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Has anyone used a car seat on a long haul flight?

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16 replies to this topic

#1 samui

Posted 27 February 2013 - 04:02 PM

We are flying United to the states soon and have a 4 year old and a will be 11 month old. We have purchased seats for both.
I keep hearîng people talk about using a car seat inboard however I have never seen this done.

Just looking for anyone who has done so and what ÿou would suggest? Is it worth the effort and what one did you use?

For those who have not will it be possible for 11 month old to sleep in the seat ?

#2 2bundles

Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:24 PM

Yes. We flew to Vancouver when dd was 3. She slept 7hrs straight in the car seat.

She seemed to accept that she couldn't go anywhere, so just sat. It also meant she was at the right height to see the seat back screens.  Also meant we could sleep even if she was awake as she couldn't go anywhere.

We did Europe when DS was 13mths. We didn't buy a seat. He used the bassinet (he was small).  It wasn't great but we survived.

Another advantage is that they are not throwing the seat around in the hold.

You should check with the airline that your seat is acceptable.  Also make sure they are aware you are bringing it. We flew Qantas and an ''engineer" had to come to fit the seat!!

Another thing to consider is you may have to carry it a fair way. We had to transit in LA and they made us take the seat with us even though we were getting back on the same plane.

#3 auldlangsyne

Posted 28 February 2013 - 04:43 AM


Edited by auldlangsyne, 03 March 2013 - 04:53 PM.

#4 hunter4

Posted 28 February 2013 - 04:50 AM

About 2 years ago I flew (qantas) from Boston to Sydney and back with my 18 month old DS and 3 year old DD.  I took a car seat for DS as I was by myself and I figured It would be necessary for dealing with the two kids.

I found it worked really well.  As per PP DS slept brilliantly in his seat which made the whole flight much better - He was awake for only 5 hours of the 12 hour flight.  He was happy to sit quietly for the time he was awake, for us it was well worth it.  The only thing that I found was that we couldn't put the tray table down as the seat was too high.

We took the safe-n-sound compaq which fitted on the seat really well.  We also used the gogo Kidz travel mate which was fantastic.


I would really recommend it if you do decide to take the seat.  We actually used it as a stroller at the airport, was able to wheel it right down the asile to the seat (can't do this with a wider seat than the compaq though).

I've found flying around the states that it very much the done thing over here (as opposed to in australia). In fact american airlines actually recommend that you do take a car seat for  young children.

#5 kpingitquiet

Posted 28 February 2013 - 05:39 AM

Absolutely worth it original.gif We used kiddo's carseat (she was 15mo at the time) for every leg of our trip. That's Adelaide > Sydney > LA > SF in one shot, then two US cross-country flights and a return flight home to Adelaide from LA. She has a SnS Premier and it fit every type of plane you can imagine.

It was fantastic. She had a familiar seat, she was able to recline more than the large seat would've allowed. She was safe and secure in the method most recommended by the FAA. What more could ya ask for?

If flying Qantas, you need to call to arrange prior approval. US airlines are fine with it but will look for a FAA sticker (it won't be there). At worst, a manager will come sign off on it. We had zero problems and flew on roughly 6 different airlines. Make sure you check in at all your gates early, and request to be the first ones on the plane so you don't delay entering passengers while you buckle in the car seat. Some gate agents gave us attitude about this but they quickly learned their mistake when we bbacked up foot traffic for 10 mins biggrin.gif

My biggest recommendation is to take the GoGo Kidz Travelmate. This thing rocks. It's a wheely-cart attachment for your car seat. FANTASTIC! It made it super easy for us to navigate airports and gave her somewhere comfy to sit on long layovers. The cart/wheel attachment fits in every overhead bin we came across.

#6 Praetor VitaeChel

Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:17 AM

I really wish we had used one. DS (3yo) was fine on the trip to Hawaii as he slept most of the time, but the next 2 legs were awful (he was tired and over it despite having had a 2 day layover). He kept undoing his belt, kicking seats and generally being a pest.
Not all seats are accepted apparently and so I made the decision not to take our Aussie one (which would not necessarily be legal here anyway and we are here for good, so had to have one that was US approved). If you can take one absolutely do it!
They can sleep in the seats easily. My DD was only 2 months old and although we had prearranged for the bassinet (and arrived hours ahead to get it), they gave it to another passenger. She just slept in my lap instead (with infant belt). DS just curled up next to his daddy. I pretty much didn't sleep LOL

#7 Escapin

Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:42 AM

So is there a list of OK car-seats somewhere? We have a Meridian Tilt and Adjust - is that OK? We fly Sydney to Perth regularly, and this would REALLY help!

#8 Coffeegirl

Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:50 AM

We've done the trip a number of times with and without seats.

Best thing ever was with the car seat.  DS was familiar with the seat, in his head - carseat=seatbelt on, we could easily feed him, he slept lots.  We even have photos of him sleeping in it in the transit lounge in LA.(4 hour stopover )

Wish they'd had the go-go things then, they look like they'd make it even easier!

Escapin, just give Qantas or Virgin or whoever you are flying with and they can give you the list.

#9 samui

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:49 AM

Thanks everyone!! Sounds like it is a good idea!

