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Old 10-02-2012, 11:30 AM   #1
msmama
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Checking a car seat on a plane ?'s

It's actually a booster for my 4 year old - he can't use it on the plane so we'll get that part out of the way, lol.

I am going to gate check (that seems the safest as it will make sure I definitely have it when I get there - sadly, not Disney). I do have a carseat bag, but it doesn't offer much padding so I was going to either, 1, try to put the booster back in the box it came in and put that in the bag or 2, pad it well with other stuff.

So my question is, how much other stuff can I use as padding?

I'm flying US Airways and its the first time I have to deal with baggage fees (I'm usually a SW girl but they don't fly to Charlotte). I was going to at least put my son's swim stuff (puddlejumper vest) in the carseat bag.

Our stuff fits in one suitcase. I don't want it to seem like I'm trying to get away with something by packing stuff in with the booster, but I want it to have plenty of padding, too!

How strict are they? Anybody disagree that gate checking is best?
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:37 AM   #2
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Anybody disagree that gate checking is best?
I disagree.

Bringing it on-board and stowing it on the overhead is best.

And I'd bet that they have seen quite a few people try to get a free checked bag by sticking a booster seat in that bag, so you might have a problem if there are other items in there.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:40 AM   #3
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Op - is it a highback booster seat? If so, I don't think the airline will let you bring it onboard to be stowed in the overhead. I think they only allow that for the backless boosters.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:11 PM   #4
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I got a padded bag from Wal-Mart and has decent padding. But we have also used blankets, diapers and such to pad around it. No one ever said anything to us about it. Doubt you would get much flack. I think you can use clothes, blanket, towels, anything soft to cushion it. On the return trip, I always use dirty clothes in plastic gorcery bags to pad around it!
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:09 PM   #5
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FWIW- we have checked carseats with no issues what soever at the normal baggage check. You can gate check- but then you have to lug it to the gate along with whatever else you might need to be lugging. For me it was worth the marginal additional risk that it might get lost to not have to carry it through security, etc.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:13 PM   #6
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Op - is it a highback booster seat? If so, I don't think the airline will let you bring it onboard to be stowed in the overhead. I think they only allow that for the backless boosters.
If it meets the carry-on luggage size, it can be stowed in the overhead bin.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:25 PM   #7
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If it is a low back, you can definitely bring it on board as a carry on. ITA to keep it with you, as boosters have the same rules about damage as car seats, which is a drop from waist height. DS1's fit well in the overhead bin.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:21 PM   #8
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Just to further add to the confusion...if you are renting a car- something to remember, (I believe & maybe someone else knows) you can only use a no back booster with a seat that has a head rest. Seats without head rest require a high bk booster...I think I got that right.

We are trying to figure out what to do as well. I have a 5 year old still harnessed & a 7 yr old in a high back booster. I chat on a car seat board & some of the suggestions were take boosters on board as carry on (like you asked about) buy cheap high back or no back booster once there, ship cheap boosters to hotel. Or buy something like the bubble bum inflatible & portable booster.

I'm not sure how the bubble bum would fit a 4 yr old....I know the bubble bum would make the most sense for us, but I just "feel" better about the extra support of a belt positioning booster. Sigh ...
Sorry for high jacking, do let us know what you decide might help me just make a decision already
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:37 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ChitownFamily View Post
Just to further add to the confusion...if you are renting a car- something to remember, (I believe & maybe someone else knows) you can only use a no back booster with a seat that has a head rest. Seats without head rest require a high bk booster...I think I got that right.

We are trying to figure out what to do as well. I have a 5 year old still harnessed & a 7 yr old in a high back booster. I chat on a car seat board & some of the suggestions were take boosters on board as carry on (like you asked about) buy cheap high back or no back booster once there, ship cheap boosters to hotel. Or buy something like the bubble bum inflatible & portable booster.

I'm not sure how the bubble bum would fit a 4 yr old....I know the bubble bum would make the most sense for us, but I just "feel" better about the extra support of a belt positioning booster. Sigh ...
Sorry for high jacking, do let us know what you decide might help me just make a decision already
My son is still harnessed at home and I admit I'm iffy about the high back booster I got him!

