Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Will my son's car seat fit? Graco Contender 65

mak0789
New Arrival

I will be flying in February with my 18-month-old son for the first time solo and with his travel car seat (previously flown with him as a lap infant), and I'm pretty anxious about it. We bought the Graco Contender 65 convertible car seat a few months ago which is apparently 20.75" wide (I'm not sure if that's measured at the base or at the arm rest of the car seat; I will check this myself when I have a chance as it's in storage right now).

Our first Southwest leg will be on a 737-800 and the second will be a 737 MAX 8. Per the chart on this site, seats can range from 15.5" to 17.8". I'm assuming our seat won't work based on those dimensions, but I want to reach out in case someone knows from personal experience or if someone on the flight crew can tell me what they've observed. The seat is FAA approved and I plan to have him in a window seat, with me in the middle seat of our row. Thank you!

3 REPLIES 3

Re: Will my son's car seat fit? Graco Contender 65

DancingDavidE
Top Contributor

@mak0789 wrote:

I will be flying in February with my 18-month-old son for the first time solo and with his travel car seat (previously flown with him as a lap infant), and I'm pretty anxious about it. We bought the Graco Contender 65 convertible car seat a few months ago which is apparently 20.75" wide (I'm not sure if that's measured at the base or at the arm rest of the car seat; I will check this myself when I have a chance as it's in storage right now).

Our first Southwest leg will be on a 737-800 and the second will be a 737 MAX 8. Per the chart on this site, seats can range from 15.5" to 17.8". I'm assuming our seat won't work based on those dimensions, but I want to reach out in case someone knows from personal experience or if someone on the flight crew can tell me what they've observed. The seat is FAA approved and I plan to have him in a window seat, with me in the middle seat of our row. Thank you!


Just clarifying that you did buy a seat for your son?

 

It looks big, if you flight isn't full and if you don't mind the seat encroaching onto your space in the middle seat it could still be possible with the armrest up obviously, I'd try to get a spot towards the middle of the plane where it is widest and you might be some "unadvertised" width on the window seat there with the armrests up.

 

Maybe pack a bag for it just in case you have to gate check.

 

This should be fine if the flight isn't full, but load factor has been running pretty high as far as all of my recent flights.

 

 

 

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

Re: Will my son's car seat fit? Graco Contender 65

DancingDavidE
Top Contributor

There is also this car seat alternative if you want to keep the extra protection from shoulder straps depending on how wiggly your kid may be:

https://www.amazon.com/Child-Airplane-Travel-Harness-Restraint/dp/B0012E4FV8

 

Ours by the time he was 18 months met the size requirement but wasn't comfortable and wouldn't wear it, then as a 2 year old he was happy just to wear the regular seat belt.

 

Our daughter did get more use out of the CARES harness from 18 months to 3 years.

 

 

 

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

Re: Will my son's car seat fit? Graco Contender 65

mak0789
New Arrival

Thank you for the great suggestions. Yes, we bought the car seat two months ago and have already used it for travel (via checked baggage in its original box/packaging). Since our son is still under two, we flew with him as a lap infant on that trip, but I'm not willing to struggle with him on my own for 8 hours without a car seat for part of the time. He's also pretty small for 18 months (20 lbs/31") so he *might* meet the 22 lbs minimum for the CARES harness, but I'd be more comfortable not going that route at this point. I'm fine keeping the arm rest up as long as that's allowed and I can deal with the seat poking into me; just want to be sure I can install his seat at all. I think in another year the harness will be the way to go and we can check the car seat (in its packaging).