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Air travel with Britax Marathon??

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
(x-posted to Toddlers)

We are currently visiting Australia- a 14 hour flight from home. On the way here we had DD (19 mo and 25lb) in her Marathon on the plane. It was miserable. She was so close to the seat in front of her that her feet got squashed, she had no room to move around, etc. (It was good when she slept though.) All other babies on the plane were either in their own seat (toddlers and up) or in parents' laps.

Here's my question: we're considering checking the seat through with luggage (it's also a beast and super heavy to carry through the airport) and have her just sit in the seat with the plane seatbelt so she has wiggle room or so she can lay sideways onto my lap. What do you think of the safety of this? Apparently in Australia kids are almost never in carseats on planes and when are toddlers just sit on the regular seat.

If I could I would buy a Sunshine fold-up seat or similar but we're in a small town and will only be in a city when driving through to the airport.
post #2 of 54
You asked the safety question, so I will give you the answer. While folks will most probably tell you they don't use car seats on planes, the bottom line is in an emergency (notice I don't say crash) your child will be much safer in a car seat, than on your lap or with the regular seat belt. There are all sorts of emergencies on planes, the most common being turbulence and an emergency landing (fast landing, bumpy, with lots of braking or other problems). They are not uncommon, turbulence can happen at any time and people get hurt, seriously at times. I will not fly without having my child in a car seat, I have flown in severe turbulence and it is no picnic. I do not want to have to worry about my child flying about the cabin in that situation. In an emergency landing, the flight attendant would most likely tell a parent of a lap baby (wtihout their own seat, obviously not your situation) they need to place them on the floor. While I would object to that, if the child doesn't have a seat, or a car seat in that seat, it is the safest place. I would never want to do that, so we bring a car seat.
post #3 of 54
Honest opinion... during a 14 hour flight, there is just as much chance that she'll be out of her car seat as in it when unexpected turbulence hits, so I completely do not buy into the argument that a car seat is safer in turbulence... yeah it is if you happen to have your child in the car seat. It's a crap shoot on that one. They are just as likely to get hit by a flying object during turbulence... in their car seat or not. But with getting up to go to the bathroom or doing diaper changes or just stretching your legs... she's equally as likely to be standing up or unrestrained when turbulence hits... if it does. I mean on these long trips, they cruise at such a high altitude, there is rarely much turbulence up there and when known turbulence occurs (take off and landing), everyone has to be restrained, anyway.

Unless they've been there, most people cannot fathom flying for 14 hours with a small child and it's easy to make blanket statements. I mean, it is usually 14 hours of hell trying to occupy your child in such a small space. I cannot imagine trying to keep our dd occupied if she wasn't able to have the tray table down and room to see the TV screen. We have flown transatlanticly (max flight time 15 hours) about 12 times since dd was born (she's 5). Going is always easier because dd sleeps (red-eye). But flying back is always so much more difficult because they are awake most of the trip (not sure which direction you're flying, but if it's to the US, I guess your outbound trip was the daytime trip?) When dd was a baby, we sat at the bulkhead and used the extension belt for take-off and landing and she slept in a bassinet that was attached to the bulkhead. Since she was about 2, we let her sit in the the seat with a regular belt. I feel very confident that the belt would keep her well restrained in the case of any problems that are survivable. Just my opinion.
post #4 of 54
Carseats are safer. Period.
post #5 of 54
Have you considered getting a smaller car seat for the trip?

I've flown with two in marathons, and it was a pain in the ass. In addition, the seats both got STUCK, and it took us 45 minutes to deplane (I thought the attendants were going to crawl up our rears, not that I blame them, but I could have done without their snapping while trying to herd three little kids) even after everyone was off, because we couldn't get the buckle of the airplane seatbelt to unlatch, as during the long flight it had settled to a very odd almost unreachable spot.

With a huge carseat, you'll have that issue of space. Though if you don't have a carseat, it can be hard for kids to get comfortable, as well. My advice would be to look for a smaller seat if you can afford it. My kids sleep a lot better in their seats than they do flying without. Now that we have to have them just in the regular seat with seatbelt (we only take boosters now, and can't use them on the plane) I miss having the option of the less bulky carseat.
post #6 of 54
Tigerchild - next time twist the belt one time so the buckle is turned around. This will allow to you easily unlatch the belt.

Moochie Mama - I'd absolutely take the seat on the plane. Couple of reasons. . .

