The Best FAA Approved Car Seats of 2021 (Guides and Reviews)

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own. As an Etsy and Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information see Disclaimer and Disclosure Policy.

If you plan on traveling on an airplane with a baby or toddler, you want to make sure their child seat is FAA-approved. We have come up with a list of the best FAA-approved car seats for you to choose from.

There are some simple ways to make sure you get a car seat that is not only motor vehicle approved but also aircraft approved according to the FAA. Don’t assume that just because the car seat is an approved child restraint system for a motor vehicle, it will also be approved by the FAA.

Check out the list of the best FAA-approved car seats below. 

The Best FAA Approved Infant Carriers

List of Aircraft Certified Car Seats

1. Chase Harnessed Booster

Chase Harnessed Booster, Jameson
  • This 2-In-1 combination booster car seat fitting children from 22-110...
  • The chase LX combination booster car seat helps protect harnessed...
  • This lightweight combination booster car seat comes equipped for latch...

This booster seat converts from a 5-point harnessed to a belt-positioning car seat so that it can be used for children from 22-110 lbs. It has an easy-to-use LATCH system, so you can easily move it from vehicle to vehicle.

FAA compliant when used with the 5 point harness. Meets and exceeds all safety standards. This seat is very safe and tested for structural integrity at 2x the federal crash test standard.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 18.5 x 29.5 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 22 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: 110 lbs
  • Maximum height: 57 inches
  • Item Weight: 11 lbs

What we like

  • Very lightweight
  • Dual cup holders
  • Easy to install

What we don’t like

  • no shoulder pads
  • can’t use for infants under 22 lbs

Summary

A great seat for your child to grow into once they can’t use their newborn carrier anymore.

2. Safety 1st Jive 2-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

Safety 1st Jive 2-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, Night Horizon
  • An extra-comfortable ride that lasts for years: Rear-facing 5-40...
  • Side Impact Protection
  • Fits 3 across in the back seat of most vehicles

The lightweight and slim design make it perfect for bringing on a plane. It has a harness with 5 heights and 3 buckle locations that can grow with your child.

Plush padding makes for a comfy ride. It has a removable head and body pillow that provides extra support when they are smaller.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 18.13 x 16.25 x 29.75 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 5 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: 65 lbs
  • Maximum height: 49 inches
  • Item Weight: 14.25 lbs

What We Like

  • Airplane ready
  • Extra support and padding

What We Don’t Like

  • Short bottom buckle

Summary

The compact design is great for everyday use or travel.

3. Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat, 2-in-1

Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat, 2-in-1, Saturn Gray
  • Side Impact Tested, Meets or Exceeds All Applicable Federal Safety...
  • Designed and Tested for Structural Integrity at Energy Levels...
  • Multiple Shoulder Harness Positions for Better Fit and Longer Use. Age...

This car seat can be used for newborns to toddlers up to 40lbs. The car seat is super lightweight and inexpensive, making it a great travel car seat.

Even with the lightweight design, it exceeds most safety standards and rates high in consumer reports. Easy to install and adjust as your child grows.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 22 x 25.5 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 5 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: 40 lbs
  • Item Weight: 9.29 lbs

What We Like

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Easy to clean
  • Great price

What We Don’t Like

  • Max weight is 40 lbs.

Summary

This seat is super light, making it a great travel car seat. Easy to strap on to your luggage and bring onto a plane.

4. Diono Radian 3R, 3 in 1 Convertible Car Seat

Diono Radian 3R, 3-in-1 Convertible Rear & Forward Facing Convertible Car Seat, High-Back Booster, 10 Years 1 Car Seat, Slim Design - Fits 3 Across, Gray Slate
  • REAR-FACING FOR LONGER: This slimfit convertible car seat is designed...
  • HIGH BACK BOOSTER: Keep your child safe and comfortable with the high...
  • 10 YEARS ONE CAR SEAT: With 4 ways to travel safely from birth to...

This convertible car seat can be used from birth up to 120 lbs. It easily transitions with your child and adapts as they grow. It is made to allow you to rear-face for longer, up to 50 lbs.

However, some reviews find they have to sit in from the chair moved forward due to the high back, which leaves little room for a passenger.

