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  1. #1
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    Flying with a newborn

    I'm adopting out of state, and will be flying home with my baby when he is 7-10 days old. It will be a 4-5 hour flight on Southwest or Alaska. What car seat recommendations can anyone give? Should I bring the car seat base with me, or strap in the carrier itself? I was planning to purchase a Britax B-Safe or a Chicco Keyfit 30, but I have no idea how these will fare on an airplane!

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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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    Re: Flying with a newborn

    Welcome and congratulations!

    you can't use the base on the plane so you'll strap it in baseless. The problem you may run into though is getting it safely there, as they don't usually allow you to bring an empty car seat on and strap it in (though maybe if you bought an extra seat? Seems unlikely) and it won't fit overhead. 2/3 of gate checked seats I inspect have visible damage, which the manufacturers say indicates a need for replacement. Loss is also a potential issue. I once had a stroller come back on the plane after me! There are three ways to mitigate these risks I can come up with:

    1. check the car seat and base new in sealed box on the way there. This should mitigate the risk of damage, though not loss. You will probably be charged for that if you're traveling without a child. (tell them you're adopting and they may waive it- worth a shot!)
    2. Buy a seat there, use it on the way home. This will prevent loss or damage on the way. You'd need to find a way to protect the base- carry it on in a bag to go overhead maybe.
    3. Carefully pack (uhaul sells a double walled ”dish barrel” box perfect for this) and ship ahead just the car seat to wait for you at your destination. This requires someone to receive it.

    In any case you'll need to buy baby a seat on the way back. Remember to have custody documents accessible. Best wishes!
    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
    CPS Fanatic
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    Feb 2010
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    1,312

    Re: Flying with a newborn

    I would buy the car seat at your destination. Since he will be 7-10 days old when you leave, you could amazon prime the seat very quickly to your hotel.
    Last edited by gigi; 04-23-2015 at 07:09 PM.

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  6. #4
    CPS Technician Brigala's Avatar
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    May 2011
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    Pacific Northwest
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    3,853

    Re: Flying with a newborn

    I also agree it makes most sense to buy the seat there or have it delivered there.

    Either of the seats you are considering are good, although of the two I personally prefer the Keyfit. I think it's a little more user-friendly. But they are both excellent choices.
    Mom to 2 adults and 2 little kids.
    Tall 8 year old in Incognito; Petite 3 year old RF in CA65

  7. #5
    CPS Fanatic
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    Dec 2012
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    2,272

    Re: Flying with a newborn

    Between those two, I would go with the Keyfit. The B-Safe is harder to use baseless.

    There's another option to consider: skip the infant seat, at least for this trip. If you want one, great--keep it at your house. Have a Cosco Scenera NEXT shipped to your hotel, or pick one up at a local Walmart (if it's in stock). It's lighter than either infant seat you're considering, it's only $44 (although if you have to pay for rush shipping that will bump up the price a bit), it has an 8 year expiration, makes a great travel/extra seat, fits newborns to average 4 year olds, and you don't have to worry about safely transporting the bulky base.

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  9. #6
    CPS Fanatic aept's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
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    Rochester, NY area
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    1,049
    Quote Originally Posted by lgenne View Post
    Between those two, I would go with the Keyfit. The B-Safe is harder to use baseless. There's another option to consider: skip the infant seat, at least for this trip. If you want one, great--keep it at your house. Have a Cosco Scenera NEXT shipped to your hotel, or pick one up at a local Walmart (if it's in stock). It's lighter than either infant seat you're considering, it's only $44 (although if you have to pay for rush shipping that will bump up the price a bit), it has an 8 year expiration, makes a great travel/extra seat, fits newborns to average 4 year olds, and you don't have to worry about safely transporting the bulky base.
    Wow! Excellent idea!
    Ann, mom to 3 big brothers and a baby girl:
    DS1 - Aug 2006, 80 lb, 56", incognitos
    DS2 - May 2008, 77 lb, 51.5", Vivo or NBB
    DS3 - June 2011, 46 lb, 43", FF in FR85 or booster training
    DD - May 2015, 19 lb, 29", ) Snugride 30

  10. #7
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    144

    Re: Flying with a newborn

    Newborn seat with baseless install...then if the baby is asleep when you go to board or exit the plane, you can just unstrap the seat and be on your way. Although I've sometimes been lucky to get a free extra seat to use for my daughter, there have been some flights where I expected it to have extra seats but it was a PACKED flight!!! There have also been some close calls where they've almost made me take my already installed car seat (daughter already strapped in) back out and gate check it because they didn't realize it was full when they let me take it on or they had standbys or something. I highly recommend purchasing a ticket for the lo so you can use the car seat for sure. With Southwest you can still book a ticket online for a child under 2 using the wanna get away fare (the cheap one) even though it says that price is for adults over 2...if you call for their infant fare it's a small percentage off the middle priced ticket...you may not want to waste your time doing that unless you prefer a refundable ticket.

    I'm sure you've done a ton of research about flying with infants, but I just want to put it out there that I think newborns under 2 weeks need a special doc note to fly that young. That would be something you could find out from the airline after you decide which you will be flying.

    Congrats!!!

  11. #8
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    260

    Re: Flying with a newborn

    Not at all what you asked but I'd recommend that you purchase and learn how to use a ring sling prior to your baby's birth. Some of the "water" ones have nylon rings but will still be plenty supportive for a NB. It's quite possible that your baby will want to be carried in the airport rather than being in the car seat/stroller for so long and you'll also need your hands to get on the plane and get situated. If you get one that has nylon rings, you can wear baby right through security. My kids always ride in their car seats during taxi/take-off/landing and when the seatbelt sign is on, but when the seatbelt sign is off a well-timed walk in the carrier makes for a happy, sleepy baby.

    (Other good options would be a baby k'tan, which starts at 8lbs, or a woven wrap, which has a steeper learning curve and can be a lot of fabric to carry on. Ergo makes an infant insert but it's basically a down sleeping bag sitting on top of a pillow -- many complain that it's too hot and bulky, plus there might be a greater risk of TSA scrutiny.)

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