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  1. #1
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    Oct 2010
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    Help with travel?

    I was hoping for some input on travel arrangements. Iíve been thinking about this for a while, but it seems to get more complicated as I think about it. Weíll be going to Disney World with DHís extended family. The plan now is for us to drive to an airport hotel, stay there overnight, take the hotelís shuttle to the airport in the morning, and then to take Magic Express after we land. From what Iíve read, car seats are not allowed on Magic Express, and there is no place to install them even if they were. Weíll be staying in the park, so in theory wonít have any car rides after the flight. The main issues are the plane itself, and the airport shuttle. This is supposed to be a 6 minute, less than 2 mile ride and from what Iím told has lap belts. Iím not sure that there would be time to install anything even if it were compatible. I also want something just in case we need to take a taxi or use a car for some reason. Another issue is that weíll be traveling with DHís family, who already think Iím a little nutty for not turning the kids forward yet, so I donít want to make a big deal about the car seats. DD1 is 5.5 yo, about 39 lbs., and 42 inches. DD2 is 4, and very skinny at 29 lbs and 39.5 inches.

    For DD1, I bought an RSTV2 for an emergency. We canít use this on the plane, so I think weíll use the planeís lap belt. I know sheís about a pound under the recommendation for this, but I canít see buying and bringing a whole car seat just for that reason. Sheís also too tall for a CARES harness (which has a 40 inch height limit.) I donít know what to do about the airport shuttle. I guess I would use the lap belt with the idea that itís a very short ride.

    DD2 is more complicated because sheís so skinny. Iíve been thinking of various options. One is to buy an inexpensive light seat for the plane and emergency travel. This would not necessarily help for the shuttle. In terms of which seat to buy, I guess I could do a Scenera Next. She wouldnít have much height to grow with this, though Iím not worried about other trips. I was also trying to figure out what the lightest combination (harnessed booster) seat is. Maybe a Maestro? I was a little worried about the width of this on the plane. Again, one of the concerns is getting the seats through the airport and installed without making a big deal about it. Iíve considered other options as well, though none is perfect. I.e. (1) CARES harness for the plane and another RSTV2 for emergency Ė though she is technically below the RSTV2 limit, and Iíll only use the CARES once, (2) CARES for the plane and IMMI GO for emergency Ė this is expensive, and I may not otherwise use the GO. Or, because DD1 is 39 lbs, I guess I could buy her something like a Maestro to use on the plane, and use a CARES for DD2 on the plane. None of this of course helps me for the shuttle, and Iím still not sure what to do, maybe the lap belts.

    As you can see, Iím way overthinking this. I would love input from experienced travelers. Thank you in advance for your help, and your time in reading this long post!

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician sunnymw's Avatar
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    Re: Help with travel?

    If you do the Maestro, you should be able to remove the cup holders which will make it narrower also. It's very lightweight and easy to carry, and easy to install most anywhere. It really isn't much more bulk than the Scenera and will last you a whole lot longer for future use versus being a one-time deal.

    The issue with the IMMI GO is that it'll require a top tether wherever you install it, and you may not have one available.

    IDK enough about the shuttle to give a recommendation on that. Highways? Real roads? Long ride? Short ride? If it's lap belts only you wouldn't be able to use the RSTV on the shuttle (since I doubt there's a top tether). I guess your option would be to roll with the lap belts or get a cab.

    I think the Maestro for your older kiddo and CARES for the younger would be good for the plane, the Maestro for the younger and RSTV for the older once you arrive and need to use transportation. When we went to Germany I had all 3 in seats and the oldest was about to turn 7. (But then, I needed a seat on the other end--unlike you--because they weren't riding on the Autobahn in nothing LOL)

    Now, if only RSTV would hurry up and get that FAA thing approved... that would simplify EVERYTHING.
    Sunny, a new patrol car, an old raggedy Civic, and:
    J | 10.06 | RSTV2(L)
    M | 07.08 | RSTV2(S)
    K | 07.11 | FN90CT

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  5. #3
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    Oct 2010
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    Re: Help with travel?