The slim fit was designed to fit 3 car seats side by side, making it perfect for bringing on a plane. It is FAA-certified for aircraft.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 17 x 28.2 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 5 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: 120 lbs
  • Maximum height: 57 inches
  • Item Weight: 26.1 lbs

What we like

  • Slim design
  • Convertible from birth to booster
  • High back
  • Steel Construction

What we don’t like

  • Hard to install
  • No cup holders
  • High back requires a lot of room when rear-facing

Summary

This All-in-One convertible car seat is all you will need for 10 years of safety. The slim design makes it easy to fit 3 across most backseats.

5. Evenflo Sonus Convertible Car Seat

Evenflo Sonus Convertible Car Seat, Charcoal Sky
  • Versatile: The Sonus Convertible Car Seat helps protect rear facing...
  • Tested & Trusted: In addition to meeting or exceeding all applicable...
  • All-Season Comfort: The sonus features a revolutionary air flow...

The Sonus Car Seat is comfortable yet compact. The slim size makes it great for travel. Grows with your child from birth to a toddler of 50 lbs.

The built-in air flow vents provide your child with comfort. This seat meets and exceeds all federal safety standards, including Side Impact and Rollover Testing.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 19 x 29 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 5 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: 50 lbs
  • Item Weight: 13 lbs

What we like

  • Lightweight
  • Extended Rear Facing
  • All-season comfort

What we don’t like

  • Some found it difficult to install
  • Buckles twist easily

Summary

The lightweight, slim design makes it the perfect car seat for travel, especially on a plane.

6. Safety 1st Grow and Go All-in-One Car Seat

Safety 1st Grow and Go All-in-One Car Seat, Harvest Moon
  • Built to grow: The 3 in 1 car seat built to grow for extended use...
  • Side impact protection: The grow and go’s side impact protection...
  • Easy in, easy out: Harness holders keep the harness in an open...

3 in 1 car seat built for birth to 100 lbs. Fits Kids from birth to 10 years. With the QuickFit Harness feature, you can easily adjust the headrest and harness without re-threading or re-installing.

Helpful harness holders keep the straps out of the way while getting your child in and out of the seat.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 19 x 23.75 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 5 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: 100 lbs
  • Maximum height: 52 inches
  • Item Weight: 18.7 lbs

What We Like

  • Less room needed for rear-facing
  • Quickfit harness
  • Removable and dishwasher safe cup holders

What We Don’t Like

  • Wider base
  • Less height support

Summary

This seat is multi-adjustable to fit kids from birth to 10 years.

7. Britax Grow with You ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat

Britax Grow with You ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat, Cobblestone - SafeWash Fabric - 2 Layer Impact Protection - 5 Point Harness [New Version of Frontier]
  • TRUSTED QUALITY, UPGRADED DESIGN: Looking for Frontier? Grow with you...
  • 2-IN-1 BOOSTER SEAT: Easily transitions from forward-facing harness...
  • SAFEWASH COVER: Soft to the touch and safe to machine wash and dry;...

This Harness-2-Booster car seat grows with your child from toddler to big kid. Britax safe cell technology gives peace of mind since it acts as a Crumple zone to absorb any crash energy. The high-strength steel frame helps keep the seat structure stable.

This seat is easy to clean and convenient with 2 cup holders and snack storage, perfect for your kids as they get older.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 23 x 25 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 25 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: 120 lbs
  • Item Weight: 27 lbs

What We Like

  • Flame-retardant knit
  • Clicktight installation
  • Steel Frame

What We Don’t Like

  • Heavy
  • Expensive

Summary

Britax brand car seats are extremely safe, comfortable, and sturdy. The safety features make this a great everyday car seat. However, it may be too bulky and heavy for a travel car seat.

8. Baby Trend Trooper 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

Baby Trend Trooper 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, Moondust (CV01C87B)
  • 3 modes of use: rear facing infant mode (4-18lbs), rear facing toddler...
  • Immediate right installation angle: rear-facing recline flip foot...
  • Fits three across: at its widest, the Trooper is 16.75" Allowing it to...

This seat is great for newborn to toddler. It has 3 phases: Rear-facing infant from 4-18 lbs, Rear-facing toddler from 18-40 lbs, and then forward-facing toddler from 22-65 lbs. This seat is a great value for the price.

