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Taking a car seat onto the cabin of an airplane(45 Posts)
As title really. Has anyone done this? Which airline was it? Did you have to prebook? Was it helpful or a hassle having it in the cabin?
Alternatively did you try to take the car seat on board and were refused by the airline?
I thought generally airlines didn't let you do this and you had to check it in as luggage.
US airlines are legally obliged to let you take a car seat in the cabit (as long as the seat meets FAA guidelines that is), so I was hoping that people have had positive experiences with other airlines as well.
I am pretty sure every airline I have flown with, from UK to Europe make you check in car seats. I didn't know that about US Airlines, but I remember flying with one and being surprised to see someone bring a car seat onto the plane. But each airline will have their conditions for flying on their website.
I had a real saga with Thomson Airways. Their website suggested I could book a seat for DS (1) and we could out our car seat on the seat for him to sit in. I even called them to check and they said we could, so I spent money on a third seat. On the day, we were questioned at bag check desk but I told them confidently it was all fine. Took seat on to plane and were immediately told we couldn't use it as it wasn't the kind of seat they allow (the only restriction online was the width and ours was within the limit). It seems there is a specific seat they use in training on the planes, unlike any seat anyone would actually own. So we had to drop it into the hold.
We complained and eventually got our money back but it wasn't straightforward. So check and double check before you spend any money on an extra seat.
Some people near me on a plane had one with them once but it was a total hassle as the baby couldn't be in the seat when the seatbelt signs were on - had to be on parents lap with the extra strap - and so was hardly in the seat at all. I remember every stewardess reminding them every time they walked past
This was a European flight and I guess not a 'regulation' seat. I don't know whether they had booked an extra seat or were just lucky that there was a spare seat next to them
for the empty car seat
What stage car seat? We took DD1's baby seat on when she sas tiny and didn't have a seat to herself. The same airline both ways obviously. Ground crew one side totally lovely, found us a spare seat so she travelled in that next to us and slept happily the whole time, total angel, disturbed no-one. Flying back the check in staff were v shitty about it but luckily the flight crew juggled some things around and we got the same result. Haven't tried with a toddler seat though
Thanks everyone, it doesn't seem straightforward!
surroundedbyblondes: DD will be 13 months old, it's a Britax 2-Way Elite which is stage 1,2 and 3 if I am not mistaken. DD already weighs 13 kilos at 10 months.
I would much prefer her in her car seat, aside from it being safer for her, I think she is more likely to relax and sleep a bit.
Done this on BA and bmi (sob, sob ), easy as peasy. Virgin wouldn't let us because they said they didn't allow it in the aircraft type (bollocks), then 20 mins put from heathrow on the way in from JFK they said "oh we had one you could have used stowed away onboard!"
Moral of the story check directly with your carrier.
If you do want to use one it will have to be a 5 point harness with a CE mark.
how long is the flight. a friend did it back to nz from the uk. They had bought a Kiddy carseat while they were over here. They had grandma standing by with the box in case they said no so they could wrap it up. They walked on the plain and no said anything.
I think because you little one is under 2 she will have to be on you lap on take off and landing and when the light is on. It might be worth getting a seat for her for the extra luggage allowance and hope you can take it on. Do you need it at the other end.
Thanks hermione, I will check with them directly but DP is worried that they will say 'yes' beforehand and 'no' on the day, leaving us stuck with the car seat (of course it can go in the hold, but I would be worried it would get damaged if not properly wrapped).
notfarmingatthemo: it's three different flights and in between we will be all over the place with taxis so it would be really handy to have the car seat with us. The longest flight is Edinburgh to Toulouse, three hours, so not too long.
I believe it also has to be installable with a 2-point belt not just a 3-point (which the TWE is). Probably best to take the manual and some bubble wrap just in case....
We took the car seat on board with us with Cyprus Airways. We didn't intend to, but we had to travel with it anyway and it fitted on the buggy. The stewards themselves told us not to leave it in the hold with the other piece of the buggy as the flight wasn't full and we would find a spare seat. We had to have DS in our laps for take off and landing though.
