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Thursday, 5 April 2018

Virgin Atlantic has gone car seat friendly!

Checked Virgin Atlantic's website for totally unrelated reasons this evening and thought would take a look at their travel with Infant and children section as baby number 3 is due this month and number 2 is currently still under 2 to find that if travelling in economy providing you have booked a seat you can now bring your own car seat on board, whereas previously you could only use seats provided by Virgin Atlantic

Unfortunately they're not particularly helpful on types you can bring onboard, so no clarification yet about infant bucket seats that have been cleared for air travel, instead they only tell you that the following are not permitted

  • CoziGo (which is a cover for strollers or airline bassinets)
  • FlyTOT/Playing Pal - Assuming here they actually mean the Fly Tot Plane Pal which is an inflatable cushion that can turn an economy seat into a bed
  • Skybaby (travel mattress, which by the sound of it is more for someone flying with a lap infant)
  • Bedbox (as it says on the tin but also a ride on suitcase similar to Trunki)
  • Fly legs up (another inflatable leg rest)
What noone could have failed to notice here is that none of these are car seats!! Hopefully in the future Virgin will be more specific on type. It is worth noting that a car seat can only be used in Economy so to hazard a guess can only be used with a seat where the arm rest can be raised so not in the bulkhead row

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Updated information on Cathay Pacific

As of January 2017 Cathay Pacific now allow rear facing infant car seats on their aircraft however they are only permitted if the use of such seat will not cause any impact on other passengers’ comfort/interest. So a little better than previously

From their website

Starting from 1st January, 2017, Passenger travelling with a car safety seat must meet the following standards:
For infant under 2 years The car safety seat meeting any one of the following standards is acceptable:
  • European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) ETSO-C100b
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) TSO-C100, TSO-C100a, TSO-C100b, or TSO-C100c
  • European Safety Standard requirements of ECE Regulation 44
  • United States Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard FMVSS 213
  • Australia/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS) 1754
For infant/child whose reached 2 years and under 3 years The car safety seat is required to have the following characteristics:
  • It has a well-defined shell (e.g. a plastic frame), and if there is a separate shell and under structure, they must be securely attached to each other
  • It is designed for easy and quick securing and removing of a child
  • It has a single-release-type harness that secures a child’s lap, torso and shoulders
  • It has a single-release-type harness designed to prevent easy release by the child occupying the seat
  • It has harness straps that have a minimum width of 1” (25 mm)
  • Any adjusters on the harness straps that are lift-type must be designed to release only when it is lifted to a positive angle, to prevent the child from easily adjusting and loosening the harness straps

Monday, 11 April 2016

Ryanair go more child friendly!

Flew Ryanair to Ireland this weekend and was interested as know some people have had issues with them not allowing car seats  onboard to see the following information in their flight magazine!

Following on from other updated info on what Ryanair have been upto

"We also launched our dedicated family service, Family Extra, with range of discounts on travel and baggage and an improved inflight service. Families booking with Ryanair can avail of 50% savings on childrens' seats, baggage, priority boarding and insurance, a reduced infant fee and 5kg infant bag allowance, as well as bottle warming and changing facilities on board, an allowance of two free pieces of infant equipment and bring car seats on board when booking a seat. And what's more families who fly twice with Family Extra can enjoy 20% off their 3rd booking"

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Because even airlines get round to updating (and expanding) their information!

EasyJet have kindly expanded their page on flying with children and infants and give a far more comprehensive explanation about car seat use on board and how you can help each other, note however that RF car seats cannot be used

Child car seats can be used for infants/children on-board in accordance with the age/weight/height range as recommended by the manufacturer.
It is the parents’ responsibility to ensure that the seat is suitable for their child. Cabin crew must ensure that the child car seat is suitable for use on-board the aircraft and that the child is adequately and safely secured.
The seat and its harness must be designed so that the child can easily and quickly be secured in or removed from it. The seat, or any part of it, must not show any obvious signs of having sustained damage. If the car seat is capable of adjustment in recline, it must be set upright for take-off, landing and in any emergency situation. Tables designed for use with the seat must be removed at such times.
The seat must be able to be secured with only the fitted aircraft seat belt (not an infant/extension seat belt). On no account can a rearward facing seat be used when the fasten seat belts sign is on.  Therefore unless your infant will be sitting on your lap during at these times, they must be of a suitable age for a forward-facing seat.
The child car seat should be pre-boarded and will be secured to the aircraft seat by the cabin crew before the child is seated.  Please ensure that you give the team as much time as possible to do this on your behalf.

