A.W. asks from Prospect, KY on January 10, 2009
Infant Carriers on Airplanes
We are traveling to Florida via plane with a 2.5 yr old and a 6 month old. I was planning on taking the infant carrier but not the toddlers car seat (we will have one when we get down there). Do we need to take the infant carrier base with us? how do this work?
J.L. answers from Louisville on January 11, 2009
I don't have any advice, but please let us know how everything goes. I'll be flying with my daughter at the end of March (she'll be about 6 months then) and am a little nervous about the whole thing. :)
K.P. answers from Fayetteville on January 11, 2009
It's been a while, but I remember we did fly when my son was 5 months old and I did not bring the base. We did not buy him a ticket, but we brought the carseat/carrier on the plane with us. We also had the stroller that went with the carseat and we were able to check that at the gate (or the actual door to the airplane). They will give you a little ticket and have it ready for you when you deplane (they do the same for wheelchairs). The carseat will fit in the overhead compartments, but if the flight is not full they will let you use a seat so your baby can ride in the carseat. They all know that babies may go to sleep better in their car seats! The lap-style belts are easy to use to secure the carseat. You could always pack the base and check it with your bags if you think you may want to use it at your destination.
K.C. answers from Raleigh on January 11, 2009
No! You totally don't have to take the base with you. I just flew last month with my 3 month old and you just put the seat backwards on the plane the same way you do in the car. Also - I didn't buy my infant a ticket so on the return flight I actually just had to hold him and couldn't use my infant carrier at all, in which case they just gate checked it.
I also didn't know this before (and he's my third so I'm not sure why I never came across this) BUT, you don't even technically need the base in your car either. I didn't believe it myself (my sister had told me that who also has 3 kids) but then right there on the car seat itself it shows directions how to secure the carrier in the car withOUT the base. You basically strap the lapbelt part through two hooks (never noticed before either) on either side of the carrier and it stays in place. It's not as safe, but its adequate and legal. Happy flying!!!
M.H. answers from Raleigh on January 11, 2009
We took our car seat and paid for an extra seat for our daughter, we had to sit on the run way for about 45 minutes. We were not allowed to take our 2 yr old out of her car seat even though she was screaming at the top of her lungs. I asked the flight attendant and she would not allow me to take her out. I tried explaining that if I could take her out she would calm down. I tried to remove the car seat and let her just sit in the seat and got in trouble for that too.
Make sure you ask about the rules in case you get stuck on the runway with a screaming child.
We made everyone miserable and my mother was with us and she started yelling at the flight attendant, it became very stressful.
B.W. answers from Jacksonville on January 11, 2009
Not only do you not have to take the base with you, you don't even have to use it in your car. The bases were created for convenience and because 70% of people out there do not know how to secure a car seat all the way. The two main mistakes most people miss are using the shoulder strap and not locking the seat belt.
When you put the seat in facing backwards, put the lap belt through the slots over the lap of your child. Do Not put the shoulder belt through those slots. It can easily slip out creating slack in the seatbelt. Go ahead and buckle the seat belt. Then pull the shoulder part of the seat belt out until you can't pull it out any further. This locks the seat belt. After that, pull on the shoulder belt in the other direction to tighten the seat belt around the car seat. That's all there is to it but if you miss either one of those steps, the seat can move around in an accident putting your child in danger.
Hope that helps.
S.D. answers from Chattanooga on January 11, 2009
No you wont need the base. Are you planning on having the baby sit on your lap during the flight, or will he be in his carseat during the flight? I recently traveled with my 3 yr old dd and almost 6 month old dd. I just held my youngest in my lap because she flew for free then. If you are planning on having him on your lap you can check his carseat at the gate before you board the plane and it will be waiting for you when you get off the plane. HTH!!
K.M. answers from Charlotte on January 17, 2009
Hi I traveled with my daughter when she was the same age and got lots of advice from social workers I know/families I have worked for (nanny). The most interesting thing I found out was that it is safer to sit with your infant on your lap in an airplane since they do not have locking seat belts which are required for car restraints to be used properly. Whether you need the base or not depends on the type of carrier it is. If you can secure it using a seat belt or LATCH system with out the base it is fine to leave it at home. (Check the instruction manual or call the manufacturer.) One of the car seats I used when I live-in nannied could be used in a car with out the base; the mom and I felt better using it, but the dad did not mind not having it, so it could be a matter of personal choice. Either way they will check the carrier at the gate and you can pick it up when you get off since there is NOT room to have it on the plane unless you have purchased an extra seat. Sorry this was so long and I hope this helps!
J.S. answers from Fayetteville on January 12, 2009
So long as you can use the infant seat without the base, you don't need to take it with you. I never took mine when my son was an infant...it was just one more thing to carry.
I'm sure others have mentioned this, but please be sure to take along quiet things to occupy your children on the flight. Make sure that both your children have something to suck on during takeoff and landing. I usually give my son gummies to eat during takeoff which he thinks is cool, and it helps equalize the pressure in his ears. Also, I make sure to fill up a water bottle or two once we get past security, so he'll have plenty to drink.
Just a note: changing diapers on the plane is a bit of a pain, but I found that it did help to have the infant seat, because then I could at least have some place to lay the baby.
W.M. answers from Nashville on January 13, 2009
I would assume you belt the base in with the seat belt but I would call the airline for sure. They may even have a seat for you to use.