Need Help Finding a Light but Safe Booster to Take on the Plane and Car

Updated on June 07, 2009
H.L. asks from Austin, TX
8 answers

Hi moms,

I have bought a Britax Frontier for my son few months ago and I love the booster. But it is also very large and I am looking for a booster that I could take on the plane that we could also use in the rental car. Eventually I will use this booster for my husband's truck since he does take my son to some classes once a week or so.
Do you have a suggestion or recommendation for a light and smaller booster but also pretty safe? I would even appreciate any websites with car seat reviews if you know a good one.

Here's my son's information. He is 4 1/2 years old, 40 lbs, and 44 inches tall.

Thanks all in advance!

Added note: let me clarify we don't have USE the booster on the plane but it would be nice to be able to bring it on as a carry on even if it means putting it in the overhead bin. I just want something more mobile.

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for your responses. I didn't even realize Boosters were not FAA approved. Since we have a lap child as well using a car seat on the plane is not really necessary. However I do want something more portable for travelling. I don't like the way the people at airline handles car seats so I would rather not bring the nice ones I have bought for my kids, plus those Birtax car seats are bulky. So we are going to get The First Years Compass Ultra Folding Booster for my son and bring our extra Britax Marathon we have for our girl. I'll let you all know how it works out. Thanks again!

More Answers



answers from Austin on

Please go to this site. Boosters alone are not safe for children.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I don't believe boosters are usable on a plane, you'll need to check with the airline your flying.



answers from College Station on

They will not let you use a booster on a plane unless it is FAA certified. Usually the ones that have a 5pt harness. The costco or graco belt boosters that are $25 at most stores are some of the best rated and good for travel. They cannot be used on the plane, though. Your Brittax is most likely your best best if it is FAA certified.



answers from Houston on

Well, you might consider taking your Frontier w/ you. We recently flew to San Diego with my kiddos and took both of their Recaro seats (one is a Young Sport and the other is a Signo). We only took one with us on the plane and checked the other since my son was a lap rider. We took the Signo on the plane with us, and though it's wide and big all around, it fit fine. Since that seat was on the window seat, no one but me had to sit next to it and it didn't bother me.

I called the airlines in advance to find out the width of the seats on the plane we were on. We thought about bringing other car seats with us (since we had two from a couple years ago before we switched over to Recaro), but we really wanted our Recaros with us since we bought them for safety.

Anyways, good luck! :) have a great trip.




answers from Austin on

This is the one that we've used from Target.

We've never used one on a plane, but it was nice to be able to gate-check something lighter :-)

HTH and safe travels

K., mama to
Catherine, 5.5y
Samuel, 2.5y
EDD 9/09



answers from College Station on

We use the Graco Turbo-Booster seat. Since you're planning on using the booster seat in a car (not just on the plane), I would urge you to get one with a back, which provides added safety/support. (I still have my 7yo in a booster with a back in my car--he only weighs 42.5 pounds if you're thinking I'm crazy!)...However, I just read on this website ( that booster seats are not allowed on planes, so I would check into your options before buying the booster (unless you simply need it anyway for dad's car). Enjoy your vacation!



answers from Houston on

Booster seats are not allowed on planes--this isn't even an especially new rule. That being said, I've certainly seen them being used when the airline isn't particularly finicky or the staff is unaware.

Keep in mind that, even if you find an "approved" seat the airline does not have to let you use it. Your child meets the age and weight requirements for using the regular lap belt.

A seat would have to be installed in the middle or window seat--it can't block the access of another passenger (other than yourself).

Seats or boosters may be too wide to be installed effectively. Not all armrests move. Your seat can end up sitting on top of the buckle and make it difficult (impossible) to install.

If you decide not to use a seat onboard, or get turned away, gate check it rather than sending it through with the rest of the luggage--it will get slightly gentler handling. You can buy a big zippered bag with a shoulder strap that will make it easier to haul through the airport (and keep it clean).

My daughter always flew riding inside a sling or Moby Wrap until she was too big for us to be comfortable (about a year) and then I moved her to a car seat. I'm am not so sure anymore that I will wrestle with it--though it does make it easier for her to sleep on the plane.

I travel a lot for work, and always have to reassure myself when I have to take a long flight after a recent crash. A couple of interesting statistics that I found: 1) 90% of plane crashes have survivors; 2) Toxic smoke inhalation actually causes most of the deaths--not the impact 3) Being able to get out of your seatbelt quickly is important to being able to get out of aforementioned smoke.

Good luck with whatever you find!



answers from Austin on

Booster seats are not allowed in passenger seats on any US airline. Car seats that are FAA compliant are allowed in the window seat, or in the middle seat only if the window seat is empty. The issue in the Kyle David Miller situation was the failure of the seat belt, not the booster seat. I currently use the Graco high back booster seat for my six year old (56 lbs) and a Graco without a back for my nine year old (65 lbs). Fortunately, neither seat has been tested in an accident, so I can't say with all certainty that they are safe. But, they position the lap and shoulder belt in the correct place. The seats are comfortable for travelling. We fly in the continental US at least six times a year and gate check the booster seats. We then use the seats in rental cars upon arrival. Prior to moving to the booster seats we used the Britax Roundabout. It was extremely heavy and difficult to travel with. We always checked them in with our luggage. For your peace of mind, you may want to travel with your Britax Frontier so you will have it for use when you arrive at your destination. With the extra charges on some airlines for checking luggage it may be cheaper to gate check the carseat since they don't charge for gate checked items. It will be easy to rent the cart in the airport for a few dollars to move the Britax from one gate to the next if you have a connection.

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