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Car seats on aeroplanes

(30 Posts)
travellingfamily Tue 21-Feb-17 13:25:56

Does anyone have information on which airlines accept which car seats? Booking a holiday and travel agent can't tell us till nearer the time whether the airline will allow us to use a car seat. Really want to as will have a wriggly just 2 year old, and it is likely to mean the difference between sleeping and pacing the floor!

goodbyeyellowbrickroad Tue 21-Feb-17 13:32:17

I'd seriously reconsider taking a car seat onboard for your 2 year old to sit in. If the airline does accept a car seat, they have to be a particular width to fit on the aircraft seat plus you have to get it onto the plane. I totally get where you're coming from with getting them to stay sat down. There's a harness you can buy that's a 5 point harness that fits onto an airplane seat. It's not the cheapest thing in the world but would be so much easier than lugging a car seat through the airport etc.

travellingfamily Tue 21-Feb-17 13:49:29

Thanks - I actually have one f.

travellingfamily Tue 21-Feb-17 13:52:24

Try again. I have one of those but in my opinion a 2 year old is a bit too small for them, hence wanting to take a car seat.

savagehk Tue 21-Feb-17 13:53:15

I've tried this, even if customer services etc say it's OK, cabin crew may refuse. We have had success about 50% of the time. Is it an 'airline' or a charter? It is much better if you can use it onboard, it's safe, out the way, undamaged, and the child fits much better!

Purplebluebird Tue 21-Feb-17 14:09:16

I've travelled a lot with my 3 year old, and there is no way I would take car seat after 1,5 years old. Too big and too much faff. Send it in with the suitcases!

Backinthebox Tue 21-Feb-17 14:23:47

For a car seat to be usable on an aeroplane when the seat belt signs are on (i.e. take off, landing and turbulence) it has be be one that is designed to be attached securely in a passenger seat using only the lap restraint with no part of the buckle of the lap restraint in contact with or beneath the structure of the car seat, and it must secure the child by it's lap, torso and crotch. It must not exceed the dimensions of the aircraft seat. As far as I am aware there aren't actually any mainstream car seats that fulfil these criteria - in nearly 20 years of working on passenger aircraft I have never seen one used for take off and landing.

You can use normal car seats as a comfy place for the child to sit while the seat belt signs are off though - as long as the airline you are flying with lets you take it as hand luggage. When the seat belt signs are on you must take the child out of the car seat and stow it, and fasten the child in normally. The national airlines generally tend to allow you to take them as hand luggage, the low-costs don't always. Best to check with your airline in advance.

feesh Tue 21-Feb-17 16:25:51

You need to have a car seat with an FAA approved sticker on it - I know for a fact that the Maxi Cosi Pebble
Plus has one, but not sure a 2 year old would fit in that. Not sure which other seats do though - check the underneath to see if yours has the relevant approvals

savagehk Tue 21-Feb-17 16:34:23

The seats don't need to be FAA approved, and they don't need to be stowed during takeoff and landing. It depends on each individual aircraft/carrier. IATA has guidelines here but stress it's for each airline to decide. See page 13 for details of potential 'valid' stickers, but note that the EU rules are if it's approved for use in motor vehicles according to ECE R 44 03 or later, which most (all?) UK car seats should be. (And yes, I know it's not clear whether you need the ECE AND the sticker just below it, and IATA hasn't replied to me.)

Air France's rules (for example) are simply that it must be an approved car seat (approved for use in a car) and that it must fit (44cm wide or less). Didn't stop cabin crew objecting on the two short-haul hops though, although we did end up using it on the short-haul and it on the longhaul. We weren't the only ones on the longhaul either, and the cabin crew didn't bat an eyelid. Our seat is a Britax Two Way Elite which can fasten with lap belt only.

savagehk Tue 21-Feb-17 16:37:16

From Air France's website (doesn't work on mobiles IIRC!)

"Did you reserve a seat for your infant? For his or her comfort, you can bring a car seat as long as:
it is authorized for standard automobile use (a non-standard car seat may be refused by personnel upon check-in or boarding),
it does not exceed 44 cm / 17.3 in. or 42 cm / 16.5 in. in width if your seat is located in the first row of the Economy cabin,
you make sure to install the seat on board as indicated by the manufacturer's instructions (front or back facing the seatback),
it can be held in place by a seat belt."

ineedwine99 Tue 21-Feb-17 16:38:53

Expensive i know but I'm considering this when my baby is older

Leggit Tue 21-Feb-17 16:43:00

We always found it easier without a seat. It's less hassle as it's less to carry while you are bringing luggage and child already. Also my kids have always been easier to deal with sat on the normal seat

Artandco Tue 21-Feb-17 16:43:10

Don't take one. At 2 years they can't use tray table with car seat, it can't be used in aisle or middle seat. Plus you have to lug around airport. 44cm is tiny width and very few car seats are that small. I fly every 6weeks or so, it's very rare any car seats are on board, and only newborn if so. Ps they can't be used for take off, landing or during turbulence

savagehk Tue 21-Feb-17 16:43:24

ineedwine - it says it's not for use during turbulence, so you'd have to disturb them if the seatbelt lights came on?

savagehk Tue 21-Feb-17 16:45:59

One of the other families using one on board used a small folding trolley with wheels for the car seat at the airport.

