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Car seats

Airline approved / rear facing for car

25 replies

Fran919 · 23/09/2022 11:59

Hi, can anybody recommend an airline approved car seat that is also extended rear facing please? My LO will be 1.5 at the time of travel and a car seat in an airline seat would be preferable.


OP posts:
ChicCroissant · 23/09/2022 12:05

Does the airline definitely allow rear-facing seats, not all do? Which airline are you flying with?

Fran919 · 23/09/2022 12:13

No sorry, they don’t. I’d just like a car seat that can be forward facing (for the purpose of a flight) and then extended rear for car journeys.

OP posts:
MassiveSalad22 · 23/09/2022 12:15

We’ve flown lots with babies and never seen any baby on a flight in a car seat. Can’t imagine there’d be one slim and small and light enough which is both forward facing for plane and rear facing for car?

MassiveSalad22 · 23/09/2022 12:16

Eg we went to Greece with our 4 month old this summer and the flight was packed with babies. Baby carriers and lap belts.

JessicaPeach · 23/09/2022 12:16

I'm not sure you can have both. The britax eclipse is a good ff option for air travel.

Xiaoxiong · 23/09/2022 12:21

We flew tonnes with the DCs and never bought an extra seat for a baby in a car seat - when they're that little they sit on your lap and the airline will give you a bassinet. And they cant stay for too long in a car seat when they're really tiny anyway. When they're older, they just sit on their own seat. Better to travel to the door of the plane with a pushchair and then get on with only a nappy bag - check the car seat if you will need it on the other end.

We travelled a lot and when we needed a seat on the other end we brought along the Britax two-way elite which was the best we found for ERF for tall kids, and could also be used forward facing. It wouldn't have fit in an airplane seat though I don't think.

Fran919 · 23/09/2022 12:23

@MassiveSalad22 I can’t imagine my LO wanting to sit on our lap for hours, if they were younger and not mobile maybe!

@JessicaPeach Thank you, I’ll look at that and may just buy two. I was hoping to replace our normal one now she’s outgrowing it with an airline approved one too but maybe not!

OP posts:
FlounderingFruitcake · 23/09/2022 12:25

Are you in the US? If you are then you might have some luck but in the UK that does not exist, even the Britax eclipse which is airline approved although forward facing, is I believe discontinued. You really don’t need it though, mine couldn’t undo an airline seatbelt until they were about 3, and if you have an under 2 they go on your lap for takeoff/landing even if you’ve booked them their own seat. I actually have an FAA approved toddler seat from when I lived stateside and whilst I like it for travel as it’s light, I’ve never once taken it onto the plane with me, it goes in the hold.

Fran919 · 23/09/2022 12:26

@Xiaoxiong thank you. With LO being under 2 the airline won’t allow us to buy another seat without using an approved car seat for us, unless anybody knows of any airlines that allow this and I’ll book through them.

to take a car seat in the hold did you pack it away? I’ve seen some awful videos of baggage handlers throwing car seats in and you never know if it’s compromised the safety of the seat?

OP posts:
FlounderingFruitcake · 23/09/2022 12:27

I can’t imagine my LO wanting to sit on our lap for hours, if they were younger and not mobile maybe!
You book them their own seat and they sit on you only for take off and landing. I wouldn’t share a seat with an over 1YO unless it was a big business class flatbed!

Frazzled2207 · 23/09/2022 12:28

bear in mind OP that it's actually very uncommon for under 2s to get a plane seat. You might get lucky and get a spare seat next to you.

but in terms of your question, I doubt it exists because the rear facing ones are by definition bulky. All airlines have their own rules anyway. Easyjet website says for example

Only forward facing seats are allowed on board and the crew must be able to secure it safely to the aircraft seat.

Frazzled2207 · 23/09/2022 12:30

ps it might be possible for them to not use anything at all, eg just sit on the seat, as long as you pay for the seat and are strapped to your lap for take off and landing. This is what would happen if you happen to have a seat free next to you anyway.

Fran919 · 23/09/2022 12:31

Ok thanks all.

If I can just pay for a seat for her and have her on my lap for take off etc then I would but the airline have said no unless in the seat I pay for her is a car seat! I might phone again and see what they say!

OP posts:
FlounderingFruitcake · 23/09/2022 12:31

Sorry keep cross posting with you! I’ve booked a seat before for a 1YO with BA, American, Delta and United. I thought all airlines allow it although granted I’ve never tried Easyjet. You just have to call them to book. They can sit in their seat whenever the seatbelt sign isn’t on.

Fran919 · 23/09/2022 12:33

@FlounderingFruitcake Thank you! It’s one of those I’ve asked so I’ll phone again and hopefully speak to somebody else

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FlounderingFruitcake · 23/09/2022 12:36

You haven’t mentioned the route but if it’s BA and short haul then do check the prices of 2 Club Europe seats vs. 3 in economy. It sometimes works out about the same price and you can ask them to remove the middle seat divider once on board and voila you’ve got 3 seats plus all the biz class perks!

Fran919 · 23/09/2022 12:44

@FlounderingFruitcake just noticed this for another trip with another airline, Aegean with business class that would definitely work! Thank you!

