FLIGHTS… To Bring A Car Seat Or Not

The age old question of bringing your car seat on a plane.  There’s numerous reasons why you might want to bring your car seat on a plane.  The biggest reason being to extend sleepy time on the plane.  If safety is your only reason there are alternative safe options without having to lug around a baby seat.  First of all bringing a car seat requires you to purchase an extra seat just for baby.  If you have a short flight and baby is under 2 years old you may want to just save that extra vacation money and just lap baby for the plane ride.

If your planning on bringing a car seat make sure you check with the airlines seat regulations.  Some flights will only allow car seats of a certain width, some won’t allow rear facing seats and some won’t allow car seats at all.  You can check your airlines website or call them directly to find out.

There’s a strange reaction you get when telling any airport personnel that you’ve brought a car seat with you.  It’s an “oh great, you’re one of those” type of reactions with an extra dose of politeness.  No matter how much research you’ve done or how many pages you’ve printed out of the airlines regulation manual, even if you called in and verified for your own flight, you are not guaranteed to get that car seat on the airplane.

Even with all the research and documentation stating that car seats are allowed on the plane you might still get refused to actually get your car seat in.  Some reasons we received was, we’re using a smaller plane, the flight is too packed, the mentioned plane in your confirmation is a different plane, hold on I’ll see…the captain said no.  Many people refer to these car seat guardians as “The Car Seat Police”.

The Car Seat Police has three gatekeepers.  The check in attendant, the gate attendant and the stewardess.  Your first opposition will come from the check in attendant.  If you fight for it hard enough, after having your car seat turned down, they may let you pass and check with the Gate attendant.  The gate attendant will give you the same story.  Even if you somehow get past the Gate attendant the stewardess may stop you in your tracks and try to check your car seat in.  If you really need it, do whatever you must (without causing a scene that is).  Their rules aren’t always set in stone.

If you have a long connecting flight and can’t get your car seat on the first flight at least have it gate checked so you can have it for the long second flight.  If you have it checked in you wont see it till you’ve reached your destination.

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