You read our article on flying with children, realized that it's the best to fly with a car seat, and now it's time to figure out how the heck to transport a car seat to the airplane.
Honestly, you will need to seriously step up your creativity, space management, and arm yourself with patience. Once you're stuck at the airport gate with your kids, luggage, and now a car seat on top of everything, oh boy, that will take time.
But hey, all parents are superheroes, right?
Don't worry, Clark Kent, I have your back. By the usual trial and mistake method, I figured out the most efficient car seat airport carrier. Additionally, to help the community, I composed a list of the five best ways to transport your car seat to the airplane.
So, make a cup of coffee and work those logistics out like a pro!
Table of Contents
- Why Do I Need a Car Seat in the First Place?
- How to Select the Best Car Seat Carrier?
- The Verdict
- Final Thoughts
Read more —
Why Do I Need a Car Seat in the First Place?
If you aren't completely familiar with the matter, like I wasn't at first, the official regulations don't make the use of car seats for toddlers mandatory on airplanes.
However, the recommendations of pediatricians and the Federal Aviation Administration are to use it anyway. It has been proven in many survivable plane crashes that kids held in lap were more prone to severe injuries or even fatal results.
This happens because, in the case of hazard, the parents can not provide a secure hold of the child. On the other side, the car seats will secure your kiddo in the case of turbulence, or god forbid an accident, especially if they're rear faced. So, don't play with your child's safety. Bring it along!
Do I need to scan the seat at the airport security screening?
Oh yes! Once you get to the airport, you will have to send your car seat through the x-ray machine. Either that, or you can let the security check your car seat manually, which will take more time.
If you're planning to bring your kid in the car seat, make sure you have someone to help you while you're sending the seat and luggage through the scanner. In fact, the ideal scenario would consider traveling with another grown-up or bring a Mei-Tai so your hands can be free.
Also, a pro tip is to call the airline and ask if you can pre-board. This literally saves lives when it comes to flying with car seats. You can avoid the hassle of the crowd and board more efficiently. Plus, the plane staff will have some extra time to fill you in on the safety details and help you install your car seat.
How to Select the Best Car Seat Carrier?
Choosing the right car seat carrier is by no means a straightforward task. There are countless things we have to consider; after all, we'll end up with this carrier for the entire time of our vacation.
Therefore, there are a few simple rules that I always think of when I'm flying with a car seat:
Now that we've gone through the things we need to think about before we opt for a particular car seat carrier, we will proceed to the most efficient ways of transporting a car seat to the airplane. Stay tuned!
1. Manually Carrying the Seat - The Cheapest and Least Demanding Option
Let's face it; we've all tried this method the first time we were flying with a car seat. The logic behind it is simple: You really don't want to end up with more luggage than you can carry and worry about this stuff throughout your entire vacation, so you decide to take the seat in your arms.
This could work If you're traveling with a partner and a child. One person carries the child, the other luggage, and the car seat. What is more, this option is great because it does not create any additional expenditures; there is no need for an extra stroller or carrier; it seems perfect.
On the other hand, If you're traveling alone with your kid, this could turn into a nightmare.
First of all, you can not put your child in the seat and carry it safely, while also maneuvering the luggage. No way! Even if you put your child in a Mei-Tai, trust me, it will be hard to function in a crowded airport. Therefore, single parents don't even bother!
If you decide to carry the seat manually, at least choose the lightweight model, buckle the straps up and bring it that way.
2. Carrying the Seat in a Car Seat Backpack - Cheap and Functional
- Padding protects your car seat's safety features and backpack straps allow you to carry your car seat hands-free. Airline certified. Material is made of polyester
- To ensure that this item fits your car seat, check the compatibility chart in the Technical Specification section below (click on User Manual)
- Fully padded with padded interior wings to protect car seat headrest ; Ergonomic, harness-style backpack straps are padded and adjustable
- Dual, lockable zipper opening ; Durable construction using water resistant and easy to clean materials. TIPS- When traveling with an infant car seat, detach the base and place it on top of the car...
- Brought to you by J.L. Childress, the worldwide leading brand in universal car seat and stroller travel bags. From our family to yours, Travel Happy! #travelhappy #jlchildress #familytravel; Adult use...
