Car Seat for Flight

Updated on March 12, 2008
C.P. asks from Stuarts Draft, VA
8 answers

My husband and I will be flying with, at the time of the flight, our almost 11 month old daughter and we have purchased a seat for her but I noticed that the car seat we have decided on buying is bigger than the airplane seat. We are planning on buying the Britax Marathon or Boulevard which are both 19 inches wide and the airplane seats are just a little over 17 inces wide. Has anyone flown with these car seats on Canadair Regional Jet CRJ or McDonnell Douglas DC9-30 operated under NWA and did you have any problems using these car seats? I just don’t want to get on the plane and the seat not fit.

Also TSA only allows you to have “a reasonable quantity” of formula and food for the length of the flight. What is reasonable and what do you do if your flight gets delayed?

Any suggestions or thoughts would be appreciated.

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answers from Dover on

I do not have experience on those particular airplanes, but I do know that i have a large carseat and it has fit on every plane I have been on. You should be able to contact someone with the airlines to help you with this. I do know that the seat should go in the window seat however for safety purposes and it seems to me those seats may be a little bit larger because I didn't have to jam the carseat in it.

Regarding the formula, bring whatever you feel is necessary for your child. I always doubled up what she would normally eat just in case of delays. I have travelled about a dozen times with her since she was born (she is now 2) and I have never had any issues with TSA when it came to food I was bringing for her.



answers from Washington DC on

We flew to Colorado last July with a 2 1/2 year old and 13 month old. I think on Frontier, so I'm not sure about other airlines. I would call. I also took the print out from the airlines website with carseat regulations with me, just in case we had issues with the airline, we didn't. We took both our Britax Marathon seats with us. We ended up putting my 2 1/2 year olds seat in cargo as we boarded by our choice (he had his own seat, so we just belted him.) It was just so cumbersome lugging two and it was good we did anyhow. My daughter sat in her car seat. They will only put them in a window seat and the only problem we had was that her feet touched the seat in front of her. It was a tight fit, but worked out. I just did blocking and tackling with her feet so she wouldn't kick the seat in front until she fell asleep. There was a pregnant, very understanding woman in front of her. Nonetheless, we didn't want her ride to be unpleasant! No way could we have used it for my son, his little legs would have been crammed up against the seat. I would take all the formula you think you'll need even in case of delays. They won't fight you on that. They will make you empty any sippy cups as you go through security. So just don't have any on that side until you get through in a bottle or cup. I'd label it clearly too. All airports are different, but good luck! Also ask to be pre-boarded so you can get situated. Some airlines are great about that, some ARE NOT & don't help at all when traveling with little ones. Others are wonderful. So, at least ask.



answers from Richmond on

Hi C.!

You will find that most car seats will be standard to 19 inches. I would check with the airline to see if they will supply you with a carseat. Or will they allow you to hold the baby during the flight. Which in all honesty that is probably what you'll have to do because just like our ears pop during a flight so will hers. So she'll most likely be cranky. And with the formula, I'm not sure anymore because of 911 I would take two to three bottles and because she is almost 12 months she will be able to eat cherrios and other finger foods. Also she can drink apple juice or cranberry juice which the airline does supply. The last time I flew, a mother had a baby no older than a year old and the airline just took the baby's carseat and put it under the plane. I would just call the airline and make sure. Because it would be a waste of money for you to go through buying a new carseat and an extra seat when you most likely not need it. I hope this helps.



answers from Washington DC on

I have flown with two in carseats and pregnant with my third. I do understand what you are talking about. I ended up putting my knee in the seat and practically sitting in the carseat myself to get it to fit. It's a tight fit, but you at least you know the carseat isn't going anywhere!!! Also, have you checked the airline? I know some carry carseats and you can check YOUR carseats with your baggage. Hope that helped. Most of the time, they will let you bring more...but when I flew from Spain to Delaware with my newborn...we figured 1 bottle per hour. So, bring enough for your flight and about 2 extra...just in case.



answers from Charlottesville on

hi C.!
i worked for an airline, so to help you out a bit, a reasonable quantity is enough food/formula, etc. to last your flight. generally TSA is pretty easy going with kids' stuff. if you have formula pre-mixed or milk or breast milk, they can just test the bottle at the security area. if you are using formula, i'd pre-measure it into the bottles and then add water later if you can.
As for the car should be ok with either one, but you can get on the NWA website to check approved seats or call and ASK...if they give you a hard time, ask to speak to their supervisor. We never use a car seat because lugging it around the airport was just too cumbersome and the baby/toddler always ended up on our lap anyway! the only issue is if you are going to need it at the other end, but you can generally get a car seat with a rental car or buy a cheaper seat if visiting relatives that they can keep for your visits. i hope this is helpful! happy travels!



answers from Washington DC on

Hi, my husband and I took our son on vacation to Jamaica, and at the time he was 12 months old and I did not use a seat. I was told that he has to sit on my lap as we did not actually pay for his seat--kids that age travels free, you only pay tax. We did not have any problems and this is the first time I am hearing about seat for infant on the plane. As for his milk, I had a large thermos filled with milk for him and I did not have any problems with TSA. The flight was approximately 4 hours. I hope you will be able to do the same and no flight delays. Good luck.



answers from Norfolk on

A couple of things. One, she can sit on your lap if you are comfortable with that, or you could go to your local Wal-Mart and get a smaller seta. They do have some that run in the $40-$50 range and if you are a frequent traveler, it may very well be a good idea. Also, Just take a can of dry formula as this will make it easier, and as far as "reasonable" food for the trip, I would assume 1 jar of baby food for each hour of the flight.



answers from Washington DC on

Not sure about car seat or airplane seat, but maybe you could swap with a friend who has a smaller seat just for the trip?

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