Car seat on plane- arm rest up? Recs?

Old Apr 29, 18, 9:56 am
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 21
Car seat on plane- arm rest up? Recs?

In general, when people install car seats on planes, is it with the armrest up? I am trying to find a good travel car seat for my kid on a long-haul international flight and am surprised to see some of the car seats recommended on various websites and in threads here given their width. We are traveling British Airways World Traveller Plus, which has fixed arm rests, and the seat width is 18.5". I am guessing most people install the larger seats I have seen mentioned (like Britax, which is what we use at home) with the arm rest up.

If anyone has any recommendations, it would be great. My daughter just turned three and is 39" and 33lbs. Ideally, looking for something with automatic lock-offs since we will be in Europe, and I don't want to deal with installing an external lock-off at 10pm after 16 hours of travel. She seems too big for the Combi Corroco, and the Cosco seat looks rather uncomfortable for an 11 hour flight. Clek Fllo looks like our best bet, but if anyone recommends a less expensive option, it would be great.

We are definitely going to bring a car seat since we will need a car seat on the other end, BA says the CARES harness won't work on the WT Plus seat and I don't trust checking a car seat.

alf0906 is offline  
Old May 3, 18, 5:24 pm
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 46
What seat is your daughter in at the moment? Is she still rear-facing? Could she use that seat, or is it wider than the 18.5 inches of the World Traveller Plus seat? Are there other reasons why you’d prefer another seat?

One thing that might be useful is to find out whether the armrests have a space underneath and if they do, the height of the space. From looking at Google images, the World Traveller Plus seats do not have a space underneath the armrest on a 787, but they might on other aircraft. Do you know what sort of aircraft you’ll be on?

If there is a space under the armrest, and it’s big enough, you might be able to use the seat she’s in now as the base might fit in under the armrests. If you can, that’s probably the best option; you know how to install it, she’ll probably be happy in her own seat as she’s familiar with it (both on the plane and in your car at your destination), and you won’t have the expense or hassle of purchasing another seat.

However, if a new seat is needed, then I would perhaps consider the following. Firstly, you’ll obviously want to look at seats which can rear-face for as long as possible (for car travel) but could be installed on an aircraft seat forward facing if needed. The rear-facing versus forward-facing debate is different with regard to aircraft so just keep in mind forward-facing might be an option on a plane before it is for car travel. Some seats have a base which is wider at the front than the back (or vice-versa), so can be installed either forward or rear facing on a plane – I would take a tape measure with you when you go to look at the seats so you can measure the bases.

Second, as aircraft seats have the buckle located along the length of the seat belt, rather than to one side like a car, be sure to check if this will potentially cause any issues when installing the seat. For example, the path of the seat belt through the seat might not be designed to accept centrally located buckles and therefore when fastened under the padding/cover of the seat, it might stick out slightly and press into her which she could find uncomfortable. In the store, put two smartphones on top of each other and put them behind the covers to simulate the buckle – you’ll be able to see if it will stick out (two smartphones stacked together roughly equal the thickness of an airline seat buckle).

If you find this is an issue, there is a trick to get around it. Just twist/rotate the non-adjustable part of the seat belt. This makes it shorter and thus moves the buckle over to one side of the seat, often enough that it sits far enough off to the side that it won't be bothersome. It will of course depend on the aircraft seat and seat belt, but we've never not been able to do this and it’s always been easy (our daughter who is very small for her age and was in a Britax Frontier at 13 years old did it herself while we would put any bags and coats in the overhead bins).

Originally Posted by alf0906 View Post
In general, when people install car seats on planes, is it with the armrest up?
Lastly, to install our daughter’s seat the armrest always needed to be up. From what I remember most other people we’ve seen installing car seats on planes also put the armrest up (when possible). Even if the aircraft seat is wide enough that you don’t need to move the armrest up, doing so will probably make it easier to install anyway (just read the manual of the car seat to make sure there is nothing specified regarding the position of the armrest).

I hope this makes sense and that it helps.
sportsguy1 is offline  
Old May 8, 18, 11:37 pm
Join Date: Jul 2001
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Have you considered no seat on the plane and bringing along one of the more compact options for car rides?

Here are some that might work:
Ridesafer Travel Vest

This is what we did for our boys on their trip to Taiwan. They used Mifolds. They were barely 4 and 6 at the time. Most of these options require the child to be 36 lbs, I believe... You will probably need to check. Particularly if you won't be doing a great deal of driving while overseas, this could be a good solution. Plus, for such a long flight, without a car seat she'd be able to stretch out a little bit, use the tray table, etc.
swise is offline  

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