C.C. asks from Highland Park, IL on March 10, 2008
Traveling with Two in Car Seats
Hi. I have found lots of great tips on the site from moms who have traveled alone with 2+ kids (which has really boosted my confidence) but I have a few more questions/concerns. It is my understanding that car seats cannot come between you and the aisle and therefore the seats must be located in window & middle seats putting me in the aisle seat. Has anyone done this before? We have a Britax Marathon and a Boulevard seat - not small by any means and I am wondering if they will fit next to one another on the plane? I am also concerned about my referee abilities not being centrally seated. I am considering obviously leaving my youngest in the car seat but then seating my oldest without but I have huge reservations about checking the seat as to avoid any damage (which with my luck would be inevitable). So I am possibly considering renting a seat from a local baby rental place or the car company but would honestly feel better with my own. Anyone have experience with rental seats? Thanks in advance for your advice!!!
2 moms found this helpful
E.C. answers from Chicago on March 11, 2008
While I only have 1 little guy. We now rent our car seats when we travel. We too have a britax and they are not the easiest to travel with. When I travel with my 22 month old son to california which we do at least 4 times a year we rent a car seat with our rental car. It is 10$ a day and worht every penny. THey are not the same as our car seat but they must meet minimimum safety requirements and we have alsways been allowed to choose our seat out of a grouping. My 22 month old is over 30 pounds and it is just easier for us. I hope that helps.
T.N. answers from Chicago on March 11, 2008
While I've only traveled on my own with one child, I've never used a carseat on the plane. I've always checked it and haven't had any problems. I'm also not sure a Britax Marathon would fit in a plane. If you're planning on checking it, just make sure you bring a garbage bag or something similar to put it in, since not all airline companies have bags for them. In addition, we have had no problem renting carseats from car rental companies. If you have AAA they usually give you one for free. They're usually not Britax seats, they're cheaper ones, but they're fine. That said, there's a new product out there you can consider buying. I haven't used it so I can't recommend it, but it's worth a look: the website is http://www.kidsflysafe.com and the product is called Cares. Good luck with your trip.
K.C. answers from Chicago on March 11, 2008
We flew last summer with our DD who was 2 1/2 at the time. We checked her carseat with no problem, though we did buy a "bag" type thing for it from one step ahead. She also has the Britax Marathon. A couple things......The Britax seat does NOT fit in an airplane seat, no matter what Britax says. We were really happy with our decision to check it when we saw a half an hour battle involving another couple trying to get their Britax installed on the plane, and in the end they had to check it because it would not fit. Our daughter did fine just sitting in her seat, the seatbelt tightened around her snug. We also brought several brand new travel toys/ activities to keep her busy and it worked like a charm. I looked into rental seats, but found they were the cheapest and flimsiest seats.........most car rental places have car seats for rent, if it is an airport location. This works great, but you MUST contact the rental agency by phone directly to make sure they offer them and to get one reserved. I have a friend who requested one with her online reservation only to find there were none available- that her request didn't get through to them- and her husband had to drive to target- buy a carseat- come back to the airport, install it in the rental, etc. It was a HUGE hassle, wasted a couple hours, and in the end they had an extra car seat they had no idea what to do with.
L.K. answers from Chicago on March 11, 2008
When we traveled with our twins at 14 months, we held them on the plane . We brought our own carseats because you don't really know what you are going to get from car rentals and how to actually install them. We saved the boxes that the carseats (Britax)came in and taped them up and checked them in(no damage). American airlines does not take that away from your bag limit. Also, we had the kids in their stroller until we boarded and then checked it at the gate(get the claim check at the desk before you board though).
L.D. answers from Chicago on March 11, 2008
Hi! First, I would highly recommend NOT using the car seat for your 3 1/2 year old on the plane. We just returned from Hawaii last week - we took our 2 year old with us, and she was just fine sitting in a seat by herself. While in the islands, we did rent a car for a day, complete with a carseat we rented from the car company (Budget). The carseat was fine and the company installed it for us. We had a great time driving around the island and had no issues with her seat whatsoever. Oh, and the cost to rent the seat for the day was only $10 - well worth it not to have to lug that giant Britax on the plane or carry it with us everywhere we went. When my daughter was younger, we did bring her carrier seat to visit my father-in-law. We were not renting a car, but using his on the trip, so we had to have it. Checking it was no big deal. They usually wrap it in plastic for you so it doesn't get dirty, and they are sturdy enough to indure baggage claim. (She was only 9 months old at the time, so she sat in our laps on the flight).
Hope this helps! Good luck and happy travels!
A.H. answers from New York on March 11, 2008
Hi C., I have 2 boys ages 3 and 5 and travel with them alone very frequently. Since they grew out of their infant seats, I have never brought a car seat for them on the plane. I can't imagine how I would have gotten through the airport with the two of them, a double stroller, a carry-on bag, AND a carseat or two. I have found that the kids are fine on the plane, especially if I can sit between them to referee (as you mentioned). I also have never checked a car seat-- I always just rent them from the car rental company. Be warned, it is not cheap to do this and you have to install them yourself. But it is more convenient than lugging yours from home. Good luck!
A.L. answers from Chicago on March 11, 2008
Check the books that came with the car seats to see if they are FAA approved. If they are not FAA approved, then they cannot go into an airplane seat. I've had flight attendents ask me, especially if the carseat is a larger carseat.
When my daughter was 27 months, we took a booster seat (intended for older children) on the plane for her. She's above the curve on her height. Her huge carseat was loaded as part of regular luggage. When she was 3, she sat without any additional seat. We used cups with sealed lids, and did pretty good overall from a spillage perspective (we were on the plane for 9 hours).
Depending on the height/weight of your 3 1/2 year old, I'd say put that carseat in cargo and let him/her sit like a big girl/boy.
There was someone on the plane in front of us who had a attachment that went around the airplane seat that I think was like a 5 point harness.
The more you can limit what you bring on the plane, the better off you'll be. Best of luck!
S.A. answers from Chicago on March 11, 2008
I've traveled with my little ones at least six times or so. I've always checked their seats with my luggage and their stroller at the boarding gate. The seats and the stroller have never been damaged. Unless you own a $300 or $400 seat, I wouldn't worry about it.
I never checked but do the airlines have any policy in place for insurance on the seats or inspection before they are checked. That way you can replace the seat if they are lost or damaged.
I always just sat mine in the seat....do they require car seats now? I've traveled with mine from ages 3 months to 3 years old. I never used a carseat. I found it easier. Less to carry on the plane with two little ones and once in the air, I can hold one on my lap and we can read and color....(mommy can entertain easily...less crying).
Both my girls love to travel, but it is a little exhausting trying to keep them entertained so they don't irritate the other passengers.