Are you ready for your family travel vacation? There are things to prepare and pack before going to the airport with your family. Whenever traveling with kids, there are additional baggage to consider like baby carrier, travel crib, travel stroller and so on.
Worry no more because traveling is made easy with these tips and hacks when traveling with small children. Here is a guide for you to consider when you are bringing a car seat for your kids.
If you are traveling with a car seat and a carry on stroller, feel free to read our guide to flying with a stroller. And if you are unsure which carry on stroller to get, check out the best stroller to fly with.
Table of Contents
Ways to Check Your Car Seat
1. Check as baggage
Make sure to pack it securely in a car seat bag for more protection. It is best to put it inside a box and then stuff it with bubble wrap or anything that may protect it from damage resulting from excessive shaking or movements.
Never forget to label the box with your name and contact information in case the baggage is lost. This will help you track it faster and help the airlines to send it back to you in no time.
It is common for families that are traveling with kids to bring a long a child's car seat. There are many car seats available, you can check the best travel car seats to find one that suits the needs of your child.
Car seat sizes may vary from one another. However, when you check it at the counter at the airport before flying, it can be checked alongside your baggage. Most airlines allow this item to be checked as baggage and later on retrieved at baggage claim after your flight.
2. Gate Check
If you’re bringing a car seat past security but not using it on a plane, you can gate-check the car seat. However, if you are not planning to use your car seat on the plane, it is best to check the car seat in as check-in baggage.
That will save you all the hassle of carrying the car seat through the airport.
Just note, if you decide to use a car seat on the plane, it is important to purchase an extra seat for your child beforehand to ensure a seat is available. Also work out what type of car seat you will be bringing as convertible car seats are generally bigger and bulkier than regular car seats.
3. Bring on board to use on plane
If you plan on using it, the first thing you should check is the airline's policy. Many airlines have written policies about the use of car seats for travel. There are measurements that you need to check whether it is compatible with the seat that you booked for your flight.
Next, check that your car seat is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Read the labels on your car seat and make sure there is a label that states it is FAA approved. Read the instruction manual and make sure you practice installing the car seat at home prior to your flight.
If you have trouble attaching your car seat on the plane, feel free to ask for additional assistance from the airline. They are more than happy to help.
How to Carry Car Seat Through Airport
1. Carrying on your back with a car seat travel bag
Best travel car seat bag: J.L. Childress Ultimate Backpack Padded Car Seat Travel Bag
This item has been tested and proven by consumers around the world for decades now. This product made a long-lasting impact on its buyers due to its optimum quality.
Its protective function is very much emphasized and apparent due to its thick padding made from high-quality materials that ensure 100% safety of your seat.
The shape and curves of this product are carefully designed to prevent damages that may occur. Its material is also water resistant thus making it miles ahead of its competitors in terms of durability and longevity.
It is also designed to make the bearer or the one carrying it utmost comfort by putting a padded strap that is relaxing to the shoulders.
On top of it, because of the materials used in this product, the cleaning of it will never be a hassle for owners. It may be seen as a more expensive alternative to other brands but the price difference is less compared to what this product has to offer.
2. Use a protective car seat travel bag with wheels
Best car seat travel bag with wheels: J.L. Childress Wheelie
Car seats are necessary when traveling with young children or newborns. It provides comfort throughout the travel, but bringing and transporting it on the plane might be a nuisance.
The primary objective of the car seat bag is to protect your car seat from damage and careless handling while it is being transported in the baggage hold of the aircraft. A car seat travel bag with wheels is ideal for you to move faster with your family.
About car seat travel bags with wheels, JL Childress Wheelie provides a different level of simplicity and quality. This product's best feature is its wheels. It is made of high-grade materials that protect the car seat from external objects that may damage it.
You won’t have to worry about factors such as bumps, dirt, water(because it is water resistant), food spillage, and all other things that may damage or accumulate dirt in a car seat.
This Wheelie Car Seat Travel Bag has wheels beneath it that enable the user to conveniently maneuver it anywhere. Imagine traveling with your infant car seat, you no longer have to carry it around the airport.
The travel bag completely covers the seat and has handles on the top, sides, and bottom for simple maneuverability. It has two wheels for an easy glide through the airport. Search for faa approved car seats for your child safety seats.
You can use this wheelie to help you go to places with less hassle.
