or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › Family Safety › Air travel Q's (gate check carseat on American)?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Air travel Q's (gate check carseat on American)?

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 

Hello.  We are planning a surprise trip to see my inlaws in 2 weeks...and here is our conundrum.  they have spare carseats at their home, BUT since we are flying in for a big family surprise, we can't use them. We will have to lug our two Graco Nautilus' with us - I simply don't want to, and can't afford to, buy new lighter travel seats AGAIN !  

 

We always have flown southwest, but it looks like the first leg of this flight will be American Airlines.  We are purchasing tickets for both kids, too old for lap seats.  Can you check carseat at the gate for AMerican without being charged?  Also, anyone have experience putting a Nautilus in a seat on an AA flight ?  In case we decide to go that route ? 

 

Thanks for your help !  

 

post #2 of 50

you can check at the ticket counter or gate for no charge for either,, the only American restriction is on large or non folding strollers, (like big doubles or jogging types that weight over 20 pounds those must be checked at the ticket counter but still are free. 

post #3 of 50

I strongly recommend against checking your seats.  You are risking damage that will compromise their ability to protect your children in a crash (damage you may not even notice when they're returned to you) or loss.

 

If your children are using them in harnessed mode, the safest thing to do is to use them on the plane. 

post #4 of 50

what kind of damage do you think could happen to  them?  i just traveled across country and gate checked 2 seats on each leg. bagged them in thick clear bag the airline provided and felt they were pretty safe. 

 

 

post #5 of 50

Unfortunately, they were not safe.  Car seats tend to be handled very poorly as luggage, gate checked or otherwise.   They can be thrown, jumped on, tossed onto the tarmac.  I have personally examined seats that were damaged when gate checked.   

 

The 'bag' does not provide protection against structural damage.  I would never use a seat for my own children that had been checked on an aircraft, and I would advise anyone who has one to discontinue use and replace it with a new seat.   

post #6 of 50

well the plastic bag does show wear and tear and if it were dropped on the tarmac or jumped on , it would have scuffed or outright ripped the bag, so i feel pretty safe that that did not happen. these are not fragile items for the most part, if they could be hurt by simply dropping them on concrete from a reasonable height of being held we would have a huge issue on our collective hands from just the day to day handling of them by their owners. and warning labels so loud as to be crazy.

 

i do think that gate check is slightly more safe, since it never goes on the vehicles and gets tossed around a few less times per flight. i will continue to fly with mine rather than use a rented or borrowed one , now in that case you really dont know how it has been cared for!

post #7 of 50

I agree with PP.  Checking a carseat is a bad bad bad idea.  if you were willing to lug the things all the way to the gate, why not go the extra 20 feet and just use it on the plane?  shrug.gif

 

Traveling with little kiddos is tough business.  I almost did it while both my boys are still in carseats and would have actually really needed them on the plane.  But I was to chicken. 

post #8 of 50
The only issue I've ever had with checking seats at gate with aa, is that they really wanted it to go with the regular luggage, so the seat would have to make it's way through the baggage process. The only reason I was able to pick it back up at the gate at the end of my flight is that I was only traveling with carry-ons.
post #9 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Charlie's~Angel~ View Post

I agree with PP.  Checking a carseat is a bad bad bad idea.  if you were willing to lug the things all the way to the gate, why not go the extra 20 feet and just use it on the plane?  shrug.gif


because depending on the age of your kids they may not have their own seat! but in my case i was traveling with 2 six month old twins and needed the car seats and a snap and go to get them to the gate, but clearly could not take said items on board with me.

 

i still dont see what kind of damage you both are referring to that is going to make my seat less crash worthy. specially if i make a point of wrapping it up so they cant grab the thing by any straps

post #10 of 50
Thread Starter 

Thanks for everyone's opinions.  Any experience putting a Nautilus on an airplane seat...specifically.  It just seems like such  wide seat (compared to the cosco scenario we used to use while traveling).  

post #11 of 50

i still dont see what kind of damage you both are referring to that is going to make my seat less crash worthy. specially if i make a point of wrapping it up so they cant grab the thing by any straps

 

A host of things could have gone wrong. They could be thrown down one of those chutes some airports use for gate-checked items (basically throwing them to the ground), they could have been crushed under luggage or fallen off a truck on their way to the plane (if they were checked at the counter). Just go on YouTube and there are tons of mishandled luggage videos...

