Car Seats on Planes

When preparing for my first solo flight, I did quite a bit of research on what would make the trip easier. My biggest concern was the size of the carseat (Britax Marathon) and whether or not I could get the carseat and stroller through the airport solo. There are a few products on the market that can help with this problem. Its actually quite easy to install car seats on planes.
The first is the Go-Go Babys Travelmate.

Go-go Babys Travelmate

I must admit that I was shocked to see how far this product has come since I bought it in 2009. Basically its a plastic board with wheels that attaches to your carseat so you can drag it like a rolling suitcase. The original version of this was an epic fail for me. It was extremely difficult to get the carseat attached and once attached it often tipped off the board. Also, it came with four screws and no replacements so once you lost the pieces the product was effectively useless. I admit some of the problems were likely caused by user error but the point is that it should be easier to use. In 2011, I rented a second Go-Go Babyz from a baby travel site that was a newer version that was a easier to attach but still not as solid as you would think.

A good tip if using this product is not to allow the airplane staff to put the board in stowage under the plane once you have removed your carseat. After a flight home from Ireland, the staff of Air Canada looked at me like I was crazy when I tried to retrieve mine and in the end I didn’t love the product enough to fight for it. Also, be prepared to have security demand you detach the carseat to x-ray both pieces and then watch you deal with a wandering shoeless toddler or two while trying to re-assemble the only thing you can strap them into it without your child running off. I advise practicing the assembly of this product more than once before you leave.  COST: $89.99
The second product is the Cares Safety Harness which comes in a lightweight pouch and is essentially an extra harness that attaches to the airplane seatbelt.

Cares Safety Harness

This product can easily be used when you do not need a carseat at your destination or if you would prefer to check your carseat. I found this product very unsatisfactory. Mainly, Charlie who was two at the time of use and 26 pounds kept slipping out from under it. She also could easily detach the actual airplane seatbelt rendering the restraints useless. There were a few concerning times when she looked like the harness was actually strangling her so in the end I stopped using it mid-flight and have never used it again. Also, because the main strap wraps around the airplane seat, the person behind you is stuck with a strap across their television screen or across their tray. Not an easy way to make new friends on your flight. COST: $74.95

After the Go-Go Babyz went missing, I was at a loss on what to do with my carseat knowing that Charlie would only be in it for another 6 pounds. In the end I bought a cheap luggage cart, that accomplished the same goal. As my kids are able to walk longer distances now, I don’t let them ride in the carseat but find that its quite easy to loop the bungee cords that are attached to the cart through the carseat and its tend to be much more stable for walking through airports. I do not in anyway recommend using this when your child is in it but it is helpful to get your carseat from point A to point B. COST: $24.99
Folding Luggage Cart

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