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  1. #1
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    Air Travel advice - Car Seat Recommendations


    I have been reading several of these types of questions but am still perplexed.

    I will be traveling with a 4 year (38 lbs, almost 42 inches) on Southwest this season and own a Graco Nautilus (he is still with the 5-point harness and used to using it for road trips 8-11 hours long). I'm pretty sure that it will be too big for any plane and too bulky. We will be flying as well as riding in a car for several hours in possibly wintry conditions. That being said I want my little to have a car seat for both the plane and car. I have seen the recommendations for the RideSafer Vest but that won't work on the plane as he is too big for CARES system. I did read that airlines may not care if he is in a car seat though?

    Not sure about the RideSafer as an alternative for a car seat though - still reading on it.

    Wondering if anyone has every used the Cosco High Back Booster Car Seat with 5-point harness on a plane? Seems like an inexpensive and light weight alternative to the situation.

    This is my first time flying with my son so I am a little confused and overwhelmed by it all so would love some experienced input. Thanks.

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  3. #2
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Air Travel advice - Car Seat Recommendations

    Welcome.

    The FAA recommends using a carseat until 40 pounds, but you're never required to use one (too many parents fly with lap babies, or their two year old in just the lap belt). So your son should fit without anything on the plane. However, as it's not safe to check a carseat, you should bring it on board with you and use it.

    The Nautilus is FAA approved with the harness and fits on a plane. However, if you'd like something less bulky you could look at an Evenflo Maestro.

    The Ride Safer Travel Vest is a wearable five point harness, and would be a great option for this trip. You'd just put it in your carry on and you're done.

    The Cosco HBB has very low top slots and a 40 pound weight limit for the harness. It's very likely he's outgrown it by torso height, and he could it 40 pounds if he's wearing heavy boots in it.

    The CARES system goes to 44 pounds, so he should fit in it, if you wanted it. But with a child who fits in the plane's belt, I don't know that I'd bother.

    HTH

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  4. #3
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    Thanks Wendy that is very helpful. I'll look into the Evenflo. Is the Nautilus heavy and bulky to travel with? I would prefer it as this is what he is used to but haven't read where anyone has travelled with it. If it doesn't fit in the plane seat will they just put it upfront during the ride so it doesn't get checked?

  5. #4
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Air Travel advice - Car Seat Recommendations

    No, they would check it. But it fits. I've seen pictures. Remember, you can always put the armrest up between your seat and his.

    You might want to get a luggage cart and a bungee cord. That way you can roll it through the airport. Or a Traveling Toddler if you're not checking luggage. Either way, he can ride in the seat through the airport.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  6. #5
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    Re: Air Travel advice - Car Seat Recommendations

    I was in the process of ordering one of the traveling toddler things so I didn't have to carry it If it will fit, we will try it this trip and see how it goes. Thanks again.

  7. #6
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Air Travel advice - Car Seat Recommendations

    Awesome. I use the Traveling Toddler. I love it.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Air Travel advice - Car Seat Recommendations

    I wouldn't put a 4 year old in the car seat though.

    That contraption is for those bringing rolling suitcases on board. The only "risk" is if the suitcase gets gate-checked because those are really, really difficult to stow on board airplanes. If they do need to gate-check it, tell them to return it to you on the jetway and then you can use it to transport your car seat. They may send it to baggage claim and then you'd have to hand carry your car seat all the way down there (which at some airports, can be looooooong!)

    If your 4 year old rides in it, it might be too much weight on the handles, which were only designed to pull the suitcase. If they broke in the airport, you'd be stuck trying to get your car seat and your luggage to the gate-handleless! Not a pretty picture...

    I use a foldable metal luggage cart and secure the car seat with a bungee. I check everything (I'm usually on flights where one bag is free) and only bring on board what I and my kids need for the flight in a backpack. The luggage cart is right there at our feet when we deplane. No risk of not being able to stow it.
    Former Flight Attendant, 13 years, 2 companies in 5 countries
    3 trilingual, international travelers with two nationalities
    http://flyingwithchildren1.blogspot.com

  9. #8
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Air Travel advice - Car Seat Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
    If your 4 year old rides in it, it might be too much weight on the handles, which were only designed to pull the suitcase. If they broke in the airport, you'd be stuck trying to get your car seat and your luggage to the gate-handleless! Not a pretty picture...
    The Traveling Toddler does go through the long handle, and I have felt it putting weight on it with Laine in the seat (and I don't let Piper ride in it). But by being smart I don't worry about breaking my handle. And most of our stress on the handle is with Laine climbing around back there.