1) Checked items get thrown around. I've know of more than a few cases where the carseat was destroyed because it was handled roughly (cracked shell, broken base, etc). Airline will not replace the seat for you, so you'll just have to buy a new one. I don't trust them to take care of something that needs taken care of.

2) 14 hrs is a long flight and she'll probably be more comfortable in the carseat to sleep. Even if she's out of the seat most of the time and in your lap and stretching her legs, when she gets fussy and cranky you'll probably be happy there's a place that she can sleep peacefully without you having to hold her.

3) Most airlines mandate that children under the age of 4 must be in carseats. They won't allow you to put the child just in the seat, even if you wanted to.

4) It's just plain safer. I myself have been injured in a plane during normal turbulence and would never want to put my child in that same position.

I imagine her feet were squished because the seat in front of her was reclined? If that's the case, there are some seats on the plane that do not recline at all -- ask for the row behind these seats so she won't be squished this time.
post #7 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydiamond View Post
Most airlines mandate that children under the age of 4 must be in carseats. They won't allow you to put the child just in the seat, even if you wanted to.
No offense, but have you ever flown outside of the US on a non-US carrier? Most airlines don't ALLOW carseats. I ran into problems time and time again when dd was smaller and I wanted to put her in a carseat. All of the non-US carriers we flew on tried to make us check in the carseat.
post #8 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydiamond View Post

3) Most airlines mandate that children under the age of 4 must be in carseats. They won't allow you to put the child just in the seat, even if you wanted to.
Really, not on any flight I've ever been on. I'm always the odd one out with a carseat. Once they are 2 I don't believe they need a carseat to sit in their own seat.
post #9 of 54
Thread Starter 
We're flying home to the US from Australia so the trip will be mostly during the day (night at home but our body clocks will still think it's day since we fly at 11am here) so she will be awake and wanting to play for most of the trip. On the flight here she slept for the first 1/2 of the flight since we left LA at midnight. It was great to have the seat for while she slept but the flight attendant wouldn't let me move it once she woke up, even though there were empty seats on the plane (none near us unfortunately). We fly Qantas which gave me a huge hassle when I called to reconfirm and mentioned that we had a baby in a carseat- they made me give them all the serial numbers so they could approve the seat, which took 24 hours. I would just go ahead and buy a smaller, lighter seat for the return trip (and check in the Marathon) and for use on future trips but we're staying in a small town that doesn't have anywhere to buy carseats, besides if I bought one here I'm not sure if it would be FAA approved to fly on planes in the US- which is where we live and travel frequently.

So I'm not sure what I'm going to do about the seat for now but what I am going to do is use the technique in "The Secret" and ask the universe to upgrade us to Business class and believe it will happen so it will happen and not having enough space won't be an issue
post #10 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
No offense, but have you ever flown outside of the US on a non-US carrier? Most airlines don't ALLOW carseats. I ran into problems time and time again when dd was smaller and I wanted to put her in a carseat. All of the non-US carriers we flew on tried to make us check in the carseat.
I've flown on Domestic flights where this was the policy -- lap babies until age 2 and from age 2-4 where a separate seat must be purchased, there had to be a carseat.. I wasn't sure which airline the OP was flying on anyway, since it could be a US carrier or not. Did I miss where she said it was a non-US airline in her first post? I see now that she's clarified that in her last post.

So call 'em up and ask beforehand. Seems like a simple solution to me. It would suck to arrive and do the "wrong" thing, whatever that wrong thing may be.
post #11 of 54
She said she's flying Quantas.

I've flown with them. It's the decision of the flight attendants. They actually have the last word on whether or not you are allowed to have a car seat. I know... stinks... but they are not required to follow FAA regulations.

I still think that the seatbelt is enough and on these long flights, I KNOW... KNOW ALL TOO WELL... that it's a PITA to have a car seat that prohibits you from using the tray table, the seat, or the video screen. It's a long, long flight and by the time it's over, you feel like you're about to scream.
post #12 of 54
I just have to say that while everyone has good points, in my BTDT personal opinion, I 110% agree with Velochic. And once you leave the US, the 'rules' go out the window. I would do all in my power to not have a carseat on transatlantic/pacific flights. Domestic is another ball park, but this thread is about international.
post #13 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydiamond View Post
I've flown on Domestic flights where this was the policy -- lap babies until age 2 and from age 2-4 where a separate seat must be purchased, there had to be a carseat.. I wasn't sure which airline the OP was flying on anyway, since it could be a US carrier or not. Did I miss where she said it was a non-US airline in her first post? I see now that she's clarified that in her last post.
No US airline requires carseats.

