2017 Best Travel Car Seats for Airplanes – A Guide to Car Seats on Planes

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Best FAA Approved Car Seats

Airplane Travel Car Seat Guide 2017

Are you looking for an airplane car seat for travel with an infant or toddler? Are you trying to decide if you should even use a car seat on the plane with your baby? I know that this is a confusing and sometimes overwhelming topic. Take a deep breath. Help has arrived.

Important Disclaimer: I intend for the information on this website to serve as a general overview on matters of interest derived from my experience traveling with my own children. I am not an expert on the subject and safety of car seats on airplanes. I attempt to ensure that the content is current and accurate but I do not guarantee its currency and accuracy. This post also contains Amazon Affiliate links which means that should you decide to make a purchase via one of the following links, Amazon will pay me a small commission which I use to help run this site. No extra cost will be incurred by you. For more information, please see our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Thank you very much for your understanding and support of Pint Size Pilot.

 

To make it easier to navigate this post, please click on the topic that interests you, or just keep reading.

  1. Does My Child Need a Car Seat on an Airplane?
  2. Car Seat Regulation and Recommendations for Planes
  3. Best Airplane Car Seats (Infant and Toddler)
  4. Car Seat Frames and Transporters for Airports
  5. Car Seat Bags and Protective Covers for Travel
  6. How to Install a Car Seat on an Airplane

 

 

Does My Child Need a Car Seat on an Airplane?

 

While a CRS (child restraining system = car seat) is not required for air travel in the U.S. (or Canada), the FAA – Federal Aviation Administration recommends securing a baby / toddler on a plane. This option, however, is only guaranteed to be available to you if you purchase a separate airplane seat for your child *. Since parents are not required to purchase a seat for a child under 2 years of age in the U.S., many people choose to have their baby on their lap because it is free (or very discounted).

*If you have not purchased an extra seat in which to secure your baby / toddler and a flight is not full, an extra seat may be offered to you free of charge. For your best chance of this, arrive early to check-in at the airport. You will likely need to check in at the airport anyway (rather than online) as that is the typical protocol when traveling with an infant. The reason for this is that the airline needs to verify the age of the child from their birth certificate – stopping the odd person from trying to claim that their 5 year old is actually 23 months old.

According to a flight attendant friend of mine (with whom I often consult on flight related matters), she rarely sees a newborn in a car seat on her short haul flights, but sees them more frequently on long hauls. While the baby would most certainly be safer in a purchased airplane seat, secured in a car seat (even on a short flight), people clearly choose the lap baby option to save money (I know we did.)  An infant or small baby is also quite easy to hold and generally quite content in their parent’s lap.

Toddlers on airplanes are another story entirely. According again to my flight attendant friend, she sees more toddlers (under 2) in their own airplane seats than infants – many secured in a toddler car seat or a toddler travel harness. While this is, once again, the safest way for them to fly, there are some other practical considerations. Having traveled on some long flights with an 18 month old in my lap (because we were trying to save money), I will share with you that these were not some of the best hours of my life. A toddler is active and a toddler doesn’t necessarily want to be held in your lap even with all those little surprise toys you have brought along. My daughter could have easily played peek-a-boo with fellow passengers for 2 hours straight (even if they tired of the game after 2 minutes). Toddlers do, however, understand car seats since most have been riding in them since birth. If you can afford it, buck up and buy that separate seat, and know that your toddler is safe, secure, and comfortably restrained in a car seat or toddler flight vest. The added bonus is that you will also have your hands free to enjoy a fine airplane meal and perhaps a movie (no you won’t – but you will have your hands free).

Disclaimer: I am not here to judge you in any way. As noted above we did not purchase a seat for our children under 2. We would always bring our car seat (or flight harness) to the plane in the event that the flight wasn’t full and there was an extra seat available (this happened about 50% of the time). Purchasing an extra seat (and later 2) seemed like such a huge expense at the time, but now that we are used to it, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. In retrospect, I wish we had always purchased a seat for our kids, even as infants, because it would have taken some of the stress and guess work out of our travels. Once again….I’m not judging, I just want to share my perspective from my post-toddler world.

