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Car seat and airplanes

Next month my husband, son (17 months at the time of trip) and I will be flying to the east coast to visit family over the Christmas holiday. We need to take a car seat with us, and I'm looking specifically for a car seat that will easily fit and install in an airplane seat. I'm looking at either the Cosco Scenera or the Evenflo Tribute 5. Does anyone here have any experience with either of these two seats? Any other seats that I should consider (preferably under $100)? Any tips or tricks I should know when it comes to installing a car seat on a plane (we're flying on Virgin America)? Is is possible to have him rear facing on the plane? Flying is always a bit stressful for me so I'm trying to be as prepared as possible.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 13th, 2012 08:13 pm (UTC)
I have no advice on a specific carseat but I would maybe check with the airline on their rules/regulations?
Nov. 13th, 2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
We have a Cosco Scenara for travel. It's not super comfy for my daughter, but it serves its purpose.

The seat can and should be installed rear-facing, despite flight attendants sometimes saying otherwise. I would suggest bringing the manual along, in case anyone tries to tell you otherwise. Also, it will probably suck for the person in front if you, who may not be able to recline their seat. Not much you can do about that, though.
Nov. 13th, 2012 08:24 pm (UTC)
Err... According to FAA.gov:

Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using a CRS. FAA recommends that a child weighing:
Less than 20 pounds use a rear-facing CRS
From 20 to 40 pounds use a forward-facing CRS
More than 40 pounds use an airplane seat belt
A child may also use an alternative, such as a a harness-type restraint, if it is approved by FAA.

So, now I'm not sure about ff vs rf.

*waits for emstar21 to step in*
Nov. 13th, 2012 08:49 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I found that as well. He's somewhere around 22lbs last I checked, so technically he could be forward facing. I would prefer him to be rear facing, as that is how he rides in the car now, and I think he would be more likely to sleep while in that direction as well.
Nov. 13th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
To tag on to this:
From someone who's had to fight with the flight attendants on the proper installation of my carseat (which I was installing correctly and they wanted me to install it incorrectly to which I complained to their union and their response was "oops!") print out the FAA recommendations from the FAA website. There's a brochure called "flying with children" bring that as a reference for you. And definitely bring the manufacturer instructions for installation with the installation in an aircraft earmarked for easy reference. Have all these documents easily accessible, because if there's a problem, you'd want to be able to pull them out easily. That's what I was told after the incident where I was instructed by the flight attendants to install my carseat inappropriately.

And make sure whatever carseat you get is approved for use in an aircraft and has the appropriate sticker on the carseat. I have had flight attendants ask if it's approved and ask to see the stickers to prove that it's approved for use on a plane. Just an FYI :)
Nov. 13th, 2012 10:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestions! I will definitely be printing out that FAA info and have the carseat manual with me (will need it anyway, as the carseat will have to be installed in my in-law's car when we get in).
Nov. 14th, 2012 01:30 am (UTC)
Sorry to butt in, but do you think this means they can't use a car seat on a plane at 40+ lbs? My almost 2 year old is 39lbs (possibly up to 40 now, we'll know for sure in a couple weeks) and we're flying at Christmas. I intended to being his car seat with us on the plane. I don't know what we'll do of we can't out him in the car seat!
Nov. 14th, 2012 01:42 am (UTC)
I'd guess its a 'recommendation' like the AAP 'recommends' rear-facing until 2. My guess is you can put your kid in whatever seat they fit in at whatever age, especially if you've purchased a seat.

I mean, parents of a 5 year old shouldn't be forced to check a high back booster, right?

Also, I can't imagine any airline steward/stewardess telling you a two year old can't sit in a carseat!