If you're determined not to bring a stroller for your car seat, the second-best option is the car seat bag or backpack.
You can find a decent backpack or bag for around twenty dollars on Amazon, but make sure you choose the padded, ergonomic one, since otherwise, it may be very uncomfortable to carry the seat around on your back.
Avoid the cheap alternatives that probably will tear off, leaving you with nothing and forcing you to adapt to the situation at the last minute.
This is a great way to transport your car seat because it leaves you with free arms to carry your kid or push the stroller. Also, it does not significantly increase the weight of your luggage and helps you bring the stroller to the airport without any additional devices you will be stuck with.
On the other hand, you will need to carry the entire seat's entire weight on your back, and it can get inconvenient.
This J.L. Childress Ultimate Backpack is the best-rated model on Amazon. It is a bit costly but very efficient and high-quality. You can find one by yourself, there is not much science to it, just make sure it fits your car seat, has the ergonomic, padded design, and that's pretty much it.
3. Luggage Strap - Ultimately Space-saving and Efficient
Another super-efficient way to transport your car seat to the airplane is to attach it to your suitcase.
If you haven't tried to do this thing before, you probably don't know that there are specially designed straps for this purpose exactly.
That's right! You can find the car seat luggage straps on Amazon and effortlessly transform your regular wheeled suitcase into a car seat carrier.
The straps cost around 10 dollars and therefore are a more cost-saving option than the backpack. Plus, you won't be carrying the seat's weight on your back or in your hands.
The few things you should care about are the durability of your suitcase, the strength of its wheels, and your seat size. Nonetheless, you will still need to carry the seat in your hands once you check out the luggage, so think about it in advance.
This method is most frequently used among parents who travel with kids. You can bring your stroller, set the car seat at an angle in the stroller seat, and push everything to the airport.
In that case, you will have to carry your kid, since you will be able to seat it neither in the stroller nor in the car seat.
You can fit the car seat in your stroller's seat or compact enough on the canopy of the stroller so that you can seat your child in the stroller's seat. Another way is to try to secure the car seat to the stroller using straps, but it most probably won't work until you know how to tie some badass knots.
Hence, the best solution would be to choose a compact car seat and put it on top of the stroller's canvas. It does not occupy the seat's space, and you can still seat your kid in the stroller.
5. A Car Seat Travel Cart - Honestly Functional
If you're searching for a specialized tool to transport your car seat to the airplane, a car seat travel cart is what you need. Now, this is one pricey option, since these carts cost around fifty dollars, but if you can afford it, it will pay off.
You are able to attach your car seat to it, but as well seat your kiddo in it and effortlessly take everything into the airplane. This cart is not too heavy or bulky and, therefore, ads very little to your initial luggage.
Importantly many carts can be rolled down the airplane isles, which is a huge difference because you will not have to carry all that weight and block the aisle for other passengers.
Finally, when you think about it, this cart serves as a replacement for both your stroller and a car seat carrier, plus it takes considerably less space than the alternatives since most of the carts designed for this purpose are foldable.
Of all the options mentioned above, what I personally believe to be the most practical and effortless method to transport your car seat is to use a car seat cart. Not just that, it allows you to effortlessly transport your car seat, but you can also seat your child in the seat comfortably and hence eliminate the need for a stroller.
On the other hand, if you're looking for a more budget-friendly offer, the backpack is an excellent solution, since it requires no extra luggage that may slow you down at the airport or after you get off the plane.
That's all about the transport and the best car seat airport carrier for the airplane, folks! I hope you liked it, and most importantly, that it helped you plan the entire execution of the "fly with your kiddo" operation.
For another time, I want to remind you of the best car seat carrier I personally prefer, since it is the most practical option, does not add much to the weight of your luggage and allows you to transport the seat with your child in it; It's the car seat travel cart. If you find it too costly, don't hesitate to choose some other option from our list.
I understand this seems like a lot of hustle for something you don't even have to bring to the airplane, but don't forget that your child's safety is the only thing that matters.
Don't be hesitant to try out some of these methods, and if you happen to discover some new genius way to transport a car seat, share it with the community.
We're all in this together!