Last Updated on Nov 22nd, 2023 by Renu Dahiya, Leave a Comment
Even if you’re a frequent traveler, taking a flight with a little one accompanying you can make you feel chaotic and stressful. Suddenly, a series of questions pop up, and the first one is: ‘Should you bring your child’s carseat on an airplane?’
Surprisingly, there’s no straightforward yes or no answer, although experts often recommend bringing it for added safety. But, it’s not that simple! Not all car seats are airplane-approved, and each airline may have its own rules. So, let’s know how to fly with a car seat in the airplane, pros & cons, tips & more. So, you can make the best decision for your family’s journey.
Absolutely, bringing your child’s car seat in the airplane is not only possible; it’s highly recommended. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) both advise using an FAA-approved car seat or airplane harness for babies and young children. These should be secured with the plane’s seatbelt, without the car seat base.
If you’re unsure about installing the seat without the base on the plane, go through the manufacturer’s instructions and practice at home in your car until you feel confident. Once onboard, you can also ask a flight attendant for assistance if needed.
Note – Using a car seat or harness offers the best protection for your little one during turbulence, according to the AAP and FAA.
Many airlines typically don’t require you to purchase a separate seat for children under 2. However, if your infant or young toddler doesn’t have her own seat (and car seat), she’ll have to sit on your lap during the flight. Holding a small child for the entire flight may not seem too challenging, especially considering the potential cost savings of not buying an extra seat. But, it can be tough in a long-haul flight (like the Atlanta to Delhi flight). So, using a car seat is a much safer choice.
There’s also the convenience aspect to think about. Even if you hold your baby part of the time or take her for short walks up and down the aisles, having the option to place her in a car seat can be a welcome break. (Though the airline might try to keep the seat next to you vacant if you inform them about your lap-held baby, it’s not always guaranteed.)
If you’re concerned that your baby might resist being confined, you’re not alone. Nearly every parent who’s flown with an infant has shared that worry.
Suggested Read – Do kids need ID to fly?
If you’re unsure whether to bring a car seat for your child’s flight, here are some important aspects to ponder that can help you make an informed decision.
If your child is under 2, you can choose to hold her on your lap during the flight. However, for children aged 2 and older, they must have their own seats. In such cases, both the FAA and AAP strongly recommend using a suitable car seat or approved harness (booster seats are not allowed).
Ensure the car seat or harness you choose matches your child’s weight and size. Here’s what to consider:
Airlines have varying rules for flying with children, so it’s a good idea to check their policies before booking your tickets. Here are a few things to consider:
Not all car seats are suitable for airplane use. To confirm if yours meets the criteria, look for the label stating “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft” or check the manufacturer’s website. Keep in mind that booster seats are not permitted on airplanes.
If you plan to use a car for transportation at your destination, you’ll need a car seat anyway. In this scenario, bringing the car seat on the plane could be a sensible choice.
Check out the other best tips for traveling with your baby on a plane and make your journey super smooth.
Remember the first time you struggled with assembling a car seat? The huffing, puffing, sweating, and maybe even a touch of frustration? Well, installing a car seat on a plane is nothing like that. It’s actually one of the easiest installations you’ll encounter. Here’s a quick rundown of the steps:
Tip – If your child is traveling alone, check out the United Airlines Minor Policy
Q: Does a 2-year-old need a car seat on a plane? Do toddlers need car seats on airplanes?
A: If your 2-year-old has their own seat on a plane, they are typically required to use a car seat. However, children over 2 years old are not usually required to use a car seat in the airplane. However, it’s strongly recommended to use a car seat to protect your child during runway incidents or when the plane encounters severe turbulence.
Q: How to pack a car seat for checked baggage?
A: We’ve all seen how roughly checked luggage can be handled, so make sure your car seat is well-padded. It’s also a good idea to snap a photo of your car seat before your trip. This can serve as proof of its condition if it happens to arrive damaged. Another smart option is repacking the car seat in its original box with extra padding for protection.
Q: Do you have to pay for car seat on plane?
A: No, checking a car seat on most of the U.S. airlines when you’re traveling with a child is typically free of charge. You can check your car seat at the airport baggage counter or wait and check it at your gate.
Q: Does a 4 year old need a car seat on plane?
A: For typically-sized 4-year-olds, they can often sit safely using the airplane seat belt, but this may not be the case for smaller children. Nevertheless, bringing a travel car seat on the plane helps avoid the risks associated with loss or damage when checking a car seat, offering an added layer of safety and comfort during the flight.
Now that you’re well-informed about the ins and outs of bringing carseat on an airplane, it’s time to go on exciting adventures with your little explorer.
Suggested Read: American Airlines Minor policy in detail and plan accordingly.
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Renu Dahiya is a passionate writer who worships her profession. Her love for writing has encouraged her to pursue her career as a writer. Her friends call her a “travel worm” and always come to her to know some interesting traveling tips and destinations. Renu is a repository of knowledge about traveling who knows which place should be visited in which season. Oh yes, she is insanely in love with dancing too. Writer, traveler and dancer, a perfect combination! Without a doubt, she is a complete package.