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  1. #1
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    Question Car seat on plane versus Care harness

    Hi Everyone!

    We are taking our 23 month old son on a plane for the first time next week 2/18 and need your input. We are flying United in the economy plus section (our son has his own seat) round trip from Ohio to Florida and will be bringing a car seat for our rental car on our vacation. We are not sure if we should bring our Britax Advocate or our Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite on the plane. I believe our Britax will not fit even though it is "approved" for air travel but we prefer this seat. Also, we were not sure if we should bring a CARE harness as well incase we can't use the car seat due to size? Would there be a place onboard where the car seat could be stored as United will not allow you to check car seats at the gate as you would a stroller? It seems that the CARE harness may be better as it would allow our son to be in the middle seat between us instead of in the window seat but if there's not a place to store our car seat, what then?! I greatly appreciate any info and words of wisdom on this subject! Thanks so much!!!

    ~Worried Mama Erica

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  3. #2
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
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    L.A. area
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    20,458

    Re: Car seat on plane versus Care harness

    Hi, the Advocate is heavy to travel with but should fit. Rear facing it will fit more comfortably than forward. (It flares at the to so it's more comfortable to sit next to just the base.) You'll simply lift the armrest to fit it. To avoid losing your car seat or having it damaged, both possibilities checking it, I'd bring a seat on the plane.

    In addition, the CARES harness doesn't change the belt fit or prevent a child unbuckling, both potential issues at his age.

    If you really think traveling with the Advocate will be too cumbersome, you could either bring your other seat, or get a more compact spare- such as the new Scenera NEXT- cheaper than the CARES that will fit better.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  4. #3
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    126

    Re: Car seat on plane versus Care harness

    I'd bring the safety 1st seat for sure.
    DS: 18 6'3'' Driving
    DD: 9 4'5'' 62 lbs Incognito, Backless turbo

  5. #4
    Mama Erica
    Guest

    Red face Re: Car seat on plane versus Care harness

    Thank you very much for your advice!
    I will be using a car seat on his seat for sure! Most likely we will bring the Saftey 1st as it is a lot less cumbersome and also has a better chance fitting into our rental car once we arrive. Our Britax fits in our Audi A6 but does not fit into our "SUV" Mercedes GLK so the rental car would be a gamble with the Britax.

    I also did not even consider the fact that my son might not fit in the CARE harness correctly at his age of just under 2. He is an extremely active little boy and definitely would work his way out of the harness until he's a bit older. I am very happy I found out this info! Thank you!!!

    Another quick question??? Should we forgo bringing his stroller on the trip? We would primarily use it to get him to the gate in the airport. We have a CitiMini which is lightweight but from all of the horror stories I'm hearing of them being damaged with gate check, I am having second thoughts!!! Your thoughts???

    ~Mama Erica

  6. #5
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    147

    Re: Car seat on plane versus Care harness

    FWIW, airlines in the US are required to allow passengers to gate check their car seats. And it's safer to do that than to check them at the ticket counter, but ALWAYS use them on board if they're certified for air travel and will fit in the aircraft seat!

    The CARES harness is most appropriate for older kids who are still too light to sit using the airplane's lap belt (which fits most kids above 40 lbs) and who have a seat waiting for them at their destination, or who will sit boostered in the car but still need an extra restraint on the plane.

    As for getting through the airport, I'd strap the seat to a rolling bag or attach it to a luggage cart. If your child is light enough and you have a good secure setup, they may be able to ride in the seat. I'd avoid bringing a stroller just for the airport -- certainly not a stroller you really care about. If you do choose to go with a stroller and won't be needing it much in FL, I'd borrow or buy a cheap umbrella stroller and use that -- gate checked, it may suffer some damage but is unlikely to get lost. Wearing your child (sling, Ergo, etc...) may be a simpler option. We usually Ergo a 23mo if we're going to be carrying them.

  7. #6
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
    Join Date
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    L.A. area
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    20,458

    Re: Car seat on plane versus Care harness

    What about getting a luggage cart for the seat instead? He could ride in the seat strapped to the cart if needed (when you don't want him to walk to wear him out!)
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  8. #7
    CPS Fanatic bubbaray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    BC Canada
    Posts
    2,911

    Re: Car seat on plane versus Care harness

    We always traveled with a stroller at that age and bungeed the car seats to the stroller and piled all the carry ons on top. The kids would walk to burn off energy before the flight.
    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

  9. #8
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    144

    Re: Car seat on plane versus Care harness

    Quote Originally Posted by Mama Erica View Post
    Thank you very much for your advice!
    I will be using a car seat on his seat for sure! Most likely we will bring the Saftey 1st as it is a lot less cumbersome and also has a better chance fitting into our rental car once we arrive. Our Britax fits in our Audi A6 but does not fit into our "SUV" Mercedes GLK so the rental car would be a gamble with the Britax.

    I also did not even consider the fact that my son might not fit in the CARE harness correctly at his age of just under 2. He is an extremely active little boy and definitely would work his way out of the harness until he's a bit older. I am very happy I found out this info! Thank you!!!

    Another quick question??? Should we forgo bringing his stroller on the trip? We would primarily use it to get him to the gate in the airport. We have a CitiMini which is lightweight but from all of the horror stories I'm hearing of them being damaged with gate check, I am having second thoughts!!! Your thoughts???

    ~Mama Erica

    I've gate checked a CitiMini on a Southwest flight before. It was not damaged at all. However, I did use the travel bag that is made for it that Baby Jogger makes for it. If you buy that bag and use it, just be aware that you have to take all the wheels off the stroller to fit everything in there. I'm not sure why they couldn't make the bag big enough to leave the wheels on, but they didn't.

    This time I'm not bothering with that. I'm taking our lightweight stroller. Even though it was $80, I'd much rather the cheap one get damaged than the CitiMini. If it does get damaged, I'll just buy a cheap umbrella stroller, since she's getting old enough she's not wanting to sit in one much anymore.

    On the flight back home, DD has her own seat so I will need to have her convertible seat with me the whole way. I'll be using a travel cart and bungee cords to wheel her though our layover airport. I will gate check the stroller, and have them transfer it to our second plane so I don't even have to DEAL with it during our layover.

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