Fitting a Britax Marathon in Purchased Flight Seat

Updated on January 26, 2010
J.S. asks from Kalamazoo, MI
16 answers

We are flying next week (on a 777) and have purchased a seat for our 19 month daughter (8 hr flight). I'm planning to buckle her into the Britax Marathon car seat, but worried all of a sudden that the car seat won't fit in the seat. I tried calling United to verify acceptable models but they didn't have any information. Does anyone know?

Do I buckle the car seat in forward facing or rear facing? I'll take a look at the manual...instinct tells me rear facing? Is the buckling into the seat difficult? Do I need a lap extender or something to buckle the car seat into the seat?

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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone for the advice. Installing the car seat on the plane was absolutely no problem (forward facing, no belt extender needed). In fact I'm 7 months pregnant and I did it while my husband waited in the terminal with our daughter. No questions or issues from United attendants as I boarded.

Months ago we bought a J.Childress car seat backpack from Wal-Mart ($40) as we always gate check our car seat vs baggage check, as I want it to be there when we arrive at our destination. So the backpack makes it easy to carry it in the airport, even by a pregnant woman. I highly recommend it:

Overall the flight there went well, and I was glad she had her own seat (10am - 7pm flight). We had just a little crying, and unfortunately she only slept about 45 min. But overall people around us commented she did well. The flight home was another story as we left Hawaii at 6pm, and while we hoped she'd sleep, again it was only for about 2 hours, and otherwise we had about an hour of screaming.

I did try Benadryl. That helps her get drowsy, but she always seems to wake up after an hour or so.

Featured Answers



answers from Philadelphia on

Read all the other posts. Cannot comment on this particular seat, but we flew many, many times with my kids in car seats and they always were fine...and they stayed in the seats and were comfortable in them...used to them. Made flying with them SO easy! Good luck!

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answers from Reading on

I flew with my 22 month old and a Britax Marathon. You will want to install it forward facing, just as you do in your car. You won't need any seat belt extensions and you install it exactly as you would if you were buckling it into your car (no latch on airplanes). I must say, buckling it into the seat, making it tight so she's safe is the easy part! It's lugging it through the airport/security that's a pain in the "you know what." Safe travels.



answers from Philadelphia on

we took our then 7 mo old son to FLA & brought his car seat, also a britax. we put it in front facing & used the lap belt to secure it. he did great. just make sure that you are not in the emergency row. we had to move on our flight back after everyone was secure, after the flight attendant realized their mistake. not too happy with that, but it worked out in the long run. bravo to you for purchasing a tix for your little one. it really is the safest way to fly. good luck



answers from Allentown on

I also have a Britax Marathon and flew with it twice. It will fit fine in the seat. It needs to be forward facing and all you need to do is use the lap belt to secure it down to the airline seat. Very easy. You don't need an extender or anything. Just make sure you pull the lap belt once buckled as much and as tight as you can. Good luck!



answers from Allentown on

I've traveled w/ our Roundabout (which is a few inches shorter than the Marathon) several times. It fit ok as long as it was by the window (you won't be able to get past it).
I think I usually had to have it FF but may have RF'd it the first or 2nd time we took's been a while! You'll just have to see how you can get the best installation. You'll also need a seat belt extender.

Have fun!



answers from Philadelphia on

These are all good suggestions. I have used my Marathon on the plane - and no, the tray table will not work, yes, the kids has a great potential to kick. I had to take my child out for a large portion of the flight to walk the aisle, sit in my lap, etc. because of squirminess. However it's important for ultimate safety and take off/landing. I also think this CARES harness is a great idea. It sounds like it will give the child more room and be sure to bring a few surprise toys for her for when she starts to get bored or agitated. Drink plenty of water, and if you do decide to take the car seat along, leave plenty of extra time to maneuver this big thing around the airport and onto the plane. Do the "boarding with small children" so you have time to organize it and all your stuff before everyone is goes into the plane. I think checking it as luggage with an id tag or inside a strong hefty bag with id tag, is a good idea. I have also rented car seats from the rental car places - not as nice as the Marathon seat, but a lot less schlepping. I hope you have a great trip, whatever you decide. FLying at all, let alone with children, is a pain.



answers from Harrisburg on

Google it. I found this....
CARES, the Child Aviation Restraint System, is the only harness type child aviation safety restraint ever certified for airplane travel by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

CARES is an elegantly designed belt and buckle device for kids 22-44 pounds that is easy to use and creates a safe airplane seat for your child without the hassle of carrying a 20 pound car seat.

CARES weighs just 1 pound and fits into a 6" stuff sack! It is simple to install, adjustable to virtually any size airplane seat, and keeps your chilid as safe as a car seat would.