 

The fact is that a car seat is meant to protect your child in ONE crash. After that, your car seat is supposed to be replaced and paid for by your insurance even if there is no obvious damage. The force of being crushed or tossed could easily be the same impact as a moderate crash. This is also the reasoning behind why car seats expire. You can't just look at them and determine how safe they are. 

 

This is, aside from the whole question of having the car seat when you arrive. If you check a car seat as luggage, it could easily be "misrouted" and might take days to get back to you, in whatever shape. The airlines will NOT compensate for what they consider to be a "delicate item" (AA's website says this outright). 

 

With two adults and only two car seats, bringing them on board shouldn't be a big deal. Buy those metal luggage carts and make sure they're bungeed on them well. I even used this instead of a stroller. Please don't waste money on one of those GogoTravelmate thingies. It's basically an overpriced luggage cart and I've heard reports of them breaking in airports. They only have a plastic base. Get one with a metal base. Stow it on the floor during the flight (not in the overhead bin). Did this on many Europe to California flights and it went great. 

 

P.S. Can you think of a good way to "sneak" one or both seats out from your unsuspecting in-laws? Perhaps a relative or friend living near them can ask to borrow the seats for visitors with children (which is true-they just don't know the "visitors" are YOU). Borrowing just one seat might look less suspicious and then you only have one on the flight. Make sure the seats get to whomever is picking you up at the airport. Just an idea ;) 

post #12 of 50

ok sorry for encouraging this thread to get sidetracked, i would like to drop it and go back to the original posters questions.

 

i would guess that you can call the airline and ask how wide the seats on that particular airline are and as long as you have the width it seem like it would be straight forward. I'm not sure if www.seatgugu.com states widths on all seats, but they do for a lot of them, if you haven't checked out that website it is a wealth of amazing info, i always have it open when picking my seats!

post #13 of 50

It's still important to get through to parents that checking car seats as luggage is NOT a good idea. Hope you're straightened out on that! 

 

Just a warning, the information on Seatguru is not always correct so double check directly with the airlines' site. 

 

Also, if the width of the car seat exceeds the width of the airplane seat, don't panic. There's a lot of wiggle room. First of all, you the parent, wont mind if a little of it spills over into your seat. You can raise the armrests if necessary. Car seats are wide in different places so chances are, you can still get the seat installed and wont be uncomfortable. 

post #14 of 50

I have brought the nautilus on a plane (I believe Jetblue and United) and it was fine.

post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post

Unfortunately, they were not safe.  Car seats tend to be handled very poorly as luggage, gate checked or otherwise.   They can be thrown, jumped on, tossed onto the tarmac.  I have personally examined seats that were damaged when gate checked.   

 

The 'bag' does not provide protection against structural damage.  I would never use a seat for my own children that had been checked on an aircraft, and I would advise anyone who has one to discontinue use and replace it with a new seat.   


you can not possible know this.    OP - it is fine to check your seats.  I have personally examined seats that were fine after being gate checked.  I have NEVER seen a baggage handler jump on seats. 

 

post #16 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Adorkable~ View Post

well the plastic bag does show wear and tear and if it were dropped on the tarmac or jumped on , it would have scuffed or outright ripped the bag, so i feel pretty safe that that did not happen. these are not fragile items for the most part, if they could be hurt by simply dropping them on concrete from a reasonable height of being held we would have a huge issue on our collective hands from just the day to day handling of them by their owners. and warning labels so loud as to be crazy.

 

i do think that gate check is slightly more safe, since it never goes on the vehicles and gets tossed around a few less times per flight. i will continue to fly with mine rather than use a rented or borrowed one , now in that case you really dont know how it has been cared for!



