Traveling on American Airlines CRJ-700, 17.3" seat width, Carseat Questions?




I will be flying American Airlines non-stop in a CRJ-700 aircraft for a 3 hour flight. My daughter will be 23 months old when we depart in November. She is currently 29 lbs, 32" tall, in the 90% for her age, so she's pretty good sized. We own two Britax Marathon 70 car seats and love them, but I'm pretty sure it will be too large for the airplane seats. I went to American Airlines website to find out the width of the seats and they are 17.3" wide, this is a small aircraft with only two seats on each side. I've been reading through forums on what is the best car seat to use. I'm having a hard time finding any recommendations for traveling on a small aircraft with a car seat. The Costo Scenera is 17.5" according to Wal-Mart website, I will have to measure it in store to be sure. I figure if the armrest move up then it won't be a problem. We called American Airlines to inquire about lap seating for our daughter since she will be under two and they said that we might have a problem fitting a car seat in the small plane. My husband works on aircrafts and has learned a lot about them, he thinks it would be safe to have our daughter sitting on our lap during the 3 hour flight. Since the aircraft is only 2 seats we would not have the option of using an extra seat.

My questions are:

1. Has anyone traveled on a smaller aircraft and were able to use a car seat? If so, which one fit the best?

2. Has anyone traveled with a child under 2 yrs. of age on your lap? How was your flight? Do you think it would have been better using a car seat?

3. Can you provide me with websites showing the cons of lap sitting?

Thank you,


New member
I have not used a carseat on that particular aircraft, so I can't answer that.

But your second question...try sitting your daughter on your lap in a chair at home and keeping her there for 3 hours. Does that sound like fun? Probably not ;). Besides tha safety aspect, it is so much easier to have their own seat. At that age, they want to get down, move around, play, get into things. I flew with a 16 month old child before I knew better, and it was by far the worst flight I have taken with kids. My son wanted to be all over the place, and did not want to sit on my lap any longer.


New member
Can you find out if the armrest flip up? That's a pretty standard width for the airplane seat, but with the armrests up you gain enough room for pretty much any (FAA approved) seat. We used our older style Marathons with no issues on multiple flights when the kids were smaller (including a smaller plane with 2 seats on one side & 3 on the other).

I would definitely buy her a ticket and use the carseat on the flight. At almost 2yo I would probably FF on the plane to make things easier (but in a convertible so you can RF in your vehicle when you get there). For me the thought of holding any child over about 6 months on a flight just does not sound like fun! Add in the fact that if she's on her lap her seat is getting tossed around by airline personnel and you never know what might happen to it.

For a tall child I'd make sure she'll fit in the Scenera RF by height (at least 1" of shell above the head). We also had an Uptown (similar to the Avenue which is nice and narrow, lightweight and taller than the Scenera. I'm not too familiar with some of the newer seats like the Apt or Chart, some of them might be worth looking into also.


New member
17" is a pretty typical seat width. You should be fine with a Marathon. Most carseats are slightly wider than the nominal dimensions of the seat, but their bases still fit between the armrests. I was able to get a Roundabout on a propeller aircraft that also had 17" seat width and did not need to raise the armrest. But you can do so if needed.

FAA and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend using a carseat onboard. Although relatively rare, there have been preventable injuries and fatalities among unsecured lap infants.

You will also all be more comfortable if your child has a seat and you won't have to worry about your carseat being damaged as checked baggage.


New member
The way I look at lap babies is as follows:

If during take off and landing it's not safe for me to have my *purse* in my lap, because it might fly off my lap and hit someone, it can't possibly be safe for a PERSON to be in my lap.

Buy a seat, bring the carseat.


I've flown on both CRJ-700s and 900s with DD in a SnugRide 22 and in a Scenera. No problem with either seat on the plane. Nice and easy to install and no real reason to raise the arm rest. I usually do raise the arm rest so that I can put her sippies, and little backpack on the seat between us.

We almost always fly Delta, and I prefer to fly on their Regional Jets over 757s. The seats are a little wider and the pitch is a little longer.

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