Travelling to Europe, revisited

mommycat

Well-known member
Ok, I already did this before, but I am still beating this thing around in my head. Sorry to duplicate a bit but I am getting a bit clearer on the details and have a couple more seat options...

I will be travelling to Europe with LOT Polish airlines. The seat width on the 767 is listed as 18.7 inches on seatguru.com. I am 99.9% sure I will be able to use DS2's seat no problem, but not sure at all if I will get to use a seat for DS1 as their policy info is useless to nonexistent.

I have reserved 2 of the CARES harnesses, but I am still debating using seats on board (I probably will for DS2 but may not for DS1 even if I can, and use the harness instead so he has more freedom?) and I will still need seats at my destination. I would rather not check seats partly scared of damage and also scared of them just not arriving if luggage gets lost. The driving there is scary to say the least so I really want to have good seats with good installs. It would be nice if they had EPS foam at least...

DS2 needs tall slots, he doesn't fit in the AOEs or the Sceneras. He will likely still be under 40 lbs or just over.

I have available:
3 AOEs (probably not the best of all my choices, and wide?? or are they any worse than the MA?)
2 Radians (compatibility issues? + heavy!)
2 Marathons (is the cowmoo too eye-catching? see * below)
1 True Fit (too big...)
1 Traditions (meh)
2 Sceneras (wish they had EPS foam and more padding)
I could also buy a Safety 1st Avenue (for $150+tax :thumbsdown:).
I am also alternately considering buying one or two Britax Two Ways and having it/them shipped to my family there, and then leaving it/them for my cousins' kids as a gift.

* I am totally paranoid that someone will steal my seats out of (or with) the vehicle while we are there (theft is rampant).

What would you do?

I wish I wasn't so debilitatingly indecisive!
 
ADS

mommycat

Well-known member
Main question I would like some input on, I guess: do you think I am crazy to consider spending the $$ on the Britax Two Way(s)? Or should I just take 2 of my own seats?
 

calihannah

New member
We just flew to Sweden from NY, so ~8 hours each way. We opted for the Scenera, as DD would never have slept in the CARES harness. We had the CARES with us for the one flight on a small plane that wouldn't allow the Scenera.

Your DS1 is older -- might he sleep in the CARES harness? The younger child, though, I'd definitely want in a car seat on the plane.

As for the Britax Two Ways, I got to see them in person on this trip (along with the Multi Tech), and if I could have used one during the trip, I would have. But to spend the $$...that's another story.

One thought -- it was a PITA to install the Scenera in our rental car (a Volvo S60) because there was no ISOFIX (aka LATCH) and the belts didn't lock, so it was necessary to use a locking clip. Not fun in random taxis, either, for the same reason. We kept flagging taxis, looking in them for ISOFIX, and then sending them away if they didn't have it. In a few of the car services, they had really nice child seats installed for us. But that's Sweden, so probably to our advantage.

Bottom line -- I'd take the seats, if only for the containment/sleeping factor on the plane. If it were me, I'd take the Scenera for your smaller child, because of the convenience factor in schlepping it around the airport. Even if you've gate-checked a stroller, you won't get it back until after you've cleared customs/immigration, so plan on a way to carry your seats (and kids) through the (sometimes long) wait and lines.
 

mommycat

Well-known member
Thanks for the insight! I plan to not take a stroller but use something like the Travelling Toddler to attach the seats to our carry-on. I will be using that as a stroller for DS2 since he is light enough that it seems to work well. (DS1 will just have to walk.)

I don't mind locking clip installs, although it does usually take an extra step or two as you perfect the fit. But maybe this calls for taking at least one of the Marathons after all, since they have lockoffs, install easily and have more padding? I'm not too paranoid about the Onyx one being stolen out of a car since it blends into the background a lot more than the cowmoo. :D So, I guess DS2 will get either Scenera or Onyx MA.

Now I just need to make a decision about DS1.
 

mommycat

Well-known member
Grr, just lost a post.

I was saying, I can't seem to truly justify the $400 for a TwoWay, as tempting as it is, especially with one cousin's DD riding in a FF only seat which harnesses to 40 lbs, at 20mo. But it's a lot of $$ on top of an already expensive trip, and then there's trying to learn a new install method on the spot. I feel a bit intimidated by that. I can see potential for misuse. :(

I am pretty much decided on the MA over the Scenera for DS2, for ease of install, lockoffs, RF tether and more padding. Unless he is over the 30lb RF limit by September, but I can't see him gaining 10 lbs in the next 3 months. :D OMG. 3 months?!!!! :eek:

Maybe I need a show of hands for DS1 - Radian vs. MA. Especially with the possibility that I may not be allowed to use it on the flight and may have to stow/gate check it. I do NOT want to check it with luggage, for fear of damage or ending up with no seat. We also have little idea what vehicles we will be using when we are there. Possibly a Dodge Caravan (year??) and any number of other family cars, taxi's, who knows.

