfortable, and you will never use it
anywhere else. So, ultimately, they are a waste of money. Have
fun in Cabo.
We are going to go on a trip to Europe with our then 2 1/4 year
old toddler and we wonder how to deal with the safety in the
airplane. There's a lot in the archives about this kind of
questions, but I still don't quite get it.
We'll take BART all the way to the airport.
We won't be using cars or cabs at the other end, but trains,
busses, underground, and we will be walking a lot.
So, all we would need the carseat for is the actual plane trip.
Adding a carseat to our regular luggage would be more than we
can carry during our trip through Europe. A combined carseat
stroller wouldn't work for the amount of walking unsmooth ground
we'll do and it's cumbersome in public transport (we'll go for a
backpack). Storing a carseat at the destination is not an option
either, as we'll be flying out from a different airport for the
way back to the US.
How do we secure our child in the airplane seat? Since over 2,
she'll have to have her own seat. Do the airlines provide seats
or rent them for a fee? I know that one simply cannot count on
being able to hold a child in a crash, because the forces
applying there may be too sudden and strong. I read that airlines
don't allow the use of this ''mini carseat'' (some sort of 5
point harness security system without an actualy seat). Does
this mean they'd rather have the child secured with an
unappropriate adult seat belt than using this one? What is
known about the safety of this ''mini carseat''? If it's not
FAA approved, but actually safe, I'd go for it, but if it cannot
compeed in safety, I'd not. Can I have by child attached to me
(and myself my seat) in a bundle up frontpack carrier? I'm a
slim person, but there may still not be enough room between my
an the seat in front of us to make this save in case of an
accident. I want my child to be safe in the airplane - any ideas
out there how to arrange that?
Commercial airliners are so much safer than cars that you do
not need to worry as much about having a car seat. Also, in
the unlikely event a big jet crashes, it is probably going to
be an accident where a car seat would not make a difference in
saving lives. Car seats are required for cars because
statistics show that they save children's lives in the type of
crashes you usually see on the road. They're not required in
airliners because there is no evidence that they help.
However, it is definitely NOT recommended that you hold your
child during any situation where there might be a crash. If
there is a minor impact or severe turbulence, your child will
be torn from your arms easily (there is plenty of evidence
showing this as well). The lap belt will hold your child
securely during turbulence or a minor impact. If you know you
are going to make a crash landing, you can have your child
assume a brace position by leaning forward and grasping their
ankles. This will keep their head from banging into the back
of the seat in front of them at the moment of impact. That's a
safer position than sitting upright in a car seat.
pilot and driver
Someone may know of the magic solution, but if not, maybe you
ship your car seat from your arrival city to the hotel that you
are staying at the night prior to departure so that you can
have it for the return trip. That way you don't have to lug it
around Europe and you can keep your child safe in the event of
bad turbulence on the flights.
looking for that magic bullet, too
We gave up bringing the carseat on airplanes for my now 33-month
old toddler when she was a little over two. It just seemed like
too much hassle. She sits in her own seat with the seatbelt
snug across her lap. This keeps her from bouncing around during
turbulence. I know that if she were in her carseat she would
be 'safer' during a crash, but, really, what are the chances of
any of us surviving a plane crash?
Why don't you place an add in UC parents Marketplace asking for a used
seat. Or find a friend, or anyone you know who would be willing to sell
seat for real cheap, or better yet, just give it away. I'm sure there
someone in this area who's child is about to grow out of their Britex
Roundabout or something equivelant who would be more than happy to
it to your situation. Then, when you get to your destination, you can
give it away to someone else in need.
While car seats (rated for airplane use) are better for the more
minor things that can happen on an airplane (rough turbulence,
bumpy landing), the lap belt is actually pretty good for a small
child. And of course for a serious problem (crash) it's firstly
highly unlikely to happen, and it rarely would matter at all what
kind of seat or seat belt was being used.
So if you have no use at all for your car seats for the entire
trip (no rental cars, driving with friends), then I'd deffinately
suggest not taking the car seats at all.
Be aware that European carriers usually don't allow you to take
a car seat with you onto the airplane, even if you have
purchased a seat for your child. We had a lively discussion on
this recently with several flight attendants from Alitalia, who
explained to us that it violates their safety regulations.
Similar regulations apply to Lufthansa. They will gate-check
your car seat, and the child has to sit in the regular plane
seat, with the regular lap belt, which worked out fine for our 3
year old. Apparently, US carriers are the only ones who allow
you to haul a car seat on board. And even if you have a ticket
issued on a US airline, you might end up on a code share flight
flown by the partner airline, and then their rules apply. So,
check with your carrier and consider leaving the car seat at
home. Regarding children under two, the regulations on European
carriers are stricter than in the US: Infants cannot fly
unrestrained in a parent's lap, but the airline gives you a
special belt for the baby that hooks into your own seat belt and
loops around the baby.
mommy of two frequent fliers
Logistics of Using a Carseat on the Plane
I've done a ton of flying alone with my baby, but this will
be my first time flying alone with him when he has his own
seat (He'll be about 16 months old when we travel). As a
result, I'll need to bring his carseat (a Britax Roundabout)
on the plane. We'll be flying across the country with a
I was wondering how other folks have managed this. I have a
back-pack carrier for the carseat, so I can carry it on my
back. I could bring a stroller for my son and gate check it
(this would help with the plane change, but them I'm dealing
with the stroller, carseat, and my son when I'm going
through security). Or would it be better to just rely carry
my son in the Ergo (then I'm carrying the carseat, him, and
the diaper bag, etc. when we change flights)? None of it
sounds simple. Has anyone tried those wheels that can
attach to carseats and turn them into strollers (and does it
work/fit to wheel the carseat down the aisle of the plane --
it would be a disaster for me if it didn't and I had to
carry the carseat and my son)? Questions, questions. Any
advice would be appreciated! Thanks in advance!
my motto is: minimize, minimize, minimize.
the ergo is great - skip the stroller if you can live
without it. some people like to carry all sorts of crap in
the stroller, but it's just another thing to handle in my
instead of using a carseat carrier on a backpack, i used a
small rollie suitcase that can fit overhead, then
bungee-corded the roundabout upside-down with the cushion
portion against the outside of the suitcase. (can you
picture it in your head?) it's kind of like how restaurants
put chairs away on tables.
so you wear the baby, roll a suitcase with the roundabout
bungee-corded, and you carry a diaper bag (or even bungee
that on top of your suitcase/roundabout contraption.
good luck!! oh, i don't envy you...
I was in your exact situation a couple years ago. Here's
what I did: I purchased a lighter carseat (Cosco Scenara,
$35 at Walmart) because the Roundabout is much heavier. I
just use this extra carseat as a travel carseat or spare one
when I'm at home. I ended up wearing the carseat in a
backpack. I also ended up wearing my 16-mo old in the ergo
in the front...yes, 16-mo is too old/tall to be in the
front, but it worked for the short trip through the airport.
I had to do it because, for various reasons, I did not want
to bring a stroller on this trip. In addition to the
carseat backpack and the toddler in the ergo, I was carrying
a gigantic diaper bag (which had my purse, etc in it). I
was a total sherpa, but it worked! If you have the
flexibility to bring a stroller, and gate-check it, that
would probably be the easiest for you.
Build Up Those Mom Muscles!