The Cares harness is permitted for use onboard for children who weight between 10 and 20kg and also able to sit upright unaided

Updates (and clearer explanations from the airlines!) from One World

Air Berlin request that when you book a seat for an infant that you register what child restraint you plan to use with the service centre so that a seat can be reserved for them

Cathay Pacific can provide their own child restraint seats for planes where a car seat cannot be used with a prior reservation booked at least 24 hours before travel, however it is a first come first served basis

This photo shows the restraint seat in the Economy Cabin, once installed in the occupying seat it can't be removed or reclined until after landing

This photo shows the restraint installed in a business class seat, again once it's installed it cannot be removed or reclined until after landing

Qantas now specify that when you book your infant a seat and intend to use a car seat that you sort it all out at the same time, by ringing your local Qantas office they can help with pre approval (which presumably means they'll know which car seats can be used!!)

S7 Airlines now suggest that if you phone their local office that it is possible to purchase your infant their own seat

Updates from Star Alliance

Adriya Airlines now clarifies that providing you've purchased an additional seat that your car seat can be used onboard

There is restrictive use of car seats in International Business Class with Air Canada
Car seats are not permitted for use in this cabin on the B777-200ER (77L), B777-300ER (77W), 767-300ER (763) and the A330 (333), all fine in Economy Class however

Monday, 22 September 2014

my first hesitant steps of travel with a child

Frequently I read posts where others tell us that once we have children, travel should be calm, taken at a relaxing pace and as little done in a single day as possible, two pairs of hands preferably ideal and possibly the trips we might have longed for previously should wait until children are older.
Before I had my daughter I'd done relatively little travel alone, my grandma told me that the money that came to me when I was 18 was there for travelling something that I greeted with some horror as the idea of travelling alone didn't particuarly appeal. When I then became a mother 3 months prior to my 20th birthday it occured to me that if I travelled with my daughter then I'd no longer be alone, I disregarded that travelling with a baby was possibly harder than travelling alone and simply saw it as a way of fulfilling my grandma's wishes and seeing places that I'd always wanted to see.

My first trip away with my daughter when she was 6 months old was to New York, I remember my mother thinking I was mad as my daughter's passport arrived on the Wednesday and we flew out on the Saturday

I don't think that first flight could have gone much better than it did although she didn't sleep at all, we flew Virgin Atlantic, she as a lap infant who then sat in the sky cot and played happily with toys for apart from eating almost the entire flight, the only pain were the couple sitting next to us who had requested to move to the bulkhead after takeoff having already passed us so knew full well there was an infant seated there and then complained heavily about that very fact. The passenger on the opposite aisle of the bulkhead was happily the very opposite and came to tell me he was impressed with how well I was travelling on my own with an infant, sharing his own stories of travelling with children and offered to entertain my daughter while I went to the bathroom, I'd already understood it wasn't wise to ask such a favour of fellow passengers so much appreciated the offer.

The trip to New York went off very well, the only error on my part was making the decision to stay out at Newark Airport, while the hotel and the daily train travel came to less than I would have paid in NYC the hassle of travelling wasn't really worth it.
I was particuarly surprised with how helpful people were with the stroller (I deliberately invested in a lightweight maclaren before the trip) on the subway, I'd be warned that like London I'd likely be carrying the stroller myself, I'd travelled in London alone with a much heavier and bulkier pushchair so I wasn't particuarly bothered about doing the same in New York but I can't actually remember an occasion where somebody didn't stop and kindly offer to assist :-)

To be fair on this first trip, I did choose to take things at a gentle pace, mainly because I hadn't been to NYC at all and it was as new to me as to my then 6 month old, some people criticise those who plan their vacation around babies who won't remember anything of what happens but I enjoyed taking the opportunity to explore Central Park, learning a fair amount about living in NYC in one of it's playgrounds, enjoying a ride on the carousel, taking the free ferry to Staten Island and back again and enjoying the delights and shops of Manhattan including the ferris wheel in Toys R Us!