An aside: This topic makes me think of the flight I took from LAX to Mexico City where a toddler was still wandering the aisle as the plane began its taxi towards the runway. The parents seemed either unwilling or unable to secure the child and the flight attendants were entirely unaware as they were buckled in at the back and front of the plane. Eventually the parents were reprimanded by fellow passengers and they collected their child (who, caught by surprise, began her hour long tantrum kicking the back of my seat). I will take this moment to say that I am a big fan of preparing children for airplane flights by reading books to them about “My First Flight” etc. For more pre-flight suggestions, please see my tips section in the menu above.

 

 

FAA Baby and Toddler Car Seat Regulations for Airplanes

 

While the FAA makes a number of recommendations regarding car seats on planes, they absolutely require that you have an FAA approved car seat if you would like to use it on a plane. You will know if your car seat is FAA approved if it has a sticker on it that says:This Restraint is Certified for Use in Motor Vehicles and Aircraft. Flight attendants are trained to look for these stickers when someone is boarding the plane with a infant or toddler car seat. The car seat manual for an FAA approved car seat may also have a section in it on how to properly install the car seat on an airplane.

Note: To be FAA approved, along with other criteria, a car seat must be used with a 5-point harness and meet FAA inversion requirements for airplane use.

From the FAA website (Feb. 2017), here are the recommendations for car seats on planes

  • Make sure your car seat (CRS) or device is approved for use on airplanes.
  • Measure the width of your car seat (CRS). It should fit in most airplane seats if it is no wider than 16 inches.
  • Ask your airline for a discounted fare. Buying a ticket for your child is the only way to guarantee that you will be able to use a car seat (CRS).
  • Reserve adjoining seats. A car seat (CRS) should be placed in a window seat so it will not block the escape path in an emergency. Do not place a car seat (CRS) in an exit row.
  • If you do not buy a ticket for your child, ask if your airline will allow you to use an empty seat. If your airline’s policy allows this, avoid the busiest days and times to increase the likelihood of finding an empty seat next to you.
  • Arrange for your airline to help you if you need help making a connecting flight. Carrying a car seat (CRS), a child, and luggage through a busy airport can be challenging
  • A CRS must be installed in a forward-facing aircraft seat, in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. This includes placing the CRS in the appropriate forward or aft-facing (rear-facing) direction as indicated on the label for the size of the child.*

I have a lot to say about point #2 (car seat no wider than 16″), since very few that are available in the U.S. and are FAA approved are less than 16″ wide — but I will get to that later. Do not panic as there is some flexibility to this point. It makes me wonder, however…..has anyone responsible for these rules at the FAA actually flown with a baby? Just curious…..

*Despite some confusing information out there, you ARE allowed to have your infant’s FAA approved car seat in the rear facing position on an airplane if that is what is recommended for the age/height/weight of your baby (as long as the airplane seat itself is in a forward facing position). If you are considering a seat for your baby in business class or first class, check with the airline to see if the seat will work with a car seat or flight harness (not all do).

 

In a nutshell, here is how the FAA recommends that you secure your child on an airplane (as of Feb. 2017).

  • For a child less than 40lbs : Secure your child in an FAA approved CRS (car seat) for the duration of the flight in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
  • For a child 22lbs – 44lbs – For babies and toddlers in this weight range you alternatively have the option to secure them in the airplane seat in a CARES Child Safety Device. The Cares restraint is the only FAA approved child airplane harness system that is allowed to be used throughout a whole flight (including takeoff and landing). Please note, this restraint is only to be used on aircraft (not approved for vehicles).

 

Booster Seats on Airplanes: You are not permitted to use a booster seat on an airplane with a child, as a booster seat requires both a lap and shoulder belt.

 

The Cares Harness Airplane Child Restraint System: From $69.99

Cares Air Safety HarnessClaim to fame: The only child safety harness that can be used during the whole flight.

Features:

  • Designed specifically for air travel.
  • Compact – fits into 6 inches stuff sack.
  • Weighs just 1 pound.
  • Easy to install –  takes less than 1 minute.
  • Adjusts to fit almost every size airplane seat*.
  • Designed for children 1 year and older weighing 22 to 44 pounds and up to 40 inch tall.
  • Reviews and more details about the Cares Airplane Safety Harness here.

