Flying with car seats — The Bump
April 2014 Moms

Flying with car seats

We will be traveling next month, and I wondered if anyone had experience flying with kids and what to do with their car seat. We have flown with ds but always had a car seat available at our destination.

Dd will be on my lap on our short flight (I know, bad mommy. I've done my research and I don't want contrary comments, thanks). Do I check her car seat? At the gate? I don't really trust them, but I need to get her seat there somehow because we are renting a car there. Is it better to get a different car seat for the trip that I can just leave there after?

Any experiences you can share woul be helpful. Thanks!
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speechie517

Re: Flying with car seats

  • There are car seat rentals in many cities, just as another option.
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  • There are car seat rentals in many cities, just as another option.

    We have done that before, and I checked, but it was sooooo expensive.
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  • We checked ours at the gate.
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    AmberLiz99
  • I'm doing this on Saturday. I'll let you know how it goes! I am also carrying/wearing Merriwether during the flights.
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    AmberLiz99
  • Gate checking is the best option although there's still the possibility of a damaged seat. For me I would buy a cheap scenera or something to take because they're light and if it gets damaged I won't cry. Look it over really well when you get it back.
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  • I'm using a bag for both the stroller and carseat.
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    AmberLiz99
  • I just got back from a trip with the LO. Her carseat snaps into the stroller so we were able to check it at the gate when we checked the stroller. We flew on Jetblue and it was very simple. We went up to the attendants at our gate and they stuck a few tags on it then we left it as soon as we walked into the plane.

    My LO also sat on my lap for the 6 hour flight. I just brought my nursing pillow and she layed across my lap when we wanted to sleep. It's just easier at this age I think ;)
    AmberLiz99
  • We plan on just checking our stroller/car seat.

    I plan on doing as much travel as possible before she turns 2! Because once I have to start paying for  a seat for her, our travel budget will be severly compromised :(


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    PoppySeedWindsor[Deleted User]AmberLiz99MissWhis
  • When we traveled with DD we checked her car seat with our bags (jet blue lets you check car seat, stroller, & one carry on for lap babies) we walked up the the gate with the stroller and they took it. It was simple! Hope for a safe flight for you.
  • We flew Southwest and I bought a large nylon bag from them for $15 that fit our car seat and stroller (Britax b-agile and b-safe, large items!).  We just checked the bag at the gate.  It was easy.
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  • Depending on the airline, checking it may be free if you are worried about the added expense. I checked LO's when we flew last month with Alaska. It was free. One thing to worry about would be if the airline loses the seat. It happened to a family that flew the same flight as we did.
  • If you use a stroller with carseat (like snap n go), then I would gate check both.   Most airlines will let you bring the carseat on when you board in case it's not a full flight and you end up with an empty seat to put the carseat on (and if there isn't an empty seat, they will gate-check it for you).   Downside is you have to lug the carseat around the airport and through security and might not get to use it.

    If you have a non-carseat stroller and/or you think it's going to be a totally full flight, then I would just check the carseat at the counter.  You can use a bag if you want.  I'd rather use my own carseat for traveling because rental carseats can be shady (like expired, or the wrong size for your baby) and you aren't familiar with how to install them.   If you use your own, you know how to install it, and know it fits your child.   

    If you're worried about damage, you might consider buying a cheapie carseat just for when you travel (so if it gets damaged, at least it's not your expensive carseat).  All carseats are safe, a cheapie one might just have lower-quality fabric covering or fewer features.  The Cosco Scenara (from Walmart I think?) is a good option for a convertible seat because it's inexpensive and lightweight enough to lug around an airport.  I'm sure there are inexpensive/lightweight infant seats out there as well.   

    Meg Collins, the lady who does Lucie's List, has an e-book on flying with babies.  It's like $2.99, and I found it really helpful when I was getting ready to fly with LO for the first time.  I highly recommend it.
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  • I'm doing this on Saturday. I'll let you know how it goes! I am also carrying/wearing Merriwether during the flights.

    I'm sure you know this, but just in case -- be prepared that the flight attendants may make you remove the baby from the carrier during take-off and landing.  Also?  Baby-wearing through security is SO MUCH EASIER :-)   I recommend it to people even if they're bringing a stroller through security as well.  Wearing the baby gives you extra hands to take out your laptop and liquids, remove your shoes, etc.  AMAZING.
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    [Deleted User]AmberLiz99PoppySeedWindsor
  • We gate checked our carseat/stroller combo so it was free. I also had LO sit with me and baby wearing is very easy and nice! It also prevents strangers from touching baby.

    Be prepared if you are bringing BM or formula through security. I got a full pat down at one airport but not the other ones we were at. Also, if you are baby wearing some security guards will make you take baby out and have just you and baby go through and the carrier go through screening with all other carry ons. Have fun! Fyi feed baby on take off and landings to help with the ears!

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    AmberLiz99
  • I gate checked my stroller and car seat. I find that to be best because it's the last things on the plane so less likely to get manhandled and smashed by luggage. I was traveling alone with LO so I was baby wearing. Security didn't make me take her out but they may ask you to. I had BM in bottles and they tested it. I did have to take her out of the carrier and put her on my lap during take off and landing.
    AmberLiz99
  • I flew when LO was 2 months. I had planned to check her car seat at the gate but on all 4 of y flights the seat next to me we're empty so I out her car seat there and held her during all flights
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  • If you gate check a car seat, should you bring a bag to put the carseat in as well? Or is that just if you check it at the counter?

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  • cwm11985 said:
    I flew when LO was 2 months. I had planned to check her car seat at the gate but on all 4 of y flights the seat next to me we're empty so I out her car seat there and held her during all flights
    Dude, a flight that's not full?  Unicorn!!
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