I HAD to respond to you! Boy do I know your anxiety, frustration, etc. I
travelled by myself from OAK to Chicago with a 1.5 yr old while I was 4
months pregnant and INCREDIBLY sick. Unfortunately, I have to tell you that
it was one of the toughest days of my life BUT mostly bc of the pregnancy
and bc I was moving from the Bay Area which I love and adore. Here are my
tips: find someone to get a pass to walk to the gate with you and then at the
other end, if possible, have someone meet you at the gate. Doable without
but was a big help for me with being pregnant and COMPLETELY an emotional
wreck. I wore the carseat like a backpack, and brought a full stroller. It was
a life saver because I had my daughter, stroller, carseat, backpack, diaper
bag, and computer bag. My husband helped me through security then had to
go. Getting on the plane was REALLY challenging at first and I felt like
everyone was watching me with critical eyes, but at that point I could have
cared less. Two wonderful gentlemen helped me get the carseat and stroller
onto the plane. The flight attendants helped tremendously getting the
carseat hooked up. After the flight, I waited to let everyone off so I could
awkwardly get off the plane (might not be an option depending on your
layover) and actually those same 2 gentlemen were waiting for me to help me
get the stroller and carseat and get everything situated. Since it was a 5 hour
flight I put my daughter in one of those backpacks with a leash *cringe* to let
her get some energy out before and after the flight and piled everything in
the stroller to get through the airport. In other situations traveling alone with
the kids I put baby in the Ergo and didn't even bother with the stroller. When
we went to Japan, I wore the carseat like a backpack and baby on the front. I
ignored any pressure from other passengers at security and the people
working there were always SUPER friendly and patient and helpful, so I
wouldn't worry about that too much.
Bottom line: don't be afraid to ask for help, from a friendly looking stranger
or from someone you know. Get rest so you have patience. Try to plan as
much time as you can to get through each step of the process. Good luck!
Missing the days of reading on a plane!
We have the gogo Kidz Travelmate that attaches to our
Britax Roundabout and used it last year. It was very handy
to wheel our kids throughout the airport to the gate.
There was no need to bring a stroller. On the plane that
we were on, I could roll the carseat with the wheels down
the aisle, but it was a pretty tight and stressful to
manage that, my kids, the diaper bag, while having a lot
of people in front and behind you waiting to sit down.
In my experience, I do not recommend using the Britax
Roundabout on the plane. The person sitting in front of my
kid reclined the seat, so that person's seat was literally
on my kid's knees. Also, we had some difficulty removing
the seat since we fastened it to the chair so well, that
we were still trying to remove it when the plane cleaning
crew was doing their thing. I recommend that you check the
carseat/wheels at the gate and it will be ready for you
after you disembark the plane at your arrival gate.
If you go this route, be sure to either ask for a plastic
cover bag at checkin (keep it for future use) or bring
your own carseat bag to cover the carseat when you check
it at the gate. This will keep your carseat clean on the
tarmac (sometimes it rains or your carseat gets dirty).
Net-net, the gogo Kidz Travelmate is pricey, but worth
simplifying travel. I couldn't imagine carrying the Britax
Roundabout on my back, carrying a diaper bag, and trying
to keep my hands free for my kids.
carry/wear baby in ergo; wheel the carseat (and diaper bag,
etc)in stroller, which gets gate-checked. Then, when you're
going down the aisle, baby is still in ergo, leaving your
hands free to carry stuff (and others often offer to help at
been there done that
Here's what we do. Each parent gets a wheeled carryon bag, a
carseat, a kid, and a ''personal item'' (i.e., backpack/lumbar
pack). The car seat gets bungee-corded upside down to the
carryon suitcase and gets pulled. The kid gets patapum-ed
(well, ours now walk). The personal item is carried on
back, front, waist, on top carseat... depends! Can we make
it down the plane aisle? some airplanes. But when we
can't, the flight attendant is happy to carry the carseat
for us or hold the suitcase at the entry while we settle the
other stuff in. We don't bring a stroller. We use the
''personal item'' to carry inflight entertainment, change of
clothes, etc. don't bring a shoulder diaper bag, use a
backpack or lumbar pack which leaves hands free. Since we
use the carryon size wheeled suitcase, and don't check a
bag, there's no worry of lost luggage and every once in a
while we need to access that wheeled bag inflight. voila!
happy family traveller
We flew with a car seat, a stroller (the kind the car seat
snaps into), my carry on bag, a backpack with baby
gear/toys, an ergo and my daughter when she was 6 months. It
is a juggle, but the stroller can be gate checked and should
(where else would you put it?). The ergo can be stuffed into
the baby bag, or used. I was worried about security also,
but the line moves slow and everybody there wants to help
you to make sure you don't hold up the line. If you need an
extra set of hands, ask for help. Also, they didn't make me
take my kid out of the ergo when I went through the metal
detectors. It was surprising, but it made things easier
because I only had to deal with all the stuff and my shoes.
Having the gate checked stroller will help you do the
connection because you can put your kid in the ergo, and
everything else in the stroller. It'll work out. Don't worry
Have a good vacation!
Having both carried the car seats on the plane and checked
them through, my very strong recommendation is to check the
car seat and pick it up at your destination.
the car seat is bulky awkward to carry and adds no value
while on the plane. Your child will be happier with the
additional space that a whole adult seat affords.
At that age, he can like across the seat to sleep or
squirm and move about much more easily than he can
in the car seat.
In the terminal before and after the flight, I had more than
enough other things to carry and keep together;
schlepping that seat around was a major hassle.
Finally, the already-seated passengers will appreciate not
being whacked by the car seat and your carry on as you
struggle down the aisle with all that gear.
--traveled with twins
Once our baby boy made 1 year old, we never used the car
seat on the airplane. We've always used the CARES harness
[see description, price, and ordering info at
We fly cross-country at least 3 times a year, so we've
gotten a lot of use out of the CARES harness; and it's
very comfortable for our toddler.
We ''check'' the carseat -- it's not charged as an extra
bag. The baby gets pushed through the airport in his
umbrella-style stroller which we check at the gate; at the
layover, the stoller is again placed at the gate by
personnel and thus available for us to cruise around for
an hour or so. Then we check it again for the final leg
of the flight.
The CARES harness is really indispensable to me.
We check the car seat at the check-in counter so we don't need
to drag it all over the airport. We use an ergo to carry our
son through the airport. We bought a CARES strap for the
airplane seat. http://www.kidsflysafe.com/ A little pricy,
but he's secure in the seat, it weighs 1 lb and is super easy
to use. If you can't buy one, maybe a friend has one you can
My experience with this suggests that it is worth it to
bring the stroller, which functions as an ersatz luggage
cart; the only real issue is your willingness and ability
to lug the britex in the backpack carrier. I have - more
than once - nestled the upside-down britex over the
stroller itself, child amusedly tucked inside (inside the
stroller! not the upside-down britex). This, of course,
depends on the shape of your stroller and temperement of
I don't see the security line problem unless your child is
a runner by nature, and if so you've already had to deal
with this sort of thing; presuming you to be deft with the
folding of your stroller, it's just one more piece of gear
to deal with.
In the final analysis, your hands will be full, either
carrying your kid or pushing your stroller. Stroller's
I've also had generally good experience with gate checking
the stroller, making plane changes a LOT easier. I have
often been offered assistance by flight attendants in
carrying the carseat down the aisle, assistance for which
I was grateful; I would not hesitate to ask for it if I
needed it. I have never used those wheels, but our Britex
was too wide to be easily carried down the aisle without
lifting it over the seats.
Final note; when belting in the car seat, take care to
tighten the belt such that the buckle unlatches towards
the plane seat and away from the britex seat; I have
tightened it the other way, and it can be so tight as to
make it very difficult to unlatch, especially when you're
working by feel and not by sight. Good luck!
I haven't done this before but my friend works for the TSA
at the Oakland airport and she said that you can request a
helper to get you through security. She said you ask at the
ticketing/bag check window. You could also probably ask that
someone be there to meet you when your plane arrives to
change planes or go to baggage claim. She said usually
people who ask for a helper get to go through the priority
line as well. It doesn't cost anything and it could only
help. Also, you could get one of those smart carts for your
stuff. They have a kid seat in the front. Good luck!