In that position, I would probably bring the car seat manual, and maybe print out some other applicable information about children and appropriate car seats, just incase. I'd rather be armed with info and fight that battle if need be.
Nov. 14th, 2012 03:44 am (UTC)
Boosters aren't allowed on airplanes, because they only have lap belts. So typically you have to check them. All but a couple harnessed car seats in the US are FAA approved for airline travel though.
Nov. 14th, 2012 03:43 am (UTC)
They can. The FAA just doesn't recommend going without one under 40lbs. You'll be fine with his MyRide or the Frontier if you get one. Don't let them tell you you have to check it, just show them the FAA (or whatever the Canadian equivalent is called) sticker on the seat. It's in your rights to use any FAA approved car seat for your ticketed child on the aircraft per the car seat manufacturers directions.
Nov. 14th, 2012 03:52 am (UTC)
That's just their recommendation. It's within your child's rights as a ticketed passenger to use an FAA approved restraint per the manufacturers directions. And runway crashes are the same in terms of physics as a car crash, so all the same rear facing benefits apply. The person in front may not be able to recline their seat but they'll survive. :)
Nov. 13th, 2012 08:28 pm (UTC)
I looked this up and found (at http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/crs/ )

"FAA recommends that a child weighing:
Less than 20 pounds use a rear-facing CRS
From 20 to 40 pounds use a forward-facing CRS"

They also have a brochure with the information you can print: http://www.faa.gov/passengers/media/childsafety.pdf
Nov. 13th, 2012 09:41 pm (UTC)
Yea, I posted that below, but since rear-facing recommendations tend to be a bit behind the times, I wasn't sure if it was the same for airline travel.

Either way, that would still put my 23 month old toddler rear-facing in a convertible seat, and we have rear-faced her on the previous flights we've taken.

Edited at 2012-11-13 09:43 pm (UTC)
Nov. 13th, 2012 09:33 pm (UTC)
I've rear faced a car seat on the plane, though not the seats you're talking about. Definitely more comfortable for my kids-they don't like dangling legs, but if you do rear face the seat, make sure there's no one sitting in front of you-that person won't be able to recline the seat if you're rear facing.

Also, some seats are more difficult to install on planes-you may need to ask for a seat belt extender from the flight attendant, depending on your seat.
Nov. 13th, 2012 09:45 pm (UTC)
I haven't worked hands on with car seats other than my own in a few years, but the last time I got my hands on a Tribute, I wanted to throw it across the parking lot. So unless they've changed it a whole bunch and kept the name, I'd skip it. The Scenera is very easy to use and light weight (which is good for when you have to carry it).
Nov. 14th, 2012 03:47 am (UTC)
Everyone else gave you good advice. You can and should RF her on the plane and a Scenera will fit and install fine. The only tricky thing about a Scenera is that the shape of the seat means you almost always need to use a pool noodle or rolled towel to get the proper recline, even for a toddler. Installation is pretty easy, with that particular seat a seat belt install is easier than LATCH most of the time.
Nov. 14th, 2012 03:49 am (UTC)
Just curious, what's his regular seat? While its probably not as lightweight for slugging through the airport, it's sometimes less hassle to just stick with what you know and are comfortable with, and there are some clever tips for getting it through the airport too.
Nov. 14th, 2012 03:27 pm (UTC)
His regular seat is a Graco MyRide 65. I hesitate to bring it with us as it's on the bulky side, and we've had some trouble installing it our car (specifically, getting it tight enough to be safe). I'd just as rather have it remain in my car.
Nov. 14th, 2012 06:49 am (UTC)
Just an FYI Virgin America is the only airline that has ever checked that my car seat had the FAA approved sticker on it (I've flown with them several times with a car seat) . I highly recommend flagging down a steward/stewardess and having them check it BEFORE strapping the seat and kiddo into the seat. From experience trying to do it while taxing down the runway without bumping the people in front of you/beside you in the head is not easy.
Nov. 15th, 2012 07:11 pm (UTC)
I brought the Scenera for my son for a 6 hour flight back in July when he was 18 months. It was lightweight and easy enough to bungee to the back of the stroller. I had a problem where the buckle part of the seat belt was right in the middle of my son's back, making him very uncomfortable. For my sanity's sake, I ended up loosening the belt all the way so the buckle part didn't hurt him, which probably wasn't the safest. I don't know if this would happen with all seats or if there are certain ones that don't thread directly behind the seat cover...
Nov. 18th, 2012 09:45 am (UTC)
Unfortunately that is just the nature of the beast.
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