We are doing this in a few weeks with QANTAS. We actually changed airline to be able to do this for our 17 month old as he is too heavy for the bassinet and we thought it would be the best way to contain him/chance of him sleeping. They have checked our seat spec to see that it will fit and will fit it for us before we board the plane. With the airline we originally booked with it was more at our own risk and we would have needed to carry the seat on board and fit it ourselves.
Shame, the seat is too wide (46cm) for what is allowed by the airlines (Air France 41cm and Jet2 40.6cm)!!!
Other than that I think it would have been OK as they both say on their websites that you may use a car seat if it can be properly secured to the aircraft and the 2-Way Elite has a 2-point securing system.
hi i flew easyjet and it was no problem. just make sure you don't be late and miss the call for boarding for parents and young children.
i actually bought a seat to take which i had seen recommended on here, the Britax prince meets the width requirements, can be used with a lap belt and is quite light for hauling around airports. DS had just turned 2 and needed his own seat anyway.
we were using it in a hire car too though and was handy at home for my car so didn't mind buying it.
The only seats you can use on an aircraft are forward facing ones where you can loop the airplane seatbelt through the back of the seat with enough room to tighten it securely to the seat. You cannot use a seat where you need to strap the aircraft seatbelt around the front of the seat, or use the seatbelt to secure the child. The seat must have a 5 point harness and fit securely in the aircraft seat. You can bring infant carriers but they cannot be used in the seat. Any child under 2 must be secured by an infant seatbelt on you lap for take off and landing. If you think about it, in an emergency you have seconds to get out of the plane and the last thing you want to do is fiddle with a carseat to get baby out. on your lap you just release your seatbelt and go, as the infant belt stays on the baby and just slides off from your belt. I have never bothered with a carseat, use the space to carry a few pillows instead so you can bed down the kids on the seat for a good rest. And as baby will most likely want to sleep on you a pillow or two to support you and a babysling is essential. Every longhaul flight ive done with the kids i have had one of them sleeping in the sling on me, which means I can actually sleep too as I know the baby wont fall or slip off me. I highly recommend any sling that can take up to 2 yr olds, I use the babybjorn comfort, as it has been an absolute lifesaver.
Thanks jaggythistle I will look into the Britax prince.
That's a great idea MummyP, I will definately take her baby carrier with me.
Yep, aeroplanes are so different to cars, that a car seat wouldn't add anything in terms of safety. The only advantages are knowing where the car seat is and that it's not being damaged, and having somewhere to put them down safely.
The reason I think it might be safer is that DD is highly unlikely to want to stay in my lap strapped in for the duration of the flight, whereas she is far more willing to stay strapped into her car seat. Turbulence may come on quite unexpectedly on a plane and I would prefer her to stay strapped in all the time (I keep my seatbelt on all the time when seated on a plane).
I think they would want her on your lap during turbulence as well though, unless I'm mistaken.
I fly long haul frequently with my now toddler. We usually fly virgin who don't allow you to bring your own carseat on board but do provide their own 'carseat' with a five point harness if you buy a seat for the child. It's a pain as it doesn't really recline and it's a faff to install or take out, cue much tutting from crew when I ask them to remove it so DS can just sit on seat and play rather than be strapped in. Virgin do let the child stay in the seat for take off and when the seatbelt signs are on though. I had this www.kidsflysafe.com Recommended by a friend and think I will invest. I keeps child contained but doesn't take up space on the seat, and means seat can se reclined with it attached.
Bertie - children have actually had their lives saved by being in car seats in aircraft - and in the US it's encouraged to use a FAA approved seat esp. rfing seats (the air crew ride rfing if you look) as they are statistically safer in a crash (nose is most likely to hit the ground/water than the tail).
The US Babycenter Car Seat Question board has a fair few CPST (Car Passenger Safety Technicians) on the board so it might be worth asking them for advice on the various airlines you plan on flying (not strictly cricket referring off forum but they do have a lot of training/experience in airline procedures).
Many thanks everyone for your help! I suspect in the next few years car seats will become standard in airplanes, meanwhile I think I will invest the special harness Inthesleeplessnightgarden suggests (great idea Inthe, thanks!).
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