    Thank you for the input!

    Is the Maestro the lightest combination seat for airplane travel? Anything lighter - or otherwise better - for travel?

  6. #4
    CPS Technician sunnymw's Avatar
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    Re: Help with travel?

    I really do think so. And it's crazy light, too. (Coming from someone who traveled with two radians and a Scenera.... It's on the Scenera end!)
    Sunny, a new patrol car, an old raggedy Civic, and:
    J | 10.06 | RSTV2(L)
    M | 07.08 | RSTV2(S)
    K | 07.11 | FN90CT

  7. #5
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Help with travel?

    Guide 65 came to mind but then I realized you're looking for a harnessed booster.

    It seems to me your itinerary would probably be simplest, and plenty safe, with the RSTV2 for your older daughter (I wouldn't be too concerned about having her, at 39 lbs & over 5, in the airplane's lap belt -- I wouldn't lug an extra seat for that one pound either!) and a Maestro or other light convertible for your younger one. A convertible will allow her to be in a car seat regardless of the situation. At 29 pounds I wouldn't want her to be out of a car seat unless there is really no other option. Personally I wouldn't want to stretch the lower weight limit on the RSTV2. I don't think you'd have any trouble with the Maestro on the plane -- it's light enough that even if it's a little too wide to fit through the aisle, you should be able to lift it over the seats without a problem.

    As far as transporting the car seat, we always strap ours to the back of our rolling carry-on bags. She won't be riding in it that way so it really doesn't matter how you attach it -- a bungee cord would be fine, and will make it quick and easy to attach and detach. If you're concerned about family members rolling their eyes whenever they see it, you can always buckle a light bag into it or use it for holding coats and it'll just look like part of your luggage system.

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  9. #6
    Member
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    Oct 2010
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    Re: Help with travel?

    Update: We went on the trip. Just wanted to update what we did, and a few things I learned.

    I did get a Maestro. I had a BRU 15% coupon, so it was not very expensive. I had looked at all the combination seats, and it was indeed the lightest. When I assembled it, I did not put the cupholders in but put tape over the holes where they would go. If I had more time or motivation, I might have gotten the caps, but the tape worked fine. For carrying it through the airport, I had bought a BRU wheeled car seat bag. I looked at the Brica bag which was nicer because the direction of the wheels is supposed to prevent the seat from banging into your heels while you walk, but the bag itself was larger and $15 more expensive, so I decided to go with the BRU bag. In the end, DH or I mostly carried the seat without the bag in the airport. It was light enough that even I could carry it in one hand for a little while. My natural tendency was to carry it on the side where the seat curves around, but the plastic is thin there, and I was worried that it would hurt the integrity of the seat. There are other places to hold it though.

    The Maestro was pretty easy to use on the plane. When I installed it, it took me a minute to realize that I had to pull the airplane belt tightening strap back through the belt path so that the buckle ends up behind the childís back. It was a nice tight install. On the way back, I somehow inadvertently flipped the belt so that the buckle was facing the airplane seat. This was a big problem when I uninstalled it because the belt buckle releases by flipping ďup,Ē and I had pulled it so tight that there was no room to flip it up against the airplane seat. After a moment of panic, I partially removed the carseat cover and found some room to twist the belt enough to release the buckle. For the future, Iíll make sure the airplane seatbelt isnít twisted.

    I took the RSTV2 for an emergency for DD1, but we were staying on property, and didnít need it. Even so, it was very light and fit fine in my carry-on bag. We took Magical Express to and from the hotel. On the way there, there were no belts so there was no way the kids could have been restrained. On the way back, the bus did have lap/shoulder belts that were attached to the side of each seat. I didnít realize this of course until we were just about to leave, and everything was deeply packed under the bus. Iím not sure if/how car seats would have worked with that geometry, or if they will start allowing people to use car seats on those buses since I would think installation might affect the tight bus schedules. Currently the policy says that car seats are not allowed on Magical Express buses.

    Thank you for all of the help with planning!

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