The flight home was equally calm as the flight out except for the having the water that I'd carefully prepared and was already contained within the baby bottles ready to have powder added as appropriate was confiscated at security at Newark, VS thankfully were very helpful and filled the bottles first with boiling water and then chilled them to an appropriate temperature during the flight, unlike the flight out where she didn't sleep at all, once having had milk she slept the entire flight back to London

The surprised ease of this trip gave me confidence to travel with a baby, while some people admitedly thought I was mad, it was others telling me how brave they thought I was to give it a go and they wouldn't dream of doing such a thing that got me realising that its all worth it

Thursday, 15 August 2013


After having done the research of which airlines allow car seats and which car seats, I thought it would be wise to visit some of the major stockists of car seats in the UK and see whether any of them actually sold car seats that could be used on Airplanes. I chose to visit Mothercare, Halfords, Babies R US and John Lewis as main stockists and the main places apparently for parents to visit when choosing a car seat.

I was able to ask for assistance in both John Lewis and Mothercare and explained that I was looking at whether there are any car seats available on the UK Market for use on airplanes as its a fairly common practice in the US (or so I've been led to believe) and found it an interesting debate

John Lewis had one car seat that is suitable for use on airplanes, the Maxi-Cosi Pebble, however this would be no use to anyone flying BA, CX, SQ, SA, CI, CY, EK, GF, EI, U2, BE, LS, ZB, BY, MT* as non of these airlines allow rear facing seats, I have often noticed in debates that people often cite British Airlines as being the only airlines to be fussy about forward facing seats, this is far from being true as this shows. The assistant I spoke to asked why people took car seats for children on planes and said he'd not seen one used. He then promoted extended rear facing for children in cars for about 20 minutes which I found very interesting and would definitely consider this especially with the rules on new seats being sold now in the UK.

Mothercare staff asked me why anyone would consider taking a car seat, if your only experience is package holidays I get the point, Coaches and Taxi's can often be fussy about use of car seats, they however also stocked the Maxi-Cosi Pebble.

Unfortunately I was unable to speak to anyone at Halfords, in a handy booklet they produce they listed all the main features of the seats, all need a 3 point seatbelt so not for plane use

I looked at both Maxi-Cosi and Britax's websites as both are leading car seat manufacturers :) Car Seats in the UK are normally made to be either installed with a 3 point seat belt or with Isofix, but as Maxi-Cosi definitely make one car seat suitable for airplane use I presumed they'd make one for the older child, for Britax I went on them being an International Company

I'd already found out that Maxi Cosi's Pebble is approved for Airplane use, from their website I discovered that their Citi SPS can also be used, Britax's Baby Safe plus SHR II is also Airplane approved (All are TUV Certified) However as mentioned before 15 (several of them leading airlines) won't allow use of them on board

Older children who are old enough and weigh at least 9kg can use a forward facing seat, these can be used (generally speaking) on all airlines that allow car seats in the cabin (although a lot of airlines do not permit car seat use past the age of 3), for those who live in the UK and would like to buy car seats that are legal to use permanently over here and are airline approved this may be useful

Britax's Eclipse (9-18kg) is approved for Airline use however it's the only carseat made by Britax that is certified for Airplane use for older children. It would appear that Maxi-Cosi don't make any that are for use and sale in the UK

British Airways
Cathay Pacific
Singapore Airlines
South African Airways
China Airlines
Cyprus Airways
Gulf Air
Aer Lingus
Thomas Cook

There are also Airlines that don't permit car seat use on their aircraft prior to 6 months of age, these include Royal Jordanian (RJ) and China Eastern Airlines (MU)

On top there are airlines such as VS that while they don't permit car seats in the cabin provide their own seat that is suitable from Birth so their own seat can be booked. there are also airlines that permit no car seats and no additional seats permitted for infants although these appear to be mainly low cost

Monday, 10 June 2013

Airlines in the United States

Airlines in the United States

I didn't originally look at US Airlines outside of the Alliances when I compiled the posts on Airlines and Carseats because there is generally far more information available about car seat use on planes for the US market, however as I am hoping to bridge the gap for lack of information especially in the UK I get that others may like to know just what US airlines allow:-) If there's any Airlines in the US that others think would be useful to include please do comment!