I tried the Gogo Kidz Travelmate car seat attachment and the
car seat (Britax Boulevard) would not stay on, so I had to
reattach it multiple times on our short trip through the
airport. Also, it would not fit through the aisle of the
plane, which left me to manage my son, the car seat and the
Travelmate separately - fun stuff when you are traveling
sans partner! Needless to say, I returned the Travelmate to
Amazon, and gladly ate the restocking fee. I'd love to hear
how other folks successfully managed a single parent/car
seat/toddler combo at the airport!!
I have done this with a Roundabout and I recommend bringing
the stroller (umbrella/lightweight if you have one). It
actually is not hard to get through security with
everything, you just have to think ahead a little bit. For
example- everything on the conveyor belt (including the
carseat which has to come out of the bag), shoes, coats,
etc. Then take your kid out of stroller, then fold stroller
and put it on last. You will have to have a flight
attendant or another passenger help you carry the car seat
onto the plane anyway, because it doesn't really fit between
the seats, you have to lift it over them to walk down the
aisle, and you can't do that one-handed while carrying your
child. If you get one of those GoGo kidz things to attach
to the car seat, you have to unscrew it to take it off
before going through security, than put it back on, then the
same thing once you're on the plane. It doesn't seem worth
it. I have the backpack carrier for the carseat, and it
works great, I have even dragged it along behind me when my
back was hurting and it held up great. I gate check it along
with the stroller. The carseat has to be in the window seat
by the way - so contact the airline ahead of time if you
don't have a window seat booked.
I just returned from a solo trip with 2 kids (ages 3 and
almost 2) and truthfully, one of the hardest parts of the
trip was getting through security - schlepping 2 kids, a
stroller, our carry-on and a car seat for my youngest. I
was envious of the parents who had that contraption that
straps to your car seat to convert it to a stroller. I
think they're fairly expensive (in the $100 range) but
seemed to make things easier for the parents who had them.
The Ergo is great - but security makes you take the child
out of it so it can be sent through the scanner (a total
drag when you have a sleeping child in the Ergo, but a
security measure they are unwilling to budge on.) Just be
aware of how much weight you're carrying (kid in carrier,
diaper bag over shoulder, etc) - seems to be the case that
your gate is always the furthest away when you're carrying
the heaviest load (Murphy's Law or something.)
I brought a bungie cord and strapped the car seat onto my
rolling carry-on luggage, which freed up a hand for pushing
the double stroller. But everything has to be dismantled at
security - so just prepare yourself for a bit of chaos
getting through. If you bring a stroller, gate check it and
just ask a flight attendant to carry your car seat to your
seats on the plane so you can carry your child. Same for
when you're getting off the plane. It should be no problem
for them to carry your car seat off the plane to where you
gate checked the stroller, strap the carseat onto your
rolling luggage and you're on your way! Good luck (and
bring snacks, favorite toy and extra diapers in your carry
Globe Trotting Mama
I'd strongly suggest the attachment you're talking about -
made by GoGo Babyz. It is the most genius contraption ever.
I've used it multiple times with my son, the first time when
he was 16 months old and I was 5 months pregnant. It saves
you the hassle of a stroller and if your toddler is like
mine was at that age, it still keeps them totally contained.
Technically, you are supposed to remove the attachment from
the car seat before putting the car seat in the airplane
seat. BUT, on 6 different flights I've take it on - only
ONCE has a flight attendant asked me to remove it. It's much
easier to just keep it on during the flight if you can.
Good luck! The GoGo Babyz is pure genius, and you'll be
stunned at how many people stop you in the airport and ask
you where you got it.
We have booked seats on a flight to Europe for our 18 month old twins.
I am starting to get nervous that our carseats won't fit on the
airplane seats (and British Airways has told us that under two's MUST
be in a carseat if they have their own seat). We have a Britax Wizard
and a Britax Roundabout Advantage (not the regular Roundabout). We
will be traveling on a Boeing 747-400. Does anyone have any
experience with using one of these kinds of carseats on a longhaul
flight? I checked the archives and there was only advice about the
Roundabout and the Marathon. Thanks!
Don't worry, both of your carseats will fit on the plane. I've
taken both an Advantage and a Wizard on a few flights and never
had a problem. You might not be able to rear-face the Wizard,
but as your kids are 18 months they should be fine forward-
Always buys the kid a ticket
Most Airlines have their seat measurements listed on the website. Look
up the your
seat assignment size and break out the measuring tape. If the
measurements are not
listed the Airline should be able to give them to you over the phone.
Every airline has a different pitch, so what fits well on one
airline may not fit well on another even though the aircrafts are
identical. I know that both of my girls have flown on JetBlue
JetBlue (greater pitch than most) at 18-months in their
roundabouts and they could easily kick the seat in front of them.
The seats fit, though. I found the dimensions of the Wizard --
it is significantly bigger...I couldn't find the advantage,
except that it was retired in 2003 - which means that you are up
to replace it this year anyway. Maybe you could buy the
replacement for it that is a similar size to a Roundabout since
you are going to have to replace it anyway by year's end (you may
already be past the replacement date -- the date of manufacture
is stamped on the side, so just add five years to that and that
is your replacement date). And take the Advantage and the
replacement...just a thought.
I haven't used that particular seat, but some information that
may be helpful can be found at seatguru.com. They list the width
of the seats on various aircraft for all major airlines. That
measurement will at least help you estimate if the seat MIGHT
fit.(They also let you know which seats are particularly
unpleasant due to being by the lavatories, for example).
We are planning on flying to Florida next month, and will for
the first time be lugging our 3.5 yr old's Recaro Young Sport
car seat as well as our 9 mon. old's Britax Marathon. We have
a zip-bag/shoulder harness carrier that works for the Marathon,
but that style bag is too small for the Recaro. Has anybody
found a good brand of carrier that fits the very large Recaro,
or have other suggestions for lugging it through the airport
(this would be 2 adults, along with 2 kids, 2 backbacks, a
laptop, and a stroller)??
first time with 2 carseats
I would leave the huge carseat at home. Is there a reason
you're taking it? Maybe spend a little bit of money on a
cheaper, lighter carseat or a booster. When we travel with my 3
yo, we take a Graco full (with the back on it) booster, and
it's a lot easier. My son is really tall and around 40 lbs, so
that works for us. If you would rather have a true car seat,
Babies R Us sells cheap seats for around 50 bucks... could be
money well spent, and you could always recoup some of that by
selling it on BPN!
I don't understand why parents are obsessed with lugging around
carseats (especially 2 of them!) when you can rent them from
rental car places (with or without a rental car).
My suggestion - pile the two carseats in/on/over the stroller,
carry the baby in your favorite carrier or sling, and let the
older child walk as much as possible. When the kid tires out,
one adult could carry the older one, the other wears the baby and
pushes the stroller.
Actually, I would check the 3.5 year old's seat, and have the
child just use a seat belt on the plane (I say this not knowing
about the personality of your child, assuming that staying in
place with a seatbelt is not an issue).
I fly with my 6 year old and (now almost)4 year old, and they
have both been flying with just the airline seat belt for the
last year or so. We check both seats, and they are waiting for
us at the other end, for when we get in a car again. It makes
being in the airport, and getting from gate to gate, much much
So in your case, I would bring the carseat for the 9-month old
onto the plane, and check the 3.5 year old's seat.