The narrow base allows it to fit 3 across most vehicles which is great if you have multiple car seats. The super-deep side wings give great side impact protection.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 18.75 x 32.25 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 4 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: 65 lbs
  • Maximum height: 50 inches
  • Item Weight: 14.20 lbs

What We Like

  • Deep side wings
  • Lightweight
  • Narrow base

What We Don’t Like

  • Hard to install
  • Hard to clean

Summary

Good value seat for everyday use or a travel car seat. The narrow base and lightweight make it a great option to bring on a plane.

9. Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat 

Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat (Heather Onyx Gray)
  • With 2 modes of use, this extra comfortable LATCH equipped Cosco car...
  • The 5 point harness adjusts easily from the front of the seat and...
  • Built in side impact protection keeps your little 1 extra secure;...

The Cosco Mighty Fit Convertible Car Seat keeps your child safe from 5 to 65 lbs. The harness easily adjusts and features five heights and three buckle locations.

Its compact design takes up less space while rear-facing, giving parents more legroom. Easy to clean and machine washable seat cover.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 22 x 23.5 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 5 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: 65 lbs
  • Item Weight: 12.79 lbs

What We Like

  • Easy to install
  • Lightweight

What We Don’t Like

  • Materials seem a little cheap.

Summary

This lightweight and easy to install car seat makes a good option to bring along on an aircraft. Not a lot of bells and whistles, but it is comfy and easy to clean.

Is a Graco car seat FAA approved?

Yes, many of the Graco Brand car seats are Aircraft Certified and approved by the FAA. Below are some of the best sellers for FAA-approved Graco car seats.

Preview
Westwood Design Aspen Pwer Recline Nursery Glider Rocker, Sand
Best Overall
Evolur Harlow Deluxe Glider |Recliner| Rocker, Grey
Best Price
Naomi Home Odelia Swivel Glider Rocker Recliner Cream/Microfiber
CANMOV Swivel Rocker Recliner Chair, Manual Reclining Chair, Single Seat Reclining Chair, Gray
Babyletto Kiwi Electronic Power Recliner and Swivel Glider with USB Port in Winter Grey Weave, Greenguard Gold Certified
Title
Westwood Design Aspen Pwer Recline Nursery Glider Rocker, Sand
Evolur Harlow Deluxe Glider |Recliner| Rocker, Grey
Naomi Home Odelia Swivel Glider Rocker Recliner Cream/Microfiber
CANMOV Swivel Rocker Recliner Chair, Manual Reclining Chair, Single Seat Reclining Chair, Gray
Babyletto Kiwi Electronic Power Recliner and Swivel Glider with USB Port in Winter Grey Weave, Greenguard Gold Certified
Size WxDxH
35.5 x 33 x 39 inches
31 x 32 x 39 inches
37 x 30 x 41.8 inches
30 x 37 x 40 inches
39.5 x 21.75 x 39.75 inches
Customer Rating
Prime
-
-
-
-
Price
$701.65
$349.99
$359.99
$389.99
Price not available
Preview
Westwood Design Aspen Pwer Recline Nursery Glider Rocker, Sand
Title
Westwood Design Aspen Pwer Recline Nursery Glider Rocker, Sand
Size WxDxH
35.5 x 33 x 39 inches
Customer Rating
Prime
-
Price
$701.65
Best Overall
Preview
Evolur Harlow Deluxe Glider |Recliner| Rocker, Grey
Title
Evolur Harlow Deluxe Glider |Recliner| Rocker, Grey
Size WxDxH
31 x 32 x 39 inches
Customer Rating
Prime
Price
$349.99
Best Price
Preview
Naomi Home Odelia Swivel Glider Rocker Recliner Cream/Microfiber
Title
Naomi Home Odelia Swivel Glider Rocker Recliner Cream/Microfiber
Size WxDxH
37 x 30 x 41.8 inches
Customer Rating
Prime
-
Price
$359.99
Preview
CANMOV Swivel Rocker Recliner Chair, Manual Reclining Chair, Single Seat Reclining Chair, Gray
Title
CANMOV Swivel Rocker Recliner Chair, Manual Reclining Chair, Single Seat Reclining Chair, Gray
Size WxDxH
30 x 37 x 40 inches
Customer Rating
Prime
-
Price
$389.99
Preview
Babyletto Kiwi Electronic Power Recliner and Swivel Glider with USB Port in Winter Grey Weave, Greenguard Gold Certified
Title
Babyletto Kiwi Electronic Power Recliner and Swivel Glider with USB Port in Winter Grey Weave, Greenguard Gold Certified
Size WxDxH
39.5 x 21.75 x 39.75 inches
Customer Rating
Prime
-
Price
Price not available

10. Graco Landmark 3 in 1 Car Seat

Graco Landmark 3 in 1 Car Seat, Infant to Toddler Car Seat, Wynton
  • 3 in 1 transforms from a rear facing infant car seat (5 40 pounds), to...
  • Simply Safe Adjust Harness System adjusts the harness and headrest...
  • 4 position recline helps keep your growing child comfy on your many...