* It should fit all “economy” seats but if you are traveling in business class or first class you should check with the airline to ensure that the seat circumference does not exceed 62 inches.

Buy the Cares Airplane Restraint Harness now from $69.99:

 

 

Note: If you would like to know more about your car seat (CRS) rights and requirements on an airplane, please see this section from the  FAA website.  You may want to print and keep a copy with you while traveling. The website outlines important information including how a seat should be positioned on the plane ( Example: a car seat cannot block a passenger from an exit.)

As far as your rights go, probably one of the most important things to know (once again, from the FAA website) is the following:

If an approved CRS, for which a ticket has been purchased, does not fit in a particular seat on the aircraft, the airline is responsible for accommodating the CRS in another seat in the same class of service.

However, a CRS may not fit in some oblique seats in certain premium class cabins. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best FAA Approved Car Seats for Airplanes

While the FAA recommends that a car seat be 16″ wide or less for use on airplanes, there are very few car seats available for purchase in the U.S. that actually are of that size. Do not panic. As long as your car seat has the sticker on it that says that This Restraint is Certified for Use in Motor Vehicles and Aircraft, then you are allowed to use it. Obviously, there are advantages to having a lightweight and narrow car seat with you in that it is easier to carry through the airport and probably easier to install on the plane. If you have a car seat that you would like to travel with, but it measures 17.5″ wide, I would not go out and buy a new one. If you have a huge heavy and wide car seat, however, I would consider some of the following car seats options for the flight.

Note: You can check the seat width offered on the plane you are flying on through the website seatguru.com. When I did this, I found that many economy seats are less than 16″ wide in the U.S. In chatting to my flight attendant friend about this confusing situation, she said that her airline is not sticky about the 16″ car seat recommendation, because if the car seat overlaps slightly onto the parent’s seat, it is not a big deal. She also said, on the issue of the armrests being in the down position, that on her airline, only the armrests on the aisle must be down for takeoff and landing (lest some unbelted passenger roll into the aisle). As a baby is almost always put in a window seat, she was not concerned about the seat fitting with the arm rest down. The one thing she said they were particular about was that the car seat has the sticker on it stating that it is certified for use on an aircraft.

 

5 Infant Airplane Car Seats (Rear Facing – 5 to 35lbs)

 

1. Combi Shuttle FAA Approved Infant Car Seat – From $99

Combi Shuttle Car SeatFeatures:

  • Suitable from birth – 35 lbs (up to 33″ in height).
  • Dimensions – 25″ H x 16.5″ W x 27″ D.
  • Weight – 10 lbs without base.
  • Certified for use on aircraft (FAA approved).
  • Fits 3 in-a-row in most vehicles.
  • Stroller-compatible designs coordinate with Combi Cosmo, Cabria, Catalyst and Twin Cosmo strollers.
  • Can also be purchased as part of the complete Combi Shuttle Travel System (car seat + stroller).
  • Read reviews and learn more about the Combi Shuttle here.

Buy the Combi Shuttle Car Seat from $99:

Combi Shuttle Infant Car Seat, Jet Black
List Price: $99.99
Price: $99.99
Price Disclaimer

 

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2. Graco Snugride 30 LX Click Connect Car Seat – From $129

Features:

  • Suitable from 4 – 30lbs lbs (up to 30″ in height)
  • Dimensions – 14″ H x 17.5″ W x 26.75″ D.
  • Weight 7 lbs without base (11 lbs with).
  • 4.5 / 5 star reviews from purchasers on Amazon.com.
  • Certified for use on aircraft (FAA approved).
  • Compatible with all Graco Click Connect strollers including the lightweight Breaze stroller.
  • Read reviews and learn more about the Graco Snugride 30 LX here.

