Traveling with young children can be a daunting experience, and using a car seat on a plane can add to the confusion. However, proper use of a car seat can greatly increase the safety of your child during air travel. In this updated guide, we will go over everything you need to know about using car seat on plane, including regulations, requirements, and tips for a stress-free flight.
Can you bring your child’s car seat on an airplane?
Yes, you can bring your child’s car seat on an airplane as long as it meets the airline and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. This is strongly recommended for children under the age of two, who are required to be secured during the flight.
Who needs to use car seats on planes?
Children under the age of two are required to use a car seat on an airplane for their safety. However, it is also recommended for children over the age of two, especially those who cannot sit still or buckle themselves into the airplane seat belt.
What to consider when flying with a car seat?
Your child’s height and weight
First, you must consider your child’s height and weight. It’s crucial to know whether your child is within the weight and height limits for the car seat you’re using. Check the car seat’s manufacturer’s manual to ensure you’re using the right seat for your child’s age, height, and weight.
The airline’s policies
Next, you need to review the airline’s policies regarding car seat usage. Some airlines allow the use of car seats on board the plane, while others do not. You also need to know whether the airline has specific regulations on how the car seat should be installed or secured during the flight.
The type of car seat you have
Lastly, you need to consider the type of car seat you have. Car seats come in different sizes, styles, and configurations, and not all are suitable for air travel. For instance, some car seats are too bulky or heavy to carry onto a plane, while others may require a car seat base, which may not be available on the flight.
7 Tips For Bringing Your Car Seat on an Airplane
1. Bring Your Car Seat on the Plane with You
Most airlines allow you to bring a car seat on board the plane as long as it meets the airline’s size and weight requirements. However, if you decide to leave the car seat behind, you can check it with your baggage, and it won’t count towards your luggage allowance.
2. Even if They’re Under 2, Buy Them a Seat
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends that children under the age of two sit in a car seat on an airplane. If you have a child under two, you may be tempted to hold them on your lap to save on costs. Still, sitting in a car seat is safer and more comfortable for both you and your child during the flight.
3. Research the Airline
Before you book your flight, research the airline’s policy regarding car seats. Determine if they allow car seats on board, if you need to pay extra for the seat, and whether they have any specific requirements for installing the seat.
4. Select The Best Car Seat Carrying Option
When traveling with a car seat, you have three options: carry it on board, check it with your luggage, or use a car seat cart. If you decide to carry it on, you need to ensure it meets the airline’s size and weight requirements. If you decide to check it with your luggage, make sure you secure it with extra padding to protect it from damage. Lastly, a car seat cart can make it easier to transport around the airport.
5. If You Have to Check It, Take Precautions
If you’re checking your car seat with your luggage, make sure you protect it by covering it with a plastic bag to prevent it from getting dirty or damaged. You can also purchase a car seat cover to protect it further.
6. Consider the Car Seat You’re Bringing
Ensure you choose a lightweight and compact car seat that’s easy to carry around the airport. Avoid using bulky and heavy seats that will be difficult to maneuver around the airport.
7. Plan for In-Flight Sanity
Once you’re on the plane, you need to ensure your child is comfortable in their car seat. Bring snacks, toys, and books to keep them entertained during the flight. You can also consider using a portable DVD player or tablet to keep them entertained for hours.
Do you have to notify the airline about a lap child?
Yes, you must notify the airline if you will be traveling with a lap child, meaning a child who will not have their own seat on the flight. The airline may require additional information, such as the child’s age and weight, and will provide instructions on how to secure the child during the flight.
Are car seats not allowed in certain spots?
Some airlines have restrictions on where car seats can be placed on the plane, such as not allowing them in emergency exit rows or blocking other passengers’ access to the aisle. Therefore, it is important to check with the airline before your flight to ensure you are following their guidelines.
Will my car seat fit in the airplane seats?
Most car seats can fit in airplane seats, but it is important to check the width of the seat and the size of your car seat before your flight. Some airlines may also have restrictions on the size and type of car seat allowed on the plane, so it is important to check with the airline beforehand.
Are there seats on the plane in which car seats are not allowed?
Generally, each airline has its own guidelines on the use of car seats on the plane. However, there are no specific seats on the plane in which car seats are not allowed. It’s essential to check with the airline company before your flight to ensure that you are following their guidelines.
Can I use car seats in business or first class?
Yes, you can use car seats in business or first class. However, it is always best to check with the airline beforehand whether they allow car seats in premium classes.
Can I use a booster seat on the plane?
Booster seats are typically not allowed on planes due to safety concerns. It’s best to check with the airline before your flight to find out their policy regarding booster seats.
Are there any alternatives to a car seat for use on the plane?
Some alternatives to a car seat for use on a plane include a CARES (Child Aviation Restraining System) harness or a Travel Vest. They are specifically designed for airplane use, lightweight and easy to install.
What if the flight attendant tells me I can’t use my car seat on the plane?
If a flight attendant tells you that you can’t use your car seat on a plane, it may be due to the seat not being FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) approved or not meeting the airline’s safety standards. In such cases, it’s best to comply with their requests. However, if you feel that their decision was incorrect or unfair, you can politely request to speak to a supervisor. Remember to always respect the airline’s policies and safety regulations as they are in place for your safety and the safety of other passengers.
By following these guidelines and tips, you can ensure that your child is safe and comfortable during air travel. Remember to always check with your airline before your flight to make sure you have all the necessary information and requirements, and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if needed. With the right preparation and knowledge, you can enjoy a smooth flight with your little one.