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  1. #1
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    Traveling to the US need advice

    I will be traveling to Florida from Toronto by myself with my two sons to see my ailing grandfather. I've chosen not to bring their seats as I don't want to buy an extra ticket for my 5 month old and my 3 year olds Frontier would be too bulky to travel with (not even sure if it's approved for air travel).

    I need some recommendations on some good bang for your buck seats. (Not too expensive as I will only be there for a week but don't want to compromise on safety). My ODS just turned 3, is 41inches tall and 44 pounds. My YDS is almost 6 months and my best guess would be 17 pounds, 27 inches with a long torso. Both seats will need to install fairly easily (I'll be doing them at the airport as soon as we get there) into a Honda Accord.

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling to the US need advice

    Maestro, about $80, and Scenera, about $40.

    How will you be getting the seats to the airport if you aren't flying with them?
    Melissa, CPST and Mom to three

  4. #3
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling to the US need advice

    Is your five month old in an infant seat? Maybe you could bring his seat to the gate, hope there's an empty seat, and install it on board? At 44 pounds the lap belt should fit your three year old, if you trust your three year old to sit properly and not unbuckle it at 150 mph on the runway.

    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

  5. #4
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    I would at least bring the youngests seat, you could even call ahead and see if there are open seats and they probably will let you use it for the baby. Your going to have your hands full having to hold the baby the whole time and have a 3 yr old with you. You could buy a Maestro before you leave and just take it and use it on the plane for your oldest. Kids seem to do better in their car seats on a plane then without them.

  6. #5
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    My sister is gong to pick me up at the airport with the new seats. My plan was to wear my youngest through the airport and hold my ODS's hand. The problem with taking the infant seat is that I need two hands to carry it.

    If I were to buy the Maestro here in Canada wouldn't it be illegal to use in the US?

  7. #6
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling to the US need advice

    It's fine to use as a visitor.

    Do you have a snap n go or stroller to carry the infant seat with?

    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
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendytthomas
    It's fine to use as a visitor.

    Do you have a snap n go or stroller to carry the infant seat with?

    Wendy
    Yes I do. What happens if the flight is full and they don't have a spot for me to buckle in the bucket seat? Do I have to check it? If there's a chance that I have to do that, I'd rather buy spare seats as once it's out of my eye sight I would consider it useless knowing the way baggage is sometimes handled.

  9. #8
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Traveling to the US need advice

    Who are you flying with?

    IME they were NOT cooperative with letting me use a seat unless I paid for it when I was crossing the border. Within Canada on direct flights West Jet I've never had a problem (although its been awhile so their policy might have changed), Air Canada wouldn't even within Canada but both wouldn't do it for across the border or with connecting flights. Of course you might get a more car seat friendly agent so maybe you'll get lucky.

    I know you aren't planning to take your Frontier but for future reference it is certified for airplane use.

    Depending on how new the Accord is I think you'll want to pack a pool noodle pyramid for whatever you use down there. DH's 2007 Accord has super sloped seats.
    DS 06/2006 - Diono Monterey, Turbo Booster (for now - still shopping)
    DD 09/2008 - FF Marathon, Diono Monterey

  10. #9
    Senior Community Member
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    They will 'gate' check it just like they do with strollers. We travelled a lot when mine was an infant and more often than not we got an open seat but we did have to gate check a few times. You drop it at the door then pick it up at the door. I can't vouch for the airline, and I used a padded homemade bag but I never had issues. I usually wore my lo in a sling thru the airport but the stroller was a good repository for all of our stuff

  11. #10
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling to the US need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by mom2pjs View Post
    I can't vouch for the airline, and I used a padded homemade bag but I never had issues.
    That you can see.

    Yes, the risk is that if the flight is full then you have to gate check your seat. The benefit is, if the flight isn't full, you have a safe baby on the flight, and not a "lap rocket" as the flight attendants call them. Any chance of getting a ticket?

    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

  12. #11
    CPS Fanatic bubbaray's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling to the US need advice

    I've never had a problem installing a restraint on cross-border/international flights (WestJet and Alaska are the airlines we usually fly). However, I've never travelled with a lap baby, we always purchase seats for the girls.

    Will you be leaving the seats in the US? If so, I would purchase them in advance and leave them down there. If you won't be leaving them down there, I would take the seats with me. I'd buy a Maestro for your older one and a Scenara for the younger one.

    I personally *do* gate check seats and not use them on the aircraft after about age 2.5yrs. However, I never travel with primary seats, we have (lots of) spare seats, so those are what I use for travel. I use the red JL Childress gate check bags from Target to gate check them. Or a clear garbage bag (not a black garbage bag, you want the ramp attendants to know that they are to go onto the aircraft, not in the dumpster!). Driving all of this, however, is the fact that on aircraft, my children are screaming demons in restraints and end up screaming on our laps the entire 6.5 hrs to Maui instead of staying restrained in the restraint, defeating the purpose of bringing the restraint onboard. If we let them use lap belts, they sit nicely. A CARES harness is an option, but I've never found it fit my kids well, so we just use the lap belt.