I feel your pain—and my chiropractor’s still helping me get
over it! You might consider the Pac Back carrier that has
padded shoulder and waist straps designed to protect your hips,
with lumbar support. It’s not a bag, so the seat doesn’t have
to fit inside of it. Rather the heavy-duty straps go around it,
with quick-release buckles—much more convenient if you plan to
use it in the airplane. It says it supports car seats up to 45
lbs. (the Young Sport weighs 21 lbs.). We’ve used ours with the
Marathon with no problem, and the straps could have extended
Rather than put that much strain on your back, however, you
might prefer to just roll your big kid to the gate in the car
seat (or strap the laptop or one of your backpacks in it). The
new GoGo kidz UNIVERSAL Travelmate (not the old model that only
worked with Britax seats) does work with the Ricaro Young Sport
car seat. It’s like a little flip-out hand truck or “dolly”
that goes under car seats with a telescoping handle. It’s a bit
spendy, but you may prefer it to other options. While you have
to remove it when using the car seat in cars, you can leave it
on, underneath the seat while flying (if your child has enough
leg room). My friend traveled with her Travelmate to Nigeria
and wrote about her experience using it:
Also, if you don’t absolutely need the laptop, you’ll probably
be very glad you’ve left it behind. In case you’re mostly
planning to bring it onboard for entertainment, it might be
worth getting a small, portable DVD player instead that will
fit in one of your backpacks.
Good luck out there!
This is the only FAA approved harness seat belt for toddlers. I LOVE this thing.
Except the price--$75?? Come on. But, it works wonderfully, is so easy to travel
with. It is NOT approved to use anywhere but on an airplane--no cars. I generally
travel to the same place--visiting the grandparents twice a year. Well, I bought a
cheap Evenflow booster for the kids on that end, and travel with this on my way over
there. I don't advise renting car seats from car rental places. They often look
disgusting and ancient, AND, for the amount they charge you, you can buy a brand
new one. Kids have to be a certain age, weight, height to use, so you may still have
to carry one car seat with you. And, my justification for the price--I'm going to eBay
the thing when I'm done--it seems indestructable, and would last forever. And/Or,
I'm going to ''rent'' it to my friends for $5 or $10 per trip to make up the cost. Works
I missed your original post, so I'm not sure how old you child
is, but the FAA has approved the Child Aviation Restraint System,
which allows children between 22 and 44 pounds to ride safely in
their own seats without a car seat.
Hi - we are flying back East next month with our 19 month old.
We purchased a seat for him, and had planned on installing his
car seat in it. I have just come across a few posts on this site
and others that mention in passing that the car seat must be
installed in the window seat - is this true? Our seats are in
the middle 3 seats, so the plan was to put him in between us -
is this acceptable to most flight attendants?
Also, I've seen a lot of discussion about the Britax Roundabout,
but not other car seats. We have a Graco ComfortSport (?) - does
anyone have experience flying with that, or other car seats that
have worked well for them?
Legally, the car seat MUST be in the window seat. There is no
negotiation whatsoever with the flight attendants, because they do not
have a choice in the matter.
The ''rule'' is that the car seat can not block anybody for take-
off and landing. If you have the 3 middle seats than putting the
car seat in the middle is fine. After take-off and before
landing you can put the car seat anywhere. Be aware that flight
attendants don't always know. Look on your carseat if there is
an indication that you can fly with it. It should be on there.
have a nice trip
We always purchase seats for our two daughters and it is true
that car seats must be in a window seat. This has been
frustrating at times because the situation splits up our family
if we are all flying together...and my husband likes to sit by
the window. ;) My suggestion is to go to the counter
immediately upon arrival at the airport so that they can
attempt to remedy the situation before you are actually on the
plane. The little ones generally like to look out the
window...so it's not always a bad scenario. I only know about
Roundabout car seats. Have a great flight!
I had read that before, so we've always put my 2.5 yr old's
seat by the window. But we just traveled earlier this month,
now with our 2nd as well (7 weeks and a lap baby), and we
really wanted the seat in the middle so we could both
interact. On the way out, no problem. But the flight
attendant on the way back made us move it, because she said my
husband had to be able to easily get out in case of an
emergency, and the carseat would be in the way.
Yes, the car seat has to be by the window. My husband and I
would take turns sitting in the middle and being ''on duty.''
Getting the third seat is definitely the way to go, though!
Don't know about your brand of car seat, but most any current
model should be fine. Check with the manufacturer (most have
websites) or store that sells your model to be sure it'll work
on the plane.
hi there...its an faa rule that the seat has to be installed in
the window. i had the same expectations as you (the baby in
the middle so both of us could take turns interacting with him)
BUT was informed en route to takeoff (the plane was literally
moving) that he had to be at the window seat, so we had to
quickly move the seat. the reason is that in case of the need
to evacuate the plane no one has to struggle to get around a
carseat in the middle or aisle seat.
sorry to bum you out!
good luck on the plane!
Call the airline that you're flying with and ask them about
your particular car seat. We've always called ahead
because some flights (depending on the size of the plane)
won't let you use your car seat.
fly a lot family
I believe that the rule is that the carseat cannot block access
to the aisles, that's why they say window seat. I believe the
middle of the center section is fine, too, since both aisle are
accessible, but not all flight attendants will see it this
way. I suggest you call the airline and inquire; they may
prefer to move your seats. Since you purchased a ticket for
the baby (good for you!), they should ensure there is an
appropriate seat for the car seat.
From my understanding the rule regarding carseats and airplanes
is that the carseat cannot obstruct another passenger's access
to the aisle. Therefore when you're on the sides of the plane
the carseat needs to be by the window. I believe when you're in
the middle three seats that the only place you can place the
seat is in the middle of the three seats. So it sounds like
Have a great trip!
I just flew with my twin boys to Minnesota and used car seats.
Specifically, the FAA reg states that the car seat can not
extend beyond the length of the regular seat. Since each plane
seat is a different size, there is no way to predict in advance
if your carseat will extend past the regular seat or not.
On our flight there, it did, so the boys sat at the windows. On
the return flight, it did just barely, but we put them in the
middle anyways. We used Century Car Seats.
You can pre-board with the carseat and see if it can fit in the
middle seat. The attendants should be aware of the SPECIFIC reg.
But it's not bad having baby at the window.
In my experience (over 15 flights with kids and carseats), they
do make you put the carseat in a window seat only. Don't worry
if you are already assigned to a middle seat--they will
certainly move you when you check in if you tell them your
plans. When you are at the gate, let them know again. They have
a lot of flexibility to move your seats.Don't' stress about it--
it won't be a problem.
The FAA controls where a car seat can be placed on an
aircraft. If you are in a narrow body aircraft (two rows of
seats) then the car seat must be placed next to the window. If
you are sitting in a widebody , then (three rows of seats), and
are assigned to the center row of seats, then the seat must be
placed in the exact center of the aircraft. Also, car seats
can't be placed in exit rows or in the row immdeiately in front
of the exit row. Call the airline if you are not assigned
suitable seats and let them know that you are planning to use a
car seat. If they can't reassign you to your preferred (I am
assuming that you are in the middle of a wide-body from your
post) seats, ask a FA to help you when you get there. Keep in
mind, though that you may not get what you want. My husband
and I had middle seats on a recent flight across the aisle from
each other while traveling with a lap baby. No one in our row
wanted to give up an aisle or window seat (understandably), so
there was lots of handing the baby across the aisle when the
child wanted the other parent. Everyone was just fine with it
(its amazing how nice people will be when you are travelling
with a baby -- yes, I am serious).
30 flights with baby and counting
We have purchased many seats on airplanes for our
children, and yes, the car seat must be installed in the
window seat. It cannot be installed anywhere where it would
block someone ffrom getting through to the aisle. We had
middle of the plane seats once, and they had to re-arrange
several passengers to accomodate our carseat. You cannot
sit in the bulkhead seats either (those great rows with extra
legroom!) as they are exit aisles and whomever sits there
must be able to open the exit door there in case of
emergency. Good luck -- it still seemed to work well for us
and my husband and I took turms sitting by our daughter.
You do not need to put the carseat in the window seat unless it
is a small plane (and thus the space between seats is small, and
the car seat ''blocks'' the row if its not in the window seat).
We just flew two weeks ago and had our son's seat in the middle
seat on the flight from SF to Houston, but when we went from
Houston to Shreveport we were required to put the seat in the
It was fun to fly!
