Bringing ds (2) car seat from home on the plane/in the plane?


Longs for the feeling of sandy salt water in her k
Oct 27, 2000
Hi! Last year was a breeze. ds was 15 months old and still in an infant car seat. The airline required that it to checked and I carried just the babe on the plane. This year he'll be almost 2.5 years old. The airline doesn't require him to be in his car seat on the plane, but they said if I wanted to put ds in the car seat in the airplane seat that would be okay. I rather store the car seat, what so you think? Also, I am dreading toting around all that rear! Stroller, car seat, two suitcases and three carry-ons! YIKES! I look at it this way, it's only from plane to car! How do we do it?
One time we checked the carseat and another we brought it on. It was a little easier to check it because it was one less thing to worry about.
We checked the carseats (you can put a carseat in a big plastic "lawn and leaf" bag and tape it closed to keep it cleaner). I know, however, that others will post that your child is safer in his carseat on the plane. Do what works for you.
We had dd (2 then) sit in her carseat last July on the plane. We had lots of luggage, carry-ons and a stroller too, but we managed. During connecting flights we unfolded the stroller and put the carseat and one carry on in it and pushed it. It can be done, it stinks, but it can be done!

Will she sleep on the plane? If so the car seat may be helpful for her head to lean against the little side part that comes out. It also helps her to see out the window. I kow what you mean about carrying so much stuff.
I had the same question a couple of years ago when my dd was about 2 1/2. I asked my sister-in-law (who happens to be a flight attendant) for her opinion. She recommended we use the car seat on the plane not only for safety purposes but mainly because she has found that kids in car seats seem to be more content on the trip. Kids are used to being in the car seat and know that when they are in it that they must stay strapped in and seated. The child then feels secure as they would in any normal car trip. We ended up taking ours on the plane and she did great (never asked to get out of it to walk around like so many people were doing). Of course it was a bit of a pain to carry through the airport so I would just go with what you think will work best in your situation.
Ugh!!! I'm in the same dilemma. We're leaving in 16 days. DD will turn 3 on our trip. We're taking her car seat and hoping that it will fit in the seats. Looks like the smallest seat we'll have to deal with is 17 inches. She's got a high back booster with arm rests that DOES have the FAA sticker on it. It's gonna be a tight squeeze but we're gonna try. If it doesn't fit in the seat we'll check it. We'll have 3 carryons, 3 personal items, 2 suitcases, a car seat and a very active 3 year old who is very anxious to see her grandparents. It's going to be a task!!!!! I wish you the best of luck!!!! :)

I vote for checking the car seat. Three reasons: 1. Too much too lug around airport.
2. Now carry-on allowance is only one per person. 3. Car seat must be approved for airline use. If you have an older model you might not be allowed to use it once you board.
I've done both, when we had to carry the carseat through the airport, we put it in the stroller and pushed it and that worked very well. I've also checked it without too much bother.

Don't forget they have trolleys at airports, just pile everything on the trolley and wheel it out to your car.

we used the carseat last year on the return flight from Florida - it was a night flight and I thought she would sleep better in her car seat - however, we had not been allowed to use it on the outbound flight (different crew, different rules) and so she knew it wasn't required on planes and she seriously rebelled. It was a nightmare, as there was no way to remove the carseat once we had taken off, as there was nowhere to put it; so she had to sit in it, and she was not happy (she was also very very tired, as it was an overnight flight). She took a very long time to settle - it seemed like a lifetime!

This time we are just going to check the carseat, BUT she is 4 1/2 now, so it's not quite the same as 2.

Also - I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think the carseat would count towards your carryon allowance, I know it doesn't count towards your checked luggage limit - neither does a stroller.

Sandra if your DS is anything like my DD it will take him about 2 min.'s to figure out how to undo his seatbelt on the plane. For that reason I would recommend using the seat on the plane because the seat belt on car seats are much harder to undo!!:D :D
Another vote for using the carseat on the plane. :) Two reasons: 1) They are safer, IMHO. 2) They are 'strapped in' :D Oh, and one more...3) My kids know that when they're in their carseat, they need to stay put and use quiet, in-door voices, etc.