    You couldn't pay me enough to travel with our Frontier, even if it is aircraft approved. I curse just moving that seat around in a vehicle, no way am I lugging it through an airport.
    Melissa

    DD#1, April 2004, FFg in a Pink Harmony Literider & Onyx Parkway SG
    DD#2, January 2007, FFg in a Pink Monterey & Purple with Pink Hearts HBTB

    Riding in my 2010 Toyota RAV4 and DH's 2011 Ford 150 Crew Cab

  13. #12
    Senior Community Member penguingrooves's Avatar
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    i always gate-check my carseats, and the only damage i suffered was a small tear on a britax cover - i'm okay with that. but if i were traveling with an infant and a toddler by myself, there's no way i'd want to schlep 2 carseats through the airport. forget the security check - i couldn't figure out the logistics of bathroom breaks!

    i'd prefer to have the carseats already in florida so i can wear the infant while dealing with the older toddler and carryons through the journey, but if the costs for new seats are too much, i'd check the carseats curbside (i think some airlines still have that service), and they would be doublebagged in clear bags so they hopefully get a little more care. i would also wrap up and tape down with thick masking tape any tethers, latch connectors, lockoffs, etc... if space allows, i might buy new carseats (at least a new infant seat) with the intention of returning them in case the airline screws up.

    i hope your grandfather is okay. good luck with the journey.
    sprog #1: age 12 in a mifold.
    sprog #2: age 9 in a mifold.
    sprog #3: age 7 in a RF britax MT.
    marriage partner #1 and me all squished in a honda fit. i don't recommend our arrangement, so if you have 3 kiddos, get a bigger car.

  14. #13
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling to the US need advice

    You don't see any damage besides the cover, anyway. Hopefully there's nothing broken you can't see. That's the biggest risk. If there's damage you see you stop using the seat. If it's lost you need another and you have a new seat. If it looks fine but isn't, you keep using it, and only find out after a crash that it was broken.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzmJr1a-BHU&feature=player_embedded"]Mistreating luggage - YouTube[/ame]

    I bet those guys knew those were carseats and still tossed them.

    Checking curbside ADDS steps to the checking and handling process, and would be the very last thing I'd do with my carseats.

    With two kids and carseats I'd probably wear the baby and I'd get a luggage cart. I'd put both carseats on the luggage cart with bungee cord and pull them around. To go to the bathroom I'd do what I do now. Find the big huge family bathroom and pull all of my stuff in there, and my kids. All pee together/do diaper changes, and you're done. I haven't been to an airport in a while that doesn't have family bathrooms. Or handicap ones.

    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

  15. #14
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    Re: Traveling to the US need advice

    I'd suggest you bring a cheaper stroller with you to the airport and gate check it. Wear the baby through the airport. Be warned that atleast in the US they'll make you take your carrier off to go through security even if it has no metal and the baby is asleep. Atleast that's what happened to me last year during the holidays. If you decide to bring the bucket seat you can strap it to the stroller or have your older one take a ride and either carry the bucket or balance it on the back of the stroller as you push. Not elegant, but it's doable. Way easier than shlepping the Frontier balanced on a stroller. BTDT. Also if you're bringing a roller carryon you can strap the bucket seat to to that.

    Good luck with your travels and hope your visit goes well.

  16. #15
    Senior Community Member penguingrooves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendytthomas
    You don't see any damage besides the cover, anyway. Hopefully there's nothing broken you can't see. That's the biggest risk. If there's damage you see you stop using the seat. If it's lost you need another and you have a new seat. If it looks fine but isn't, you keep using it, and only find out after a crash that it was broken.

    ... ... ...

    Checking curbside ADDS steps to the checking and handling process, and would be the very last thing...
    i didn't notice any cracks, though i obviously didn't run any full scans of the seat before using it again. however, i do expect carseats to have some level of durability. i figured if one were structurally damaged during travel, i'd question the durability of the product and buy another one because i couldn't trust that seat to survive a real car crash - sort of chalk it up to knowing ahead that the seat is flimsy. as for family bathrooms, those are what i try to use too, but there have been instances where i wasn't so lucky. (maintenance, too far away, lack of time, etc...) so i try to prepare for the worst.

    curbside checking wouldn't be my first choice. still, i often see inconveniently shaped items placed in plastic bins, so hopefully the abuse is only from the conveyor belt to the plane, then back out of the plane. maybe another method is to use the original carseat boxes or similar boxes, kinda like how carseats are packaged for shipping where they take a lot of abuse during transit. heck, my new coccoro didn't even have any packaging material in the box.
    sprog #1: age 12 in a mifold.
    sprog #2: age 9 in a mifold.
    sprog #3: age 7 in a RF britax MT.
    marriage partner #1 and me all squished in a honda fit. i don't recommend our arrangement, so if you have 3 kiddos, get a bigger car.

  17. #16
    Senior Community Member penguingrooves's Avatar
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    duh, i just realized that the OP is willing to buy new seats. (mea culpa.) also, possibly okay with buying a ticket for the infant. i wouldn't rely on having an empty seat available, but if i were risking it, i'd pack a few clear plastic bags and a roll of wide masking tape for check-in and pick up at the jetway. i've bungee-corded my carseat to the rollie carryon while wearing a baby and a diaper bag backpack and a toddler. it sucked. thankfully, my hubby was traveling with us, but he also had a rollie with a bungee-corded seat and other carryons. (we also pack extra bungee cords.) we looked utterly ridiculous. few tips at security check: have the tix and ID easily accessible, pack away the jackets, and wear slip-on shoes.
    sprog #1: age 12 in a mifold.
    sprog #2: age 9 in a mifold.
    sprog #3: age 7 in a RF britax MT.
    marriage partner #1 and me all squished in a honda fit. i don't recommend our arrangement, so if you have 3 kiddos, get a bigger car.

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