Hi. We're going to Maui at the end of the summer. Our son
will be 3 months shy of his 3rd birthday. He's really
rambunctious, and is not the type of child to sit there and
play with toys for long and prefers to be moving. I'd like to
hear from others about the pros and cons of bringing a car
seat on the plane. We took a short trip this spring, and
brought a Cosco seat with us on board. While it was great to
have him strapped in, I found that I couldn't bring the tray
table down fully with the seat.
We have a Britax Roundabout --Does anyone know if that
car seat will allow the tray table to rest flat? Are we better off
checking the seat? It's a 5 hour flight and I don't want to
make the entire plane, including our family miserable.
Please send me your advice.
No, the tray table won't go down with the Britax car seat...
It is a real bummer, since it prevents them from being able to
use it for coloring or other crafts...
We leave for vacation later this week, and have decided to check
the carseat. We have discussed safety with our daughter and she
knows that she must wear the seatbelt. She is really excited to
sit on the big-girl seat and use the tray.
Here's hoping this works for us both,
We take a trip to Maui yearly, and we also have an active son.
I've done the trip both ways, and I have to recommend checking
the car seat. I don't recall if the tray goes all the way down
with the Britax seat (we have the same model), but I'm pretty
sure it doesn't. My son was the happiest without his seat as he
could stand in front of his seat and play, or he could sit in
his seat and use the tray table. I found that having the car
seat was a pain because it takes up too much space. There were
more options to keep him entertained without it. Good luck!
In our experience, the tray table does not come all the way
down with the Roundabout, either. Sorry!
We took our roundabout with us on every flight until my daughter
was just shy of four. the first trip w/o the seat on the plane
was actually to hawaii, and it was much much better for her,
easier for her to relax in her plane seat, more room, less
constriction, and she could use the tray table (we also didn't
have to lug the seat through the airport to our connecting
flight!). with the car seat, if you do use it for safety, the
trays usually do go all the way down, but then your kid has
nowhere to put their legs except out to the sides of the tray!
not the best set up. the airlines have always been pretty lax
about child seats in my experience--they don't require one for
any kid, i don't think, so they won't bother you if you have a
seat or if you don't--good luck deciding!
We recently took a trip to the east coast and took the Britex
Roudabout for our 17 month old. It was terrible! We had
purchased the extra seat for her and she refused to sit in it
screaming her head off the entire time. And no, the tray table
cannot be put down. And when the people in front of us reclined
their seats, they were practically on top of her and she would
kick their seat the whole time to make more space for herself.
So we took her out and she refused to get back into it. So we
were stuck with her on our laps using just two seats with the
Roundabout crowding us in the third seat.
Since we had a connection in Chicago, we checked it in there and
did much better without it on the second leg of our trip and
without it on the way back. We had a lot more room and she was
able to use the tray for coloring and playing. I also noticed
that no one on the flight (which was full of children) had
carseats aboard unless they had an infant.
Check it in!
I got back a week ago from Maui with my five y.o. and nineteen
month old. I took the Britax on the plane. Not sure I'd do it
again. I definitely wasn't even CLOSE to being about ot put the
tray table down. I mostly brought is so she could sleep in it on
the ride. She slept two hours out of it on the way over (there
was a whole empty row) and only about 45 mintutes in it on the
way back. It did allow her on the way back to stand up high and
see her dad and sister behind us, but it was cumbersome and a
pain in the butt really. If she had been three like you son, I
definitely would NOT have taken it.
Regarding the Britax car seat on airplanes We took our then 15-
month old daughter to France at a very physical and active
stage. I found that the seat was very bulky for the average
economy seat and made us feel exceedingly cramped. Furthermore,
it was very difficult to retrieve the many items she dropped on
the floor. To your question regarding the tray table, we were
definitely unable to use it with the Britax in place. In a
subsequent trip to India, we flew without the car seat and were
much more comfortable. The lap belt was adequate and she was
able to use the tray table for play and eating. By the way, we
found the best form of distraction was a Sesame Street software
game that my husband installed on his laptop. If this is an
option for you, it may help you pass the time. Best of luck
traveling with your toddler and have a wonderful vacation!
When our child was a baby, we traveled quite a bit and always
took our Britax car seat on the plane. The tray table worked
fine, as I recall. One thing that was problematic was getting
the car seat on and off the plane -- the main issue was with
some flight attendants, who often said things like, ''You don't
have to do that. You can just hold her in your lap.'' They seemed
to dislike us taking up a few minutes to get the car seat in
place. My standard line was to ask why, if it was unsafe to hold
a piece of carry-on luggage on my lap, it was safe to hold my
baby. Wasn't she just as likely to be flung about by turbulence
as a piece of luggage? My husband and I preferred the relatively
minor inconvenience of using a car seat on the plane to the
thought of our baby suffering injuries. We always kept her in
the car seat, even during longer flights. As a toddler, I
entertained my daughter by offering her a series of little
travel toys. Each was wrapped up so that unwrapping the ''gift''
was part of the fun. She squirmed and wanted out of the car seat
sometimes, but my husband and I took turns entertaining her. We
also tried to schedule flights for her naptime, so she'd sleep
for a while and give us a break.
Signed, Safety First
We've certainly found with our 2/3 year old in recent trips that
we and he are better off, comfort wise, checking the car seat
and allowing him the extra room to move around. Plus we don't
have to worry so much about keepign him from kicking the seat
We just took two long plane trips with our daughter in the Britax
Roundabout. I don't recall the specific plane models we were on, but on
no flight were we able to put the tray table down. Also, it was only on the
last flight, where we had United Plus seating (extra legroom) that her
legs couldn't reach the seat in front of her. She's only 16 months, so I
would imagine your 3 year old's legs could comfortably tap the person in
front of him the whole way to Maui! The car seat was great for her to
sleep in, so maybe consider bringing in on the plane if your flight is
during a time that he might sleep. Good luck!
No, a Britax does not, IME, allow the use of a tray table on a
plane. It's a pretty high seat. On Southwest, the tray table just
came down to rest, at an extreme angle, against my son's legs.
As for keeping your active 3 y.o. occupied the single best thing
I brought on our 2-leg trip to Orlando was our camcorder, on
which I had recorded some of my son's favorite videos (following
instructions on the UCB Parents website
scroll down). I also brought crayons & coloring books, but the
other real hit was an activity book w/stickers that I got at
Wal-Mart for 40 cents. And lots of snacks.
Good luck; it can be tough.
We just returned from Hawaii traveling with our toddler in a
Britax seat and NO you can not lower the tray table! This was
on a 757, so it might be different on different planes, but I
doubt it. I did notice that we were the only ones using a car
seat on our nearly full plane that was at least 25% kids, and
that might be due to the all the hassle with transporting the
seat and how crammed the kid feels while in it. I think the
safety is worth the hassle, but that's just my 2 cents!
We fly several times a year with our kids (now 3 and 9 months),
and if I were you, I'd check the car seat and let your son sit
in the seat without it. I've asked at the airport, and they
are supposed to be quite safe with the regular seatbelt after
2. The week after our (also rambunctious) son turned 2 (last
year) we took the first trip with him where we checked the car
seat (a Britax Roundabout) instead of using it on board, and it
was GREAT. Much better than the trips before for all
concerned. The tray table won't rest flat (or even close
enough) with the Britax, and the seat took up so much space
there wasn't room for him to move around - except on top of us,
in the aisles, and in the bathroom (where we were reduced to
hanging out and emptying the cupholder at one point). On that
first trip sans-Britax we talked a LOT about the seat belt
light, and what it meant, and turned it into a bit of a game -
light on means seatbelt on. As long as he has the window seat,
he does overall very well - mcuh better than he would with a
The other advantage (as long as you are ok with him taking the
seatbelt off for short portions of the flight, which we are) -
he'll have more room to play, read, etc if he has his own
seat. Our son uses the tray a lot in flight, and has also
kneeled on the floor and used his seat as a table for his
various trucks, stuffed animals, etc. He's much less tempted
to climb over the seat and visit the neighbors when he has his
Another idea, if you have a laptop with a DVD player, is to
bring it and let him watch a DVD. I've seen parents do this on
flights many times, and we actually tried it for the first time
last month. It worked like a charm - kept him still for almost
2 hours. Which NEVER happens at home. (I think he was tired
from all the excitement - make sure you let him run around a
LOT before you get on the plane.)