Buy the Graco Snugride 30 LX Airplane Car Seat from $129:

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3.  Safety 1st OnBoard Air 35 Infant Car Seat – From $159

 

Features:

  • Suitable from 4 – 35 lbs (up to 32″ in height).
  • Dimensions – 24.5″ H x 17.” W x 28″ D.
  • Weight – 9 lbs without base.
  • 4.5 / 5 star reviews from purchasers on Amazon.com.
  • Certified for use on aircraft (FAA approved).
  • Fits 3 in-a-row in most cars.
  • Stroller compatible as part of the Safety 1st Amber Luxe or Step n Go Travel System.
  • Read reviews and learn more about the Safety 1st Onboard Air here.

Buy the OnBoard 35 Air Airplane Car Seat from $159:

Safety 1st Onboard 35 Air Infant Car Seat, Estate
List Price: $159.99
Price: $110.91
You Save: $49.08
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4. Uppababy Mesa FAA Approved Infant Car Seat  – From $299Mesa Uppababy FAA Car Seat

 

Features:

  • Suitable for infants 4-35 lbs and up to 32” in height (infant insert recommended from 4-8 lbs)
  • Dimensions – 23″ H x 17″ W x 25.75″ D.
  • Weight – 11.1 lbs without base.
  • 4.5 / 5 star reviews from purchasers on Amazon.com.
  • Certified for use on aircraft (FAA approved).
  • Fits 3 in-a-row in most cars.
  • Stroller-compatible designs coordinate with Vista or Cruz stroller.
  • Read reviews and learn more about the Uppababy Mesa Travel Car Seat here.

 

Buy the Uppababy Mesa FAA Approved Car Seat from $299:

UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat, Jake
List Price: $299.99
Price: $299.99
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5. Chicco Keyfit 30 FAA Certified Infant Car Seat – From $199Chicco Keyfit FAA Approved Car Seat

 

Features:

  • Suitable for infants (rear-facing) from 4-30 lbs and up to 32” in height.
  • Dimensions – 22″ H x 17″ W x 24″ D.
  • Weight – 9 lbs without base.
  • 4.5 / 5 star reviews from purchasers on Amazon.com.
  • Certified for use on aircraft (FAA approved).
  • Fits 3 in-a-row in most cars.
  • Compatible with most Chicco strollers including the travel friendly Liteway Plus and the Chicco stroller frame.
  • Read reviews and learn more about the Keyfit 30 car seat here.

Buy the Chicco Keyfit 30 FAA Approved Car Seat from $199:

Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat, Orion
List Price: $199.99
Price: $199.99
Price Disclaimer

 

 

 

5 Convertible Airplane Car Seats (Infant to Toddler)

 

 

1. Combi Coccoro Convertible FAA Approved Infant Car Seat – From $239

Combi Coccoro FAA Car Seat
Features:

  • Suitable from 3-33lbs (to 36″) rear-facing and 20-40lbs (to 43″) forward-facing.
  • Dimensions –  23″ H x 15.5″ W x 22″ D.
  • Weight – 14.3 lbs.
  • 4.5 / 5 star reviews from purchasers on Amazon.com.
  • Certified for use on aircraft (FAA approved).
  • Fits 3 in-a-row in most cars.
  • Compatible with the Go-Go Baby Travelmate Deluxe car seat transporter.
  • Read reviews and learn more about the Combi Coccoro FAA car seat here.

Buy the Combi Coccoro FAA Approved Car Seat from $239:

Combi Coccoro Convertible Car Seat
List Price: $239.99
Price: $185.99
You Save: $54.00
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2. Cosco Scenera Next FAA Approved Convertible Car – From $49

Cosco Scenara Next Car Seat

Features:

  • Suitable from 5-40 lbs rear facing and 22-40 lbs forward facing.
  • Dimensions – 23″ H x 17″ W x 22″ D.
  • Weight 10 lbs.
  • 4 / 5 star reviews by purchasers on Walmart.com.
  • Fits 3 across in the back seat of most vehicles.
  • Compatible with the Go-Go Babyz Travelmate Deluxe car seat transporter.
  • Read reviews and learn more about the Cosco Scenera here.

