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  1. #1

    Bringing an empty car seat on board?

    I am flying with my two year old and 7 month old at the end of the month. We have a seat for the toddler, but no seat for the baby. I would live to have the infant car seat at destination but am worried to check it in. Would the airline allow me to bring the car seat with me somewhere on board? Do I have any other safe ways to get my car seat to the other end? Thanks!'n

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  3. #2
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Re: Bringing an empty car seat on board?

    Nope, sorry. The seat would have to be checked. They don't normally fit in an overhead, and there isn't closet space for it.

    However, I'm not sure if you know but the FAA recommends very strongly against lap babies. You and your two year old need a seatbelt for safety, and you're not allowed to hold your laptop for the safety of everyone else on board.

    From that site:
    Did you know that the safest place for your child on an airplane is in a government-approved child safety restraint system (CRS) or device, not on your lap? Your arms aren't capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence.

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly urges you to secure your child in a CRS or device for the duration of your flight. It's the smart and right thing to do so that everyone in your family arrives safely at your destination. The FAA is giving you the information you need to make informed decisions about your family's travel plans.
    Suddenly having your baby ranking less important than a laptop seems rather at odds with everything else.

    Not to mention, then you bring your carseat on board and it's also safe. Not as important as keeping your baby safe, but definitely awesome to arrive with both child and seat intact.

    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  785

  4. #3
    Carseat Crazy seb3244's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    My friend is a flight attendant and she told me she has had to make two emergency landings because of lap babies hitting the ceiling. So terrible.

    If I were to fly with my kids age 2.5 and 7 months I would not fly unless I could purchase a seat for myself and both kids.

    I am also terrified to check a baby car seat because when my neighbor got to her destination her car seat was completely crushed & her & her baby had to stay at the airport while her husband took a rental car to a Walmart (luckily they were open) & buy a new car seat then go back and get wife and baby at the airport. Needless to say they bought the baby a ticket for the ride home and he sat in his car seat for that plane ride. Thankfully she had her hub with her or she would have been stranded at the airport because the family they were visiting was a 3hr drive away.
    Blessed Mama to
    DD1 T 29 months RF - Britax Advocate
    DD2 J 6 months RF - Britax B Safe

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  6. #4
    Admin - CPS Technician LISmama810's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    As stated, the best thing to do is to purchase a seat for the baby and use the infant carrier on board. That ensures that your seat arrives safely, and provides extra comfort (for you and baby!) and protection.

    Sometimes there are empty seats, and they'll let you bring (and use) the carrier on board, but empty seats are becoming rarer and rarer.

    If you must check the seat, you have two options. If you check it at the front, the best thing to do would be to box it and use some padding. Depending on your airline, you might need to pay for that, and there's always a chance the seat could be lost.

    If you gate-check it, there's less chance (but still some) of it being lost, and there's still the possibility of damage.

  7. #5
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Re: Bringing an empty car seat on board?

    Are you flying alone with the kids or will you have another adult with you? Also, what size is your 2yo (height and weight) and is he or she a reliable walker? Third question is whether you have a direct flight or a layover, and how long are any layovers?

    Airlines are not allowed to charge passengers any sort of checked-bag fees (at the ticket counter or at the gate) for passenger assistance devices, which include carseats, boosters, and strollers. That said, you run the risks of damage and loss. These risks are much higher for checked items than for gate checked items, which are handled more carefully and are very seldom lost. Our stroller tends to arrive at our destination a few flights after us when we check it at the ticket counter.

    At the very least, I would find a way to transport a light convertible carseat (for the 2yo) and your infant seat or another convertible for your baby through the airport -- you are not required to check your carseats at the ticket counter, even if your baby IS traveling as a lap child (which I don't recommend either, both for very strong safety reasons, and also -- especially if you are traveling alone with the children -- for practicality and your own comfort).

    If you make the decision to take the baby as a lap child, try to arrive early at your gate, ask the gate agent whether there is pre boarding for families since you'll be installing a carseat on the aircraft, and then ask whether the plane is full or if there are any empty seats on board. If there are empty seats, ask whether she'd be able to reseat you next to one. Most airlines will allow you to install your other carseat in that empty seat, but there's no requirement that they do this. If you're not able to use an empty seat next to you for the baby's carseat, you will have to gate check it.

    If you are installing 2 carseats and are traveling without another adult, generally the carseats will be side-by-side (window and center or aisle, depending on whether it's a 2- or 3-seat row) and you will be in the aisle seat or just across the aisle. Or, if it's a smaller plane with 1 seat on one side and 2 on the other, you'll have a carseat in each window seat and you'll be in the seat between them.

    I know the idea of getting 2 little ones and 2 carseats through the airport and installed on the plane is daunting. But it's doable, and when I'm traveling with little ones, which we do a lot, I consider those 5-pt harness my best friends!

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