If you’re planning for air travel with your baby, there’s a lot to think about. What are you allowed to do and what are all the pros & cons? We’ve got the answers to your baby travel questions, thanks to BabyQuip, your vacation lifesaver.
Option 1: Bring Your Car Seat On the Plane
You can absolutely do this. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) strongly encourage bringing your baby’s infant car seat on board. It protects against turbulence and keeps your little one safe in their seat, so they’re not trying to explore the plane.
You’ll want to ensure the car seat is FAA-approved because not all car seats are safe for flights. To know if your car seat is approved for flying, check if it has the statement, “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft,” printed on it or an attached label. Also, remember that booster seats are not permitted on airplanes, per the FAA.
How do you install a car seat on a plane?
Installing a car seat on a plane is fairly simple, as you’ll use the airplane’s seatbelt to secure the seat. Whichever direction the baby rides in a vehicle (front-facing or rear-facing) is the direction they will face on the plane. You will not use an infant car seat base when flying, so there is no need to bring that onto the plane with you.
Read the car seat’s manufacturer’s instructions beforehand to know the best way to install a car seat on a plane. Then, if you’re still not sure or have any doubts when you’re on the plane, a flight attendant can certainly help.
Option 2: Check Your Car Seat Like Luggage
Many airlines (if not all) will gladly allow you to check a car seat so that you don’t have to bring it onto the plane with you. Even better, car seats are not usually counted as luggage, so you don’t have to pay a fee to check them!
The same goes for booster seats; even though they cannot be used on the plane, they are typically considered checked baggage free of charge. So, upon arrival, you can pick up your car seat at the baggage claim area with the rest of your luggage.
Can I hold my baby in my lap?
Yes, if your child is under 2, you can hold them in your lap for the flight duration. Doing this makes getting on and off the flight easier since you don’t have to handle a car seat on a plane.
With that being said, it can be really convenient to have a car seat to place your child in when you want to free up your hands, especially on long flights. And unless you’re renting a car seat at your destination, you’ll need to bring the car seat to the airport anyway. Children who are 2 or older must sit in their own seats.
Check with the airline ahead of time.
Not all airlines have the same regulations regarding car seats, so it’s important to check with the airline you’re flying with to confirm their car seat rules. This is also a good time to ask any other questions you may have regarding traveling with young kids on a plane. Some good questions to ask the airline:
- How many children can sit on 1 adult’s lap?
- Does the airline need to know ahead of time that a child will be sitting on my lap?
- Can car seats be placed on any seat on the plane?
- The exit row is off-limits, right?
Asking these questions ahead of time will help give you peace of mind before you head to the airport and save you time at the gate.
Option 3: Rent A Car Seat Instead of Bringing Your Own
If you’d rather leave your car seat at home or cannot bring a car seat with you, consider renting a car seat that you can use upon arrival. Companies like BabyQuip, offer car seat rentals (among other baby gear) so that you don’t have to worry about bringing your own car seat.
They’ll even meet you at the airport with it! This is a convenient option for families who don’t want to bring their own car seat with them or, for some reason, cannot bring a car seat at all.
Have all the comforts of home delivered straight to your hotel, vacation rental, grandparents’ house, or even to the airport. You can rent your gear from BabyQuip’s network of safe, vetted providers in over 1,200+ locations worldwide. Plus, Sittercity parents get $20 off their $150+ rental. Try it the next time you travel!
Morgan French is a writer for BabyQuip. She’s a wife, mom of two, writer, & editor. After traveling for 3 years with her family, she now lives back in her hometown of Dayton, OH. She makes frequent stops for coffee, enjoys the outdoors, and loves board games.