It’s the safest choice to purchase a plane ticket for your infant under two, and even if you need to book a seat for your toddler, if they ride in a car seat in a car, they should ride in one (an FAA-approved car seat) on the plane. With that said, it’s not always financially possible to purchase an additional seat for an infant, or you know your toddler will scream the entire flight if they’re strapped down. You’ll still need a car seat at your destination, so your best bet is to gate-check it as you would gate check a stroller, but make sure to protect it from sometimes less-than-gentle baggage handlers.
This car seat travel bag plus some additional accessories will help you get through the airport easier, and protect your seat if it has to go under the plane.
The Ultimate Car Seat Travel Bag:
J.L. Childress Ultimate Car Seat Travel Bag:
This is the ONLY car seat travel bag available that has thick padding on all sides, plus additional padded “wings” inside to help protect your car seat. It fits the Britax Marathon, Boulevard, Roundabout, Decathlon, and Diplomat, and also fits Recaro, Evenflo, Cosco, Century, and Eddie Bauer car seats. The full compatibility guide can be viewed here. The Ultimate has padded, adjustable backpack straps for hands-free transport through the airport, and comes with a lifetime warranty. The Amazon reviews are highly favourable.
There are many car seat travel bags on the market, including alternate ones from this manufacturer, but if you’re going to invest in a car seat travel bag, the padding in this one protects the seat from more than just dirt or wear and tear.
If lugging your car seat backpack-style is not appealing, these additional car seat travel accessories might help.
Traveling Toddler Car Seat Travel Strap:
Those who don’t travel with a stroller might consider this strap that allows you to attach your car seat’s LATCH and top tether to a rolling carry-on suitcase. And if your rolling suitcase’s handle locks, it can work as a temporary stroller for getting through the airport. I’ll be honest, this seems a little silly to me, but the Amazon reviews are highly favourable, so who knows?
GoGo Babyz TravelMate:
I have always traveled with both a stroller and a car seat, and the idea of combining the two simply did not occur to me. But I know many families who swear by the the GoGo Babyz TravelMate. It is kind of a cart device that attaches to your car seat, converting it to a travel stroller so you can get through the airport and onto your flight with baby safely strapped in. It works with most available convertible car seats, but not the Cosco Scenera–which was my preferred travel car seat.
BRICA Roll ‘n Go Car Seat Transporter:
This cart-type car seat travel accessory is similar to the GoGo Babyz above, but a little less expensive. And as with the GoGo Babyz, the idea is you strap your car seat on and it acts as a makeshift travel stroller, so you can wheel your car seat through the airport and on board the plane with your baby or toddler in it, and then store the cart in the overhead bin once you’ve installed your car seat on the plane. The Amazon reviews for this item are also highly positive.
Call this old-school or most definitely inelegant, but plain ol’ bungee cords are how we transported our car seat through airports. We attached them to our rolling carry-ons, and all was well. This may not be ideal for bulkier or heavier seats, but it served our purpose just fine. If you intend on gate-checking your car seat, and are not thrilled about lugging the Ultimate Car Seat Travel Bag backpack-style, using bungee cords to attach it to your rolling carry-on suitcase will work just fine at a fraction of the cost. But don’t do this if you intend to have your child ride in it! This is purely for functional rolling only.
Do you have a gadget or piece of gear you can’t live without when it comes to traveling with car seats? Please share in the comments below!
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