how to carry car seat on plane

How to Carry My Child’s Car Seat on Plane Safely?

how to carry car seat on plane

How to Carry My Child’s Car Seat on a Plane Safely?


If you have air travel with an infant, toddler, or young child, it is plausible you have put too much thought into car seats. Car seats are the ultimate safety kit for babies; it also comes with their fair share of confusion, misinformation, and frustration involving parents wanting to fly with their babies. For your ease, we came up with a list of the best lightweight infant car seat; this has a detailed description of its features, allowing you to make an informed choice that is suitable for your baby and vehicle.

Circling back to car seats and planes- the question is as simple can you carry a car seat in a plane? This, in return, raises a number of follow-up questions including- can you check in your car seat as baggage or does it have too much potential for loss or damage? Can you simply carry around your car seat or is it too much hassle? More importantly, what are the ground rules for carrying a car seat in a plane? Can you bring a car seat on a plane?


Why Should You Carry a Car Seat on a Plane?


The American Academy of Paediatrics and the Federal Aviation Administration do recommend a child safety restraint system for parents who are traveling with kids. Once you have flown to your destination, you have to take a car ride whether to your home or a hotel. Implying you will be traveling by car to some extent, therefore, you will be needing a car seat for your baby.

Although there are options to rent a stroller or a car seat once you arrive at your destination, you may have to wait in a queue for a long time, and more importantly, there is no guarantee of its availability. Moreover, it’s not very safe to use a car seat without knowing its history. You don’t know how they have been maintained or cleaned or how they work and your child is also not familiar with its system. This may make your baby irritable while being strapped in. This is why, although it seems to be a little bit hassle to carry a car seat on a plane, it comes with its benefits; and safety first!


Rules for Flying with a Car Seat


Which seats should you reserve to carry a car seat on a plane? There are some specific seats you need to be there while traveling with a car seat. Here are some rules to help you choose.

  • If it’s possible, choose rows with the most legroom.
  • Avoid business class and first class, unless you are absolutely sure that you can install a car seat. Most of the time, airlines usually cannot allow installing a car seat in business class and first class because of the seat angles.
  • Not all car seats are approved for air travel. The ones which are approved for air travel have a maximum width of 44cm or 17 inches. This makes them easy to fit in most airplane seats. However, to avoid any sort of hassle you should double-check with your airline when you book your flight.
  • It is worth noting that some airlines will request you to use only a window seat for your car seat because this will not block the escape during an emergency. You need to remember that children are not allowed in an emergency exit row. If you do not buy a ticket for your child, you can request the airline to allow you to use an empty seat.
  • Remember to pack light. Bear in mind that you are going to have to carry the car seat through the airport while dealing with a young child. The last thing you want is an over-packed suitcase which is very troublesome to carry around.

Tips for Bringing Your Car Seat on an Airplane


Flying with the car set is not as difficult as it sounds. Allows us to make it easy for you by letting you know some tips to help you prepare for your upcoming flights-


  1. Carry your car seat with you while flying instead of having checked in as a piece of baggage. Although that seems enticing and like a better option, because it saves you from the trouble of having to carry around the car seat, it is not the best option for your child’s safety or the safety of the car seat itself.


  1. If you have the car seat with you, you can strap your baby in the seat rather than having to carry your child on your lap the whole ride.


  1. Let the airlines know you will be carrying a car seat while you book your ticket. In this manner, you can reserve desirable seats. But if you have already booked your ticket and you forgot to mention your car seat, you can ask them at the ticket counter when you check in. Most airlines will be happy to cooperate if there are open seats available.


  1. Before you happily bring a car seat along, remember to do a little search on the airline you are choosing. While most of the ground rules are similar, in some airlines, such as outside the US, car seat use is left up to individual airlines.


  1. There are a number of options for caring your car seat through the airport. If you want an easy way of carrying your seat through the airport, there are a few you-carrying options that will keep your hands free as you already have a baby with you which can be a handful.


  1. Take precautions if you have to check the car seat as a piece of baggage. If you want to check in your car seat or stroller for any reason, remember that the airline personnel may handle them poorly. There is potential for loss and damage.


  1. Remember to check the airline requirements for carrying a car seat. Check at the bottom of your car seat for text which says it is approved for air travel. Check up on the height and weight specifications of your car seat and see if they align with the airline’s requirements.

Things to Know for Traveling with a Car Seat


There is no fee imposed for checking a car seat in as a piece of baggage on an airplane. Every US airline allows parents to check in car seats free of charge. You can either check in your car seat as baggage at the airport baggage claim counter or wait and check it at your gate.

However, you have to consider the potential risk of checking in a car seat. If one flies often, one would know that airlines often damage checked-in suitcases. It’s the same case for a car seat or any other checked-in baggage. Many parents choose to check in car seats every day while some choose to carry it with them in passenger seats. Both these options come with their pros and cons and the final call is yours.

Look beneath your car seat for the sticker that the manufacturer stuck there. ou must read this page, written in red, which will state that it is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.

You can install a car seat on a plane but you have to book a window seat that is not in an exit row. A lot of the airlines also do not allow parents to install car seats on the front and behind the exit row. Airlines do not want anything to impede the evacuation of others in case of any emergency, and an installed car seat may act as an obstacle.

So in short, no aisles and bulkhead seats. You can always ask a crew member to help you install it, they would be more than happy to assist.


Can I carry car seats on planes?

Yes, you can. In fact, most airlines will allow you to check a car seat into the hold free of cost, along with your baggage allowance.


Do babies need a car seat on planes?

Even though it is not mandatory by law, both the FAA and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly encourage the use of a car seat or other child restraint system when flying with babies.


Does a car seat count as a checked bag?

 No, a car seat does not normally count as a checked bag if you have an infant while flying.


Although it sounds like a big hassle to carry a car seat in a plane especially if you are flying for the first time with it, it doesn’t have to be cumbersome as you imagine. The key is to plan ahead and do a little homework on the airlines you are traveling to know what to expect. Familiarize yourself with the laws which are unique to the airline you choose and abide accordingly. In addition to the tips mentioned above ensure that your car seat meets the compliance standard for flying and is comfortable for you and your baby.


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