When we traveled we took a Cosco Travel Vest (now called the Tote n'
Go). This worked well for our 3 1/2 year old in a car. It is a small
padded board with a slot in the back to thread a seatbelt through, and
then a 5-point system attached to the board.
I don't know if it is intended for airplane safety or not. You would have to
look at the instructions on one to see. You can buy one online; you type
it into Yahoo and a whole bunch of places will come up that sell them.
There have been some less-satisfied reviews of it (for a nice
comprehensive one that seems unbiased, see
http//www.carseatdata.org/TNG.html) but we found it to work relatively
well; though it was fiddly to install, it was really convenient to travel with.
The only problem most people have is that it is rather small, so I
recommend trying one on before you plonk down the money.
Hope that helps.
After a transoceanic flight during which our then 20 mo. old
sat in his Britax Roundabout and kicked the seat in front of
him repeatedly, we swore never to bring the seat again aboard
any flight. The carseat just took up too much room. He's now 2
and travelled to China and Australia without the seat and
everyone has been happier we can lower the tray table to eat,
for drawing and car play, and still strap him in when
necessary. The only drawback is sleeping- we usually raise the
seat bar and hope he'll stretch across us.
The tray table will not fold down with a Britax (at least, not
on any plane I've been on so far... and we've done quite a bit
of traveling). My daughter is a little bit shy of 2 1/2 years,
and we have found it much better for everyone -- but especially
her -- if we check the car seat. That way, she can use the tray
table and, if we get lucky, she can stretch out with her head in
my or my husband's lap for a nap. (Impossible with a car seat
in the way!). Don't worry about him being small in the seat --
our daughter is petite, but it doesn't bother her. In fact, I
think having the room to squirm and wiggle in her seat helps to
burn off some energy. Another (obvious) bonus is that you don't
have to carry that carseat around the airport!
After traveling across the country 10+ times with the Britex
here is my 2 cents... Pros 1. Your child is strapped in and
unable to slither under the airplane seats and out to the
aisle. 2. If your child falls asleep they have the comfort of
the carseat to support them. Cons 1. YOu cannot use the
tray. 2. Your child can EASILY kick the seat infront of him
(and may have very little space between his legs and the seat
infront of him, depending on the airline) 3. The carseat must
be placed by the window, so there is no opportunity for 2
parents to tag team entertain.
to solve the tray problem, you can purchase a lap table with a
storage bin to hold crayons and paper to use during flight.
Once my son was 2.5 I stopped using the Britex and asked a
flight attendent to explain to him that when the seatbelt light
was on he MUST be in his seat with his seat belt fastened. And
that he had to ask permission to get up and go to the potty.
Having a third party explain the ''rules'' seemed to enforce them
even more, and every time the flight attendent passed him and he
was well behaved he was acknowledged by the flight attendents.
We let him sleep on the floor with the help of many blankets,
and as long as the flight was smooth it gave us some ''down time''
Have a great trip!!
We just flew back east with our 2 year old and took the Britax
Roundabout on the plane with us. On the pro side, having the
car seat on the plane made it much easier to keep our son
contained and it gave him a comfortable place to sleep. But the
tray does not clear the seat, and my son at 36'' tall was able
to kick and push on the seat in front of him (luckily we had
kind people sitting there). The bulkhead would be a better
option, but it wasn't available for us.
A cousin of mine recently graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, where he
studied analysis of flight disasters (or something like
that) in order to work with the National Transportation Safety
Board. After hearing me complain about the inconvenience and
discomfort of a carseat, he described in graphic detail the
hazards for a child who is unrestrained or insufficiently
restrained (such as those who are too small to use an adult lap
belt effectively). The tales he had to tell of infants who were
injured, even from routine turbulence, were sufficiently
horrifying that I chose to deal with the inconvenience and always
bring the carseat. The choice is yours, but it seems that safety
should be the guiding principle, above all else. Don't let those
snippy flight attendants and passengers intimidate you.
I am trying to decide whether to fly to Midwest this summer
with my now 10 month old twin boys. I have read many
postings in the archives but few if any have been posted for
air travel since 9/11 and SARS, and none regarding the new
Marathon car seats from Britax. I will not be attempting this
alone. I will most likely be with my patient, kind hearted
brother. Has anyone used the Britax Marathon on a plane?
What are my alternatives. I would love to find a pair of stroll
and sit carseat contraptions to rent or borrow but I have
heard from a local kid store that they aren't that great a
product as a carseat. Advice would be welcome.
I have traveled with a Britax Marathon and it was bulky, but worth
it for us because we needed a seat at our destination and didn't
want to rely on something we'd rent from a rental car company. I'm
not familiar with the contraption you mention, but travelling with
twins adds a twist I thought you'd want to know about. When we
were using the Britax, the airline would only allow us to put the
seat in the window position, not the middle. Once you're in the
airplane you'll see the problem--the seat completely blocks the
foot space, so you'd never be able to use the middle seat for a
baby without blocking the exit for the window seat. So with twins,
you'd likely not be able to seat them next to each other because
you wouldn't be able to reach the baby in the window seat. They'd
make you seat them in different rows, both in window seats. With
your brother helping, this might not be a problem, but it sure
doesn't sound very appealing to me. I'd recommend calling the
airline and asking how they recommend flying with twins. They must
deal with this question, but I suspect their solution involves
holding a baby on your lap. Good luck.
If you want the boys in car seats I think you have to travel
with another adult because the car seats have to be in the
window seats. I've done it w/ Britax car seats (don't know
which model) and twins and a toddler. Its awful getting the
seats and kids on to the plane. I think I had one in a back
pack, carried the other and my husband carried the car seats.
We definitely needed the double stoller up to the gate -- to
carry the kids, car seats and carry ons and to change planes.
We had a great time after we got there...
I don't know if you have already figured out the seat
configuration yet--if not, you should know the carseats can only
be placed at a window seat. This means you are best off booking
two pairs of window and middle seats directly infront/behind
each other. If the flight is empty enough you can end up with
two whole rows--in which case it is best to be across the aisle
from each other. I found it very helpful to call ahead to know
how full the flight was. The best seats to get are the bulkhead
seats. There is enough space in front of them to sit on the
floor and play with the babies and even let them crawl a tiny
bit. However, most airlines have a policy of not booking those
ahead of time; so you have to be there 2 hours early to have a
hope of getting them, and even then premier or disabled
customers usually have priority for them.
We flew with our twins when they were 9 1/2 months old, and even
though they had grown out of the bucket carseats at 5 months, we
used them for the plane ride. They were easier to juggle in the
airport, and since we had not purchased seats for our boys, we
didn't want to risk checking our Britax carseats in the event
there were no extra seats on the plane (which was the case on
the return flight). My sister had bigger carseats we could
borrow once we arrived, so the infant ones were for the plane
That being said, if the bucket seats are not an option for you,
I had some thoughts about how to jugggle the two big carseats,
carry-ons, stroller and twins through the airport. I have seen
people use the childrens' seatbelts as straps to carry the
carseats like backpacks. Each adult can take a seat that way and
have hands free either for the stroller or the carry-ons.