Alaska Airlines (AS)

Infants traveling on a regular fare are strongly recommended to be secured in an appropriate child restraint system (CRS). Lap infants sharing a seat with their parent may bring a child restraint seat on board provided there is an empty seat available for the infant. If the flight is full, the car seat will be checked at the gate using a claim-at-gate tag. The car seat will be returned to you at the gate upon arrival.
All child restraint systems must bear the following two required labels:
1. This restraint system conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety conditions.
2. This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft. (in red lettering) (NOTE: Labels that indicate U.S. or Foreign Government approval or show the seat was manufactured under the standards of the United Nations are also valid.)
In addition to the standard CRS mentioned above, children between 22 to 44 pounds and 40 inches or less may use an Aircraft Safety Device (ACSD) for added security. Currently the AmSafe CARES Restraint is the only approved ACSD and must bear a label that reads:
14 CFR 21.302(d) APPROVED FOR

Use of the ACSD is the same as use of any approved CRS. Any other child booster seats and other types of child restraints may not be used during take-off, landing, and surface movements regardless of what stamp/seal of approval these booster or harness devices carry.
The window seat is the preferred location for a child restraint system, although it may be placed in the middle seat if the window seat is vacant, or if the restraint system does not block access to the aisle. If you are uncertain, the Flight Attendant can assist in determining if middle seat is acceptable. For safety, a child restraint system must not be placed in the aisle seat. Child restraint systems are not permitted in the emergency exit rows, in the rows forward or aft of exit rows on any Alaska Airlines flight or in any bulkhead row seat (rows 1 and 6) on Alaska Airlines flights 001-999.

Hawaiian Airlines (HA)

For the safety of your child, Hawaiian Airlines recommends purchasing a seat for children under the age of two and using an approved child restraint system. A seat must be purchased for infants traveling in a child restraint seat. Infants traveling as a lap child (sharing seat with an adult) may bring a child restraint seat on board if: 1) there is an empty seat available for the infant and 2) the car seat bears the following two required labels:
  1. This restraint system conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety conditions.
  2. This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft. (in red lettering) (NOTE: Labels that indicate U.S. or Foreign Government approval or show the seat was manufactured under the standards of the United Nations are also valid.)
Any other child booster seats and other types of child restraints may not be used during take-off, landing, and surface movements regardless of what stamp/seal of approval these booster or harness devices carry.
If the flight is full, the car seat will be checked at the gate using a claim-at-gate tag. The car seat will be returned to the passenger at the gate upon arrival.

Jet Blue (B6)

Infants and children may occupy a seat with or without a Child Restraint System (CRS). If the infant is not in a child restraint system, they must be able to sit upright. Use of booster seats, harness and vest restraints will not be allowed during the movement on surface, takeoff or landing, unless it is an FAA-approved device.
All special accommodations are left to the discretion of the Inflight crewmembers.
If checking a safety seat, it will not count as one of your checked bags and there is no fee assessed.
Child aviation restraint systems (CARES) are also certified by the FAA for use during all phases of flight including taxiing, takeoff, landing and during periods of turbulence. CARES is a belt-and-buckle device that attaches directly to the aircraft seatbelt. It is designed for children over one year old, weighing between 22 and 44 pounds

  • an infant safety seat should be placed in a window seat; it may be placed in a middle seat or aisle seat as long as the other seat(s) remain empty or occupied by another infant seat. An infant safety seat may not obstruct a customer's pathway to the aisle.
  • infant safety seats may not be placed between two individuals.
  • an infant safety seat may face backward if it is FAA approved and properly secured by the parent/guardian
  • only one lap infant will be assigned per row of seats on each side of the aircraft.
  • lap infants may not be seated in emergency exit rows 
  • any infant seat used during flight must remain secured to the passenger seat at all times, even when unoccupied.

JetBlue allows the use of FAA-approved infant safety seats secured to standard passenger seats. Safety seats must have the appropriate manufacturer's label.
Child Restraint Systems (CRS) manufactured between January 1, 1981 and February 25, 1985 must have one of the following labels: "This child restraint system conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards." or "This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft."
Seats manufactured after February 26, 1985 must have an additional label which reads: "This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft."
Booster-type seats, vest and harness-type child restraint systems, lap-held child restraints or seats manufactured before January 1, 1981 are not acceptable

South West Airlines (WN)
  • Affordable Infant Fares are available that enable a Customer to reserve a seat for an infant and use his/her FAA-approved car seat.
  • A boarding pass is required.
  • Online checkin is available if the infant traveling on an Infant Fare is age verified
A birth certificate is required to validate the age of all infants under age two.