    The secondary handles are not affected in the least. You route the Traveling Toddler under them.

    You always talk about not carrying luggage on. What of those of us who this one suitcase is all that my two kids and I need for a week, plus the backpack on my back (and maybe a backless booster, if we've forgotten our BubbleBum)? Considering the suitcase is also my child carrier, and if I had a cart (which I did used to use, and you're right, it was always right there in the bin above me) I'd have no hands free for if she was walking, or to grab at my nine year old if necessary, the one roller bag is really a lifesaver. I have three tickets when I travel with the girls, and one roller bag. A better proportion in terms of taking up overhead space (considering that's what the overhead space is *for*) than most passengers who tend to have one bag per ticket, or even two people on a single ticket and multiple bags. There are times when carrying on a roller bag is really very awesome. Not to mention, now I don't need to wait at baggage trying to both watch for my bag, and keeping my nine year old from grabbing everyone's bag ("Oh, here it is! Wait, no') and my two year old from getting her fingers stuck in the conveyor.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  10. #9
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Air Travel advice - Car Seat Recommendations

    That's fine but there are way too many bags in the overheads these days. There just isn't enough room! People deserve to be warned. I had to gate-check a lot of suitcases because there simply wasn't enough space. The overhead bins were not designed to the huge amount of stuff people bring on board these days.

    When you fly with kids, it's better to just keep it to the minimum. Alone with three kids on 11 1/2 hour flights plus connections, I only brought on board what I needed for me and the kids. I was still carrying a lot. Also, with children, it's a good idea to have a bag that you can get into easily and that's more a duffle or backpack than a rolly bag.

    If you want to save money by not checking any bags and are bringing multiple rolly bags, try to have one that you can "give up" at the gate. So many times we would go to gate-check a bag we couldn't find room for and the passenger had to dig for 15 minutes to remove the computer, breakables, medications, etc. they have in there. Even if you're going to try to get it on board, be sure to remove that stuff ahead of time to save time and/or have those in one of the rollys (the smaller one). This makes you look more cooperative and helps gets the aircraft out on time.

    P.S. I still get all the Flight Attendant notices and they just ramble on and on about the problems they have with too many carry-on bags. Get the word out as much as possible to make everyone's flying experience a little easier!
    Former Flight Attendant, 13 years, 2 companies in 5 countries
    3 trilingual, international travelers with two nationalities
    http://flyingwithchildren1.blogspot.com

  11. #10
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    Thank you both. I used to have a luggage cart thing but not sure what happened to it. I wasn't planning on letting him ride in the seat through the airport as he is a big boy and the seat is heavy. He will have his little pull luggage separate and small backpack and my luggage could be checked at the gate if necessary. I may stuff a duffle in their in case I need to "lug" the car seat. My concern is mostly what he will need as it is his first time flying and luckily not a long flight. I will definitely take all advice into consideration as you both have travel experience. Wendy - I am inspired by your great packing and less luggage and I can only hope one day to be that way

  12. #11
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Air Travel advice - Car Seat Recommendations

    Going somewhere where I ask to use the washer and dryer helps cut down the luggage. Plus, my kids are little, so their clothes don't take up a ton of space.

    For a short ride I'd bring his favorite small toy or two, his favorite book or two (small), and then go to the dollar store and get one or two more little things. Maybe some coloring or stickers or something like that. He'll mostly be looking around, though, asking questions. Make sure you tell the flight attendant it's his first flight. Sometimes they still give out wings and they can make a little to do about it for him. But take about half of what you think you'll need (in terms of toys/books) because that's what will be used. Bring some snacks along. Don't forget to pack a couple of new toys for the return trip as well.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  13. #12
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    Nov 2011
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    Good suggestions. He has some electronic stuff to play with also but will pack or pick up there something new for ride back. I am working on "realistic" packing but we usually drive so I haven't had to worry before really. This will be a learning experience for all - do they give wings to moms for first flights with children

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