This 3 in 1 car seat transforms from rear-facing to forward-facing to a belt-positioning booster seat. The Simply Safe Adjust Harness System easily adjusts to accommodate your growing child.

The InRight LATCH attachment makes it easy to install securely. This seat is also designed to have your child rear-facing longer, up to 40 lbs.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 16.25 x 25.5 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 5 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: 100 lbs
  • Item Weight: 19.82 pounds

What We Like

  • Easy to install
  • Machine-washable seat cover

What We Don’t Like

  • Slightly heavy to travel with

Summary

This chair will last a long time and transition with your child. It is slightly heavier than other options but is a good option for bringing on a plane.

11. Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 Car Seat

Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 Car Seat -Slim & Comfy Design Saves Space in Your Back Seat, Darcie, One Size
  • 3-in-1 car seat grows with your child from rear-facing harness (5-40...
  • Slim design with dual integrated cup holders that rotate away, making...
  • Graco ProtectPlus Engineered: A combination of the most rigorous crash...

This is the #1 best seller for convertible child safety car seats. The slim design makes it a great choice to bring along on a plane. The cup holders even rotate and make it even slimmer.

The 10 positions in the headrest allow you to get the perfect headrest height for your child. The push-button latch makes installation a breeze.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 19.9 x 25.5 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 5 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: 100 lbs
  • Maximum height: 57 inches
  • Item Weight: 19.47 lbs

What We Like

  • Rotating cup holders
  • No-rethread harness adjust
  • 10 position headrest

What We Don’t Like

  • The safety sticker on the seat gets hot in the heat.

Summary

This is a great car seat for everyday and travel. It is a little heavy but easy to travel with if you have a car seat cart (see below). Easy to install in a car and on a plane.

12. Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat

Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat, Basin
  • 3 in 1 harness booster helps protect your child, from toddler to...
  • Simply Safe Adjust Harness System adjusts the height of your harness...
  • Engineered & rigorously crash tested to meet or exceed US standard...

Car seat for toddler of 22 lbs to the youth of 100 lbs. Transitions to a backless booster. Two removable cup holders keep your child happy.

The seat pad, body insert, and harness covers are all machine washable. The harness adjusts easily, and the headrest has 8 height positions allowing it to grow with your child.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 10.47 x 33.5 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 22 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: 100 lbs
  • Maximum height: 57 inches
  • Item Weight: 14.97 lbs

What We Like

  • Lightweight
  • Slim design
  • Easy to Install

What We Don’t Like

  • Not able to use for rear-facing

Summary

Great seat for a toddler and older. The lightweight and slim design make this a great car seat for traveling on an aircraft.

13. Graco Admiral 65 Convertible Car Seat

Graco Admiral 65 Convertible Car Seat, Studio
  • Designed to help protect your rear facing child from 5 40 pounds and...
  • Simply Safe Adjust Harness System adjusts the harness and headrest...
  • Graco ProtectPlus Engineered: a combination of the most rigorous crash...

This Convertible Car Seat grows with your child from 5 to 65 lbs. You can use it rear-facing for children 5-40 lbs and then forward-facing from 22-65 lbs. The Simply Safe Adjust Harness System automatically adjusts the harness and the headrest in one motion.

The easy-to-read level indicator makes it easy to install properly. The removable body support is machine washable, along with the seat pad and buckle pads.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 17.25 x 20.25 x 24.75 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 5 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: 65 lbs
  • Item Weight: 16.01 lbs

What We Like

  • Compact and Slim design
  • Easy to Install

What We Don’t Like

  • It doesn’t convert to a booster

Summary

Great seat for a child 5 to 65 lbs. Slim and compact enough to bring traveling.

14. Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat | Ride Rear Facing Longer with Extend2Fit, Redmond, Amazon Exclusive
  • Convertible car seat grows with your child from rear-facing harness...
  • Made of Steel reinforced | Product dimensions – 20.75” D x 19” W...
  • Up to 50 pounds rear facing, allowing your child to safely ride...

This budget-friendly convertible car seat has all the bells and whistles of a more expensive car seat. This car seat allows you to rear face longer, up to 50 lbs. The extension panel provides up to 5″ of extra legroom.

The six reclining positions ensure your child is always in the most comfortable position as they grow.

Manufacturer’s Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 22.1 x 25.2 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 4 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: 65 lbs
  • Maximum height: 49 inches
  • Item Weight: 19.25 lbs

What We Like

  • Easy to Install
  • One-touch harness and headrest adjustment
  • Rear-face longer

What We Don’t Like

  • The safety sticker gets hot in the heat.

Summary

Children are safer riding rear-facing, and this car seat allows your child to ride rear-facing up to 50lbs. This makes it a very safe option for your child to fly in.

How do I know if my car seat is FAA-approved?

Not all car seats with a child restraint system, or CRS, are approved by the FAA. A car seat also does not necessarily need to be approved to be used in a motor vehicle to be approved for an airline. 

To avoid confusion, car seats must have labels to say if the CRS is approved for motor vehicles and another label to say the CRS is approved in an aircraft. These are sometimes merged onto one label and can be found in red lettering on a car seat’s safety label. 

The labeling needs to include the following: 

“This child restraint system conforms to all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards” and “This Restraint is Certified for Use in Motor Vehicles and Aircraft”.

What car seats are approved by the FAA?

The FAA approves the car seats that have the necessary labels saying they are certified for aircraft use. The car seat’s user manual will tell you if it is Aircraft certified, or you can look for the label located on the back of the car seat.

Key Features in the Best Car Seat for Air Travel

  • Lightweight
  • FAA-Approved Harness Restraint
  • Slim Design
  • Easy to Install

Checklist Guidelines for flying with a car seat

  • Check to make sure your CRS or device has the necessary labeling indicating it is approved for airplanes. 
  • Please measure the width of your seat to ensure it will fit. Most airplane seats are at most 16 inches. 
  • Contact your airline to see if they provide any discounted fare for a child in a CRS. 
  • Ask for adjoining seats to make sure you are next to your child. 
  • Please find out your airline’s rules regarding a CRS placement; most policies require them to be placed in a window seat and never an exit row. 
  • Ask your airline if you need to buy a ticket or if you can use a possible empty seat. Make sure you go during nonpeak hours for a better chance of an empty seat. 
  • Ask your airline about any help they can provide if you need to make a connecting flight. 
  • Be sure to install it properly. It must be installed in a forward-facing seat and according to the manufacturer’s instructions for the child’s size
  • Pack snacks and toys to keep your child occupied during the flight. 

FAQ’s for FAA Approved Car Seats

Do airlines provide car seats?

No, airlines do not provide car seats. You can hold an infant on your lap during a flight, but it is not recommended.

Most airlines will allow you to check a car seat for free. You can check it at the same time as your luggage or check it at the gate.

The best and safest option is to bring it on the plane with you and use it for your child. Your baby will be more comfortable during the flight in their own familiar seat, not to mention safer.

What about booster seats?

Booster seats are not FAA compliant. The FAA prohibits booster seats and harness vests from being used during ground movement, take-off, and landing since they do not provide the best protection. You can use these devices for a lap child during the cruising part of the flight only. 

However, the FAA encourages parents to use an approved CRS during the entire flight. According to the FAA, not all airlines require your baby or toddler to be in their own seat and an approved CRS, but it is the best safety choice. 

The CARES Child Safety Device is an FAA-approved harness type restraint that can be used for children between 22 and 44 pounds. This device is only for aircraft use and is not approved to be used in motor vehicles. 