Buy the Cosco Scenera Car Seat from $49:

Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat
List Price: $55.35
Price: $55.35
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3. Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat – From $99

Safety 1st Guide 65 FAA Car Seat
Features:

  • Suitable from 5-40 lbs (19-40″) rear facing and 22-65 lbs (34- 49″) forward-facing.
  • Dimensions – 23.5″ H x 17.5″ W x 23.5″ D.
  • Weight 14 lbs.
  • 4 / 5 star reviews by purchasers on Walmart.com
  • Fits 3 across in the back seat of most vehicles.
  • Compatible with the Go-Go Babyz Travelmate Deluxe car stroller frame.

 

Where to Buy the Safety 1st Guide 65 FAA Certified Car Seat :

Buy on Amazon.com from $99

Buy on Walmart.com from $73

Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat, Seaport
List Price: $99.99
Price: $85.49
You Save: $14.50
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4. Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat by Diono – From $359

Diono Radian RXT FAA Car Seat
Features:

  • Suitable from 5-44 lbs rear facing and 20-80 lbs forward facing.
  • Can be used as a booster seat from 50lbs-120lbs in car only (not on airplanes).
  • Dimensions: 28.5″ H x 17.” W x 16″ D.
  • Weight – 26lbs – but foldable so it can be transported on your back.
  • 4 / 5 stars by reviewers on Amazon.com.
  • Fits 3 across in the back seat of most vehicles.
  • Compatible with the Go-Go Babyz Travelmate Deluxe car stroller frame.

 

Note: All four Radian car seats could be suitable for plane travel, but the models increase in features and price from the R100, R120, the RXT and the GTX

 

Where to Buy the Diono Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat :

 

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5. Clek Filo Convertible Car Seat – From $379

Clek Filo 3 in a Row FAA Car Seat Features:

  • Suitable from 14-44 lbs (25-43″) rear facing and 22-65 lbs (30-49″) forward facing.
  • Can also be use for an infant with insert (sold separately).
  • Dimensions: 32.5″ H x 17″ W x 12.5″ D.
  • Weight 25lbs.
  • 4.5 / 5 stars by reviewers on Amazon.com.
  • Fits 3 across in the back seat of most vehicles.
  • Compatible with the Go-Go Babyz Travelmate Deluxe car seat transporter.

 

Where to Buy the Clek 3-in-a Row Convertible Airplane Car Seat :

Buy on Amazon.com from $379

 

Clek Fllo 2017 Convertible Car Seat, Fllo Noire
List Price: $379.99
Price: $299.99
You Save: $80.00
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Car Seat Carriers for Airports

So you’ve decided to use the car seat on the airplane, but now you need to think about how you are going to get it to the gate. If your car seat simply clicks into a lightweight stroller base, then you are in luck. Otherwise, here are some other options for getting your car seat through the airport.

 

Snap and Go EX Car Seat Transporter1. Baby Trend Snap N Go EX Universal Infant Airport Car Seat Carrier

  • Stroller frame accepts infant car seats to form a complete travel system.
  • Compatible with the following infant car seat brands:
    • Baby Trend
    • Britax
    • Chicco
    • Combi
    • Cosco
    • Evenflo
    • Graco
    • Maxi-Cosi
    • Mia Moda
    • Peg Perego
    • Safety 1st
  • 2-cup holder parent tray w/covered storage compartment.
  • Convenient one hand fold.
  • Large storage basket and rear wheels with brakes.
  • 4.5 / 5 star reviews from purchasers on Amazon.com.
  • Also comes in a double / twin car seat carrier version.

 

Where to buy the Baby Trend Snap N Go EX Universal Infant Car Seat Carrier / Stroller:

 

 

 

 

 

Go-Go Babyz Travelmate Deluxe2. Go-Go Babyz Travelmate Deluxe Airport Car Seat Carrier (Infant and Toddler Car Seats)

 

  • Fits most infant or toddler car seats on the market ( car seat compatibility list ).
  • 6″ rear razor wheels allow for a smooth ride through the airport.
  • One hand to carry – one hand to unfold – one hand to push.
  • Swivel wheels in the front.
  • 4.5 / 5 star reviews by purchasers on Amazon.com.
  • Can also be purchased as a double / twin car seat transporter.