People check wheelchairs and other things just as important (if not more) as car seats.  Checking at the gate is perfectly safe.  Checking with luggage is probably fine, too, but if you check at the gate you get it faster upon arrival :)

post #17 of 50

I worked for the airlines for 13 years and I'll assure you that wheelchairs are NOT handled as car seats and other luggage is. There are laws which protect people with handicaps and their wheelchairs, by law have to be on the jetway, in good shape. The airlines get into a lot of trouble if they don't follow the law. Car seats have NO such protections. Most are just treated as luggage. The chutes that some airports use for gate-checked items are NOT used for wheelchairs, which are hand-carried down for these reasons. If the airline is not required to hand carry other items, they wont.

 

Sports equipment often has an extra fee and are handled differently just because of the shape and size, which prevent these items from being handled with the rest of the luggage. Again, car seats have no such limitations. They can just be thrown down chutes and thrown on trucks like any other bags. 

 

The other obvious point which you are ignoring is what do you do if your luggage doesn't arrive when you do? How are you supposed to leave the airport? What are you supposed to use for your child? Anyone who has ever lost luggage will tell you that it can take days to get things back, if at all (usually yes but often in bad shape since it was probably sent to the wrong city). 

 

Gate-checking is a lesser evil, for parents who don't have any other option (not allowed to use the seat on board, lap baby, etc.) Gate checked things are also forgotten, no time to load, or whatever. There's less chance of something going wrong but once it's out of your sight, anything can happen. Baggage handlers are working under tight schedules. The pressure is for them to load the plane on time. There is a reason why the airlines will NOT compensate for damaged car seats! 

 

The OP might want to look into a Ride Safer Travel Vest, if they think they can get use with it for the future. It can't be used on the flight but would mean just one car seat to take.

 

The argument "I checked my car seat and it was fine" is not valid. There is no way to really know unless you're in a crash. Car seats are not indestructible and I know what checking luggage has done to enough of my suitcases! (I've flown over 40 airlines in 50 countries). I don't need my car seat going through the same abuse. I've watched baggage handlers at the airport. It's not pretty. Checking car seats is not a smart thing to do. 

post #18 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by swede View Post




you can not possible know this.    OP - it is fine to check your seats.  I have personally examined seats that were fine after being gate checked.  I have NEVER seen a baggage handler jump on seats. 

 


Ah, yes, Swede is back to make antagonistic, ignorant statements that could endanger children. I have observed that you frequently make 'opinion' statements on this forum that are contrary to all established fact.

I 'know' it because car seats are my job. I would not presume to tell you what you know in your field of work. Please refrain from allowing your need to pick a fight endanger children.
post #19 of 50

 

Quote:
you can not possible know this.    OP - it is fine to check your seats.  I have personally examined seats that were fine after being gate checked.  I have NEVER seen a baggage handler jump on seats.  

 

How about tossing the gate checked car seat down the ramp so it goes splat on the ground? Is that cool?? There is another clip where they treat her strollers with the same respect as well. That took me two seconds of Googling. I would NEVER trust a baggage carrier with a car seat.

 

 

http://wn.com/southwest_baggage_handlers

post #20 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post



Ah, yes, Swede is back to make antagonistic, ignorant statements that could endanger children. I have observed that you frequently make 'opinion' statements on this forum that are contrary to all established fact.

I 'know' it because car seats are my job. I would not presume to tell you what you know in your field of work. Please refrain from allowing your need to pick a fight endanger children.
 

 

Not trying to make is antagonistic.  You are the one who acts condescending towards everyone and speaks in absolutes.  You can not know what goes on with every car seat.    MOST carseats are fine when they are gate -checked.  So many of you recommendations are over-the-top and unneccessary.  Why don't you just tell people not to drvie, period.  BEcause that is actually where the danger lies. 

 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Family Safety
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › Family Safety › Air travel Q's (gate check carseat on American)?