Admittedly, hauling a carseat (or two or three--as we've done when traveling with my sister and her kids :rolleyes: ) is a pain in the neck! Especially if you have to change planes! :eek:
This is a sturdy bag that is made to hold a carseat (or carseats, if you nest them). These satchels have "backpack" straps, so that you can free your hands while walking to the gate area. We consider it the best $20 we've ever spent. You can get them at baby-goods stores, and even Wal-Mart sometimes has them now. (Tip about the straps: the most comfortable way to arrange them is to let out the length and loop them forward over the front of the satchel-- the zipper side. This allows you to put the padded side of the seat against your back.) Here is a photo of the one that I have (prices vary, I paid $20 @BRUS):

You can also use the triangle space in the satchel to hold stuffed animals and smooshed coats, but don't put them in there until you are past security, especially if your airport uses sizing templates on the x-ray scanners. A carseat will not usually fit through the sizing template, so you will have to ask them to hand-inspect the bag.

You can also use a small luggage cart and a bungy cord to allow you to wheel the seat through the airport, but if you already have wheeled carryons, you may run out of hands.
Unless you are sure that your airport allows smarte-cartes past security, don't assume that you can take one all the way to the gate; some airports do not allow it.
I vote to bring the car seat. It is a pain I agree! At one time we had 2 car seats and stroller plus all the junk so I do know how much of a pain it is! But as some have posted it does keep the kids better confined and if they sleep the car seat is much better.
Her are some of out tricks...
Buy one of those luggage cart the kind that fold up just has 2 wheels and bunggie cord like straps. We would strap the car seat in that then put our carry on top of that. they pull very easy. We also used back packs as our carry ons. When we had 2 seats DD had a nice roll on carry on with a telascooping handle, we just hooked the straps on the car seat and then put that over the handle...little awkward but worked.
Also if possible when you book your seats try to get as close to the front as possible.
Good luck!
With most stuff, I just say whatever works for you, but in this case, you really should bring the car seat. Turbulence can happen at anytime and an unsecured child can be seriously hurt.

Here's what we do:

1- We "rent" one of the metal luggage carts to use. This should hold most everything, and get you to the baggage check in good shape. You can then either ditch it, or use it for your carry-ons and car seat, all the way to the gate. Some airports don't even charge for the carts.

2- "Gate check" the stroller.

3- Make sure you pre-board. Its much easier carrying the carry ons and car seat if the aisles are empty, AND there is no danger of tagging somebody in the head with it as you go by.

4- If you are by a window, the child gets the window seat. If you are in the middle section, the child cannot go in the aisle seat. The flight attendants should tell you this, but if you know it ahead of time it might save you some aggrevation. The reason for this is to keep the car seat from hindering an evacuation.

5- After landing, wait for everyone behind you to get off before trying to exit the plane. Again, its so much easier to carry everything off with the aisles empty.

6- Before getting your luggage from baggage claim, get/rent a metal cart.

Hope this helps!

(all of this is assuming you purcahased a seat for your child. If not, you will only be able to bring the car seat on if the flight has empty seats.)
I have a 2 1/2 yr old too and we are flying to Disney in March. Iam checking her carseat in. Yes, I know its safer to keep it on the plane, but she will simply not sit in it for very long without causing a big fuss. When we drive around town shes always saying Let me out", lucky she can not undo her carseat belts. She is a very "ACTIVE" toddler(my 7 yr old son was much easier to contain and control at this age)and if I "made" her sit in her carseat on the plane for more then 20 seconds shed have us all thrown off the plane, LOL. In all seriousness, I think what ever works best for your family. My daughter hates to be confined and rather then have her yell and fuss the whole time we opt to check it in. We also always check the stroller too, and its always waiting for us once we get out of the plane so that works well.
I agree that they are the simplest way to move a lot of gear, but I want to reiterate that you should not depend on being able to take the carts all the way to the gate, unless you have determined in advance that you definitely can do it.

There are airports which do not allow you to take those carts past security, and I can tell you from experience that is is not easy to hand-carry a bulky carseat once they take the cart away. (It happened to us at Denver Int'l., and getting all the way to the gate was very difficult with a stroller, two carryons, a diaper bag, and that seat. As soon as we got home I went out and bought a carseat satchel. We have progressed to checking a high-back booster now, as DS has exceeded 40 lbs., but the satchel is still going strong.)
OK, here's my two cents worth...

I agree that it is a pain to lug around with you, but we did use our carseat on the plane and we don't regret it at all! DD2 1/2 fell asleep both to and from Florida and was much more comfortable in her own car seat. It was a very tight fit - we couldn't put the arm rest down on one side of the seat.

Good luck!


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