Travel with kids is hard and taking a car seat onboard could mean a few hours of bliss for everyone on the plane.
Here are a few travel tips when flying with kids:
1. Pay for your child’s seat
Remember, you have to purchase a seat for your child. You cannot bring a car seat onboard for a lap child.
2. Notify the airline
Call the airline in advance to notify them that you are traveling with car seat.
For Australians, the car seat must be approved to Australian Standards AS/NZS 1754. There’s a sticker affixed to your car seat. For US car seats, you can point to the FAA (Federal Aviation Association) sticker that reads, “Certified for motor vehicles and aircraft.”
We flew with a Meridian Safe and Sound car seat.
3. Insist you can bring a car seat onboard – because you can!
At times, particularly with the Aussie airlines, we have run into some road blocks. Some have said you can’t take the car seat onboard. Others weren’t quite sure. So if you call the airline, insist on putting a note on your ticket and request an email to confirm.
4. Get the right window seat
At check-in, make sure they place your child in a window seat at least two rows before or back from the emergency exit row. It’s an industry regulation that car seats can not be fitted on an aisle seat or exit row.
5. Allow time for security
Going through security with young children can be tricky. With a car seat, you need to allow even more time to go through. If it’s in a bag or attached to a trolley, the car seat needs to be taken out for security to inspect. Some car seats do not fit through the standard X-Ray machine. A staff member has to pick up the car seat and manually check it. You often have to wait until someone is available and then wait again whilst it gets checked.
6. Get onboard first
Airlines are quite good at recognizing parents with children. They often board families early because you need that time to fiddle with the car seat. If they don’t, request that you do.
7. Become an expert at installing the car seat onboard
Thread the plane’s seatbelt through the bottom of the car seat, just as you thread a car seatbelt. Once it’s threaded through it clips onto the plane’s seatbelt buckle. If your car seat is wide, you can ask for a seatbelt extender.
8. Keep your child in the car seat.
Once it’s installed, pop your child into the car seat and DO NOT release your child from it unless you absolutely must. Valid reasons include a gross nappy or a sick child. Set a precedence that once you are in the seat you remain there, just like in the car. You have to be seated in it! If the child is protesting and you can’t bear it anymore, take your child out but make it as brief as possible. Their little toes shouldn’t touch the ground. Otherwise, it’s a very slippery slope.
9. A note on rear facing car seats
For newborns, there are separate rules for flying with rear facing car seats. Ring your airline to inquire before bringing it onboard. Some airlines do not accept them as they interfere with the plane seat in front.
10. Get some good gear to help with carrying the car seat
Get some gear to help you carry the car seat. Carrying a car seat through airports can be a bit of a pain. They are heavy and cumbersome. But stay with me…it’s well worth it. There are some great gadgets to help carry car seats out there, start with Amazon. Fancy enjoying your in-flight meal without taking turns with your partner, maybe sitting back with a glass of wine, a book, a movie, or – my favourite – just closing your eyes onboard without your children needing to be asleep.
Have you flown with a car seat? Any good tips to share? Or do you have a question about flying with car seat. Please contact me.
Travel tip shared by tweroam