Air Travel and a 1 Yr Gonna Be 2 Yr Old

Updated on March 27, 2008
J.P. asks from Lisle, IL
9 answers


Got some questions.... I will be traveling in June via air plane. Departing my child will be 1 on the way back she will be 2. Should I get her her own seat? What will the airport require for my daughter to board the plane for example birth certificate or picture i.d.? I have no clue and hoping someone out there can give me some advice.

Thank you,

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answers from Dallas on

After they're two you have to buy them their own seat. Call the airline if you want to try to not. You have to take a birth certificate. If you don't already have one, order it now, it takes a while sometimes for them to come. Take some saline nose spray, if you can't get her ears to pop with food or drink or candy a squirt or two will usually do the trick. Have fun!

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answers from Chicago on

we have always had to show id
we actually now travel with her passport and her birth certificate (4yr old daughter)
pack a sippy cup if they make you empty it you can alway buy something to put in it after security



answers from Chicago on

Question - Does she sit quietly in your lap now for extended periods of time without getting up? If so, you might be OK. We've done both with my active little guy - had him sit in our lap and purchased a seat for him. It is, by far, easier for us to purchase an extra seat. When they're really little, they'll nestle into your chest and fall asleep, making the lap-child concept great. Now that my little guy is 20 months old, he needs his space and a 5-point harness to keep him safe. Tip - take her shoes off so that she can't kick the seat in front of her...or if she does, it's much softer. Let her just wear socks or we've found the moccasins (hanna andersson has great ones) keep their feet warm and STAY ON. Also, the extra seat will give you room to store snacks (bring lots of them) and toys (keep to a minimum b/c they'll wind up on the dirty floor a few times)....and she just might fall asleep in her carseat to the hum of the engine. The DVD player suggestion that was mentioned by another mommy is a great idea. Good luck!



answers from Bloomington on

J.- clarifying some info I read in other posts.

I was reading some responses....yes you can REAR face a carseat on an airplane....the FAA regulations state you CAN install the seat as it is installed in your car...the stickers on most seats even state rear facing to 30 pounds etc....I have always installed mine seats are installed in the window seat as required so as to not block the path. It is against FAA regulations to have a child in any type of carrier (Ergo/Bjorn during take off and landing, basically the baby becomes a human airbag with turbulence etc.

Just wanted to clear up a few things I read.....on a couple of car seat boards there are great resources for FAA regulations, which is where I have become very educated on this topic.

A flight attendant has posted on on this topic and she had great info to share, check it out...sorry if I exit to get the link I'll lose this me if you want the direct link, it's very helpful.

I always rec to buy any age child their own seat, that way you can bring their carseat on board and safely travel (coffee pots have to be strapped in - why not children???) Tricky thing with the age....maybe call your airline...they will sell children under 2 a 50% off ticket so they'd probably sell you the cheap fare both ways. Yes, bring proof of age...I've seen some ticket agent question the age of kids...usually if the parent doesn't have a seat and the child is big for his age. Anyway....just for the safety aspect I always purchase a seat for my babies, there are too many safety risks of a lap baby and the child will be so much happier sitting in her seat (I also recommend installing it rear facing like in the car as it prevents little feet from kicking the seat AND you can see them and they can fall asleep easier, all pluses for airtravel).I always ask the person sitting in front if they mind, usually they don't as they understand it makes for a quieter flight (I've also been known to say thanks with a beer or cocktail if they like too- for the passenger in front not my child although not a bad idea....just kidding.)

Happy flying!


Mom to a DD almost 5 and my DS just 2!



answers from Chicago on


I have travelled a lot with my little guy. I would get her own seat, if nothing else for more room!!! I found my son would get pretty squirrelly after a while so the more room there is the better. No ID is required for the little ones, just you.

Bring a sippy cup (sometimes the TSA people let you in with the sippy, sometimes they don't) or buy something to drink in the airport before boarding so you have something for her to drink so her ears pop. Maybe buy some new books or toys (that don't have a lot of little pieces) that you save for your 'airplane' bag. My son watched video's and played his Leapsters also which is nice on the longer flights.

Feel free to email me if you have additional specific questions.




answers from Charlotte on

I just recently flew to NC on American Airlines w/ my 3 & 5 yr. old. I called ahead and I was told that 2 & under did not have to pay, because they sit on your lap. If they don't sit on your lap you have to pay full price for a seat. You can though bring the seat to check in with the luggage for after you land.



answers from Chicago on

We just got back from Naples yesterday-which was a three hour flight. We bought a portable DVD player for the plane ride with a couple of DVD's that he likes a lot-like the wiggles. We did not use ear phones as I am sure he would not wear them. Also they let us bring his sippy cup of juice on the plane we just had to put it through the x-ray machine but every airport could be diffrent. Also bring some books and a clean blanket. The planes get cold! Have fun.



answers from Chicago on

I am a flight attendant. Once a child reaches their 2nd birthday they must have a seat, regardless of the airline you choose. Call the airline and see what the best fare they can offer you is. A lot of them do have children's fares but often the sale price of a ticket may be cheaper. There is no easy explanation behind that one, but call and speak with someone rather than try to purchase online.

A birth certificate should be adequate proof of age, unless you are leaving the country and would then need a passport.

Southwest Airlines from what I hear is the one to ask for it most often than other carriers. I always carry my kids along just in case. I have never been asked to show it, but my kids have always had their own seats so maybe that is why.

Personally, I would just get her a seat and bring her carseat. Kids are used to sitting in their carseats, the familiarity of it may be helpful. You can hold her on your lap when the seatbelt sign is turned off if you'd like. You should bring that little brass clip that came with your carseat, it is used with seatbelts like those on an airplane that are free sliding and don't lock like the ones in cars do. Also it is easier to twist the seatbelt around and have the buckle face backwards. I have helped many parents try to unbuckle the seat at the end of the flight and after the seat is in there so tight it is hard to lift up on the clasp to release the seatbelt. Much easier if you twist it so the buckle can get easily released!

Also make sure the carseat has the sticker stating this carseat is approved for use in an aircraft. It should be printed in red somewhere on her seat.

Feel free to contact me if you have other questions. :)



answers from Chicago on

I should clarify also then:) My car seat manual says to never rear face on a plane because of FAA regulations. Perhaps it's just that seat- a Graco something or other convertible type.

I have also been told on a flight not to rear face and to turn the seat around front facing because it blocks the aisle- I think that was on a British Airways flight so maybe they have different rules but it does make sense to me. It sounds like the other poster knows her facts and those were just my personal experiences so who knows? I would call the airline.

I also wanted to add that if it were me I wouldn't pay for a seat this time even though she will be two on the return, but I would next time, of course. Happy travels!

I've never had to show id for my kids and we have traveled extensively (except passport for international flights). I guess it would make sense to bring a birth certificate or something in case, but I never have.

I traveled with my kids on my lap for as long as I could. I carried them in a sling and then kept them in it on the flight for security- though they will sometimes ask you to take them out of it for takeoff and landing which doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

I do know that if you take a seat on board you are not supposed to put them rear facing as it blocks the exit path and the seats are not FAA approved for rear facing use on the plane. If you read your car seat's manual it may discuss how to use it on plane, mine says front facing only.

My only other piece of advice is if you bring a stroller and carseat, check them when you check in. They do not count towards your luggage allowance and it is a huge pain in the butt to take the stroller and car seat through security and drag it down the jetway.

Next question: Flying with a 2 y/o....can She Be on My Lap??