FAA-Approved Alternative to a Car Seat for an aircraft

Child Airplane Safety Travel Harness - The Safety Restraint System Will Protect Your Child from Dangerous. - Airplane Kid Travel Accessories for Aviation Travel Use
  • The child safety harness designed specifically for aviation travel.
  • Child Airplane Safety Travel Harness is meant only for travel in...
  • Designed for children 1 year and older up to 40 inch high and weighing...
Sale
Child Airplane Travel Harness - Cares Safety Restraint System - The Only FAA Approved Child Flying Safety Device
  • Safety harness designed specifically for aviation travel
  • Compact fits into 6 inches stuff sack weighs just 1 pound
  • Easy to install takes less than 1 minute

The CARES car seat alternative must have the label “FAA Approved in Accordance with 14 CFR 21.8(d), Approved for Aircraft Use Only” or “FAA Approved in Accordance with 14 CFR 21.305(d), AMD 21.50 6-9-1980, Approved for Aircraft Use Only” on it.

How do I find the FAA sticker?

Most seats have a sticker on the back of the car seat side, stating where it can be used. If it is FAA-approved, it will state that it is certified for use in an aircraft.

It will also say that it is only certified to use in an aircraft when used with the internal harness system. Look for the certification details on the sticker; it will usually be in red.

Note: If the convertible seat has the ability to turn into a shoulder belt booster seat, it is NOT certified for an aircraft when used like that since booster seats do not have shoulder belts.

How do I get the carseat through the airport?

A car seat can be checked free of charge with most airlines. Check with your airline to see if there are any fees for checking a car seat. It is best to wrap it in a car seat bag to protect the car seat from minimizing damage.

Airlines will provide big bags to wrap it in, but they don’t protect the car seat. Another option is to check it at the gate. This minimizes any possible damage that can happen during the flight since it will be handled less than checking with other luggage.

There are many stroller frames and travel carts made to help transport the stroller through the airport. These are also great for transporting a car seat through the airport that you plan on bringing onto the plane for your child to use.

Is a car seat mandatory on a plane?

A car seat on a plane is not mandatory for your child. It is, however, the safest place for your child on an airplane. When you hold them in your lap, your arms cannot hold them securely, especially during turbulence. 

The FAA strongly encourages you to use a CRS-approved in an aircraft or the CARES device for the duration of your flight. 

These are the recommendations by the FAA:

  • a child weighing more than 40 lbs can use an aircraft seat belt;
  • a child less than 20 lbs should use a rear-facing FAA-approved child restraint;
  • a child 20 to 40 lbs should use a forward-facing FAA-approved child restraint.

How do you install a car seat on a plane?

Note: Before installing, make sure the aircraft seat is in its fully upright position.

  1. Place the car seat in the position you need, either forward-facing or rear-facing.
  2. Feed the aircraft seat belt through the belt path opening for either forward-facing or rear-facing. Guide the belt through the path to the other side. For easy access, lift the seat pad out of the way.
  3. Fasten the aircraft seat belt and tighten the belt as tight as possible. Push the car seat firmly into the seat while pulling on the strap to ensure all slack has been removed.
car seat install on a plane

Important: Once installed, try moving side to side and front to back at the belt path to ensure it is secure and installed properly before you secure your child in the seat.

Note: Make sure to store the lower anchor belts and tether straps when not used on the aircraft.

Does it count as a checked bag?

While rules vary with each airline, most do not count a car seat as a checked bag. They will check it free of charge. You also have the option to check it at the gate.

Additional Items you may need when flying with a car seat

Car seat travel carts for easy transport of the car seat through the airport. These carts turn the car seat into a rolled luggage. Your child can even ride in it through the airport, making it easier to transport your child through a busy airport.

There are also belt options that allow you to attach it to an existing rolled luggage bag for easy transport.

Car seat travel bag options. Some have more padding for extra protection. These padded options will be a great idea if you are planning on checking the car seat. Most of these travel bags also have straps so that you can wear the car seat like a backpack through the airport.

Conclusion

If you plan to fly with a baby or a toddler, the safest option is to have them in their own car seat on the plane. Some airlines allow you to use an available empty seat, so you don’t have to purchase a separate ticket. Check with your airline before you go.

For an older toddler, you also have the option of the CARES harness. This keeps them safe without having to bring a bulky car seat on the plane.

Key features to look for in a good aircraft car seat are: it should be lightweight, easy to install, and slim base measurement. You also need to make sure the car seat you choose has the FAA-approved notice on the seat itself. It needs to be aircraft certified to be able to use on a plane.

The Best FAA Approved Car Seats of 2021 (Guides and Reviews)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 Shares
Pin
Share
Tweet