How to check a car seat on an airplane
If you decide to take a child car seat with you on the plane, keep in mind that this is an important and responsible decision that has its advantages and disadvantages. Try to think about it and make a decision before the trip.
The risks of checking a car seat on a plane
1. There is no safe way to hold a child
The FAA strongly advises that kids ride in a car seat. Airplane seatbelts may be great for you and me, but they don’t properly restrain guests under 40lbs. Little hands additionally enjoy fidgeting with aircraft seat belt lockplates, which open very easily.
Air travel is still one of the safest options, however, points can absolutely go wrong. Path occasions are blessedly unusual, but severe disturbance is progressively usual as a result of environmental change. Remember, even the coffee pots need to be secured for rough patches so that they don’t become projectiles. It’s not in any individual’s benefit for a 30lb kid to go flying through an aircraft! Also in routine conditions, children who ride as lap children face injuries from falls, food solutions and even more.
While airline companies in various other countries offer a ” belly belt” to navigate this problem when you fly with a baby, security testing has actually revealed that these devices can turn your baby right into an airbag in case of an emergency. Consequently, they are prohibited in the US and also in Canada.
You do have one option worth considering if your child is 22-40 pounds. The AmSafe CARES harness attaches around the seatback and adds shoulder straps to keep little kids better positioned. It’s the only FAA-approved harness.
2. Your child car seat might be harmed by the airline company
Car seats are basically created as single-use items. After one significant effect, they need to be changed due to the fact that they could not fully secure your kid in a second influence.
After seeing how checked baggage is treated by handlers the world over, I don’t care to entrust my kids’ future safety to them. A flimsy car seat bag might protect from dirt and grime, but not much else. Unfortunately, there are cases when Luggage arrives damaged.
You stand at the conveyor belt and see that your things are dented, torn, and so on. Sometimes airlines help and provide replacements, but usually, they are not liable for damages under their contract of carriage. You can take a heavy-duty bag with you, which seems to be all right on the outside, but the child car seat inside it may be bent or damaged.
Some parents assume that gate checking their car seats when they board the plane will avoid potential damage. It should definitely decrease the likelihood, but it can still happen. And in some airports, gate-checked items like car seats and strollers are returned to you at baggage claim rather than on the jetway. So your gate check car seat may face the very perils you were trying to avoid!
3. Your child car seat may not meet you at your final destination – at all
Unfortunately, there are cases when parents, after checking their car seats, did not receive them at all at the end of the flight. Sometimes the car seat did not leave the departure airport, sometimes there was confusion during the transfer. Sometimes you can only guess.
The airline may not have an age-appropriate seat when you land and you will need a car seat. When traveling, you don’t want to face uncertainties.
If you are lucky and a car rental Agency has a child car seat and you have even reserved it, but it may turn out that you will be offered a booster seat for your two-year-old baby instead. Alternatively, if you are traveling with another adult, one of you can stay at the airport with the child while the other takes a taxi to the nearest store to buy a car seat. But it’s not the best start to a vacation!
If you are concerned about how to choose a travel booster seat, check this.
If you choose to check your child car seat on the plane
Fortunately, in most cases, everything goes well, even if you really need to check the car seat. Naturally, risking the safety of your family would be a huge mistake. Here are some important tips on how to register a child car seat on an airplane that will save you time and nerves.
Can I gate check a car seat? Is it better to gate check a car seat than to check it with luggage at the ticket counter?
It may not be as convenient as checking a car seat with Luggage, but the gate checking the car seat minimizes the time and handling of the car seat by anyone. This means fewer opportunities for loss or damage! Check out these options for getting a car seat through the airport.
If you plan to gate check the car seat because you are traveling with a child on your lap, you can approach the gate agent with the car seat and politely ask if there is an empty seat where you can safely put the child in the car seat. This works a lot more often than you think! Remember, the crew is interested in having babies strapped into the car seat, so they are always ready to help as much as they can.
If you won’t be able to use it on board, pack it in a gate check bag. The car seat travel bag has a bit of padding and has straps for carrying around the airport terminal.
How to pack a car seat for checked baggage
Pack it really well.
If you check in a car seat at the airport, try to pack it as best you can. Ideally, you should use a large cardboard box similar to the ones used for transportation – even the original box that contained the car seat. These corrugated cardboard boxes are designed to absorb energy to protect their contents! A travel bag for a car seat is suitable for maintaining cleanliness, but it cannot guarantee that the structure is not damaged.
Don’t check your really expensive car seat
You may love your Foonf or Rava at home, but you probably don’t need every bell and whistle on the road (nor the weight). Instead, you can pick up a really cheap travel car seat (or a slightly more expensive but much nicer one) to bring with you.
If it’s lost or damaged you’ll certainly be frustrated and annoyed since it’s a shitty way to start a vacation. But at least you won’t be heartbroken and out $500!
What to do if your car seat is lost or damaged by the airlines
Do not leave the baggage area of the airport. The worst thing you can do if the airline has lost your car seat or it is seriously damaged is to leave the airport.
The first thing you can do is find your airline’s baggage counter and let them know about the problem. You must take the information from the baggage tag, take a photo of the damage to your Luggage, and fill out the form.
In addition, you can also contact your travel insurance company, or use air travel insurance if you have a special credit card intended for travelers.
Checking car seat on plane FAQs
Can you take a car seat on a plane?
Yes, on all US airlines and most airlines outside the US, you can take a car seat onboard and use it to ensure your child’s safety during the flight.
Can you check a car seat?
Yes, all airlines permit you to check a car seat though it’s not recommended. Car seats can be lost or damaged when checked, and children under 40 pounds are safer on a plane when riding in a car seat. A car seat check bag will only prevent some superficial damage, no structural damage, so if you really need to check your car seat it’s best to use a strong cardboard box.
Do you have to pay to check a car seat? Do airlines charge for car seats?
No, you don’t need to pay for checking the car seat. Airlines do not charge for checking at least one child’s item per child.
Is a car seat considered a checked bag?
No, a car seat is not considered a checked bag. It is considered a baby item (also sometimes called a “comfort item”). While that means it’s not part of your checked bag allowance, it also means that airlines have limited liability if your item is lost or damaged.
Can you gate check a car seat?
Yes, you can gate check a car seat. That’s a better choice than checking with luggage, as the car seat is out of your possession for less time.
Is it safe to gate check a car seat?
Gate checking a car seat is safer than checking it with baggage, but there’s still the risk that baggage handlers will treat it roughly and toss it on the ground.