Best Car Seats for Airplane: Guide to FAA Approved Car Seat

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the safest place for a baby under the age of 2 while flying on a plane is in an approved child restraint system (CRS) and not in your lap. The main reason for this is in the event of unexpected turbulence, your arms would not be capable of holding your infant securely and safely.

If you are considering bringing your car seat on the plane, make sure it is an FAA approved car seat. In this article, we discuss the best car seats for airplane use, the type of seats and the different specifications. This comes in handy because car seats that are approved for aircraft can be used in the car at your destination.

You can read here for information on how to fly with a car seat. If you are traveling with a stroller, read here

Table of Contents

 - Booster

Best Travel Car Seats for Your Convenience


First of all, let's talk about the different car seats available.

Types of Car Seats 

Baby girl sitting in a carseat

Rear Facing

When traveling with a newborn, this is where rear-facing infant car seats or convertible seats face the back of the car whenever in use. The rationale for this is that rear-facing positioning is important for babies because their spinal cord hasn't yet been ossified or is not yet fully developed.

A rear facing car seat provides more support to the head, neck and spine compared to forward facing seat. In addition to that, in the event of a car crash, a rear facing infant car seat protects the baby's body by absorbing the impact of the crash.

It is recommended that a child stay in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years old and reached the maximum allowable weight and height limit.

Toddler sitting in car seat on a plane


Forward Facing

A forward-facing car seat refers to a type of car seat in which your baby faces the front of your car and is strapped using a 5-point harness.

You can easily install a forward-facing car seat by means of your car's LATCH system or a seatbelt. Every car seat that is available in stores varies slightly from one another. Hence, it's important to follow the instructions in the car seat's manual to set it up properly and ensure that your baby is safe.


Little girl sitting in forward facing car seat


A booster seat does not have an inbuilt five-point harness and will not be able to secure your little one on its own. For that reason, a backless booster seat is not included in the FAA-approved list for car seats and will not be allowed for air travel.

You may still opt for a highback booster seat to keep your kids in a more comfortable position in case you are planning to use it. Additionally, you can keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly.


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8 Best FAA Approved Car Seat

Donna car seat stroller

Best Travel Car Seat and Stroller System - Doona

You can turn your baby's car seat into a stroller in just a matter of seconds! It can be used as a stroller when you arrived at your destination instead of carrying the car seat around. You can get the value of your money for 2 purposes in just one purchase.

The Doona car seat fabric is removable and you can wash it as often as needed. This will keep your baby's seat clean and properly sanitized.

This stroller is made up of baby-safe materials and breathable textiles such as bamboo and memory foam to keep comfortable while roaming around or traveling from one place to another. If you also want to have a more personalized Doona stroller, you can choose from the 7 colors available in the market.

However, it is not considered a lightweight car seat due to its dual functionality as a stroller and car seat.


Weight of seat: 14.3 lbs or 6.5 kgs

Harness: Five point harness

Orientation: Rear-facing

Weight limit: 4 to 35 lbs or 1.8 to 15.9 kgs

Height limit: 32" or 81.3 cm

Seat dimensions: 17.4 x 22.4 x 26" or 44.2 x 56.9 x 66 cm.

Nuna Pipa Lite RX & RELX Base Car Seat


Best Travel Infant Car Seat – Nuna Pipa Lite RX & RELX Base

This infant car seat offers numerous features that your little ones can enjoy whenever they are using it. The Pipa Lite Rx with Relx Base is an infant seat that can help you with your everyday errands and make life easier.

If you are concerned about the weight of the product, do not be worried because it is lightweight enough to carry as a tote while shopping. No more excess force is needed to bring it around anywhere you go.

Moreover, it has parent-friendly features including the UPF 50+ Sky drape canopy that you can pull down anytime and attach it quietly using magnets. You can place it in your own or rental car without any hassle or stress.


Weight of seat: 6.9 lbs or 3.1 kgs

Harness: Five-point harness

Orientation: Rear-facing

Weight limit: 4 to 32 lbs or 1.8 to 14.5 kgs

Height limit: 32" or 81.3 cm

Seat dimensions: 17.5 x 27.3 x 23" or 44.5 x 12.4 x 58.4 cm


Cosco Scenera Next Car Seat


Best Affordable Travel Car Seat - Cosco Scenera Next

If you are looking for one of the best travel car seats available in the market today that is very affordable but still provides comfort and safety to your kids, the Cosco Scenera NEXT is a great option for you.

It also comes with a removable cup holder which you can easily wash and dishwasher safe too.

This product can provide comfort for your baby just like other car seats that are being sold in stores without spending too much money.


Weight of seat: 6.8 lbs or 3.1 kgs

Harness: Five-point harness

Orientation: Rear-facing, forward-facing

Weight limit: 5 to 40 lbs or 2.26 to 18.1 kgs

Height limit: 43" or 109.2 cm

Seat dimensions: 21.25 x 29 x 22.5" or 54 x 73.7 x 57.2 kgs


Evenflo Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat


Best Travel Convertible Car Seat – Evenflo Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat

The next category that you may consider is getting the best travel convertible car seat for your baby. This Evenflo Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat comes in two color options which are Saturn gray and Jupiter red.

This car seat is compact in size and provides one of the best products that has structural integrity which is FAA approved.

