Once Bergen grew out of the more portable bucket/infant car seat, we were faced with the annoying task of figuring out how to transport his hefty convertible car seat on the airplane. In the year we’ve traveled with him from 12 months to nearly 24 months old, we’ve yet to buy him his own seat on the plane so we don’t bring the car seat on board with us, but we still want the peace of mind of having his very own car seat when we land at our destination.
We choose this way instead of renting or borrowing because we know that it will ensure our comfort. Bergen is comfortable in a seat that he is familiar with, and we’re comfortable knowing we know how to install the car seat in the car we use when we arrive (Yes, cars can differ, but at least we aren’t starting from scratch).
Checking the car seat at the airport with our other luggage is simple, but one thing’s for sure: We don’t risk the seat being thrown around without any protection. To hopefully save the car seat from some of the damage that can occur when baggage handlers are loading and unloading the plane, we purchased the Britax Car Seat Travel Bag. We’re pretty happy with how it’s worked for us so far. For one, the car seat (also made by Britax) fits easily inside, and in addition to the seat we can also fit Bergen’s travel crib (and sometimes even more!). We also like that the bag, once full, can be toted several ways:
- Backpack style, thanks to the two padded shoulder straps
- Wheeled luggage style, thanks to the bag’s sturdy base & built-in wheels
- Hand luggage style (least favorite), thanks to the bag’s multiple handles
Once the car seat is installed at our destination, the bag folds down, and can be stored in the trunk of the car without taking up a lot of space.
Note: We DO NOT recommend using a trash bag or bag provided by the airline, etc. to hold the car seat. These bags really offer no protection for the car seat other than possibly keeping it from getting wet. They also offer the parent or caretaker little help in getting the car seat from point a to point b.
At least for the airlines and routes we have traveled with, checking the car seat (+travel bag) does not add any extra charges or “count” in the number of pieces we are allotted to check. When picking up our luggage at baggage claim, the bag comes out with all of the other general luggage though of on rare occasions, we’ll have to retrieve it at the over-sized luggage area.
Have you traveled by air with your child’s car seat? Please share your stories, tips, and advice in the comments below!
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