I can take the booster apart and put it back in the box it came in. The box then fits in the car seat bag (which has straps to make it easier to carry). I also have a couple of sweatshirts in there as extra padding.

Depending on how busy the airport looks (I'm flying out of Laguardia which can be hit or miss on business I've found) I may check it with the suitcase of gate check it. I am confident about the secureness of it being packaged correctly and padded enough, but still nervous about losing it (I have NEVER lost luggage, but don't want this to be the first).

As for those who suggest carrying it on, I don't think it'd meet the dimensions for a carry on with the back.

Actually, now that I think about it, the whole thing may fit if I use a bigger suitcase (though I may be over weight).
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:19 PM   #10
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Could you remove the back and pack THAT in your suitcase, then carry on the bottom? Assuming it is easy to reassemble when you arrive, of course.... we also have carried on DD's (backless) booster and slid it under the seat in front of her.

Just a thought.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:22 PM   #11
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We have a high backed booster for our DD age 6. Always put it in a car seat carrier bag and check it at the desk.

The nice thing is that the bag is free and there is plenty of room for us to put coats, shoes, last minute purchases, etc. We don't pack it full but it actually saves us from having to pay for another bag.

I can't imagine that a high back booster would ever be allowed in an overhead - it would be too long and bulky. To me it would be very cumbersome having to lug it through security and with all of the other bags we are carrying it would not be my first choice!
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmama View Post
My son is still harnessed at home and I admit I'm iffy about the high back booster I got him!
If he's still harnessed at home, then bring his seat on the airplane to use. He already has his own seat, and you know that it will be well taken care of and not thrown into the cargo area of a plane. The other thing about boosters is that you have to train kids how to sit in them. My 4 yr old is also still harnessed, and if she were suddenly put in a booster on a trip, she would be all over the place because she doesn't know yet how to sit properly without playing with the seat belt. For that reason, I'd be really leery of using a booster over his harnessed seat without preparation.
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:23 PM   #13
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If he's still harnessed at home, then bring his seat on the airplane to use. He already has his own seat, and you know that it will be well taken care of and not thrown into the cargo area of a plane. The other thing about boosters is that you have to train kids how to sit in them. My 4 yr old is also still harnessed, and if she were suddenly put in a booster on a trip, she would be all over the place because she doesn't know yet how to sit properly without playing with the seat belt. For that reason, I'd be really leery of using a booster over his harnessed seat without preparation.
ITA, a trip is not the time to find out your child can't handle sitting in a booster. The minimum in Canada (where I'm a car seat tech) is 40 lbs, but it is widely advised to keep your child harnessed until at least 5-6 yrs old. Our youngest was 4 yrs old on our last plane trip and he was in his car seat on the aircraft as well as at the destination.
As for the comment about a low back booster needing a headrest, in general this is true. Some high back boosters also require a headrest (eg the Monterey).
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:04 AM   #14
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We have a high backed booster for our DD age 6. Always put it in a car seat carrier bag and check it at the desk.

The nice thing is that the bag is free and there is plenty of room for us to put coats, shoes, last minute purchases, etc. We don't pack it full but it actually saves us from having to pay for
You are not allowed to use your stroller/car seat bag to hold a lot of additional items to get around paying for an additional checked bag. You're lucky you got away with this in the past, but I wouldn't recommend people do this.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:05 AM   #15
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If he's still harnessed at home, then bring his seat on the airplane to use. He already has his own seat, and you know that it will be well taken care of and not thrown into the cargo area of a plane. The other thing about boosters is that you have to train kids how to sit in them. My 4 yr old is also still harnessed, and if she were suddenly put in a booster on a trip, she would be all over the place because she doesn't know yet how to sit properly without playing with the seat belt. For that reason, I'd be really leery of using a booster over his harnessed seat without preparation.
Depending on the size of the 4 year old, sitting in a regular car seat on a plane could be pretty uncomfortable. Not much leg room and he would have trouble not kicking the seat in front of him.
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