Proper use of a Child Restraint Systems (CRS) enhances child safety onboard the aircraft. For this reason, Southwest Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly recommend that infants and small children who weigh under 40 pounds be secured in an appropriate CRS when traveling by air.
Be sure to check the width of your CRS. Although the width of aircraft seats varies, a safety seat wider than 16 inches is unlikely to fit, even if the armrests of the aircraft seats are moved out of the way. An ill-fitting safety seat will not provide adequate protection for your child.
The FAA has banned the use on board aircraft of certain types of CRSs that may be harmful to a child in the event of an aviation emergency. These include backless booster seats, safety belt extensions (commonly referred to as "belly belts"), and vest or harness devices that attach to an adult. Although some that were manufactured before the FAA's ban may carry an insignia and/or language indicating they are approved for aircraft use, please understand that they are no longer permitted. Please note that a CRS may not be placed in any aisle seat, an emergency exit row seat, or in a row directly in front of or behind an emergency exit row
  • Approved Child Restraint Systems
    • Many of these carry the FMVSS.213 insignia and/or language indicating that they are "approved for use in motor vehicles and on aircraft."
    • Any CRS manufactured between January 1, 1961 and February 25, 1985, must have the following label: "This child restraint device conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards."
    • Any CRS manufactured since February 26, 1985, must have both of the following labels: "This child restraint device conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards" and "This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft."
  • Harness-type devices approved by the FAA:
    • At this time, the FAA has approved only the AmSafe Aviation CARES, which is appropriate for children weighing between 22 and 44 pounds.
    • The AmSafe Aviation CARES must have a label indicating "FAA Approved in Accordance with 14CFR 21.305(d), Approved for Aircraft Use Only."
Spirit Airlines (NK)

A car seat that is an FAA approved child restraint system may be carried onboard the plane if a seat has been purchased for the child. Customers traveling with car seats are unable to sit in our Big Front Seats.  If the car seat cannot be accommodated in the assigned seat (e.g., car seat is too large), we will do our best to reseat the car seat and family to open seats where the car seat can be accommodated

Virgin America (VX)

Virgin America will accept FAA approved infant/child restraint systems (car seats or CARES harness) when the accompanying adult has purchased a seat for the infant/child.  If a seat has not been purchased and there is an empty seat next to the parent or if the parent can be relocated to an empty seat in the same cabin with an adjoining empty seat, the car seat may be brought onboard and placed in the adjoining seat for no fee.  It is important to note that to confirm that a child may sit in their car seat on Virgin America flight next to their parent, a seat should be purchased for the child.

The FAA recommends that children weighing less than 20 lbs. be placed in a rear-facing child restraint system. However, restraint systems are not required.

Safety seats manufactured between January 1981 and February 1985, are acceptable for use in commercial aircraft provided they bear the label, "THIS CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEM CONFORMS TO ALL APPLICABLE FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY CONDITIONS." Seats manufactured after February 26, 1985, will be acceptable provided they have a second label in red lettering which reads, "THIS RESTRAINT IS CERTIFIED FOR USE IN MOTOR VEHICLES AND AIRCRAFT." Safety seats bearing the "UNITED NATIONS" label can be accepted for use on an aircraft.

Unacceptable restraint systems:

·       Unlabeled child safety seats or safety seats manufactured before January, 1981 cannot be used.
·       Vest and harness (besides CARES harness only) type child restrains or belly belts cannot be used during taxi, takeoff or landing.
·       Booster-type child restraint systems are not authorized onboard. The FAA has determined that these items do not provide adequate protection.

The following are additional procedures that must be followed:

·       No other guest can occupy the same guest seat with a child/infant seat.
·       During an emergency evacuation the child/infant seat should remain attached to the guest seat, and only the child should be removed from the aircraft.
·       While in use, all child/infant seat straps, especially shoulder straps, should always be in place per instructions provided by the seat's manufacturer whenever other guests are required to have their seat belts fastened and during turbulence
·       A window seat is the preferred location; however, other locations are acceptable provided that only persons responsible for the child occupy seats next to the child/infant.
·       The child/infant seat cannot be located in an aisle or exit row seat. It also cannot be located in the rows in front of or behind the exit row. If no vacant seat is available for the child restraint seat, it is considered carry-on baggage and must be stowed or checked.
·       During taxi, takeoff and landing, the child must occupy his or her child seat and have all harnesses properly fastened.
·       Virgin America will not supply child restraint systems for guest use.