Use Your Car Seat for Your Flight. Say What? a Car Seat ON the Plane?

car seat on the plane

Babies are easy to fly with.

You feed them and they sleep. From about 6 months – 3 years it’s HORRIBLE. Sure short flights are fine but longer ones are tricky. And trust me no one wants to be the person who’s kid screams for hours on end.
I remember on flight I had our son on the seat between my husband and I. As you put your belt on with the descent he thought the belt was the thing hurting his ears. Somehow, he developed superhuman strength and was pulling the seat in front and I am sure he would of pulled the seat apart. I ended up undoing the belt and putting him on my lap. He immediately fell asleep from all the energy he’d lost with his meltdown.

The next time I took a flight I was not having that situation. I read you could travel with your  car-seat on the plane. The ‘rules’ vary from plane to plane given the differences in aisles and back walls. You may need to get to the airport early. Some planes will only allow 1-2. Others you can sit in any seat other than an aisle seat. Be prepared to suffer through different answers as the staff sort out the relative information. They may try to tell you that you need to put the seat in luggage compartment. Persevere- it’s worth it. Essentially an Australian Standards Sticker will enable you to take on-board an Australian airline.

In the US they have car-seats that have a handle like luggage so you can push kids along the gangway and onto the plane.  I’ve attached a photo. Awesome huh? Australian car safety regulations don’t allow this model so unless you just want it for plane travel only – forget it.

There is another solution – an adapter for your seat. Bit like a fold able wheel set for your luggage ( you know the old way before bags all had wheels) Again they don’t fit Australian seats.

Is a car-seat in the plane the right choice

You will read that travelling with car seats on a plane is a pain. I agree. It certainly is not for someone flying alone – I mean how do you carry baby, bag and seat all at once? But with a partner it’s worth the hassle. My experience is that kids are happy to sit in their car seat for far greater periods of time that on a plane seat. They can’t wriggle out of the seat belt and run around the plane that’s for sure.

I can honestly say walking through the airport with baby in his seat was the most pleasant way to board a 6 hour flight. On other occasions when we have flown without the car seat I can run between 5 – 10 km before we board just chasing them! Once you are on board you don’t have a wriggling worm to try and restrain in the seat for take off and landing. Ahhhh these are the travel pictures you think come straight out of a picture book.

The other added bonus is once you have landed you have a seat ready to put in the car. I have hired seats in the past but they vary greatly in cleanliness and they are always the cheaper version. What’s more you don’t know how safe they are. In my mind a car seat is the most important thing for your child as they grew. Every cent you spend on them is worth it. Just remember an Australian Standards Safety Sticker will provide guidance of what is a good quality seat. Some airlines may require you to quote number at time of booking. They will at very least require sighting this upon check-in.

Be prepared for lots of looks. Australians are not used to seeing car seats rolling through airports or carseat on the plane either. The lady in front of my son put her chair back and then wondered why I wouldn’t stop him kicking her chair. Oh… I tried. But he is one- he doesn’t understand that the backs of seats are not for kicking especially since you moved it so he can now reach it.

Make sure you check the in’s and out’s with your airline. Some airline staff have no clue either as to a car seat on the plane .

Click here to view the Virgin Australia rules. Click here for the rules for Jetstar. Click here for Qantas.


Arrive with plenty of time to spare as the ground crew have limited experience with car seats on planes and as every plane is different the rules change accordingly.


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