38 answers

Car Seat on Plane?

Hi Moms! My husband and I are taking our 3 year old son to Disney World in a couple of days and this will be his first time on an airplane. Can anyone tell me if I need to bring his car seat to use on the plane? I think he's old enough and big enough that he doesn't need to have it, but I don't want to get there and find out that he DOES. I've tried calling the airline to ask, but I just keep getting put on hold and I don't have time to sit and wait for someone to pick up the phone. :) I thought I would check with the "mom experts"! Thanks for your help!

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So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for your great advice and help!! I talked to a friend of mine who is a stewardess for United Airlines and she said we wouldn't need one. She told me to just put a pillow or blanket behind his back on take off and landing and that will make him more secure in the seatbelt. My son is REALLY SUPER good at staying still for a good period of time, so I'm not worried about him wanting to wander around. I'm going to bring plenty of activities for us to do on the 2 hour ride so that will help. We are driving ourselves to the airport and taking only buses and shuttles around Disney, so we won't need one for a car. So, we have discussed it and decided not to bring one. Thank you all again for your help!!! Have a good week!

Featured Answers

Hi, I didn't have time to read the responses, but one thing that I would STRONGLY recommend is to bring a Booster Seat. (Law requires that anyway, and then you won't have to "rent" one with the car rental. Kids are used to sitting still when in car seats. BUT if you don't have one, they will want to get out of their seat (Trust Me)!!!!
Good luck, and have fun. My daughter was 3-1/2 when we went, and she had a ball!!!! We bought a few disney shirts at home, so we wouldn't have to spend a fortune there, and when we were going to the Mickey breakfast, she wore that shirt, the princess shirt, when we saw the princess dinner, etc., etc.... We bought disney postcards and every morning, one of the characters wrote to her and said they had such a fun time meeting her, etc., etc., it was a great big hit!!!! Have fun!!!

We just went to Disneyland last week- by plane. The airline does not allow car seats to be used on planes anymore. Both my 2 year old and my 5 year old sat on the regular seats. I ended up carrying a booster seat through the airport (for my 5 year old). My advice- don't bring one. If you are renting a car, just get the seat through them- that is what we did for a seat for my 2 year old. Have fun!

Hi G.:
My sister got an official FAA seat belt for her 2 1/2 year old. You can order online I think from the FAA website - it's like a regular seat belt but it wraps around the seat and straps them in. So far, not one flight attendant has ever seen one or even heard of them! Good luck and have a fun vacation!

More Answers

Try calling a travel agent, they know all the info.

It depends on the airline - some require it, some merely suggest it is used. We flew with our 3 year old recently and brought her car seat - we needed it anyway since we were renting a car. We brought it on the plane for her to sit in since it would be considered "extra baggage" and we would have to pay for it to be checked-in. Most of the airline websites have their restrictions and policies for you to view. I would go to the airline website rather than getting frustrated trying to call them, and check it out. If it is required, then you have you answer. If they only suggest it, then I would say - if you don't need it once you get there - leave it home. If you will need it when you get there (for car rental or someone else's car) then it is better to have them sit in it on the plane than check it - besides, When you are traveling with small children, they always let you board the plane first thus allowing you time to put the seat in. Hope this helps!

We went to St. Thomas when our oldest was 15 months. We took his car seat because we had to rent a vehical there and drove quite a bit. I don't think you have to have one though. Have fun! We went to Disney World last Christmas, my 5 year old had a blast, we also had our 6 month old son, he was not yet mobile yet, so he just would watch everyhing and was in his stroller a lot, he loved it too! We liked Animal Kingdom more than Disney World.

Take the car seat, at least you can strap him in. It keeps them in the seat for longer... We've traveled alot and believe me it can get really bad... take alot of toys and get something he really wants and give it to him for the first time on the plane, take it away when you get there, so that it's "new" again on your way back! Good luck!

We brought our car seat on the plane until my daughter was 4. It is safer, but a pain to carry around the terminal. Not sure your plans while on vacation, but if there are any taxi rides or a car rental, it is nice to have your childs own car seat as well.