Another option is if you have a side-by-side with handles (like
the Mclarens) you can hang the carseats off the back of the
stroller-- a little awkward, but it works. The tricky part is
getting onto and off of the plane after the stroller is gate-
checked. If you are not able to carry all the stuff and the
kids, my suggestion is to have one adult board with both
carseats and install them while the other remains at the end of
the gateway (where you gate check the stroller) with the
children and the luggage until the other adult can come back and
help. We managed to all board together using Baby Bjorns (which
they were technically to big for, but were o.k. for the short
walk) to get the kids from the jetway to their seats.
Good luck and have a great trip!
Like many posters, I was under the impression that the car seat
can only be placed in the window position, but the more
important issue is not blocking anyone's exit from the plane.
So, if you are flying on a larger plane that has 2/3/2 seating,
i.e 2 seats on each side and three in the middle, you could have
2 car seats next to each other in the middle set of seats. One
adult could then sit across the aisle and still help with the
child. I did this on a recent flight back to sfo from chicago.
I just wanted to mention to all those moms who responded. I worked
as a flight attendant for the last fourteen years and car seats
DO NOT have to be at the window seat. Infant car seat must be at
the window seat at all time only on a narrow body aircraft
because aft facing infant carseats will block one's access to
the aisle. Britax car seats are fine at any seat location except
forward or aft of emergency window exit rows and yes, you can
have two carseats side by side or an adult can sit in between
two car seats. Most airlines do try to accommodate all
passengers especially with those with children but nothing is
guaranteed especially during summer peak season.
I'm looking for advice on carrying a baby/toddler car seat at
the airport. Up until now, my son has been in an infant car
seat, which conveniently locks into a ''snap and go.'' We've used
this combo for our air travel to date and it's worked well. But
my son is tall and is getting ready for his next car seat, the
Britex Roundabout, which goes up to 30 lbs. We will be
traveling to the east coast and are hoping to find a ''snap and
go'' type system that works with this larger car seat. We will
be bringing the car seat onto the plane for him (he won't be a
lap child) and would like to click it into a set a wheels so we
can wheel him in his car seat throughout the airports and roll
him around during our layover. We would then gate-check the
wheels. We'd rather not have to carry him and his car seat
separately through the airport. Also, I sometimes travel alone
with him, and it would be much too difficult for me to carry a
diaper bag, purse, and car seat all separately, while managing
him as well. I can't check the car seat, as I will be using it
on the plane. He's only 6-1/2 months old, so he's a long way
from walking. Is there a ''snap and go'' equivalent for the
larger car seats? Does anyone have a creative solution that
would work? Any advice is welcomed! Thanks!!
When I traveled alone with the baby and the Britax... I put the
baby in our Baby Bjorn front carrier and for the walk down the
jetway-- loosened the Britax straps all the way and slung it
over my shoulder like a backpack-- not exactly graceful but it
got us into the plane. Depending on whether the people at the
other end had an umbrella stroller or not-- I'd take one of
those as well. For the time in the airport I used one of the
airport carts and was able to use it to carry the Britax.
We have a big heavy Britax. We hung it by the shoulder straps
on the back of our umbrella stroller handles. This only works
if the baby is riding in the stroller, and is heavy enough so it
doesn't tip over backwards! It is a little awkward - you have to
concentrate on not hitting your knees as you push the stroller,
but better than carrying it. Try it facing backwards and forwards
to see which way it works better. Remember when you take the baby
out the stroller will fall over backwards! Also I highly
recommend using the baggage carts as much as you can. Grab one
as soon as you get to the airport. Put stroller, carseat and
bags on there and put the baby in the sitting part or carry her
in a backpack. It is totally worth the 2 bucks for the cart.
Confession: it was so inconvenient lugging around the carseat
that on our last trip we checked it on the way back and put him
in the seatbelt. I think the airlines want them to be at least
two -- He was only 17 months but big - 35" and 35 pounds. It was
infinitly better not using the carseat on the plane once he was
big enough for the lapbelt.
I have never seen wheels that your convertible seat can snap
into but I have seen some other options.
1) There is a travelling car seat you could purchase that has
wheels that pop out of it and a handle that slides up. If you
travel a lot this may be a consideration although I don't know
how much they are.
2) I have seen backpacks that you can put your car seat in.
Then, you could stroll your child in an umbrella stroller
while ''carrying'' the carseat.
3) Finally, the cheapest alternative... I used to travel with
my daughter a lot when she was still in a car seat and would
just hang the straps of the carseat over the handle of the
umbrella stroller. It wasn't the most convinient method but it
The easiest way to travel without schlepping a car
seat/wheels/strollers/etc, it The Sit 'N' Stroll. It's a car
seat for infants to 40lbs with retractable wheels. It's FAA
approved. You just stroll your child into the airplane, retract
the wheels, place it onto the airline seat and strap it in.
Your child is attached to the seat with a 5 point harness, and
the airplane seat belt clicks right across the seat. I hope
this makes sense. We used ours from when our daughter was 4
months (and too long for the infant seat) until she was 4 yrs
old. We've taken it to France/Bora Bora/Hawaii/Ireland/Canada
and it's held up really well. Just do a search for Sit n Stroll
by Safeline, and I'm sure you'll find one. Happy travels!
I also have the Britax car seat, and a 16 month old son. I've
never found a ''snap and go'' for the larger carseat, unfortunately.
I just got back from a plane trip with my son, just the two of us,
and this is how I did it. I have a regular stroller, and I set
the car seat in the stroller, and put the handle of the diaper bag
around the handle of the stroller (so it hangs down in front of
me) -- and my purse in the car seat. I also have a baby sling,
and my son likes to sit on my hip with the sling around his back
and bottom (he's done that since he was about 6 or 7 months and
could sit up well). So I wore him in the baby sling, which left
my hands free to push the stroller, which was carrying all my
stuff. I gate-checked the stroller, and asked one of the flight
attendants for assistance carrying the car seat (and put the
diaper bag and purse over my shoulder while boarding). It's a bit
of work at the security gate, but the security staff are usually
The carseat has been a problem with our family as well. We have a big
one now, 30-80 pounds, and what we have found useful is bringing a
stroller along as well. The car seat fits in the stroller and the child fits in
the car seat. You can gate check the stoller. Another idea we have
been known to do if the stroller is not coming with us is get the rolling
luggage carriers and put your luggage on it and the car seat and strap it
in with the seat belt that is on the cart, then strap the child in. Our child
exclaims ''weeeeee'' when we are running though the terminal trying to
make a connecting flight and we aren't having to carry fifty million things.
If you don't find a snap 'n go-type stroller that fits Britax
(I've never seen one, but that doesn't mean they don't exist),
here's what I do when trekking through airports with the heavy
- wear the Britax seat on your back. Loop each strap over your arm
like a backpack strap so the cushioned seat side is snug against
- pay $1 for a luggage cart and toss it in there. Often the carts
have a seat for the kid (like a grocery cart) and you just push
the kid through the airport on that.
I don't have any advice for you about carrying your Britax, but
if you travel a lot you may want to consider buying another
product. It is called a ''sit-n-stroll'' and it is a combination
car seat and stroller. Basically, it is a car seat with
retractable wheels and a retractable handle. It is FAA
certified so you can use it on the airplane. So you wheel your
child through the airport, then retract the wheels and handle
and carry it onto the plane (most aisles are too narrow to roll
it down). Once you get to your destination, you have both a car
seat and stroller. It is not the best stroller, but definitely
functional. And it is easy to use -- I used to live in New York
City and I used mine when I had to take cabs as well as for
airplane trips. You can find the sit-n-stroll on a number of
websites (like babycenter.com). I used it from the time my
daughter outgrew her infant car seat (which I used with a snap-n-
go) until she was 3. Please feel free to email me if you want
As far as I know, there is no equivalent to the Snap-n-Go for
convertible carseats, but there is the Sit-n-Stroll carseat.
You could buy one of those and leave the Roundabout at home.