I also have a SnS meridian but apparently none of the SnS ones have the FAA approved stickers on them.  We a flying United and when I rang them they said it must have this sticker.....  So can we buy any seats in oz that have this or is the a way around it? I ideally don't want to bûy another seat!

I'm worried we will take a seat and it doesn't fit on the seat!!  Ie. if we get Bulkhead so we can use a bassinet too aren't the seats more narrow? The meridian is quite wide isn't it.

For those who used the travel mate.... Didn't you also have a stroller with yôu? I want to take our Maclaren.

Where did you buy your travel mate?

#10 hunter4

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:53 AM

with regards to the FAA sticker requirement I just sent an email to Safe-n-sound with the serial number etc and they sent me a letter stating that the seat was approved for use on airlines.  Whenever they did a check for the sticker (which they did do on each internal flight in the US) I just showed them that letter and they had no issues with it.

With regards to seat width if you measure the seat and call united with these measurements they'll be able to tell you if the seat will fit on their seats.

No I didn't have a stroller that I was taking but if you do want to take a stroller you can just check it in (part of the free luggage you can take with kids) then use the gogo mate in the airport.

Edited by hunter4, 28 February 2013 - 07:56 AM.

#11 kpingitquiet

Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:03 AM

No Aussie seats have the sticker original.gif For some reason, the Aussie air regulators haven't caught up with the times, despite having studies showing the safety bonus of kids using car seats on planes. You should still be able to use the seat. SnS, I believe, will give you a letter that states compliance, but we didn't need that. Everyone airline was fine with it and we flew Qantas, AA, Continental, and maybe two others.

I got my travelmate from a kind EB member who didn't need hers anymore! But you can order them online.

No, we didn't take a stroller. We aren't fans. We used the car seat + travelmate in airports and used our ergobaby carrier the rest of the time.


Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:37 AM

QUOTE (Escapin @ 28/02/2013, 06:42 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So is there a list of OK car-seats somewhere? We have a Meridian Tilt and Adjust - is that OK? We fly Sydney to Perth regularly, and this would REALLY help!

You'll need to check the dimensions of the chair and the seat. When we flew to the UK our Meridian car seat was too wide for the chairs. We ended up using my mum's ZuZu instead. We transported the seat on a fold up luggage trolley that we could wheel onto the plane.
Taking our car seat on the long haul flight was fantastic! Our 14 month old was comfortable and contained and my husband and I could also have our own space during the flight. This made the whole flight so much more relaxing!
The only negative we experienced was that the flight crew didn't know the policy regarding toddlers in car seats, so made us take our toddler out for take off and landing and use a lap belt. This was contrary to the airlines policy that was online so was a bit frustrating. Also it doesn't make sense - to take a child from a five point safety harness to lap belt - crazy. I'd suggest printing off the policy before flying.

#13 Ice Queen

Posted 28 February 2013 - 02:44 PM

McLarens are brilliant for travel.  Light and good quality.

We have a travel bag so we put it in that and it goes in the hold and baby gets carried in an Ergo through airports and onto the plane. Therefore you have your hands free.  Ours has been on many, many flights and no breakages.

#14 ACO

Posted 06 March 2013 - 04:57 PM

We'll be travelling with a 3 year old, do you guys think that I should go the carseat or not? Currently he's ok in it for car trips, but for example, he hates being in a stroller for any amount of time. He's at that age where he's a bit 'difficult' if you know what I mean.

I don't want to lug the thing if it's best not to. Thoughts?

#15 Jersey Caramel

Posted 06 March 2013 - 05:16 PM

We did a trip to the US with a 3 year old, credence (plus a 10 month old, but he had a bassinet). We didn't use the carseat on the way over but did on the way back, and I much preferred having it. I basically bribed DS with a bag of lollies to have the car seat (because he didn't have it on the way over, he was a bit resistant). It was great because it meant we could sleep and know that he was contained. It also put him at a better level to watch the entertainment screen, and gave DH and I somewhere to rest against to sleep! It's a much more comfortable incline for them than the adult seat too.

For PPs, we flew with Delta and they never even asked to see a sticker or anything.

#16 sueb31

Posted 07 March 2013 - 06:58 AM

I have found that up to the age of 4 I use a car seat on the plane where at all possible. My DD is small for her age so I may stretch that out slightly. Apart from the safety reasons, it is comfier (assuming they still fit in a FF seat, not a booster).


#17 snowcandy

Posted 07 March 2013 - 11:34 AM

We will be travelling next month and I would never fly without a carseat for an or toddler, most of all for safety reasons (turbulence and abrupt deceleration can cause injuries if they are not properly harnessed) as well as for a more settled child.

Please be aware that if you check your car seat with the luggage, there is a very real risk that, if it gets thrown around, dropped, tossed, left in the rain, has heavy items stored on it, moves around in the cargo hold, its structural integrity could be compromised to the point that it would not protect your child in a car accident - and unfortunately the damage may not be apparent to your eyes.  I'm sure we've all had suitcases damaged during transit - it happens right!

We will be purchasing a Brica Car Seat Transporter (similar to the go go kidz).


I have also printed off the airline policies for car seat use and a copy of the car seat manual.

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