And we did use ours for the whole flight, take off, landing, turbulence. It's strapped in using the lap belt and the child harnesses in as normal. And the tray table fitted with the car seat with no issues.

AppleMagic Tue 21-Feb-17 16:50:47

That's not right. 5 point harness car seats can be used for all parts of a flight. We've taken our son's Diono radian RXT (UK model name is radian 5 I think) on many flights here in the US. It's booster cushions that can be used for cruising but not take off/landing.

We use it for exactly the reasons you want to, OP, and it works great. Our ds is much calmer in his car seat because he's used to not being allowed to undo it etc.

AppleMagic Tue 21-Feb-17 16:52:16

It's easier in the US though because US airlines have to let you use appropriate car seats.

Artandco Tue 21-Feb-17 16:54:37

On European flights that seat would be refused often. They have very different rules to internal US flights.

Whether it's legal or not, if they say no, your option is you can't use it, or you spend hours delaying or cancelling flight arguing on plane steps. More often or not they simply say no.

ineedwine99 Tue 21-Feb-17 17:13:51

True, I hadn't spotted that. Sorry

travellingfamily Tue 21-Feb-17 22:18:15

Thanks so much everyone. It looks a total minefield. I had presumed there was a list of approved seats and off you go! I found this list:

But most are baby seats, and once you remove the 'Kiddy' type (which don't have a harness so may not meet some airline criteria) you aren't left with very much.

Also some of the approved ones seem to be pretty wide, so not sure whether they would actually fit.

On the plus side, we have a 2 way elite, so could consider using that, and as we have a small amount of luggage and plenty of people to carry it I am not too worried about the 'bulky' aspect.

Really annoying that the FAA seem to be way ahead of Europe on this. Europe seems to agree that car seats make it safer, but then make it as difficult as possible to actually do it!

Carveitup Tue 21-Feb-17 23:51:24

the FAA seem to be way ahead of Europe on this.

Not exactly. Europe requires that a child under 2 without it's own seat be restrained on an adult's lap with a child seat belt extension. US has no such mandate and therefore the only safe way to travel with your child is to bring your own seat along, hence they are required to allow babies to travel in their own seats if the parents provide one. However they still also allow parents to travel with their baby on their lap without any kind of restraint at all. In the last few years several babies have died or been injured as a result of turbulence related incidents, and there have been other reports of parents unable to keep hold of their children in severe turbulence. Unless you have experienced severe turbulence you cannot appreciate that it can cause a sudden increase or decrease in G force that can cause an adult to hit the ceiling of the passenger cabin.

I will admit that in some instances the FAA are ahead of the JAA. But in some cases they are not ahead, just different.

travellingfamily Wed 22-Feb-17 09:19:06

Fair enough carve. I have to say I mentally class a lap belt extension as useless, so I see it as 'no restraint' (Europe) vs 'no restraint or allowed to bring your own much safer one' (America). Does a lap belt extension really do any good? And for which age? The difference between a 3 month old and a nearly 2 yr old is so much I can't see that there is a 'one size fits all'.

savagehk Wed 22-Feb-17 09:56:49

I could never understand why, when flying with a 2 month old, I was made to remove him from the stretchy wrap he was in (tied securely to me, comfortable, safe, head secured against my chest) and use the idiotic lap belt extension instead.

chickensatay Wed 22-Feb-17 10:56:01

Maybe it's because if anything were to happen it would be quicker to get to them than if they were in a car seat/ the crew would be able to help more easily to unclip a simple lap belt? Especially if the cabin was to fill with smoke and/or darkness?

I flew (long distance- 11 hours) with a 1 year old without a car seat and it was fine. The plane had rows of 3 and we were at the window so DC was placed in the middle of me and DH. They enjoyed the on flight entertainment and had plenty of room for moving around, playing with there toys and then activities using the table (drawing/play doh). Obviously as we were long haul we had to get up for periods so we just walked to and from the bathroom every now and then. The time was broken up with our meals being served and also DC took a nap for a couple of hours- lying right across us with a pillow and blanket.

Not the most comfortable flight I've had but it was much easier than I thought. I just made sure I had plenty for them to do and tried to chill out. DC was well warned before take off about the expected behaviour ie no touching the seats in front, no loud voices. We luckily only had 10 mins of crying before settling for the nap. I'm sorry if it's more the safety aspect you were focusing on.

chickensatay Wed 22-Feb-17 10:57:04

Just read the poster above me post! That's ridiculous surely they would be much safer in the wrap!

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