CARES is made of the same industrial-strength webbing as your own seatbelt. It is engineered and manufactured by AmSafe Aviation, the world's foremost manufacturer of airline seatbelts.

Need your car seat at the end of the trip? Check it as luggage -- take CARES on board in your pocket for a safe airplane seat for your child and a hassle free trip for you!



answers from Pittsburgh on

I have no experience with any Britax seats but make sure that somewhere on the seat itself that is says it's approved for airline use, cause even if it says it in the manual if you can't find it one the seat they won't let you use it. We had this issue on only one out of 6 flights one summer but they were adamant about it till we found where the info was hidden on the seat. Check ahead of time before you leave so you know. I would never have survived with out the car seat as my little one would never have stayed still on my lap like he stayed in his seat and that would have been a struggle with out plenty of distractions. Good luck.



answers from York on

Yes it fits.but you have install it forward facing.i flew with my almost 2 year last year in june to germany (also 8 hours)and it was fine.the only problem i had was that Lufthansa tried to explain to me that they changed the rules about carseats in airplanes and i could not take it.i was flying by myself with a 6 year and almost 2 year old.i got really upset and they ended up letting me take it on board.the only problem i really had was that my LO kept kicking the seat in front of her.and i can tell you people DO NOT like's hard to keep them occupied for that kinda flight.good luck.
M. Mom to Kaitlyn 6 and Lauren 2



answers from Philadelphia on

i just looked online and the marthon is approved for airline travel.

you will put it front facing due to space in the seats, and just slip the lap belt through the carseat in the back. it won't need an extended. and airlines require the child seat to be at the WINDOW only.

We have flown 4x with our Marathon and never had any problems.

A VERY helpful product for flying is to get this travel mate

it attaches easily to the carseat and becomes like a stroller in the airport. we rolled our daughter all over the airport and then took the travel mate off right before we boarded the plane. it fits easily in the overhead compartment and this why your child is strapped in and your hands are free!! LIFESAVER and worth EVERY penny!!



answers from Pittsburgh on

HI - we flew our 24-month old in a Britax Diplomat and it fit in the seat just fine. We did have armrests up, and I don't know if that makes a difference. We put the seat in forward-facing, just like in the car. You attach it just as if you were attaching the car seat via lap belt in the car. I don't even know if you can do rear-facing, but, if you could, my husband speculates that you would need a belt extender. The seat has to go into a window seat for safety reasons (I guess it doesn't block people needing to exit the row). However, I will say that we will not travel with our son in the Britax anymore. He constantly kicked the seat in front of him, despite my best efforts to stop him, and it was a pain lugging that thing through the airport. Next time, we're going to get one of those buckle things that you attach to the chair and the child. It goes over their chest. There is only one approved by the FAA and it cost, if I remember correctly, about $60. If you do a search, I'm sure you will find it online. (or, more likely, someone here has already recommended it to you!). Happy travels!



answers from Seattle on

They fit fine. I have flown with mine 4 times. The only issue I found is that when you want to feed your child or do coloring the tray table will not go down. I ended up getting a little detachable tray for it from babies or toys r us. Forward facing and you don't "need" a lap extender but it is easier. BTW united are stupid and will try to talk you out of taking your car not listen. That is the safest way for your baby to fly!
The harness thingy the other person recommended is great but you can only get it online and you may not have enough time but it is well worth the money. I took my car seat because I was going for an extended visit and would be in the car a lot. You can rent car seats.



answers from Philadelphia on

Yes, you can use it. In the manual that is attached to the car seat it says that it is approved for airline use. Get the lap belt extender, makes it so much easier to install, and yes install forward facing. It's not really easy to install a car seat into the seat, but worth it in the end. When my son was 2 1/2 we flew and he stayed in the seat the entire time because that was what he was used to doing!


answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi J., If you car seat fits in a regular car seat it should fit in a plane seat fine. Install the car seat on the plane seat as you would if you were in a car (if you still have the manual for your car seat this information should be in there). We had no problems at all when we took our girls on their first flight and took a car seat with us. The flight attendants will help you and should have anything you may need. Have a great trip! Best wishes.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi J.--Hope you have a great flight.

Don't worry too much about the seat. First-- buckle it in the plane the same way you would in your car. Usually you HAVE to put it in in the window seat b/c in case of an emergency, it would block the way for the window person. Next if you need an extender, the airlines carry them, but usually are fine w/o. If the seat is large, it will come over a little into the middle seat, which just makes it uncomfortable for the passenger in that seat. But the arm rests all go up to allow for "larger" passengers, and car seats....., so the fit will not be the problem. And I think the 777's are a little more roomy, so that is good. Have fun, and take LOTS of toys, games, --maybe a protable video player and patience. 8 hours is a long time for anyone, let alone an almost 2 year old.

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