Traveling with babies creates a lot of confusion and frustration, and taking car seats on a plane will, undoubtedly, cause some problems. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about flying with car seats, so it can be hard to figure out the right thing to do.
The first thing you should know is that you can and should take fly with a car seat for your baby. Not only does it make the trip easier for you, but it’s also considerably safer for your child. Let’s take a look at what you need to know.
Yes, You Can Use a Car Seat on a Plane
You can use a car seat; it’s highly recommended that you do so if your child is under 40lbs. It would be best if you only used an FAA-approved child’s seat.
While it’s recommended, it’s not a law or a rule by the airline companies. They haven’t made it a requirement because they worry that it would prevent some families from flying. That would decrease their revenue.
The other reason that it’s not mandated is that air travel is a lot safer than traveling in a vehicle. Airplane crashes are far and few between when compared to car crashes. So, while using an FAA-approved car seat is the SAFEST choice, flying with your baby is safer than going on a road trip.
Not to mention, using a car seat makes flying more comfortable and easier for families. Your child is accustomed to being in a car seat while driving. It gives you time to have your arms and hands-free to do whatever you need to do, whether eating or taking care of your other children.
Check With The Airline First
You might be surprised to learn that other countries don’t put as much stress on using car seats as the USA. We’ve gone so far as to protect your right to use an FAA-approved car seat by law.
The FAA encourages parents to buy an additional plane seat for their child and install one throughout their flight. Your right to do so is protected by law. If you’re worried about the flight attendant (or anyone for that matter), you can print out a copy of the law.
Relative: How to pack a car seat to carry as checked baggage.
Typically, it’s recommended that you let the airline know that a car seat is being used on that flight. It allows the attendants to be ready and willing to help whenever you board to ensure things move as smoothly as possible.
You should also know that all US airlines let parens check a car seat free of charge if you decide that’s a better route!
How to Use a Car Seat on a Plane
There are a few things that you should know about taking a car seat on an airplane. Let’s take a quick look at a few things you should know.
When to Use the Car Seat
If you decide to use a car seat, keep your child in the seat when the plane takes off, landing, and during turbulent times. All of these are times when you should have your seatbelt on as well.
Make Sure You’re Using an Approved Car Seat
Most car seats that you would use in your vehicle are FAA-approved for airline plane. It pays to double-check; that would be horrible to discover that you had a wrong seat when you reached the boarding gate.
You’ll know that you have an approved seat if you find a white sticker on the bottom with a lot of small print. Then, in red letters, it’ll state that it’s approved for aircraft.
However, you cannot use a booster seat on airplanes! You cannot do so because they need a lap-shoulder belt which is unavailable on planes. You can use a harness on a combination car seat if you feel like it.
Contact The Airlines If You’re Traveling Out of the US
While we know that we are protected in the US by law, when you travel internationally, it’s different. Each airline has its policies. Some are supportive of car seat use onboard, but some prohibit their use entirely in the aircraft.
The Verdict Is In
If you wonder if you should take a car seat on a plane, the resounding answer is YES! You can use a car seat on an airplane if it’s FAA-approved and bought a seat for your child. It’s highly recommended that you do so!
Hey, this is Linda. My biggest accomplishment in life is being a mother of four children. Their current ages range from almost ten years old down to 20 months old.
I’m passionate about writing parenting articles because I understand so well all of the problems and trials you face as a parent. From breastfeeding woes to budgeting problems and behavior problems, along with everything in between, chances are I’ve faced it over the last ten years. Read more about Linda here.