 

Where to buy the Go-Go Babyz Travelmate Deluxe Carrier / Stroller:

 

 

 

 

Car Seat Bags for Airplanes

 

Padded Car Seat Bag - Backpack StyleZOHZO Padded Car Seat Airplane Bag

 

Features:

  • Backpack allows you to take the seat everywhere.
  • Fits most car seats manufactured by major brands.
  • Heavy-duty, water-resistant fabric and a lockable double zipper opening.
  • Can be carried by use of the built-in handle, or by the shoulder and waist straps for hands-free comfort.
  • Keep your hands free to play with children and hand over your tickets.
  • 5 / 5 stars reviews by purchasers on Amazon.com

 

Where to buy the ZOHZO Car Seat Carrier Bag:

Buy on Amazon.com from $39.99

 

 

Car Seat Bag for AirplaneUltra-Durable Car Seat Airplane Bag

Features:

  • Made of thick, strong nylon.
  • Completely encloses car seat.
  • 2 Padded straps for easy carrying.
  • Waterproof material.
  • 2 Secure drawstrings closure.
  • Large removable information card.
  • 4.5 / 5 star reviews by purchasers on Amazon.com.

 

Where to buy the Durable Car Seat Carrier Bag for Airports:

Buy on Amazon.com from $29

 

 

How to Install a Car Seat on an Airplane

1. Installing a Rear Facing Baby Car Seat on an Airplane

First of all, yes you can install an infant car seat in the rear facing position on a plane if that is what the car seat manufacturer recommends for the age/size of your child (provided the actual airplane seat faces forward, not backwards). Make sure your baby is not blocking anyone from exiting to the aisle (generally meaning that your baby should either be next to the window, or in a center section of the plane). If it is recommended that you use a seat belt extended to install your car seat on an aircraft, just ask the flight attendant for one when boarding.

 

2 . Installing a Forward Facing Car Seat on an Airplane

Follow the instructions provided to you in your car seat manual for installation on aircraft.  To make installation easier, you may want to recline the seat so that you can more easily feed the seat belt through (returning to an upright position to tighten the belt). If you are having a hard time feeding the seatbelt buckle through the back of your car seat, you could ask for a seat belt extender from the flight attendant.

Here is a video from the FAA on how to install a forward facing car seat on an aircraft. Now, let me tell you, it is a heck of a lot easier when you have the bulkhead seat (as shown in this video), but still, it is useful video to watch.

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite car seat for travel on airplanes?  Please share in the comment section below!

 

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Free Ebook for Travel with Kids

Best Mens Diaper Bags (Backpack and Messenger)

 

Best Airplane Car Seats FAA

 

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17 Responses

  1. Erin S
    | Reply

    Great article! I was happy to read that it is the airline’s responsibility to find a seat that fits the car seat as long as it says that it is FAA approved for airline travel. Thank you so much!

  2. Yen
    | Reply

    I am planning for my infant son’s first flight. Do I take the base of the car seat too or just the car seat?

    • Tara Cannon
      | Reply

      Hi Yen ! For installing the seat on the airplane, follow the instructions in your car seat manual. If you do not have it, the manufacturer should have it on their website. You could also email the manufacturer and specifically ask. I have found most companies to be quite responsive. When we flew with an infant car seat, we would check the base (for use in a car rental later on), but just use the infant seat on board.

  3. Julie
    | Reply

    Hello, do you know if for international airlines, is it a requirement for carseats to be in a window seat only or will an aisle work?

    • Tara Cannon
      | Reply

      Hi Julie. For this article I only researched airlines in the U.S. and Canada. That said, I just had a read of Luftansa’s car seat policy to get an idea of what some international airlines do. In their case, they say that a car seat cannot be in an exit row, nor can it block a traveler from exiting their seat in any other row (thus it should be in a window seat or in a center section). Lufthansa also had a PDF stating which car seats were acceptable to be used on their flights (it was a long list). To be safe, I would contact the airline you will be flying with. 🙂

  4. Julie
    | Reply

    Thank you Tara. Yes unfortunately the customer service reps are not reliable for Royal Jordanian and their website is not nearly as helpful as Lufthansa. The rep said no car seats allowed but the website says they are for kids up to 36 mo. Then no specifics listed on which car seats or window vs aisle seats. Just wondered if you knew if it was airline specific or an FAA regulation. Thanks!

