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).
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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!
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