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Car seats and travel with kids

New Arrival

Hello Everyone! I'm a new air traveler AND I'm doing it solo with two littles in tow. I have a few questions. I have a 5 month old and a four year old.  Is it worth purchasing the infant fare for space? If so, should I bring both car seats or are infant carrier car seats not allowed? If they are allowed, how do you manage two littles and two car seats plus baggage while boarding? Furthermore, does anyone recommend a infant carrier? Do they allow them in flight? I did get TSA pre check to help out. Can I wear the carrier through security or does it have to be removed? Sorry for the extensive list!  Any help is much appreciated! 

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Re: Car seats and travel with kids

Rising Star
Solution

Whew...where to start!?

 

First of all, all you asked about is a deeply personal decision, and this has been discussed extensively here and here. SW's offical page for traveling with babies is here.

 

For my family, we always did the lap child thing until our first turned two.  This saved us money/points, and when they are tiny, we found the baby did best being held anyway.  With that said, as she got closer to two, we found the extra seat to be helpful, and there is a chance you may have an empty seat on the row where you and your oldest are sitting.  Of course, you will have to have a seat for your four year old; note that a CARES harness is recommended for children older than one two weigh between 22 and 44 pounds.

 

As far as seats for the go, we ALWAYS check the car seat.  Again...personal decision, but that is what works for us.  It is less to carry on the plane and through the airport.  We always check the car seat(s) and all the luggage and then bring the stroller with us and gate check it.  

 

My wife would always wear our infant in a wrap, and with pre-check, she never had to take the baby off.

 

Hope all this helps!  I am sure you will get more thoughts as lots of folks on here travel extensively with their kids.  My advice is not to stress, and enjoy the ride.  Be sure you let the flight attendants know if its the kids' first flight!

 

Good luck!

-A List Preferred, Companion Pass holder, Community Champion.

Re: Car seats and travel with kids

New Arrival

Thank you so much! The information and insight is enormously helpful! It's all so forign to me I am at a loss as how to plan so thank you for taking the time to help!!

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Re: Car seats and travel with kids

New Arrival

You mention that you are a solo traveler.  I don't believe that airlines allow more than one car seat to a set of 3 seats.  At least, that was the case (for safety reasons) when my daughter was younger.  The car seat had to be placed in the window seat.

 

Personally, I chose to hold my daughter on my lap until she was 2 years old.  This worked well for us.

 

Once she was 2 I chose to bring her car seat on board for about 2 years.  After that I checked the car seat.  The reason this worked for us is that she was very comfortable in her car seat and travelled well in it.  She didn't feel the need to get up and down or squirm away as she was used to her car seat and played/slept comfortably in it.  One time when she was about 3 (we were travelling with a different airline that trip), we boarded at 10pm only 2 have a 2 hour delay on the tarmac as they fixed an issue with the plane.  As it was past her bedtime, once I installed her car seat and buckled her in she promptly fell asleep.  Our flight left at midnight and she slept the entire 5 hour flight too.   She woke up as we were taxing to our arrival gate and asked when we were going to fly. 🙂

 

For us, using her carseat on the plane for ages 2-4 really worked well.

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Re: Car seats and travel with kids

Top Contributor

@Scrappinginont wrote:

You mention that you are a solo traveler.  I don't believe that airlines allow more than one car seat to a set of 3 seats.  At least, that was the case (for safety reasons) when my daughter was younger.  The car seat had to be placed in the window seat.

 

Personally, I chose to hold my daughter on my lap until she was 2 years old.  This worked well for us.

 

Once she was 2 I chose to bring her car seat on board for about 2 years.  After that I checked the car seat.  The reason this worked for us is that she was very comfortable in her car seat and travelled well in it.  She didn't feel the need to get up and down or squirm away as she was used to her car seat and played/slept comfortably in it.  One time when she was about 3 (we were travelling with a different airline that trip), we boarded at 10pm only 2 have a 2 hour delay on the tarmac as they fixed an issue with the plane.  As it was past her bedtime, once I installed her car seat and buckled her in she promptly fell asleep.  Our flight left at midnight and she slept the entire 5 hour flight too.   She woke up as we were taxing to our arrival gate and asked when we were going to fly. 🙂

 

For us, using her carseat on the plane for ages 2-4 really worked well.


One of the references that I found said "not to block" anyone, so having two car seats would be allowable if they were the window and middle seat, but not in the aisle with an adult sitting between.

 

Or if you could show that the aisle car seat wasn't restrictive, maybe it would be allowed - I couldn't find anything from the FAA that was prescriptive like that, the wording was all in terms of performance.

 

I also recommend the CARES harness as an easily transported alternative to the car seat on the plane:

https://www.southwestaircommunity.com/t5/Family-Travel/CARES-harnesses/td-p/75683

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.