Evenflo Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat provides suitable vehicle fit while giving your kids' side impact protection which is not available in other brands and models.

A good alternative to traditional car seats which also gives you a top-notch extended-use option at an affordable price.


Weight of seat: 9.29 lbs or 4.2 kgs

Harness: Five-point harness

Orientation: Rear-facing, forward-facing

Weight limit: 5 to 40 lbs or 2.26 to 18.1 kgs

Height limit: 40" or 101.6 kgs

Seat dimensions: 18.5 x 19 x 25.5" or 47 x 48 x 65 cm


Evenflo Maestro Sport Car Seat


Best Highback Booster Car Seat for Older Children- Evenflo Maestro Sport

As your baby grows, the shoulder belt guide from the Evenflo Maestro Sport Booster car seat can assist in positioning the vehicle's belt across the shoulder to provide maximum safety.

It also comes with two cup holders to keep your child's snacks and drinks within your reach. The removable, machine-washable seat pad allows for easy cleanup of any messes that they create while on the booster seat.

This product is suitable for your older children to keep them safe and cozy while traveling.


Weight of seat: 9.6 lbs or 4.4 kgs

Harness: Five-point harness

Orientation: Forward-facing

Weight limit: 22 to 110 lbs or 10 to 50 kgs

Height limit: 44 to 57" or 112 to 145 cm

Seat dimensions: 17 x 19 x 27.5" or 43.2 x 48.3 x 70 cm


WAYB Pico Travel Car Seat

Best Foldable Car Seat - WAYB Pico Travel Car Seat

The WAYB Pico Travel Car Seat comes with 5 color designs that you can choose from. This product also passes all U.S. safety standards for motor vehicles and planes.

It is made up of a breathable and temperature-regulating mesh seat to keep your baby relaxed and cozy while seated on the WAYB PICO travel car seat. It has all the features that you can get in an ordinary car seat in terms of safety features.

Known for its best feature of being foldable, bringing WAYB PICO travel car seat can get you covered whenever your child wants to have a comfortable space to relax and have naps in between your trip.


Weight of seat: 8 lbs or 3.6 kgs

Harness: Five-point harness

Orientation: Forward facing

Weight limit: 22 to 50 lbs or 10 to 22.7 kgs

Height limit: 45" or 114.3 cm

Seat dimensions: 14.5 x 15.2 x 27.8" or 36 x 38 x 70cm


Graco SlimFit3 LX 3-in-1 Car Seat


Best Narrowest Car Seat - Graco SlimFit3 LX 3-in-1 Car Seat

The Graco SlimFit3 LX 3-in-1 car seat is one the narrowest car seat available and allows you to fit 3 car seats in the back of your car.

It is also a car seat that grows with your child. This all-in-one car seat can be used for your infant all the way to a height limit of 142.5cm.

It comes with a 10 position head rest and two optional cup holders.


Weight of seat: 19.2 lbs or 8.7 kgs

Harness: Five-point harness

Orientation: Rear facing, forward facing harness, forward-facing high back booster

Weight limit: 5 to 100 lbs or 2.3 to 45 kgs

Height limit: 57" or 142.5 cm

Seat dimensions: 16.7 x 20.7 x 24.5" or 42 x 74 x 61 cm

CARES Harness


Best Harness for Airplane - CARES Harness

The CARES Harness is the only FAA approved harness that you can get for your airplane travel with your child. It is very simple to install and can be used on any window or center seat in the plane.

It is very lightweight and is a safety restraint system that secures your little one safely on the plane.

The CARES harness is designed for children from 1 year old up to 44 pounds and is suitable for aircraft use only. It cannot be used in motor vehicles.


Weight of seat: 1 lbs or 0.45 kgs.

Harness: Five-point harness

Orientation: Forward facing

Weight limit: 22 to 44 lbs or 10 to 20 kgs.

Height limit: 40" or 101.6 cm.

Seat dimensions: ‎9 x 2 x 6" or 22.9 x 5.1 x 15.2 cm


Child in FAA approved car seat


Is There Such Thing as a Travel Car Seat?

Yes, a car seat can be classified as suitable for travel or a "travel car seat" if it is FAA approved. You can use it whether you are traveling by plane or by car with your baby.

As you can see, the majority of the travel car seats discussed in this article are more lightweight than normal car seats. This is because when you are traveling, the less weight you can carry with you, the easier it is for the family. When you are tired, lugging heavy car seats around the airport can be a hassle on top of all the other baggage you have with you.

Best Travel Car Seats for Your Convenience

Before deciding on infant car seats or the best convertible car seats that are available, consider the features that will benefit you. Think about your needs and what suits you best.

If you are happy carrying a car seat with you through the airport, it is best to consider a lightweight car seat.

Perhaps you are an expat and travel frequently with your little one. In this case, you may one to choose the best convertible seat that will give you a longer use for your travels.

Otherwise, if you planning on using rental cars and renting car seats at your destination, you can consider using the CARE Harness for your child that is over 1 year old. This will save you lots of space and save you from carrying heavy car seats around.

You can also consider a foldable car seat that gives you the best of both worlds, a lightweight car seat that can be used on airplane seats, and a car seat that can be used in cars at your destination.

Hope you have found this article helpful.

Read here for the best travel cribs and travel bassinets.

Read here for the best travel stroller that fits in the overhead compartment.





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