Britax Boulevard on plane

J

JustCari

Guest
I have a flight booked for next week, including seats for both of my daughters - 8 months and 3.5years. Our plan was to take the Britax Boulevard for the 8month old, and a CARES harness for the 3.5year old, with a SafetyFirst vest for the short car travel once we arrive.

Now I'm worried the Britax Boulevard won't fit on the plane. We're flying on two planes - this and this. Both show a width of 17.3".

According to this, the Boulevard is 19.5". Yikes.

Will it really not fit? Do I need to find a smaller car seat this week? If so, any suggestions? Preferably one that isn't too expensive and/or that could be our main second seat once she outgrows the bucket (Britax Chaperone) she's currently using at home?
 
ADS

JustCari

New member
A few more things as I've continued to research --

It sounds like sometimes a seat can fit even when dimensions don't read that they would, because of armrests and a smaller base/part that actually sits on the seat. So I guess I'm hoping to hear from someone who has actually flown with this seat?

Also... FF vs RF. She's only 8months so it feels wrong to FF, but It seems that RF doesn't matter as much on a plane? I worry about installing it in the limited time window you always get on a plane.

Any/all feedback is welcome!!
 

cantabdad

New member
That was going to be my comment -- that many carseats will fit on the plane even when their nominal dimensions are bigger than those of the airplane seat. They still fit because (1) they sit on smaller bases, with the widest part of the carseat up at the shoulder level and (2) you can raise the armrest as needed.

I've had no trouble at all flying with our Britax Marathon, which is very similar to the Boulevard, though admittedly it is a smidge smaller. Looking at some older posts here, there are plenty of folks who have flown with the Boulevard (see e.g. http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=142780).

I would plan to install it RF. Sure, it's not quite as critical as in the car, but it does provide additional protection, and infants are fragile. FAA's recommendation is RF up to at least 20 lbs. With the Britax seats, I don't think it is any more time-consuming or challenging to install it RF -- in fact in some ways it is easier.

Since you are on a US-based airline, if the carseat somehow won't fit RF, then technically under FAA policy it is the airline's responsibility to re-seat you (in the same class of service) in a seat where it will fit. The flight crew may not be aware of this, however -- experiences seem to vary.

If you have a spouse or other adult also traveling with you, it's not a bad idea to have one parent board as early as possible and install the carseat, while the other parent stays in the boarding area with the kids. They can then board toward the end of the process. It's less stressful for you that way, and you don't have the kids bugging you as you're doing the installation.

Another tip for that I learned from this board for RF installations specifically, is to recline the airplane seatback first, then install the carseat and tighten the seatbelt, then return the seatback to upright. This somehow makes for a snugger fit.
 

thtr4me

New member
The Boulevard will fit just fine. DH is a pilot and used to fly the second one. For some reason I cannot click on the first link. We actually flew in the second one with a slightly different seat when DS1 was about 3.5yo, and there were no issues installing the seat.

The base of the Boulevard will fit in the seat, although you may not be able to get armrests down. It is the top where the wings are that are wider. The main issue will be front to back space if you install the seat RFing (which is ideal). You may need to install it in a more upright position to get it in. One thing I will warn you about, is the seat will not fit down the aisle on a rolling cart. It is just a little too wide at the top to fit, so you will have to pick it up and carry it above the top of the airplane seats to get it down the aisle.

And pro tip for the flight. If you have carry-ons, get to the gate with your carry-ons and your car seat, then gate check some of the carry-ons so that you have less to drag down the aisle of the plane with you. You can also check with the gate agents to see if they can re-seat you in seats that are easier to get the car seat into. Oh, and take cookies for the gate agents.

ETA: We recently flew with a Marathon (same shell) and a Radian. Although the Radian fit in the seat better, the Britax was way easier to install in the plane.
 

AllieK

New member
My kids are similar in age (3yrs & 1yr) and we will be travelling with our Boulevard for my 1yr old. I am still trying to decide what we are going to do with the 3yr old so I hope you don't mind if I ask some questions!

I assume you mean you will be using the RideSafer Travel Vest in the car for your 3yr old? (Link: http://saferide4kids.com/product/ridesafer-travel-vest-v2/) I am curious to know why you are choosing that over a regular car seat for him? I looked into those but buying the RideSafer Vest ($136) in addition to the CARES harness ($70) seemed like a lot of money when I could just buy a cheap harnessed booster seat for travel. Even with renting the CARES harness, it still seemed like more money than just buying a travel seat.

Also, please post an update after your flight and let me know how it went! :)
 

jordansmom

New member
You mentioned having an infant seat for your youngest right now that they haven't outgrown. Is there a reason you prefer to take a BLVD over the infant carrier? I personally find it easier to navigate airports with an infant seat than a convertible seat because of the carrying handle. It would be lighter to carry and you couldn't be told to forward face the infant seat since it is for rear facing only. Baseless installs are generally pretty straightforward and easy once you get the hang of them as well!