Radian
Pros:
*tray table can be used
*folds and might fit in overhead bin or under seat
*folds and might be easier to carry around
*performs well without top tether if we don't have one available
Cons:
*possible install issues
*heavy
*no lockoffs
*minimal recline and shallow sides, might not be so comfy for sleeping

MA
Pros:
*easy to install virtually anywhere
*lockoffs
*same as seat for DS2 so it might be an argument to convince FA that if DS2 is allowed in one, so should DS1 be, if we meet resistance
*? maybe more comfy for flight and better for sleeping? more recline? (I've never tried to compare)
Cons:
*can't use tray table
*eyecatching cowmoo cover
*will not fit under seat or in overhead bin
*harder to install on plane?

Anything else?
 

InternationalMama

New member
Hi Cat,

Sorry I keep posting on your threads. Our car seat dilemmas are so similar and I'm still debating about mine so I keep reading about yours hoping you'll offer me some inspiration or solution. :)

Here's what I would do:

I would take the Scenera for YDS and the Marathon for ODS.

The Scenera is a good seat for international travel, I think. It's very light (unlike the Radian) and easy to install even in foreign cars. It was recommended to me over the Radian by people in Europe because of the Radians install issues (something to do with belt stalks, ISOFIX weight limits, can't remember exactly). It's also an easy install on the plane even RF (whereas some people claim that at least on some planes the Radian won't RF). And it's cheap.

Why is cheap relevant since you already own it? Well, with my own travel plans I'm concerned about being forced to check seats. Even with gate checking I'd worry about damage to the seat especially because if it was an unexpected gate check the seat would have little or no padding. So here's my thinking:

If you take the MA and the Scenera and they make you check one of the seats you can check the Scenera and put YDS in the MA. Then you can either use the Scenera at the other end, but get rid of it after your trip because of concerns about damage without being out a lot of money, or if you decide not to use it even in Poland because of your concerns about having had to check it then you can buy a Britax First Class in Poland for YDS and if your cousin's DD is under 13kg that will still have her RFing longer than she is now without the price tag of the Swedish seats. Plus it's an easy install in EU cars with the lock offs and other bonuses you mentioned for the MA.

I like this plan because if I were you it would free me up from a lot of worry about whether they were going to let me on the plane with both seats and what I would do if they didn't. Plus as an added bonus it means you stay away from the cowmoo cover which might flag your car as a tourist's vehicle -and- you're putting about $200 less inside your car so if -it- gets stolen you'd be out fewer pricey seats. Those wouldn't be the reason I'd put the Scenera and MA, but they are bonuses.

Those are just my thoughts. HTH.
 

mommycat

Well-known member
Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. Please, keep posting in my threads! I am just sorry I keep posting the same stuff and not really making any headway. I hope you do get some inspiration along the way. :)

I will have to think about this option for sure. I wish I could just get over this strange aversion to the Scenera as a long-haul travel seat. I wish the Avenue was a lot cheaper and then I could just go pick up one of those. :eek:

You bring up a good point, that whatever seat I take and might need to gate check, to make sure I have it in as well-padded a bag as possible, just in case. Also, I might consider getting a different cover for my cowmoo MA if I do bring that. And remember to throw a blanket over my seats. hehe
 

amyd

New member
I'd be tempted to get DS1 a TW & try to smuggle it home;)

Seriously, though, I'd do the Scenera for DS2 & a MA for DS1. I'd be terrified to lose my Cowmoo too so I'd probably take a different cover for it.
 

InternationalMama

New member
So if you'd take an Avenue but not a Scenera is your biggest reservation about the Scenera a comfort thing?

I was looking at your reasons for taking the MA over the Scenera and I noticed you mentioned RF tethering as a plus. But would the European car have the necessary for you to use an RF tether? (I don't know that much about tethering...)

It's funny that you should mention the Avenue because I'm currently thinking we'll get one of those as DS travel seat. It has a taller shell than the Scenera so I'm hoping it will last longer.