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Skyeheather · 23/09/2022 12:52

The airline should be able to give you a list of approved car seats? You need to get a car seat that can be attached to the car using the middle lap belt only as it's only a lap belt that's available on the airline seat.

We looked into this a few years ago, the airline approved car seats were very expensive because of the reason above and we just decided not to bother and we took turns with DS on our laps, it wasn't actually that bad.

eurochick · 23/09/2022 12:58

Pre-Covid I flew loads and never once saw a baby in a car seat. We looked into buying an extra seat but didn't because the airline required you to use a car seat. We just had the baby on our laps and it was fine.

Buttons294749 · 23/09/2022 13:01

Thr cosco scenera next is the only one that does this but it's only available in thr USA. It's only 50 dollars but they dont sell in europe

FlounderingFruitcake · 23/09/2022 13:12

I should add that I’ve never actually discussed the car seat quandry with the airline, I’ve just called up, booked the extra seat and spread out at my leisure once airborne! AA did tell me that they didn’t even want her on my lap for take off and she was ok in her own seat as she could sit up though which seemed unusual, so if it’s them you’re looking at then definitely you won’t have a problem. You could also look into a CARES harness if you are set on some sort of restraint. Good luck getting it sorted!

JessicaPeach · 23/09/2022 14:35

What I did do @Fran919 when we did a lot of long haul travel (all age 2 plus) was take a britax two way elite in the hold, good, light rear facing belted seat. Never had a problem installing it in a taxi at the airport.

BertieBotts · 23/09/2022 15:24

This might be an overzealos customer service agent misreading their policy.

Usually/the general policy that covers all European airlines is that you can buy a seat for an under 2, but they must be restrained when the seatbelt sign is on. There are two options for restraining them: The supplementary lap belt on an adult's lap, or a suitable car seat strapped into the booked seat with the plane seatbelt.

What "suitable" means can depend on the airline policy, but if you turn up with a car seat and they deem it unsuitable, they just won't let you use it - it can't be left on the seat unsecured in case of turbulence (heavy potential projectile), so they'll try it in the overhead locker but if it doesn't fit, they will take it into the hold instead (without charging you usually).

But restraining the child is a totally separate thing to actually booking the seat so you can have use of it/extra space. I think sometimes they just say you need to bring a carseat if you book the extra seat to save arguments when somebody tries to say well I've booked this for my baby, why do they need to be on my lap?

In terms of what car seats you can use - there is no seat currently that meets the TUV approval for airlines, nor is approved for use in a car fitted with a lap belt, and is also rear facing in a car. You just don't get lap belt approved seats these days. The car regulations have tightened up and they move around too much in a crash so they aren't made.

The three options that have the TUV approval are:
Nachfolger Hy5 - but this is also rear facing in the plane and a lot of airlines don't like rear facing seats in the plane. Also no use for an everyday seat, good for travel, but very expensive.

A load of infant carriers (popular ones) - but again only rear facing and some airlines don't allow that. Also only usable until the child is approx 80cm tall, which is somewhere between 1-2 years old. If your little one is not incredibly tall, you might get away with a Joie Juva or Britax Babysafe (original) or Maxi Cosi Cabriofix (not i-size). Those ones last a little bit longer for height than standard infant carriers. If you can try one of these out in a shop before you buy, the fact your LO is 18 months might actually make this a feasible option.

Britax Eclipse- but it seems to be discontinued and also it's only forward facing in a car.

What you do sometimes find is that the airline isn't actually that fussy. They tend to look for the R44 approval sticker on the car seat, not necessarily the TUV approval any more (even R44 is a bit old now but they do still exist at least) and they don't always check in the manual whether it's actually approved to fit with a lap belt, as long as it can be belt fitted (not an isofix only seat) and can be forward facing and the bottom part of the seat fits within the airline seat. In terms of extended rear facing seats which do this, I've completely anecdotally heard that Britax Two Way Elite, Joie Tilt (aka Graco Extend) and Joie Steadi all do. I've seen a photo of the TWE and the Joie Tilt on the plane - not my pictures, so can't share and can't link to the source, but you can find them if you go digging on the car seat FB groups.

Just if you do decide to do that, do it in the knowledge that the airline staff could at the last minute decide that your seat isn't officially suitable and needs to go in the hold.

MassiveSalad22 · 24/09/2022 08:10

@MassiveSalad22 I can’t imagine my LO wanting to sit on our lap for hours, if they were younger and not mobile maybe

OK well we have travelled lots with 3 kids and never seen anyone with a car seat. Around your age range we did Florida with an 10 month old (and 3 year old) and Dominican Republic with a 18 month old. They had their own seats and sit on your lap for takeoff and landing. It’s totally fine. Car seats in hold if necessary.

BananaGrana · 24/09/2022 08:28

I just booked the extra seat and didn’t take a car seat. I only did it because sometimes it was cheaper to pay for the extra seat than the amount EasyJet charged for a baby! What are they going to do once you’re on the plane? Can hardly block off the seat and the baby needs to be on your lap for take off and landing anyway.

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