39 answers

Car Seats on Airplanes

In a few months, we will be flying to visit family. Unfortunately they don't have direct flights to where we are going anymore, so we have to change planes. My daughter has flown 11 times, but this will be the first time she needs her own seat (she will be 2 next month). So I am new to the toddler seating on an airplane! We have a Britax Marathon, but I would prefer not to bring it. We usually check it w the other luggage. Do they actually need a carseat on the plane?

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So What Happened?™

A huge thank you for all of you who responded! We finally went on our trip last week (from UT to FL). We had to switch planes twice and didn't have very much time to get to the plane. We decided not to take the carseat on the plane because of our tight schedule. Instead of the carseat, we used the only FAA regulated harness. CARES Kids Fly Safe (kidsflysafe.com) It was extremely easy to install; it took 5 minutes and it worked great! I was worried that my daughter may not like it or be able to sleep in her seat w it, but I was wrong. She loved it and was excited to use it on the plane ride back home. I would recommend you check out the website. It is so small that it can fit in your purse and it just attaches to the regular seatbelt. As for the carseat, we checked it w our luggage by putting it into a nice carry-on bag for carseats. It is made by Graco and it was in the $30 range; I got it Babies R Us. I would highly recommend it. It held our Britax Marathon and there was no damage to the carseat or the bag.

Featured Answers

I have taken both of my girls on the plane every three months for the past two years. They're now 2 1/2 and 4 years old. I have NEVER taken a car seat. You don't need a car seat. I sometimes see parents bring car seats on the plane but it seems like too much work.

1 mom found this helpful

We have traveled with a 2 year old a couple of times but never bothered with a car seat on the plane. YOu don't have to have one on the plane. It seems more like a bother to me. We just brought plenty of snacks and things for her to do.

M. H.

1 mom found this helpful

No they don't need a carseat on the plane. I wouldn't bring one especially if you have to change planes, you already are going to have so much to carry. I have two children, 4 and 2, and we have flown several times. they have been fine. Just bring things for her to do, if you have a portable dvd player, that is always a big help. I have been on airplanes when children have been strapped in carseats and they were just as naughty and loud, maybe even worse. So I would say don't bother.
J. B

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Borrow the stroller and carseat in one from a friend if you don't have one. I bought mine on ebay and paid $80 less than they asked for it on onestepahead.com. It's been wonderful with my now 2yr 9mo old! I ALWAYS have to travel with a connection. It's not that bad. E.

1 mom found this helpful

You will want to call the airline and double check.
I have taken my little girl and used a car seat. A friend of mine and I bought a travel car seat that turns into a stroller specifically for traveling. We found it in a skymall magazine that they have on the plane. I found that she knows how to behave in her car seat, so using it on the plane worked well for us. It kept things consistent and she was not prone to wanting to get up and run around.

1 mom found this helpful

We have traveled with a 2 year old a couple of times but never bothered with a car seat on the plane. YOu don't have to have one on the plane. It seems more like a bother to me. We just brought plenty of snacks and things for her to do.

M. H.

1 mom found this helpful

E.,
I too have a two year old who travels with me quite a bit. Just last month was the first time I had to buy a ticket for him. We did not need to bring his car seat on the plane with us. However, the challenge we had was keeping him in his seat during the take off and landing. We ended up buying a small toy for him to open on the the flight home so he did stay entertained while strapped in his "big boy" seat.

1 mom found this helpful

We just flew to Disney World with a 9 year old and a two year old. I called the airline and they said that the child doesn't have to be in a car seat. Nobody else on our flight did either. We also have a Britax Marathon and although they are wonderful car seats .....they are big and heavy. We needed one for the car rental when we arrived in FL. We decided to rent one from the car rental for $7.00 a day....well worth it to us.
Hope this helps.
A.

1 mom found this helpful

I have travled with a 6 and 2 year old. We had to leave my fold up stroller at a gate as our flight was late and we barely made it running to the connecting flight. I can not imagine if we had taken the car seat! I have seen people with a car seat that turns into a stroller! Not sure how much they are but if you travel a lot that might be an idea. We do not so never looked into it. You just need to think if you are doing this by yourself you are going to have to most likely carry a sleeping child off the plane with a car seat and your bags! Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

We too traveled quite a bit. I found it easier to make the children comfortable in their car seats. I too have Britax car seats, they are heavy and I know you probably don't want to lug them around. Think about this - we checked ours and they tossed it around and broke a chunk of plastic off the bottom. Care to guess what they did for us? Yup - nothing.

