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Toddlers & Preschoolers Toddlers & Preschoolers

Questions regarding air travel with a toddler....

Posted by on May. 9, 2012 at 1:21 PM
  • 10 Replies

We are going on a big family vacation on an Alaskan cruise next week and we are taking our 2 yo daughter.  We live on the east coast so we have about a 6 hour flight to Seattle.  I have flown with my daughter a few times, but only one time with her having her own seat.  The last time we flew she had her own seat and we took her Graco MyRide 65 car seat.  We were in first class sized seats so the car seat fit with no problem.  I am planning to use it again, but I am wondering if it will be in a coach seat.  We are 3 in a row and my husband and I will be on either side of her so it will only be us getting cramped, but I am just wondering if it will logistically fit in the space.  Has anyone had any experience with this?  

Also, we are thinking of getting one of those travel carts for the car seat.  We have connection in DC and it is only an hour, so we need to get through the airport as quickly as possible.  Does anyone have a good recommendation for one of those carts?

Final question - I am trying to decide if I should take the larger stroller that came with her travel system or if I should take the smaller lightweight stroller.  I like the larger stroller b/c it has space for storage underneath and she seems more comfortable in it.  It is the Graco brand and actually collapses really easily - I once collapsed it and set it on the security belt all with one hand while holding my toddler in the other arm.  The advantages to the lightweight stroller is it is much smaller so it will take up less room travelling from the airport to the hotel/hotel to cruise ship and on a trolley city tour we are doing.  Our lightweight stroller doesn't have any storage areas and is of a slightly high quality than a regular umbrella stroller.  

Any advice on the above as well as any other advice would be appreciated!

by on May. 9, 2012 at 1:21 PM
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Replies (1-10):
corrinacs
by Platinum Member on May. 9, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Well, this is what we did for my 9 month old.

I highly recommend keepign her in her own seat....at least having that as an option even if she does sit in your lap.  THe price for her ticket used to be 10% of a regular ticket so it shouldn't be too expensive.  I would bring her carseat and it should fit just fine.  If not, ask for dimensions from a travel agent or look online and do some rough estimates yourself.  They may be able to give you some insight about that.

As far as stroller, you have to make a choice.  FOr us, we had all of our diapering things in a backpack; but we found if most helpful to have a small stroller (we used a Macleren stroller).  The ability to take down and put up in a hot flash is most useful as you have to turn in the stroller to the gate keeper and they return it to you upon arrival at your stops.  People are going to be behind you (probably almost trampling you) if you try to do too much to get your stroller collapsed or open (FYI, happened to us).  So anything you can do quickily would be best.

Good luck and I hope you guys have fun!

sjoshea
by Member on May. 9, 2012 at 2:02 PM
1 mom liked this

I have flown regularly with my son, now 2 1/2, since he was 3 mo old.  We travel to Europe, frequently, so I understand the 6 hour flight very well.  First, in coach, they will not allow you to put a car seat in the center seat.  It must go against the window (what we were told); getting out in an emergency is the sited concern.  And yes, in my humble opinion, having it will make it way too cramped!   Without a car seat, my son can move easily across all 3 seats, which is required for my son to remain calm/happy.  He can also jump from lap to lap and have his own seat if he wants it   We have a CARES Airplane Harness (google it).  It folds up wonderfully in a tiny bag and it is FAA approved.

We don't take a car seat when we travel so I don't have a recommendation.

I am a firm believer of less is more.   I wouldn't take my travel system stroller anywhere on a trip with a toddler.  My son loves to push his small stroller as well as ride in it when he get's tired.  Our small stroller does not have any storage, but I have his backpack and my purse which I manage with a small inconvenience.

We just returned yesterday from a 4 day holiday (3 hour flight each way) and my son was a gem.  DVD Player, stickers, crayons, cars, etc. kept him sufficiently distracted.

Good Luck!

erinsmom1964
by Carrie on May. 9, 2012 at 2:06 PM

For a 2 year old the seat price is full price NOT 10 percent.  And you have no choice but to purchase the seat.  Most airlines require you put the seat in the window postion.  Britax has a the best carseat cart as it attaches with the latch instead of screws and right now you can order it on amazon for just 60 dollars.  They and the other brand are normally 80 bucks.  It folds up and fits in the overhead bin.  I just bought one myself as I too am going to Alaska ( home for me) the first week in june all by myself with a 3 yr old. I personally would just use the seat and the cart as the stroller that is the whole idea.