3. Use a car seat travel cart
Best car seat travel cart: Britax car seat travel cart
This product is a must-have when you are flying with your kids. It is very light and sturdy. it is also easy to install and dismount which can save you energy and time when traveling.
The maneuverability of the Britax car seat travel cart is popular with families with infants all over the world. It is known as one of the best car seats that a family can avail in shops.
However, parents must be mindful and extra careful while using this product because it can get faster if the speed is not controlled properly. It can cause harm not just to your kid but also to other people. That is why it is recommended to use this product with extra care.
4. Attach car seat to carry on with a car seat luggage strap
Insofar as they can hold your suitcase closed while you travel through the airport, onto the plane, and back again, luggage straps do offer security. You can attach a car seat to your luggage to be able to roll your car seat around easily.
By using the car seat travel strap, you could easily convert any rolling luggage into a stroller while traveling with infants and freeing your hands for other activities.
You must also ensure that the strap is properly placed in the travel car seat with your luggage for your child's safety.
Getting a car seat travel belt is readily available in various stores. In lieu of buying an expensive car seat bag, this can be an option however it does pose safety queries. Take caution against this travel hack especially when traveling with small children as whenever you stand the luggage, due to the angle, the car seat will tip forward.
5. Request for TSA care assistance
If you and your family have any concerns regarding the screening policies of the airlines or what to expect when traveling with an infant, you can easily get in touch with TSA care assistance.
There are passengers who ask for their assistance in order for them to have a planned trip even 72 hours before their departure time. There is a hotline that passengers can contact ahead of time.
TSA care assistance provides a wide array of services. From security screening procedures to travelers' personal circumstances. Those who have impairments, medical issues, and other inconveniences are often assisted by the TSA care team.
6. Get Skysquad assistant to help
Skysquad enhances the travel experience by lending a helping hand to families, the elderly, mothers, and literally everyone. It benefits passengers who are in need by providing them with extra help in terms of navigating the terminals. It is particularly helpful when you have too many things to hold and not enough hands to manage everything in one go.
Skysquad offers VIP-like assistance to passengers to ensure fast and safe travels. Skysquad is equipped with personnel that has the best qualities to assist and educate the customers from the beginning of their journey until it’s done.
FAQs About How to Carry Car Seat in Airport
How to Pack a Car Seat for Checked Baggage?
Make sure to place the car seat in a box or bag when packing it as checked luggage. To guard against dirt and surface damage like broken fasteners or ripped padding, wrap your car seat with a rucksack or a special car seat cover.
Some airlines will provide a plastic sack to serve as a temporary cover if you show up at the terminal without a car seat bag.
Ensure your car seat is clearly labeled with your name, and contact information, such as a working phone number or email address, similar to how you would for any other piece of luggage.
Does a Car Seat Count as a Carry On?
No, a car seat is not considered a carry-on if you have purchased a seat for your child.
If you are flying with a lap infant, most airlines allow one complimentary baby item per child. You may be able to bring a car seat as a carry-on if you know there is an open seat but always double-check the airline policies before flying.
Does a Car Seat Count as a Checked Bag?
No, when flying, your car seat is not considered a checked bag. Car seats can be checked in for free with airlines. The car seat is categorized as a baby item.
The car seat can also be easily transported by the airlines once you check it in rather than carrying it with you during your flight.
Where Do I Collect My Gate Checked Items?
Depends on the airport. Car seats that are gate-checked can be returned at the jetbridge upon disembarkation depending on the airport you land at. However, there are situations where you gate check your car seat and you are required to pick it up at baggage claim.
Some will come out at the same carousel as your luggage. Some you'll have to pick up at an oversize carousel area. If you don't plan to use your car seat on the plane, it is best to check your car seat as checked baggage and you will have peace of mind knowing that the car seat was packed appropriately and will be returned to your baggage claim.
Decide Your Travel Style and Carry Your Car Seat Accordingly
Remember that most airlines do not charge for checking in a car seat as baggage. Lugging your car seat through the airport can be challenging. For a truly stress free family travel, checking in your car seat will be the best option. Instead, consider bringing a diaper backpack for travel and carry on stroller named by Time Magazine as one of the best inventions of 2022.
Otherwise, if you have decided to bring your car seat on board, follow these tips and tricks and you’ll breeze through the airport in no time.