Whether you are traveling with your little one or planning to bring a car seat along on your next flight, you might find yourself searching for the right way to pack a car seat properly for checked baggage? and what is the efficient way to protect your infant car seat while traveling on a plane?
Well, navigating the airline requirements, and pre-boarding procedures, especially when traveling with a large car seat, even an AN APPROVED car seat or a child restraint system on board, can be a bit intimidating.
But don’t worry, in this detailed guide I covered all the essential information you need to properly pack and prepare your infant car seat for checked baggage for your upcoming flight.
Let’s kick things off.
How To Pack A Car Seat For Checked Baggage?
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1. Check The Airlines Rules ( Check the Car Seat For Free, And Protected )
When preparing to pack your car seat for checked baggage, Almost all major Airlines and travel companies consider infant’s safety as one of their main priorities; as a result, you can check your car seat for no additional fees.
It is advisable to put your car seat in a fit and recognizable bag, to avoid being spoiled or lost; some parents tend to pack their car seats in large bags surrounded with diapers from all sides or other soft items-towels,socks etc..; in order to protect it from any harm.
I strongly recommend not traveling with your usual expensive car seat ;but rather an affordable one that you are using exclusively for travel.Tip
2. Packing a Small Car Seat Is Better
We all love attractive items, well-designed and unique, and the same for our children; we want them to have the best things in the world especially if the point is their safety.
However, if it comes to car seats or infant booster seats; it is always preferable to choose something small enough and compact that will fit your child needs and will Take very little space.
3. Remember to travel Light
If you choose to travel light, too many options are available in order to get a car seat at your destination.
You can purchase or rent one while you arrive. However, rental cars are another option, but some companies make it a bit costly, though there are always ways to save and choose the ideal one for you.
Some rental companies tend to make some affordable prices, such as THRIFTY; meanwhile others like AVIS have also some low fees for toddler’s car seats.
If you are an AAA member, companies like HERTZ offers free rental car seats; and the best news is the silver cars offers free toddler’s car seats.
4. Using A Car Seat On Board The Airplane
Some parents misunderstood using car seats on board of the airplanes; hence, usually conflicts are happening between them and flight attendants, which sometimes tend incorrectly to prevent even an FAA-approved safety car seat; especially in airplanes which have seats that are too small than average.
However, carrying a bulky car seat is not necessary, and since the airplanes’ seats are statistically safe, you may need to carry on with you an easy to fold, lightweight car seat.
Can You Check A Car Seat Without A Child?
Yes If you want to take your car seat with any airline, the airline team will check that your car seat meets the requirements listed below then you can take it on board or transport it as checked baggage.
When it’s been approved:
- Take your car seat through security and get to the boarding gate with plenty of time to spare.
- Let the team at the gate know that you have booked a car seat.
- The crew will check that you have fitted the car seat correctly and attach an extra strap if it is needed.
- To check your car seat in as checked baggage free of charge, go to the airport check-in desk, or ask a team member for help.
Do I Need A Bag To Check My Car Seat?
If your child car seat can’t take the hits, it may be damaged during the handling process or in contact with other items , so you will need a bag for your car seat.
However a car seat bag will protect only the surface damages, can’t protect the car seat from structural damages.
but overall Protecting your car seat in a bag will be better than not, baggage handlers can be quite rough, and cause some scratches.
What If My Car Seat Is Lost Or Damaged By The Airline?
When your car seat didn’t meet you on your arrival (wish this never happened ) and didn’t make it to the final destination.
or it got damaged, or destroyed by mishandling.
do not leave the airport till you make a claim, get information about your car seat.
look for your airline encounter and fill the lost or damaged baggage claim right away.
Sometimes airlines will offer a compensation of $50 — your car seat may be worth more.
You’ll get a claim number that will help you track your car seat , which you’ll need to file a claim for all the replacement stuff.
How To Install Car Seat On Plane
If you hesitate to transport your car seat as checked baggage and want some tips on how to installing it on the airplane here is some useful tips:
- Your car seat will have a manual, follow it regarding age/height/weight requirements for installation via lap belt.
- Do not forget to choose a comfortable seat for your child, and pick the appropriate position to install your car seat on the plane (rear facing or forward facing).
- Put the car seat on the plane seat flush against the airline seat back.If rear facing, ensure the car seat is level-to-ground (based on level line located on side of car seat).
- Route airline lap belt through the appropriate belt path for your installation.
- Reach under the pad and pull the lap belt across the shell. Do NOT twist the belt. When rear facing, the lap belt MUST be in front of the crotch buckle strap.
- Buckle airline belt.
- Make the belt tight: Place hand in car seat. slightly push the car seat down and back towards the airline seat back while pulling the free end of the belt to tighten.
- Check belt tightness: Hold child restraint at the belt path with weakest hand. Push and pull from side-to-side. Your seat should not move more than 1” at that belt path.
Traveling With a Stroller
1. Checking Your Stroller
Just Like checking your car seats, strollers can be checked without any additional charges. However, it is preferable to use it all the way to the gate, and benefits from its advantages, you can use it before your departure and just after you arrive at the airport.
if you decide to check it to your final destination;You do not need to worry about anything until your stroller is arrived.
But, you may need to carry on or wear your child during the large airport.
Therefore, you have to always think wisely before you make any decision.
Some savvy parents tend to purchase small and compact strollers that fit onboard the aircrafts, so they can pass the gate softly. And get advantage of the stroller along their flight.
2. Use Your Stroller Saddle Bag Or Cargo Space
Another advantage of using the stroller onboard is its cargo space or saddlebag, which you can find in many strollers; you will benefit from some additional space and carry some extra items, like diapers, socks and your personal items.
All you need to do is to purchase one having a bit of space cargo or a saddlebag.
3. Great But Small
Choose a stroller that will fit your needs, a compact and lightweight one that can hold your safety car seat .
You can use it in the airport, while checking the gate and onboard.
We hope these tips for How to pack a car seat for checked baggage simple ideas helped you and have an extraordinary flight with your infants.
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