Originally Posted by Ella Enchanted
Personally I'd check the infant carseat and kid booster (they give special care to carseats and boosters instead of knocking them around on the carousels, and usually these don't count toward any luggage limits and have been free to check when I've flown) and just use the seatbelt or the older one and hold the smaller one. Realistically, if there's a plane crash, it's not like a booster or carseat will make all the difference in the world like in a car. You're more or less screwed either way. Bleak picture, yes, but the chance of that happening is so much less than even being in a car crash at all.
I fly with a car seat, alone with three children on 10 and 11 1/2 hour flights about twice a year. Only on our last flight did we not bring one, since my youngest is now 7. She wanted it alone and quite frankly, it wasn't that much more convenient without it. One seat is not a big deal. Twos is definitely possible, especially on domestic flights.
Just to clear up some misinformation;
1. The airlines do NOT treat car seats any differently from luggage. That's why so many get lost and busted by the airlines, who will not compensate for what they consider to be a "delicate" check-at-own-risk item. It's NEVER a good idea to check a car seat as luggage. They are only designed to withstand one accident and if they drop on to the tarmac or get thrown around, this is basically the one accident. You would be then using a compromised car seat that may not protect your child in the future, in the car. Not worth the risk!
You have two seats so whatever car seats you bring should be used on board. If you had a "lap baby", the car seat should be GATE, not luggage checked but I would not risk this with connections. You need to get off the plane right away with your car seat.
2. You can't "hold" a child over age 2 anyway. It's not allowed by the FAA. They have to occupy a separate seat, even though the adult seat belt doesn't fit them very well.
3. Boosters can't be used on airplanes anyway. Only internal-harnessed car seats are FAA approved>
4. A car seat can and has made a difference in an accident. Remember that most people today survive air accidents than die in them so it's even more important now, with better trained pilots and better equipped planes.
In another post, someone said that you could get help in airports. The truth is that you really can't. I have nothing against handicapped people but the rights of the disabled are protected by law. When I was a Flight Attendant, my requests for "meet and assist"s were refused, sometimes because they needed to "position" them for incoming disabled passengers on other flights. They were afraid that there wasn't enough time to zip them around the airport.
Sometimes I could "piggy back" solo travelers with wee ones with our disabled customers but that was the exception, not the rule. I'd just have them walk along with the assistant or jump on the scooter-thing they had in the airport. I was also chummy with the ground staff in a lot of stations (flew the same flights all the time) so that helped.
There were many good options suggested above.
Is there any way to arrange a seat at your destination? Are you visiting friends or relatives? Borrow or order a Scenera on line and have it delivered.
You can rent a CARES harness but it does have good resale value. You also could continue to use it on future flights.
Another small point, have someone come with you to check-in at the airport. Ask at the counter if your helper can have a "gate-pass" to come with you through security and give you a hand. This depends on both the airport and the airline. The worst that can happen is that they say no.
Also, please don't buy the Gogo Travelmate. It's basically just an overpriced, plastic luggage cart. A metal foldable cart works just as well or better. Less chance of breakage (a major issue with the Gogo).
Other small tips;
-Get rid of you purse. Do a "fanny pack" or small neck purse with your wallet and cell phone. The rest is in the back pack.
-A good baby carrier. Toddlers get clingy in airports, especially with a lot of people. Don't be one of the many parents I see clutching small children while trying to get through the airport.
-Check everything you don't actually need on the flight itself. My Best-Woman dress got packed. I'm alone with my kids and I bring what we need. period!
-Changes of clothes, snacks.
-No need to make them suck on take-off and landing. Common myth. Let them sleep if they nod off on the runway.
Here are my non-commercial flying tips;
Good luck finding a workable plan!