I recommend you keep it with you.

Peggy

1 mom found this helpful

No, car seats are not required on planes. However, we have always purchased a seperate seat for our son and brought along his car seat. He flew at age 12 months and at 26 months. He did great on the plane because he knows that when he's in the car seat he CANNOT get out under any circumstances. He knows this from riding in a car! We never told him that getting out of the seat was an option on the plane. And with two adults travelling, carrying on the car seat wasn't that big of a hassle. You get to board first! Also, the car seat protects a small child from turbulance. Most flights run very smoothly, but there is always a chance that something can go wrong. Even if there isn't a crash, a small child could be injured during a bout of severe turbulance. Just something to think about!

1 mom found this helpful

I responded the other day to another question about flying with children and my advise is still the same... I really think car seats are just one more thing to haul around with you in a busy airport. They are not required by any airline I have flown with. I really do not like the rule that you HAVE to buy a full priced seat for 2 year olds, but I guess you get more luggage that way. Good luck with your trip and have fun!!

1 mom found this helpful

They do not need the seat and with changing planes that would be a little difficult. I know, I have done that before and would never do again. I would bring a small lite stroller to push her in and you can bring it all the way to the door of the plane fold it up and go on in.

1 mom found this helpful

We travel with our now 3 year old on air planes all of the time and we have never taken a car seat. I personally think they get in the way. They do have to have their own seat but you don't have to bring a carseat. I think on long plane rides little ones would go crazy in a car seat and if you have lay overs you would have to haul the seat around with you with would be a pain.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello, I understand your problem. I traveled with my 2 year old before and it was most comfortable to take the car seat with on the plane, other than you can't leave it or put it down anywhere and keeping it in tow and a 2 year old is a problem. I gave my 2 year old a doll stroller and a doll to keep her busy in the airport, since they can't get far if they are pushing something. I don't think my little one would have sat still for that long on a plane without her car seat.
I hope this helped.
L. in Montana

1 mom found this helpful

If you decide to bring the seat look at www.onestepahead.com and check out their care seat carrier. It has wheels and a handle so you wheel your carseat behind you like an ordinary piece of luggage. I would feel safer with my toddler in a seat. Adult seat belts are too big to keep them safe.

1 mom found this helpful

I flew last summer with my two year old. On our airline you didn't have to bring a car seat, but if you did it had to be on a specific list. Thank goodness mine was! The car seat was a HUGE blessing! We could set it on one of those luggage carts and he rode in it around the airport like he was a king lol
When we got to the plane, I strapped him into the window seat and he settled down like we were in the car. It was a bit bulky for changing planes and all that but as long as it's more than just you going and you have an extra pair of hands, I say go for it. Having that familiar seat was great for him, me, and all the other passengers too lol

1 mom found this helpful

No, they don't need car seats. They do make you put a seat belt on them like everyone else. I wouldn't bring it on the plane (you can if you want) because there is hardly enough room for all your stuff as it is.
Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful

We have flown with our 4 year old twin girls a lot of times, too. We used our car seats, Britax Marathons as well, on the plane one time...the first time they had their own seats. It was such a pain! Carrying it on the plane and trying to get around it once it was buckled in. Kids do not need car seats on the plane. My kids do great on the plane. When they were that young, I told them the rules before we got on the plane (you need to stay in your seat with your seat belt buckled), and they were champs. About your layover: See if the airport you will be at has a play area. If it does, head right there when your plane lands and let your daughter play while you and your husband take turns going to the bathroom, getting snacks, checking flights, etc.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a two year old with whom I flew solo from Europe last fall. Since we did not need a car seat over there and did not want to lug one around (we also have a Britax Marathon), I bought a "harness" called CARES at kidsflysafe.com. It is FAA approved for taxi and takeoff. It comes in a little bag and weighs very little. We did not have any issues (turbulence or worse) while flying but I think if we had it would have restrained her...also I think it made her feel safe and more like she was in a car so that she didn't feel like she could run around quite as much. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I used the sit and stroll (onestepahead.com) when I traveled with my young son. It's a car seat the converts to a stroller. I LOVED it because I could pick up the seat with him in, pull the handle/wheels out and wheel him to our connecting gate...it was a BIG help when we had to hurry to our next gate...no little guy to chase after. Plus then I had a car seat at our destination.