We just flew out of STL on Delta Wednesday and we did not need a car seat for our 3 year old daughter.

Yes, take your carseat. In the event of turbulence or a crash landing, you will want him in the most secure situation. He's much too little to sit in the airplane in just a lap belt. You will need it when you land to get to your destination anyway.

Hi G.,

We flew on American last year (my son was 3) and didn't use his car seat.
Have fun!!

He may not need it but you sure will. Planes are tight, and boring for kids. The airlines don't require it, but you will be much happier with him in it. I have flown with my son in it and not in it. YUCK. He wanted to walk, and stand up, and I couldn't keep him in his seatbelt. HOwever he knows his carseat, and knows he's not allowed out till we stop moving. He is a much better flyer this way. It also makes it harder for them to kick the back of the seat in front of them.

I forgot to mention, with the carseat the easiest way to haul it is to wear it. Loosen the straps and wear them like a backpack. I fly regularly with my 2yrold, and 7month old. (about once a month..by myself) and I've found that this is the best way. also don't worry about hauling it on the plane etc... it isn't that bad and people are always willing to help.

Also check the Orlando carseats in public transportation laws. You may need it where you are going. Many states require kids in carseats even in taxi's. Illinois does.

No you don't NEED one....They will allow you to fly without it. I took my 2.5 year old twins on a flight by myself and I used a Care harnesses which attach to the plane seat. They are more secure than a regular lapbelt and are faa approved.

I think it's a safe be if you bring it, and besides then you don't have to rent or buy a new one to use while down there. Have fun!

Call a travel agency. They should know all the up-to-date rules and regulations. Have a ball on your trip. It's a great time of year for Florida and the lines at the park shouldn't be sooo long at this seasonal time.

Hi, I didn't have time to read the responses, but one thing that I would STRONGLY recommend is to bring a Booster Seat. (Law requires that anyway, and then you won't have to "rent" one with the car rental. Kids are used to sitting still when in car seats. BUT if you don't have one, they will want to get out of their seat (Trust Me)!!!!
Good luck, and have fun. My daughter was 3-1/2 when we went, and she had a ball!!!! We bought a few disney shirts at home, so we wouldn't have to spend a fortune there, and when we were going to the Mickey breakfast, she wore that shirt, the princess shirt, when we saw the princess dinner, etc., etc.... We bought disney postcards and every morning, one of the characters wrote to her and said they had such a fun time meeting her, etc., etc., it was a great big hit!!!! Have fun!!!

I have traveled with my two children several times, so here is the scoop. He does not need a car seat on the plane, but he will probably have a much better flight if he does. It's not hard for them to learn how to unlatch the seat belt and get out. Some kids actually feel like they are falling out of their seat with out their car seat. You do need a car seat while you in Florida, so my suggestion is to bring it on the plane. He will have a more comofrable flight and you will have it for your rental or taxi. I bought a "luggage rack" to wheel it behind me and it isn't a big deal. You do need to tell them when you check in that you have a car seat, because he must be seated at a window seat. Have a great trip!

We took my daughter when she was 3, and we did not have a car seat. I preferred to not to have to deal with a big bulky car seat. It was nice because she could lay down on her seat and use my lap as her pillow. This of course was when the "no seatbelt" light was on. Since she had to be buckeled during take off and lading, I used that time for "snack time" and coloring or games. You do not have to have one. My sister just took her 1 year old daughter and they did not bring the car seat. Hope this is helpful!-E. G.

i flew with the britax marathon when my daughter was 18 months old.

i had the wheels for it for the airport, you have to remove them to get the set down the aisle and to install it in the plane.

i have since purchased a harness and my sister used it with her 3 year old and LOVED it.

check out this link - http://www.kidsflysafe.com/

car seats are needed in cars in case of an accident, children need to be restrained on airplanes for turbulance.

i would leave the seat at home, get the harness and rent a seat in fla.

have fun with mickey mouse!

Hi G.,
We just went to Disney with our 3 1/2yr old son and 2 1/2yr old daughter a couple of months ago. We had brought their booster seats with us. Well, they wouldn't let us use them on the airplane seat. We were told they were not FAA approved. Anyway, they both just sat in their own seats, with the seatbelts on, and did great. Good luck!

