This is the process we follow flying cross-country with 2 car seats within the USA. Rules will vary outside the United States, so check regulations for where you are traveling.
We confirm car seats are certified for airline use (we use the Clek Foonf) and book tickets for the kids. If children are less than 2 and you don’t have a ticket, you can try to ask the gate agent if there are any open seats to use your car seat, however if you want to guarantee you can use your car seat, you must purchase a ticket for the child. It’s helpful to read the FAAs Advisory Circular, Use of Child Restraint Systems on Aircraft for all of the guidance about flying with car seats. We bring a printed copy with us on every flight in case we need to show airline staff if there’s an issue.
We uninstall car seats from the car and strap on to car seat carts in recline position 1 (which its most upright). The cart makes transporting easier (our 2 year old son can easily pull it!) and it also doubles as a stroller which is helpful for tight connections or rolling kids to sleep on long layovers. The Gogobabyz cart we use is discontinued, but these two carts (option 1 and option 2)are very popular and are well-reviewed.
We remove and check the rear-facing base and anti-rebound bar before going through security.
Like most car seats, ours doesn’t fit through the x-ray machine, so it requires manual inspection. The seat must be removed from the cart before they inspect it. The entire inspection process has always been very quick for us, but there is a lot going on at once so it’s probably the most stressful to manage bags, kids, and the car seat inspection.
If we aren’t able to book window seats ahead of time, we do this at the gate so the car seats will not obstruct egress. Car seats should not be placed in an aisle seat because an aisle has the highest risk of slowing down the passenger flow rate during an evacuation. We opt to select seats one in front of the other in case our littlest decides to kick the seat. If you are traveling alone with 2 car seats, we recommend checking out page 16 of the FAA’s advisory circular which provides guidance on seat selection in this scenario.
We pre-board as part of family boarding to give us more time to get settled. We like to board together versus one adult setting up the seats alone because the kids actually enjoy the time before the flight to explore the airplane. The Foonf is very narrow (only 16.9” wide), so it rolls down the aisle easily. We roll the seat right up to our row, collapse & store the cart in the overhead bin.
We use the airplane lap belt through the forward-facing belt path to secure the seat, referencing our manual for lap belt install. It only takes 30 seconds from start to finish. Having a car seat on board is safer in cases such as turbulence or aborted landings, but our kids also appreciate their familiar, comfortable seat over an adult-sized airline seat. When they sit in the Foonf they are easily able to see out the window too. We can still use the arm rests, however the tray table isn’t able to be used.
We wait until the plane is nearly empty to take our time so we can check under the seats for lost toys and set the car seats back up on the cart.
Category: Featured, tips, travel, UncategorizedTags: airport security with car seat, car seat, car seat cart, car seat cart airport, car seat trolly, child restraint system on airplane, Clek Foonf install airplane, flying, flying with car seat, flying with kids, how to fly with a car seat, installing clek on plane, traveling with a car seat, traveling with kids