    • Tara Cannon
      | Reply

      Ugh. Don’t you hate that? Personally, I like dealing in certainties. I might suggest going to the website “Flyertalk” and seeing if you can find a forum thread on Royal Jordanian. You may find a Royal Jordanian frequent flyer who can provide a little more information. Good luck Julie. 🙂

  5. Anna
    | Reply

    Hi Tara,
    I will flying solo with my 3 year old and 17 month old to South Africa on Lufthansa. I have purchased a Cosco Scenera NEXT and the Safety First Guide 65 for my 17 month old (still trying to decide which one would be best as they haven’t arrived in the mail yet for comparison). For the 17 month old, will he need to sit RF on the plane? Also, I wanted to use the CARES harness for my 3 year old since I’m not sure how I can haul 2 car seats, carry-on, diaper bag, and two boys through the air port by myself. I have gotten mixed reviews regarding the use of the CARES harness on international flights, specifically on Lufthansa. I have not been able to get a consistent answer from customer service yet, but was wondering if you knew anything about if CARES harnesses are accepted on international carriers, specifically Lufthansa. Thanks!

    • Tara Cannon
      | Reply

      Hi Anna! Good for you for planning ahead. Depending on which car seat you go with, I would contact the manufacturer to confirm which way the seat should be facing on the aircraft. Sometimes this is specified in the manual (based on age/weight), but sometime it is not. In my experience,car seat manufacturers tend to respond quite quickly to inquiries. Likewise, I would call Cares to discuss the use of the flight harness when flying abroad. Although their FAQ section on flying internationally does not specifically name Lufthansa, they may be able to shed some light on the subject as they sell a lot of these units. I totally agree that trying to make your way through the airport with two little ones and two car seats would be quite difficult. I wish I could be of more help to you Anna, but this guide was written specifically for Canada and the U.S. I might also suggest traveler forums such as a Lufthansa thread on Flyertalk.com where you can sometimes get very specific questions answered by frequent flyers. I would love to know how you make out if you have time to comment again post trip. Good luck Anna !

  6. Maria
    | Reply

    I notice all the car seats suggested are more than 16″ wide. Yet airlines say it should be only 16″ wide… any advice??

    • Tara Cannon
      | Reply

      Hi Maria.If your child is between 3-40lbs you could go with the Combi Coccoro. Do not stress, however, if your CRS (car seat) is a little wider than 16″. As long as it has the sticker on it saying that “This Restraint is Certified for Use in Motor Vehicles and Aircraft”, you are good to go. Please see the comment above regarding the fact that airlines in the U.S. must find a seat that will accommodate your car seat as long as that seat is certified for use on aircraft. Ideally, however, it is nice to have a car seat for travel that is not huge and heavy. Good luck with your travels !

  7. Sandy
    | Reply

    Hi All, Out of interest, does anyone know if US airlines would tend to require only the FAA sticker for aviation suitability or if they would also accept the European ‘CE’ aviation suitability sticker? I believe that in the UK, those airlines that enforce a requirement for an aviation approved car seat (not all appear to) accept either the CE or FAA certification. I wondered if this was the same in the US or whether it would need to be FAA only? If the latter, is it possible to buy FAA certified car seats outwith the US e.g for a traveller from the UK travelling on a domestic US flight? As an aside, we recently flew with Southwest in the US with our cheap, European car seat that attaches to or travel system an which is not aviation approved. We assumed we were travelling with a ‘lap infant’ and when we went to check in the car seat, the Southwest staff said “just take it onboard, there’ll be plenty of seats, you can use it wherever you like” – irrespective of the fact we hadn’t booked a seat or have an FAA sticker! Great for us and very flexible of them but possibly not ‘by the book’…. Many thanks, Sandy

    • Tara Cannon
      | Reply

      Hi Sandy. If you click the link called “FAA Guidance” in this document under the heading “About Child Restrain Systems” (https://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/), point #9 leads me to believe that other CRSs meeting their guidelines may be used. That said, if you were going to use one in the U.S.A. with the appropriate EU certification, I would keep a copy of those guidelines with you, just in case you get hassled about it. Good luck ! 🙂

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