Well, good luck in your decision. I'll definitely let you know if I have any brilliant ideas.
 

mommycat

Well-known member
I'd be tempted to get DS1 a TW & try to smuggle it home;)

Seriously, though, I'd do the Scenera for DS2 & a MA for DS1. I'd be terrified to lose my Cowmoo too so I'd probably take a different cover for it.
Hah, I've thought about it, but in the end, a) I want to be legal and b) my husband would kill me. :p
If I only take one MA, I will take the Onyx one, and leave the cowmoo home. :thumbsup:

So if you'd take an Avenue but not a Scenera is your biggest reservation about the Scenera a comfort thing?

I was looking at your reasons for taking the MA over the Scenera and I noticed you mentioned RF tethering as a plus. But would the European car have the necessary for you to use an RF tether? (I don't know that much about tethering...)
The biggest reservations about the Scenera are potential safety first (lack of EPS foam) and comfort second (sitting on next to no padding for hours and hours). But who wants to spend $150+tax (over twice what I paid for the Scenera) on a new seat which really doesn't offer all that much extra? At that price, I may as well just buy the Britax First Class as suggested. And it's not like I need another seat *here*.

As far as the RF tethering, the MA (and the Radian, the other seat which allows RF tethering) comes with a D-ring so you can loop it around a seat rail or some other vehicle-frame-fixed object to create your own tether location. I would do that and use Swedish tethering method, toward the front of the car.

Speaking of tethering, do any/some/most cars in EU have top tether locations? I will feel wrong not tethering a FF seat, it would be like going out of the house with no pants on. :p
 

InternationalMama

New member
Hi Cat,

Maybe I've gotten confused about which Avenue everyone is talking about, but they sell the Safety 1st Avenue at Sears for $85. Plus I think last time I checked there was a $5 off coupon...

As far as tether anchor points, I really don't know as I haven't even thought about FF tethers yet. My guess is that some have them, but I wouldn't think most do. My MIL's 2007 car didn't even have Isofix (aka Latch). In Poland where a lot of the cars are older I would think a lot of cars wouldn't have those features, but as I said I haven't investigated it at all personally.
 

mommycat

Well-known member
Hello again!

You are not confused about the Avenue, just about my shopping options - I am in Canada, which means MY Avenue at Sears will cost me $149.99 + tax = $169.49... ;) All the US vs non-US stuff gets confusing around here.

I don't imagine there will be any top tethers available. I will have to resign myself to that I guess. At least if we end up borrowing the mini-van (a possibility), I should be able to tether to a 3rd row seat belt, right?
 

InternationalMama

New member
Wow, that's a huge price difference! Boo. I can see why you don't want to shell that out. I still vote for the Scenera and the MA. :)

As an aside, are you sure you want to drive a mini-van in Europe? Small streets, small parking spaces, I wouldn't want to do it. But I guess better than a rental car. :)
 

mommycat

Well-known member
The minivan would just be in fairly rural areas, relatively speaking. We would have family driving us in Warsaw and from Warsaw to the area we would stay in (about 3 hour drive) - unless we would want to consider a bus with all our luggage, etc. Ugh.

Which now that I think of it, I should consider whether there would be more room for an adult to sit by a MA or a Scenera, or reconsider the Radian after all... I don't know how that trip will go at all, really. I'm not big, but I know there is NO WAY I fit between the MA and the RF AOE in my Civic, just the way the seats are, so it is not unimaginable that we may have issues fitting in me, the kids, my mom and the driver, whoever it is, into one car...

We really want to avoid renting a car because of how expensive it is. And then we also will have the option, locally, of using the mini-buses with no seatbelts that no one here would put thier kids on... And add on to that the fact that all I hear lately is planes disappearing, getting hijacked, crashed, bird strikes, etc etc I might just go hide with myhead under my bed and not go. :eek::p
 

InternationalMama

New member
You couldn't take a train to the place you're staying in? I'm a big fan of trains. :)

Yes, whether you could fit next to the two seats seems worth considering. Could all 5 of you and all your luggage fit in most European cars anyway regardless of the seat configuration?

Definitely go! I'm sure it will be a great trip. :)
 

mommycat

Well-known member
I'm not sure there is a train available, as I don't in my entire life remember making that trip by train, nor anyone else in the family, neither. It has never been mentioned as an option.

We have done trips like this before with 2 adults in the back and all the luggage. Typically we rent a vehicle but often we have done the trip by flying in to Holland or Germany for 2/3 the ticket price and then renting a vehicle and driving across. It makes more sense with 2-3 adults to save on airfare and get to see the sights as well. I really did nt want to do this with the kids at this age.

We are definitely going. We already bought the airline tickets. :p
 

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