Airline Travel


New member
We are going to be on a plane for a 4.5 hour flight with our 2 year old. This will be the first time she has had her own seat and I'm trying to decide whether or not to bring aboard her car seat for her to sit in.

A little background: she's not a huge fan of her car seat. We're normally not in the car for more than 2 hours and if she does sleep it's for about 45 minutes. However, she knows that being in her car seat means sitting down and being strapped in. I do think she will, eventually, tire of this and fuss to get out. Thoughts/opinions?

Also - I just bought the Cosco Scenara for our trip, but am wondering if I should have gone with the Safety 1st Avenue. What are the differences?
DD is 29lbs and 35 and 3/4 in. Not sure if that makes a difference in which seat we should go with.
Are either/both approved by the FAA for flight?

Also, if I do bring the seat aboard, do I need to actually install it and how do I do that?
Will I be able to lay the tray table down at all with her in a car seat?

Last edited by a moderator:


Senior Community Member
The Avenue has EPS foam, and the Scenera does not. IMO it's worth the more expensive seat, it's a basic and very important safety feature. I don't personally buy seats without EPS foam in the head area anymore.

Yes, she should absolutely be in a seat on the plane. I wouldn't consider NOT using a seat until at least 4 AND 40. There are only lap belts on the plane, and at her size she just is far too small for a lap belt.

Yes, you install it on an airplane, with the lap belt, preferably rear facing. Just the same way you do in a car. Use the correct belt path, tighten it, make sure there is less than an inch of movement at the belt path.

Even kids who hate carseats travel so much better in them. Without the seat the expect to get up, stand, run around, play - and they just CAN'T do that, they have to stay seated and belted the entire time - it's better to use something familiar, and comfortable for sleeping and safety.


Moderator - CPST Instructor
I would highly recommend bringing her carseat on board the plane with you. I recently flew with my 2.5yr old ds and I used the CARES harness on the way there - a bit more restrictive than just the lap belt, but not as confining as a car seat. I had a carseat on the other end, so wasn't worried about needing one at my destination...

My ds was good for the first hr, then he decided he was done sitting and wanted out - and proceeded to slide under the lap belt over and over until I finally held him up by the waist band of his pants. The whole thing was so awful that when my friend offered to let me bring the seat ds had been using at her place back with us, I took her up on her offer. Suffice to say the flight back was much better. :thumbsup: We'd had a full 5hr flight in February and ds was in his own carseat those flights and did just fine. I didn't anticipate having troubles on a 1.5hr flight after those longer ones...

So anyways, I'd definitely bring the carseat on board. She won't expect to be able to be down and moving around when she's strapped in to her carseat, and it will keep her contained if she decides she wants down - whereas the plane's lap belt won't.

And hey, that way you're guaranteed that the carseat won't get lost or damaged en route. :thumbsup:


New member
I've tried it both ways and it is much better with a carseat; even for a kid who doesn't like them.

We have flown with dd on our laps (once when she was young; hey I didn't know) but bought her a ticket after that specifically so we could strap her in. She was ALL OVER THE PLACE as a lap rider. :rolleyes: Never again.

Once I flew to AK and only brought one seat (b/c I travel alone with two kids and my dd is 4 and almost 40) and both kids fought to get in it to go to sleep!!

Even if they don't usually like a carseat; it is a familiar place to be on a plane.

I have also tried 'travel seats/back-up seats' but have found that it's worth it to use the seat I usually have my kids in. They are most comfortable that way and I am best with the installation of my regular seats. ;)


New member
Thanks for your responses! I think we are definetly going to bring a car seat! I have a few more questions...

-Does anyone know if either the Scenara or Avenue are approved for airline travel? I'd hate to bring it aboard only to find out we can't use it.

-I was going to buy a lighter, more travel-friendly car seat instead of using her MA. Do you think I should? To me, the MA seems like it would take up a ton of space in an airplane seat compared to the Avenue or Scenara.
Should I have her ride in the 'new' seat for the next few days so she gets use to it a little?


New member
We took our MArathon on our last plane ride. It installed fine (Even rear-facing). It was awkward to manage, but not particularly heavy -- and I think every seat but the Radian is going to be awkward.

We got a Scenera for our next trip on the plane. But after trying to get it into my car, etc... I'm starting to decide I'd rather take the Marathon anyway!


New member
Yes, they are FAA approved. It says on the seat.

If you are installing the scenera rfing, you'll want to bring a pool noodle. You probably won't need it on the plane, but most likely will in any car on the other end. It's a real pain rfing at times. I would definitely practice installing it in your car before going just to know what you're doing.


New member
Wanted to update:

We decided to definetly bring her car seat aboard to sit in. We are bringing the SF Avenue. I felt that for about $25 more the EPS foam was well worth the cost (compared to the Scenara), especially since, we'll be doing a lot of driving once at our destination. Plus, for a 4.5 hour plane ride, it will give dd a little more cushion! :) Also, dh was much more enthusiastic about carrying the Avenue (in it's own bag) as opposed to the 17ish pound MA. ;)

I will update when we get back about my experiences installing and flying with the Avenue!

Car-Seat.Org Facebook Group

Forum statistics

Latest member

You must read your carseat and vehicle owner’s manual and understand any relevant state laws. These are the rules you must follow to restrain your children safely. All opinions at Car-Seat.Org are those of the individual author for informational purposes only, and do not necessarily reflect any policy or position of Carseat Media LLC. Car-Seat.Org makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. If you are unsure about information provided to you, please visit a local certified technician. Before posting or using our website you must read and agree to our TERMS.

Maxi Cosi is a proud sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!Graco is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!Nuna Baby is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!

Please  Support Car-Seat.Org  with your purchases of infant, convertible, combination and boosters seats from our premier sponsors above.
Shop travel systems, strollers and baby gear from Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi, Evenflo, First Years, Graco, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Safety 1st, Diono & more! ©2001-2021 Carseat Media LLC