Just another thought and my two cents...whatever you decide, I hope you have an easy trip!
 

JustCari

New member
I thought I replied but it didn't seem to appear here, so here I go again. Apologies if this ends up coming up twice.

First of all - thank you for all of your replies!

cantabdad - Good to know the Marathon fits, but it does look like it's nearly an inch narrower (19.5" vs 18.7"), so I'm still a bit nervous. I know they are required to move you to a seat that it would fit in if it doesn't work, but if none of them in that class of service work.. then what? I don't want the seat we've paid for to go to waste!

And thanks for the tips regarding boarding first before the kids - great idea! I know we didn't install the CARES harness well enough on the last flight because of the stress of getting situated, and as a result our 3 year old was able to wiggle out of the seat. Bah!


thtr4me - Great tips, thank you. I'm feeling a bit better that it'll fit, I just wish I could know 100%.


AllieK - Yes, the RideSafer vest. Too many names to keep track of! We decided not his primarily because we're going on a cruise, and I don't want to have to have extra room in the small cabin for TWO car seats! One is bad enough.

jordansmom - we have the britax chaperone infant seat, and I'd feared it was just too big of a monster to fit on the plane. That said, it looks like maybe it would fit? It's at least narrower (18.3"), so I guess that's a consideration as well. Too many things to consider. I wish this were easier!
 

cantabdad

New member
You really will be OK. There are no absolute guarantees in life, but if you look at the previous thread that I linked to, there are several people who report using the Boulevard without any problem.

The listed airplane seat width is essentially armrest-to-armrest or seat cushion-to-seat cushion. Since you can raise the inboard armrest (in almost all seats except bulkhead rows) this isn't really too much of a limitation.

The widest part of the carseat may infringe on the adjacent seat a little bit, but that seat will be occupied by you or your other child, so that shouldn't be a problem.

The infant seat might be a bit narrower, and perhaps is more convenient in terms of carrying the baby around -- but the Boulevard would seem to give you a little more flexibility to install at a more upright angle, if necessary to make the seat fit RF in close quarters.
 

jjordan

Moderator
I've flown with a boulevard many times, and though it was the older version, I'm sure the newer version will work just fine, too.

I think a Chaperone would work if you install baseless, but if you aren't used to installing baseless, then it really might be easier to take the boulevard.

The setup that we have found to work best when traveling with young kids is to bring a stroller and pile the car seat(s) on that, strapping them on with bungee cords if necessary/helpful. Then pile on all other carry-ons so that one person can push the stroller and thus transport everything except the people. If there is another adult, he/she can take care of the children. For kids roughly age 2 and under, I've found that an easy carrier (ergo/beco/sling/etc) is really helpful. At any rate, we don't use the stroller to transport any kids! Either they're young enough to be carried (in a carrier) or old enough to walk. :)
 

JustCari

New member
Thanks again, everyone! I'm feeling more confident now. Sorry for being the crazy person, but travel with two kids seems to do that to me ;)

I'll try to remember to report back after, but here is our plan, traveling with an 8 month old and 3.5 year old. We're leaving for the airport at 5am and anticipate tired kids, so we want to ensure both can ride/sleep if possible:

For around airport:
- Britax Boulevard on a travel cart (the one made by Britax), which one kid can ride in if need be
- Uppa G-Luxe stroller for other kid or to store stuff if she walks
- One rolling carry on luggage with diaper bag piggybacked, one backpack, and one carry on for 3.5 year old that can fit under stroller

When it's time - - Parent 1 boards:
- Gate checks stroller and car seat cart
- Install Boulevard for 8-month old
- Install CARES harness for 3.5 year old

Parent 2 boards with kids and gets them situated

Fingers crossed! :)
 

JustCari

New member
Just reporting back after the trip - all went well :)

The Boulevard fit fine on the plane, rear facing. I'm not sure I installed it perfectly as I couldn't quite get it tight enough, but it was tight-ish and my daughter seemed quite comfortable in it. In fact she slept a bit of every flight. And while it probably wasn't as safe that I couldn't get it super tight, the slight give meant I could wiggle it a bit to help get her to sleep which worked like a charm!

I'm not sure the person in the seat in front was able to recline, but that never seemed to be an issue - - didn't even mention it and it never came up.

The CARES harness was super easy to install, and I got it tight enough this time so my 3.5 year old couldn't wiggle out of it and stayed securely in her seat. A warning for those with older kids though - the safety is obviously the key point, but your kid being buckled in safely means they can't see out the window, which is a bit of a bummer.

In all, the travel went well - though next time I'd try to lose a bag - we had a ton of stuff to haul through the airports.
 

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