1 mom found this helpful

No - she doesn't need it. I would check it with the other luggage. She'll feel like a really big girl sitting in her own seat like mom.

1 mom found this helpful

The car seat has to be airline approved. You will need to get a list of the ones they approve or you will be stowing it with the luggage :) (we learned that lesson the hard way). My kids are 6 and 2 now and we have never used car seats on airplanes. To much stuff to carry.

1 mom found this helpful

My son is now 5 and we have been traveling-- a lot. The only reason to take the car seat on the plane is to try to get her to sleep. At two, my Jacob was fully able to sit in a seat during takeoff and landing. She can sit on your lap the rest of the time if it makes her more comfortable. If you are changing planes at all, do not carry the car seat because you will be dragging a seat, a 2 year old, carry on luggage, a diaper bag all at the same time.

1 mom found this helpful

We also have a Britax marathon and they are big chairs especially on a plane (or running through the airport to make your connection). When my son was 2 we flew many times with his chair, once also to Europe and it was perfect and worth the hassle...but as he got taller, the chair did not work especially if the person in front of your child reclines...major problem. I have since traveled some with a booster, but some airlines will not "approve" them to use on the plane and thus make you check it. Nonetheless, the booster was great because my son was more comfortable and could then use the plane tray table too.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.,
I work for JetBlue. They do not need a car seat on the plane. If you decide to bring one for her, you must make sure that there is a sticker on the car seat that says that it is FAA approved, or they will not allow her to sit in it.

1 mom found this helpful

We always have a seat for the kiddos. Using a Britax also. We just strap it to the back of the stroller as we go through the air port. You can also buy something to carry it on your back. If you are traveling with dh, one of you take the early boarding, to set up the seat...the other stay in the terminal to wear her out as much as possible. My kids always fly awesome, in their seat...they're used to it.

1 mom found this helpful

If you do decide to take it and check it in as baggage I would highly recommend looking at a car seat cover for airlines. Check this one out http://www.topoftheline-travel.com/infant-car-seat-cover-... The one I have is actually a backpack that you can strap on but I really like the idea of having it on wheels.

Also if you are renting a car you might not even need the car seat as a lot of rental cars come with built in car seats.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.,
We just flew 7 hours with our 2 1/2 and 1 year old. Used a car seat for the 1 year old, and it was fantastic to have the seat. We gave him some dye-free benadryl, and he slept in his seat. The 2 1/2 year old hasn't used a seat on the plane since he was a year old, and he does quite well with a dvd player and a bunch of little inexpensive toys I wrap up like presents for the plane and unwrap and play as we go. If she's sqirmy, I'd bring the seat. You'll be happy you lugged it along. We bungy ours to the stroller.
Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

We just flew last week on Midwest, my daughter is 30 months and there was no issue except she got antsy during landing-so if you're sure she'll stay seated and NOT unfasten her belt you should be fine.

1 mom found this helpful

no you never HAVE to bring a car seat. just make sure she keeps her buckle done when she needs to. good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Even though it might be a pain, I highly suggest taking the carseat on the plane. It isn't required but when we took our 25 month on an airplane flight it really helped. When she got strapped in the carseat she knew that she had to stay in the carseat until we got to our destination (kind of like riding in the car). She associated her carseat with staying put. In our case it really helped a lot having the carseat along.

1 mom found this helpful

We just flew to Maui (3 flights - UGH!), and did bring our Britax Marathon. The easiest thing to do is to get a luggage carrier (the wheels) from Target and just strap the carseat to that in the airport. Or, you can just rent a cart and use it for carry-ons, carseat, etc. in the airport.

There is also something called "Go-Go Wheels" (or something similar) made for the marathon, it hooks right onto it and you can actually pull your child through the airport in the carseat. I did not think that my son would have liked that though, and I didn't want him that low to the ground in the airport.