Call a travel agent too, they may know

Have you tried going on the airline's website? Unless things have changed drastically in the past few months I would say no. My sister-in-law just took her six month old twins on a plane and they didn't need a car seat. I've taken my girls all the way up to age three on a plane and didn't need a car seat either...

I did have to pay for a seat since they were over the age of two, but it has been a few years since we flew anywhere. It is getting too expensive. We just drive everywhere. Even driving as much as 16 hours with the kids.

You won't need the car seat on the plane, but you will need it once you land for any car you ride in. When we travel with our kids we bring along some 30 gallon trash bags and tape. When they get out of the car at the airport, put the car seat in the a trash bag or two. Tape it shut. Then, just check it like any other piece of luggage. Oh yes, do make sure it's labeled with your name, address and phone number, just in case!

I don't believe it's required though you will need one for car travel when you get there. We've done it both ways, and there are pros and cons. The seat is a pain to lug on and set up, but once done, it keeps the child contained, up high enough to look out the plane window (otherwise they're too short), and makes it easy to fall asleep in. W/o, there's more room to squiggle around, lay down, etc. which can be both good and bad. Really a personal choice. One note: car seats aren't allowed in the fire exit aisles OR the aisle behind (and maybe in front). Ask the flight attendant if your seats are near the exit. We found this out the hard way and had to frantically move the seat, which of course wouldn't unbuckle, as the plane was picking up speed on the runway for take off!

Hi G.:
My sister got an official FAA seat belt for her 2 1/2 year old. You can order online I think from the FAA website - it's like a regular seat belt but it wraps around the seat and straps them in. So far, not one flight attendant has ever seen one or even heard of them! Good luck and have a fun vacation!

I agree that the kidsflysafe harness is probably your best bet if you're going to Disneyworld. You can probably get away with not using a car seat at all if you rely on only shuttle buses to get around.

I put my daughter in a car seat on a 10-hr flight when she was two years old. It raised her up so high that she kept kicking the seat in front of her. Good thing no one was sitting in it.

Have fun at Disneyworld!

my daughter is 5 we always bring one
she sleeps well in one and that way she has it on the way to the airport and once we land. she is still in a 5pt harness seat. unless you are driving yourself to airport and only taking a bus once you get there you have to have one anyway

J.

Hi G.~
I just travelled to California with my 2 kids--5 & 20months. When I asked the airlines about their policy, they said it was up to me. I let my son (5) just sit on the seat, but I did bring one for my younger daughter. It was a pain hauling it around the airport & getting it on and off the plane. If you're comfortable with him just sitting on the seat alone, it would definitely be easier!! I guess it's just your personal comfort that you have to take into consideration. The main reason I brought it for my daughter is because she was more comfortable in it & was able to fall asleep--but we also had a 4 1/2 hour flight!!
Hope this helped!
J.

You are not required to use car seats.If you are renting a car you may want to bring it. I noticed the last time we rented a car they were going to charge $7 a day to rent a car seat. The last time we flew I brought her car seat and checked it. You may want to contact the airline though and make sure they don't count that as a piece of luggage. Most airlines are charging $25+ for each piece after your first piece of luggage. If that is the case I would bring it and have her sit in it on the plane.

HI!

Your 3 year old does not need a car seat on the plane. However, I recommend one. I just took my 2 1/2 year old to VA and I was glad I lugged the thing on. He felt more comfortable, I felt a little safer, and by the end of the flight he was a little crabby so I was glad to have it to latch him into. I also am one of those moms that brings the big stroller instead of an umbrella. I just think, "Why not?" If it makes my son more comfortable and my life easier to shove everything in the stroller, it's worth it. You can check it at the plane entrance. Sorry, a little off subject. But NO you don't need a car seat on the plane.

If you do decide to take it on board make sure that it is FAA approved. It will say FAA approved or some wording on the side that it is car and airplane approved. I didn't check that info before we got to the airport, so it caused some confussion. The first agent was not able to see the wording about being safe on planes, so we thought we were going to have to check it in. Then another agent came by and saw that the seat was safe for plane travel, so we were able to take it onboard with us.