But if I were you, I'd forget the stroller and carry the baby
around the airport in a sling. (Or a front carrier or a
backpack.) Use an airport baggage cart for your diaper bag,
other carryons and the carseat. If you must have a stroller,
you can use a cheap umbrella stroller that folds up small enough
to carry on (JC Penney has a pretty good one for $15), or go the
backpack route and get one of those baby backpacks with wheels
that can also be used as a stroller.
We have a Britex Roundabout and what we discovered on our last
trip is that it ''fit'' on our Maclaren Quest stroller. We had
the little leg extensions out also. On the trip back east, it
was me, my husband and our daughter. When we arrived she was
sound asleep in her car seat. My husband carried her off of the
plane in her car seat and I retrieved the stroller at the gate.
We just set the carseat and the stroller and were very careful
pushing it. She managed to sleep through the airport while we
fetched luggage. She even managed to sleep on the shuttle to
the car rental place and then we even put the car seat in the
On the way back it was me traveling alone with my daughter. The
stroller held the car seat while I wore the diaper back pack and
my daughter pushed the stroller with my help. When she was an
infant we took a Baby Bjorn and put her in that. On another
trip, I wore the backpack, had her in the Bjorn and pushed the
stroller (which can hold the car seat).
The britax is very awkward for air travel. We found a huge
backpack at rockridge kids designed to carry it while you
travel. It is surprisingly light once on your back although you
are a very awkward in a crowded airport. I have not traveled
alone with it. I don't know of any snap on system for the
britax. We do find that we can squeeze the kolcraft umbrella
stroller and a diaper bag into the back pack. Were I to travel
alone I'd probably wear the snuggly and tote the back pack on a
luggage cart to the plane. At some airports this would mean two
rentals b/c often you can't take the cart through security. one
step ahead sells a carseat stroller in one, but I have resisted
b/c my daughter is quite tall and I was afraid it would do all
it's jobs poorly and would prefer a really safe car seat.
I have travelled many times via plane in the past with just my
daughter (now 15 months old). The key is to get a stroller
wide enough to hold the Britax. We have the Britax and a
McClaren Mistral stroller.
I park the car and then set up the stroller. I then take the
Britax out of the car (with kid still strapped in Britax) and
the car seat then fits nearly perfectly in the stroller. I
then carry my bag on my shoulders and her bag (a big back pack)
fits perfectly and balances nicely on the handles of the
I take everything on the plane when I preboard and then take
the Britax out of the stroller and strap the Britax into her
plane seat. It has always worked.
It sounds from your post that you plan on bringing a stroller
and your carseat with you. What has worked for us is to use our
regular stroller like a luggage cart and put the carseat on top,
seat side down. (Sometimes we wrap the tether of our Roundabout
over the handle of the stroller to secure it.) Of course,you
won't be able to use of the stroller for carrying Baby this
way. However, we've found that our carry-on luggage ends up
weighing a lot more than our son -- even now that he's a big
almost 2-year-old. We've always brought a sling and/or a Baby
Bjorn along to the airport to make carrying our son easier.
Hope this helps!
This is what I do, when I travel alone with my toddler (22mo)
We have a Combi Savvy stroller. She sits in the stroller while
we are in the airport. My carry-on/purse is a backpack. Hers
is her diaper bag, hung over the handle of the stroller. I can
carry the carseat (an Evenflo, non-infant) by one of the straps,
sometimes looping it over my wrist, while I push the stroller.
I ask for help whenever I need it, especially at security
checkpoints, and in boarding. Gate-check the stroller, use the
carseat (we buy a ticket for everyone--if you don't do separate
tickets, but want to try for a vacant seat, you can always gate-
check the carseat if that doesn't work out). We have made many
trips to SoCal from here, just my daughter and me, and it's
If you can bear one more note on this topic--I never slung my
Britax over the handle of my stroller; it wouldn't work, as my
stroller has one continuous handle.
Instead, I brought along a bungee cord and strapped the carseat
(through the seatbelt restraints) to the back of the stroller. I
usually just put the bungee cord in the basket at the gate &
collapse the stroller; it's always there when we deplane.
Good luck. (the stroller also tends to flip with this setup when
the child gets out, so no help there.
For the mom looking for a stroller/car seat combo for
her 6 month old baby, I recommend the Sit n Stroll,
available online and also at Right Start. It is a
carseat with wheels and handles that retract when used
on the plane and in the car. I just bought one and used
it this weekend. It works very well, however it is a bit
too wide to roll down the aisle once you get to coach,
so I had to ask for assistance from the flight attendant
to carry it to my seat. It is a little awkward strapping
into the car, rear facing, however it is much easier
than lugging a britax and stroller thru the airport.
We got one of those car seat / strollers and it's worked out
really well for us for travelling. The wheels tuck up beneath
the seat and the handle slides down into the back of the seat.
You push the kid in the stroller through the airport, right onto
the plane and down the aisle to the seat. Then slide the handle
down and pop the wheels in, place it in the airplane seat and
fasten it in. Voila! (O.K., it can be a tad trickier than that -
like if the aisle of the plane curves, the stroller will get
stuck. We had to fold it up a few rows before we reached our
seats. Also, it takes up enough room in the seat that the
passenger in front won't be able to recline their seat... but I
think that's the case with all child seats on planes.) The other
thing is, it costs about $180, and we found it not a great
alternative to a permanent toddler car seat. You have to strap
this one in with the seat belt each time you take the kid in and
out of the car. So we use this one for travel and shorter trips
in my husband's car, and keep the permanently installed toddler
seat in my car, since I take her to daycare most days.
I also travel a lot with my daughter and sometimes alone. At the
airport I pile everything on the stroller (the Britax carseat,
diaper bag, soft cooler of bottles...) and when she was younger
I would then put her in the baby bjorn. Now she's 12 months old
so I would still pile everything on,push the stroller and carry
her (it is alot!!!). But I just purchased a car seat carrier at
Babies R US for about $20. It's a carrier to protect the car
seat in case you do check it as luggage but it has straps so
that you can carry it like a back pack. So now I can put her in
the stroller and put the car seat on my back!! (I must look
pathetic but it's the easiest way to get around). My friend
raves about the portable car seat that turns into a stroller-I
forget the name (snap and go?) Good luck
I would like
recomendations on ways to protect the stroller and carseat(we plan on
checking both) we have been told the bags you can buy are a waste of money.
what have worked for other travelers? jessica
We've done several five hour stints on airplanes, and in our experience we
have found that the heavy duty ballistic nylon carseat bags (Prince
Lionheart brand) have worked quite well for our two carseats. They are
about $28 or so on the internet and offer more protection than just the
plastic bags the airline would otherwise supply for you. Judging from the
beating both bags have taken over 4 years of travel for the oldest, the
carseats would have been toast by now without them. If you're concerned
about damage beyond that, you can further "pad" inside around the frame of
the seat with extra clothing/towels--on the return flights we often packed
our dirty laundry (the larger items) in the carseat carrier, which was an
added plus because we always have less room in the return trip.
My first choices would be to gate check the stroller, and put the
carseat in an overhead bin. Second choice is to call the airline and
ask them what to do.
You mentioned that you were told carseat bags were a waste of money. I
don't think I'd spend the extra money on them, but some friends lent
us 2 carseat bags for a recent trip to Europe, and we were very happy
to have them. The bags are HUGE, and there is plenty of room to stuff
in items that would otherwise take up a lot of room in your suitcase,
like coats. Since we were traveling with a 3yo and a 6mo, it was the
only way we were able to stay within the 6 bag allotment. (Yes, we
have become the kind of hopelessly loaded-down travellers we used to
snicker at, but that's another story.) If money is not an issue, or if
you can borrow one, they can be quite useful. In terms of just
protecting the carseat, I've made 5 roundtrip flights with an
unprotected carseat and never had any problems. Some airlines have
heavy-duty plastic bags for backpacks and carseats, FWIW.
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