Carrying a car seat on flight is completely permissible for airlines that fly to the USA or Canada. However, car seat bases are not allowed in-flight in most cases. The top reason for this is that there are simply no attachment points for the car seat base on an airplane seat.
However, car seat bases keep the baby more secure. So, what to do with car seat base when flying? You can bring it along for use later, but you will have to pack it up in a protective bag and collect it later from baggage claim after you land.
Keep reading this article for more details. Here we will be discussing what to do with that car seat base and some rules regarding taking a car seat onboard.
Car Seat Rules on International Airlines
Now that we know flying on a plane with a car seat is allowed, and you can also take your car seat with you, we are going to look at some details that are very necessary to pass the airport gate check.
1. Permissibility of a Car Seat Base
Many airlines consider the infant car seat base to be an unnecessary tool during travel. As such, the car seat base requires separate approval to be on-boarded.
Airlines do not have a belt path specific to the latches of any car seat base. An infant lap belt that requires ISOFIX or latch anchors will not be permitted on an airplane due to compatibility issues.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), FAA approved travel car seat is recommended for the safe transport of a baby or young child, but the installation of a car seat base is not permitted or deemed necessary.
Lap belts should be used to install the stroller frame with the airline seat. If you have a high personal preference for traveling with car seat base, here’s what to do with car seat base when flying.
- Exhibit A, you can take it with yourself as part of your baggage. If you are taking a long-haul flight and your airplane is fairly big then you can just put it in the overhead bin above your seat.
- Exhibit B, if you are not on a long-haul flight, you will not be allowed to take the car seat base inside the cabin due to space issues. In this case, secure your car seat base at the gate check before getting into the cabin.
Remember to use car seat bags for extra safety and protection when you are gate-checking the base.
2. Approvals for Onboarding a Baby Carrier
Your gate agent will be asking you about approvals when they see that car seat bag coming along. You cannot have an unchecked car seat during air travel. The infant car seat should have a seal to mark that they are an FAA approved car seat for air travel.
Once you get the go-ahead for the entire flight, you can take your airline approved car seat in the cabin, and find suitable adjustments for it with the help of the flight attendants.
With flights to the US/Canadian states, there are no other barriers to entry. FAA approval is proper certification and all that you need.
If you are traveling on a non-USA airline, then the rules will be a bit different and quite selectively narrow for approval. There are different versions of approval seals for car seats based on the safety requirements of each country, so follow the rules accordingly.
For a clear understanding of your circumstances, visit the airline’s website and check out their enlisted approval requirements.
3. Correct Placement of Car Seats
The flight attendant will find you an airplane seat that is compatible with the installation of your own car seat. You will be given a seat according to the type of car seat you have.
In terms of placement, you need to have clear access to the baby while it is in the car seat. Forward-facing airplane seats that are appropriate for toddlers or older babies are best placed on a window seat or a middle seat.
Rear-facing car seats may also be placed by a window on the airline or somewhere in the central row. The reason for this particular placement is that it creates the least amount of resistance for the babies’ parents to reach out and help the baby when needed.
4. Complications of Using Foreign Car Seats
Well, the usage of an infant seat is allowed in most countries. But, you will need to verify the laws restricting the use of foreign booster seats and then consider whether it would be better to hire one or to bring one with yourself from the get-go during your travels.
In keeping with the American FMVSS 213 requirements, car seats manufactured in the UK cannot be used in the US, and vice versa.
Hence, it is better to use a lightweight car seat that supports attachment with the simple lap belt found in taxis, and can be purchased internationally.
One of the best car seats of international standards is the Mifold Grab and Go. This booster seat is approved for use in several regions including the USA and EU.
If you have one, you are quite good to go with internationally flying out your car seat without minding any tangles with country laws down the line.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it better to have a forward facing or a rear facing car seat?
Rear-facing seats are the safer option for your child according to the AAP.
Do bulky seats provide extra safety to your baby’s car seat?
Bulky seats do not necessarily provide any extra benefit with the installation of a car seat. Do not bulk up the child’s seat with any additional materials like t-shirts or extra clothes as it will only get in the way of a snug harness fit or cause discomfort to the child.
Is it better to buy a convertible car seat with a few extra bucks?
In terms of usability, getting a convertible seat is better because these have a higher weight capacity. Convertibles are good for children who weigh more than 35 pounds but an infant car seat would not be able to provide necessary support past this stage of the child’s development.
Being aware of the rules and regulations will make your travel with car seats stress-free. We’ve explored all the available options for you here. So, if you are keen on bringing a car seat base with you then you already know what to do.
Last Updated on April 27, 2023 by Danny Reid