The Pros and Cons of Flying with a Car Seat 4

It’s a hot topic on the family travel forums.  Should I take a car seat on a flight when flying with a child?

There are no rules and regulations as to whether you have to use a car seat for your baby, toddler or child on a flight.  It all just comes down to, what you and your child feel most comfortable with?

So let’s look at –

Taking car seat on a flight

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The things to consider when taking a car seat on a plane.


  • Safety

For every parent, the safety of their child is always foremost in their thoughts.  Using a five-point child harness along with the extra padding that comes with your car seat is the best protection you can provide for your child during a flight.

  • Security

Many children whatever age can feel anxious when they fly.  By providing you child with a car seat that they know well could provide that security, thereby reducing anxiety for your child.

  • Luggage allowance

If you plan on using/needing a car seat at your destination, having the car seat installed for the flight could save you on your luggage allowance.  Whilst some airlines allow as many pieces of baby paraphernalia you wish eg. pram, porta cot, high chair etc.  Many only allow one piece of baby equipment free of charge.  Any extras you will have to pay excess luggage.  By taking the car seat on the plane means that you still have that one free piece of baby equipment to be checked.


  • Comfort

However having the car seat installed onto a plane seat means that your child is restricted with where they can move about or lay down.  You cannot remove the car seat from the plane seat during the flight.  This means you cannot raise the armrest to allow your child to lay across the plane seats to sleep.

  • Room to move

As the car seat cannot be removed your child may feel confined.  This could cause your child to act up, climb all over you or worse annoy other passengers due to the minimal space that the car seat has created.

  • Not using the car seat after the flight

If you don’t plan on using the car seat in a car after the flight it could mean that the car seat is now sitting in your accommodation taking up valuable hotel room space or storage.

What You Need to Know

If you do choose to take your car seat you need to:

  • Get approval by the airline

If you do choose to take the car seat on a flight you will need to first ensure that your car seat is approved by your airline (visit your airline’s website for details).

  • Book installation

Once you are sure your car seat is approved, then add the car seat to your child’s booking.  If you are flying with an infant this will mean that you will have to purchase a seat for your infant.


If you like the idea of the five point harness but don’t need or want to take your car seat in the plane then perhaps consider a Cares Airplane Safety Harness.  This harness has been approved by many major airlines around the globe.  However please double-check your airline’s policy.

Is there anything else you need to know about flying with a car seat?
Please ask me in the comments.

Taking a car seat on a plane

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About Sally-Ann Brown

I am Sally-Ann the author of Toddlers on Tour. I am a wife and mother who has always had a passion for travel. I love sharing my experiences and lessons learned to help you have a better family holiday or day trip. Read "All About Me" under the "Home" tab to discover my story and what lead me to here.

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4 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Flying with a Car Seat

  • Michele {Malaysian Meanders}

    My little ones were so accustomed to napping in their car seats that I always brought them when we flew. Plus, there was no need to hire a car seat for the hired car when we reached our destination. I was soooooo excited the day that we no longer needed carseats, prams or high chairs when we traveled. I no longer had all those details to worry about.

    • Sally-Ann Brown Post author

      I do think it is a great way to transport the car seat if you need one once you arrive Michele, I would always worry that the car seat might get damaged in the hold and once it’s damaged you have t buy a new one.

  • Kreete

    What an interesting idea! I have never even thought about that and I have never seen anyone use a car seat either. It might be just that I don’t have any kids of my own yet and I don’t know to look out for things like that. The harness seems like the best solution to me if there is no need for the car seat once landed and the kid can still lay over you for a nap if they feel like it.