I would bring the Marathon though. You will likely need a carseat while you are there, right? Also, your daughter is likely to be more comfortable in her familiar carseat.

1 mom found this helpful

I have taken both of my girls on the plane every three months for the past two years. They're now 2 1/2 and 4 years old. I have NEVER taken a car seat. You don't need a car seat. I sometimes see parents bring car seats on the plane but it seems like too much work.

1 mom found this helpful

I've flown many times with my almost-2-year- old son. I have always forked out the extra money for a seat for him and brought his car seat on the plane with me because he falls asleep in it (which makes me a very happy mommy). It is a bit of a hassel, but most airlines will let you board first so that you are able to situate yourself before the rest of the passengers. If your husband is with you it will be no sweat. You will have to check with the airline you are flying, I think most require that children over 2 have a carseat. They also check to make sure your carseat is approved for air travel, there will be a sticker somewhere on the seat. I know for sure they don't allow the over-the-head buckle/armrest seats. Goodluck!

1 mom found this helpful

When my daughter got old enough to need her own seat, I chose to bring our carseat because I thought she'd be safer in it. The great bonus is that she isn't able to get out of her seat! I am always happy to not have to be chasing her around the plane. The one bit of advice I will offer is this (we have a Britax too): when you hook the airplane's lap belt through the back of the carseat, you will have to twist it so the buckle latch faces toward the back of the airplane seat. This is very important to remember, because if you tighten it with the buckle facing into the carseat back, it is impossible to get your hand in there to open it (you know how you have to pull on those buckles). I almost had to have the flight attendant cut our seatbelt to get the car seat out the first time we flew with it, because I attached it with the buckle the wrong way!

1 mom found this helpful

You don't need a car seat. make the seat belt as tight as it will go on your child and fill in the gaps to the side with an airplane pillow or blanket. Good enough. Besides the airlines destroy car seats. T. K.

1 mom found this helpful

I am pretty sure that most airlines don't allow you to take car seats on planes. I have been told that they are just that - car seats- and are not approved for flying. It has been eight months since we took our daughters on a plane. My youngest was three at the time. I would call the airline just to be sure! Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

No they don't need a carseat on the plane. I wouldn't bring one especially if you have to change planes, you already are going to have so much to carry. I have two children, 4 and 2, and we have flown several times. they have been fine. Just bring things for her to do, if you have a portable dvd player, that is always a big help. I have been on airplanes when children have been strapped in carseats and they were just as naughty and loud, maybe even worse. So I would say don't bother.
J. B

1 mom found this helpful

I have a two year old, who has flown probably a dozen times. Recently he turned two and flew for the first time in his own seat. You do not have to bring a car seat on the plane, so we chose not to due to the fact we had to change flights. Normally he is a great flyer. At first he didn't understand why he couldn't be held anymore. And every time
I put him in the seatbelt he got out of it. They have to be buckled in just like the adults. If they won't stay buckled you have to hold them in. It was a long flight with turbulance and I hated holding him in most of the flight. I wish I would have practiced at home with him in a seat belt, so he knew what to do. I thought why didn't I let him practice in the car in the garage, so he knew what it was? The flight attendent was less then helpful. She kept coming over and saying "mam he has to be buckled in." I thought don't you think I am trying! Good Luck to you. We are flying again soon, hopefully it will be better.
:)

1 mom found this helpful

I don't think it is required. As a matter of fact the airline will not let you use one unless is says it is approved for aircraft, the flight attendant checked mine. I would check yours in as luggage (unless you have one you can use where you are going, and can leave yours at home) and go the thrift store and buy a 2.00 booster seat that is so light and easy to carry and let her use that on the airplane. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

Did you know that your daughter doesn't need to have her own carseat if she is under two, and can take turns sitting on you and your husbands lap?
Carseats are not required on airplanes. We have flown many times with our children in the last five years, and the oldest is five and the youngest is 22 months. The only time you would need a carseat is if she is under two and does have her own seat. You should check with each airline though, cuz they may have different policies. We always fly Northwest, and we have never paid for an extra seat if they were under two.

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