Britax Car Seat Travel Cart, Black

http://www.amazon.com/Britax-Seat-Travel-Cart-Black/dp/B005CNEQK0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336586766&sr=8-1

JMCorbin84
by Member on May. 10, 2012 at 4:56 AM

We just got back from an 11 hour trip from Germany to Ca & back. We took our 2 yr old DD's Graco car seat & it fit in the middle seat just fine. We also had our pack & play w/ us so it was a lot of luggage. As for the stroller I would def take the lighter more portable one. They usually let u use the stroller right up to the gate & then they will check it down below the plane for you. 

brandleawvu
by on May. 10, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Thanks for the advice!  I think it probably does make more sense to go with the small stroller.  I am now wondering if I should even bother with having her sit in her car seat on the plane or just have her sit in a seat.  The reason I like the idea of having it is she is kind of all over the place and I feel like it will take her all of 5 seconds to figure out how to unbuckle her seatbelt.  I don't really want to deal with having to constantly fight with her to stay in her seat.  On the other hand, will she be happier and more content if she isn't in the car seat?  Which way will she be more likely to fall asleep?  We fly to DC at 6am, so we will probably be getting her up around 3:30am that morning.  She typically sleeps until 8am, so I am hoping that if we can keep her awake until we get to DC, then she will sleep most of the way to Seattle.  Wish me luck!

sallymoon
by Member on May. 10, 2012 at 11:33 AM

She will most likely be more comfortable in her car seat.  It is also safer for her in case of turbulence.  If you will not need your car seat on the other end of your flight, you could try the CARES (although it can be a little pricey, so might not be worth it unless you'll be flying with your your daughter often).  If you will need the car seat on the other end of your flight, I would definitely use it on the plane.  It is not recommended to check a car seat when flying because it WILL get thrown around.  A checked car seat is like a car seat that has been in an accident - even if damage is not visible, there may be unseen damage that can compromise the integrity of the seat and cause it to fail in another accident.

Child Passenger Safety Technician

todmom92
by on May. 10, 2012 at 2:22 PM

It all depends on which will benefit you more. would you rather have storage and comfort but a big bulky stroller  Or would you rather be able to move quickly through the airport. The smaller lightweight would definately be easier  as far as avoiding traffic . Just decide which benefits are more important and go from there. Hope this helps : )

 

RobynS
by Robyn on May. 10, 2012 at 2:29 PM

When DS was little and we flew, he had his own seat and we brought his car seat. It fit just fine.

Not sure about the cart or the stroller. Quite a dilemma! I like to travel light, so I'd probably opt for the lightweight one and maybe carry a small backpack to accommodate for the loss of storage.

brandleawvu
by on May. 10, 2012 at 2:54 PM

I have looked at the CARES system, it does seem appealing in some aspects.  If we had a set up like this we could bring the tray table down and let her color on the flight (she loves to color and will often spend an hour at a time sitting quietly coloring - one of the few times she is quiet).  On the other end of the flight we will be going from the airport to the hotel in a cab or shuttle, we will take a shuttle from the hotel to the cruise port.  My concern was that I would need the car seat when we get there.  

My husband and I have talked about it and all he says is that he doesn't want to take her Graco MyRide 65 because it is so large and more difficult to carry.  He thinks we should either go with the CARES or get a cheap, slightly smaller car seat, like the Cosco Scenera.

Quoting sallymoon:

She will most likely be more comfortable in her car seat.  It is also safer for her in case of turbulence.  If you will not need your car seat on the other end of your flight, you could try the CARES (although it can be a little pricey, so might not be worth it unless you'll be flying with your your daughter often).  If you will need the car seat on the other end of your flight, I would definitely use it on the plane.  It is not recommended to check a car seat when flying because it WILL get thrown around.  A checked car seat is like a car seat that has been in an accident - even if damage is not visible, there may be unseen damage that can compromise the integrity of the seat and cause it to fail in another accident.


KaylaMillar
by on May. 10, 2012 at 3:03 PM
I would bring the set and put it between you and DH. I would bring a lightweight stroller. I traveled in jan and I found tr less crap the better
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