Are you a parent getting ready to take a road trip or fly with your kid? Figuring out how to transport the booster seat on these trips can be overwhelming. The rules surrounding checked baggage and securing the booster seat in a car are constantly changing, but we're here to help!
In this blog post, we'll provide concrete tips from industry experts on how to pack a booster seat for checked baggage so that your family vacation is safe, stress-free, and fun! Let's get started!
Take Away Key Points:
Table of Contents
- Packing your booster child car seat for air travel: Hard or not hard?
- Tips for packing a car seat for checked baggage
Packing your booster child car seat for air travel: Hard or not hard?
Many car seats require a car seat check at the gate-checking before the baggage handlers put them into the plane and ensure they travel safely. Booster seats are not an exception. But your child's car seat must be well-packed and protected to be on the plane.
So, read below on how to pack your booster seat best.
1. Can I bring my booster seat on the airplane?
You can bring the booster child safety seat onboard the plane, but there are specific conditions. For example, only FAA-approved car seats can be used on the board.
To check if your child's car seat is an FAA-approved car seat, you must find a label on the back or side of the child's car seat stating it is allowed for use on the airplane. However, some boosters - backless booster seats or folding boosters, are FAA approved for use on the airline seat. If not, you will travel lap infant and pack a car seat for checked baggage into the cargo area.
Regular booster car seats are not allowed on the plane seat, but that doesn't mean you cannot bring them on your next trip. The airline attendant will gate-check your booster and place it into the luggage hold with the rest. You will collect the checked bags at your destination.
So, if you want to bring your car seat onboard, inform the agents at the check-in desk about your intentions, and they will examine whether your car seat can be onboarded.
The procedure differs for rear-facing infant or convertible car seats. Due to harness straps, most infant and convertible car seat models are allowed for plane use. Boosters are not permitted as they must ensure a shoulder-lap belt path for the child. But, as airplanes ensure only a lap belt path, you cannot use boosters on the plane without shoulder straps.
2. Do you need a bag for a car seat on an airplane?
No, you don't need a bag for a car seat for checked baggage, but it's worth having one! It's always better to pack your car seat into a car seat travel bag to protect it from loss and damage. In addition, you should choose the car seat travel bag with extra padding for maximum protection to gate-check your car seat.
The car seat bag will protect the edges and the whole frame of your car seat, providing the most protection for your gate-checked traveling tool. Besides, the car seat bag has enough space to pack additional child necessities and travel free.
But, the only heck is how to correctly pack your car seat into a car seat bag to ensure maximum security for your child restraint system. But let's learn the procedure.
3. Bringing a booster seat into a car seat travel bag
When traveling with your children and a booster bag, you can pack the car seat bag anytime. Packing depends on the type of car seat travel bag you are using.
For instance, if you're bringing a backless booster car seat, you will take it in your carry-on luggage. However, if you're bringing a highback booster car seat, the safest and the best choice is to separate the seat and the back and place them in your overhead bin.
It is always better to use a lightweight car seat and pack a car seat into the bag with extra packing space. This way, you can place more lightweight child care items. And, if you can take your car seat free of charge, you can use the restraint system onboard, if allowed.
You can also pack your booster onboard as a carry-on, but wrap the booster in bubble wrap with more padding. Then, pack the booster car seat into its original box that reads fragile to alert the flight attendants. Or, if you have a small booster car seat, you can pack it in a duffel bag to protect it from damage, soil, etc.
If you don't have a booster car seat bag, the airlines might give you a heavy-duty one. And, if you want to know if you can check your booster car seats for free, read the information below.
4. Booster car seat checking charges
The booster car seat charges might change among airlines, and it would be best to check with all domestic and international airlines if they provide services of car seats checked for free.
Here is what you generally can expect:
- Booster car seats are free: you can bring them onboard, below the airplane seat with you if there is not enough space in the overhead bins
- Most airlines will allow your car sets for free; however, they might charge you for their international counterparts. You inquire about your airline in advance or check at the ticket counter with a gate agent if you need to pay extra for gate-checking your car seats.
- The airline carrying your car seats for free will consider it as checked luggage, while others deduct your weight from your allowance.
- Some airlines may provide you with heavy-duty plastic bags to pack a car seat for more protection during transport. But, if you have travel insurance, you can speed up the process of finding the lost or damaged child restraint system.
- You can fill out the forms for the lost and damaged baggage claim at the airline counters, and sometimes airlines might offer compensation of $50. But, if you carry manufacturer documentation, they might compensate you more.
For these reasons, it would be best to examine the check-in policy of booster car seats of your airline. If you find them difficult, you can directly speak to the customer support team of the airline you are traveling to.
Tips for packing a car seat for checked baggage
Packing your car seat for checked baggage at the gate-check is important to ensure your child's safety during air travel.
Here are the steps to follow:
1. Purchase a car seat bag that fits your car seat for checked baggage - Look for one that is on wheels or fits like a backpack. Ensure your car seat cover for flying has thick padding to protect your safety device from damage during transit and ensure your car seat arrives safely.
2. Practice putting your car seat into the bag before you leave home - This will help you familiarize yourself with the process and ensure everything fits properly.
3. Always keep your car seat clean - maintaining and keeping your car seat clean will help you pack a car seat faster inside the bag. In addition, you will preserve its quality and prevent potential damage during transport.
4. Place the booster car seat in its original packaging with thick padding - If you must check the car seat, put it in its original packaging with padding in the box or another box with padding.
5. Gate check your booster car seat - If you plan to bring it on board, gate- check your booster car seat at the gate and pick it up as soon as you land at your final destination. The flight attendant will give you the gate-check tag to pick up your restraint system in the baggage carousel later after the flight.
6. Securely attach any straps or handles to the bag - Make sure all straps and handles are securely attached to the bag so it won't come loose during transit.
7. Label your bag clearly - Label your bag clearly with your name and contact information so that if anything happens, you can be easily contacted by airline staff or alert baggage attendants if something goes wrong. This way, the baggage handlers will avoid the loss of your checked baggage.
8. Check-in early - Check-in early so that you have plenty of time to deal with any issues related to bringing a booster car into a travel bag for airplane travel.
How do you bring a booster on a plane?
The best method is to use a highback booster car seat and separate the back from the seat. Then, you can bring the back on the board as a carry-on while the highback goes into the overhead bin. Or, you might bring a smaller booster that folds small enough to fit the overhead bin.
Can you check a car seat as a checked bag?
No, a car seat is not usually a checked bag when flying with an infant. However, a car seat will usually be brought onboard with the pushchair or stroller with most airlines without extra charges.
Can you check a car seat without a child?
Yes, you can check a car seat without a child. However, you will have to pay extra charges since you don't have the child reservation or don't bring your child with you.
Do I need a bag to check my car seat?
No, you don't necessarily need a bag to check your car seat; yet you might want one to avoid damage or loss of your traveling items.
As you can see, there are various procedures to know if you want to bring your booster car seats on the plane.
It would be best to contact your desired airline and see the policies and requirements, to avoid further complications at the airport.
And don't forget to pack your car seat into a travel bag to ensure better transport conditions.