We just came back from vacation. We have a 3 and a 2 year old. We took the seats b/c we were renting a car and thought it would be safer and cheaper for us to use our own carseats while we were there. My 2 year old also sat in her carseat better then if she was without it.

Good luck and have a nice trip!

We just went to Disneyland last week- by plane. The airline does not allow car seats to be used on planes anymore. Both my 2 year old and my 5 year old sat on the regular seats. I ended up carrying a booster seat through the airport (for my 5 year old). My advice- don't bring one. If you are renting a car, just get the seat through them- that is what we did for a seat for my 2 year old. Have fun!

Hi G.! You definitely should NOT need it. We took our daughter all the way to Hawaii for her 2nd birthday and did not use her carseat on the plane. She just sat right in the seat, buckled in. It was no problem at all. So if your son is 3, he should be just fine without it too : )

Have a great trip!

You are not required to have a car seat as far as I know. I've traveled with my son (now 5 yrs old) several times on airplanes and only once used a car seat because it was a long flight (I wanted him to sleep comfortably) and I also needed the seat for use in a car at my destination.

You can probably double-check airline policies though by accessing their web site.

Enjoy your trip,
J. W.

We took our daughter to Disney when she was still 2 and she did not have to have a carseat. When we rented a car there, we rented a seat for her.

G.,

No, you do not HAVE to take a carseat on the plane with you. You can check it at the gate and they'll have it ready for you to pop into your rental car when you get to your destination. We took our 2-year old son to Colorado in August and we did not use a carseat on the plane, so I'm sure your 3-year old will be fine.
It's just up to you to determine if it would make the trip easier if you DID bring it on the plane. I had several friends tell me that they always use the carseat on planes because it keeps the kids seated throughout the trip. We chose to let our son feel like a big boy in his own seat, but I just wanted to point out that there are pros and cons to both sides.

Have fun in Disney!
~P.

We just went to California with our 4 year old and we weren't allowed to use our booster seat... I'm not sure if you need a specific kind of carseat though. I would think he's big enough, considering it's just a lap belt.

Hi, G..

You do not need a car seat.

I know you leave soon, but next time you might want to try a WeCare harness if your 3-year-old likes to get out of his seat or if you think he might sleep. It's FAA approved and you slip it over the back of the seat and through the seat belt. We've used ours a couple of times without any trouble. We had previously used a sit-and-stroll (collapsible carseat/stroller) and it just became too cumbersome (our youngest is 2).

Hope that helps!

E.

hi there. i work for an airline and no you dont need to bring the car seat for your son. he can sit in the seat with out one. however they do recommend using it. but i never bring one when i fly with my little girl.

hi G., I went to Europe with my kids in May- 18 months and 5 at the time. I did not have a seat for my 18 month old and I was really glad I didn't have it. It would be just an extra/useless piece to tag along with you.
The airline had a special belt that attached to my belt for the baby for take off and landing. During the flight she would just sit in her own seat with her own belts.
All I had was just a backpack with diapers, water and snacks. Stroller on the other hand was very helpfull, you can gate check it and they'll let you take it all the way to the plane. You leave it right there and then when you land the stroller will be waiting for you as soon as you come off the plane.

G.,

If you need your seat in Florida for transport (he's too young just to use a seatbelt in a car) then bring it. How are you traveling once in Orlando?

Kids are familiar and comfy with their carseat and it will prevent him from getting up etc undoing the seatbelt onboard....carseats are not that difficult to install on airplanes. He may also sleep too!

Bringing it onboard also prevents the airlines from losing it if you check it as luggage. Uf they lose it then you're at the mercy of the rental companies who may give you the nastiest, expired carseat!

No children do not have to be in carseats on airplanes. My experience, my kids have always been in carseats and sit still and quiet, often I see parents dealing with squirming, wandering kids without carseats.

I figure as long as I need to bring my carseat for use at my destination I bring it onboard, there are lots of easy ways to put it in a bag with wheels to pull through the airport, I do it with mine all the time.

B.

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