-Angela
post #14 of 54
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post #15 of 54
Flying International:

We flew to Mexico and had 2 connecting flights with in the country of MX, so i feel that i can give my opinion...if your child is still bf..i would not have the car seat in the plane at all. I understand that you will be on a very long flight..but children sleep better when in mom/dad arms....as far as safety...more people are injured in cars than on airplanes...so i wouldn't even be worried about safety while in flight..i would rather have my child in my lap then stuck inside a huge car seat...we have the Britx marathon too...and that thing is heavy duty. Plus you will be flying over the ocean..i would rather hold my child in my lap than take the chance of not being able to get her out of the seat real fast if you had too. My toddler nursed and nursed while in flight...i took lots of things for him to do...small bottles of bubbles...a movie/dvd player...books...toys...lots of little snacks...he looked out the window alot..we took several bathroom trips....I would check the britax..but find a box for it and check the whole box...that way it doesn't get tore up in transit....just my 2cents though...
post #16 of 54
We've always used our Britax Wizard on the plane. Actually, last time we flew (a couple weeks ago), the flight attendant thanked us profusely for putting DD (34 months) in a car seat. He said that the flight attendants union has been lobbying for forever to make it mandetory...but they're up against the airlines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
I've flown with two in marathons, and it was a pain in the ass. In addition, the seats both got STUCK, and it took us 45 minutes to deplane (I thought the attendants were going to crawl up our rears, not that I blame them, but I could have done without their snapping while trying to herd three little kids) even after everyone was off, because we couldn't get the buckle of the airplane seatbelt to unlatch, as during the long flight it had settled to a very odd almost unreachable spot.
A few tricks of the trade

(in addition to crazydiamond's - next time twist the belt one time so the buckle is turned around. This will allow to you easily unlatch the belt.)

- crazydiamond's trick also allows you to feed the belt to loosen it when trying to unbuckle

- I also like to recline the seat (gives you more slack)

- and my absolute favorite...after you've made sure the buckle is turned around and you've got a little slack...most airplane seatbelts unhook at the seat base...the entire thing just comes out...and, voila, your seat is free!
post #17 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamato3wild ponnie View Post
but children sleep better when in mom/dad arms....as far as safety...more people are injured in cars than on airplanes...so i wouldn't even be worried about safety while in flight..i would rather have my child in my lap then stuck inside a huge car seat...we have the Britx marathon too...and that thing is heavy duty. ..
nice blanket statement there. Not all children sleep better in their parent's arms, and not all parents are comfortable with their children lying on them while flying in an airplane. What if I have to use the restroom? My son slept very well in his car seat, at any age, while flying. He is used to falling asleep in his car seat. As for cars and flying, more people are injured in car accidents BUT children are injured and killed on airplanes as well, the odds are low, but I would NEVER want to be the parent who didn't put them in a car seat while flying and have something happen. It DOES happen, and I don't view a child as "stuck" in a car seat, they are buckled in and safe, and if I need to take them out I can, and if there is turbulence, I can be assured that they won't go flying around the cabin. You know they strap down the coffee pot in flight, why would I want any less for my child? Just because they are in a car seat doesn't mean they can't get out of it from time to time. I fly with my britax marathon, and don't view it as a burden, I figure I am doing the best for my son. Besides, do you have ANY idea how badly they treat car seats that are put in the hold? They throw them!

And yes, the flight attendants WANT children in car seats during flights, because THEY KNOW it's safer, if you do a web search you can find their website, one of their speakers was a flight attendant in that famous crash in Iowa (I believe it was Iowa) that killed one child not in a car seat, and another who was did survive.

I never want to be the parent who wonders "what if...." when it comes to safety. It's not all the difficult to put them in a car seat, and it CAN make a difference when it counts.
post #18 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jwebbal View Post
And yes, the flight attendants WANT children in car seats during flights, because THEY KNOW it's safer
I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but this is an international flight and that is simply not true. The flight attendants do NOT care about kids being in car seats. Mostly the flight attendants just care that you do whatever it takes to keep the baby from crying, whether in the US or OUS. And btw, most of the rest of the world doesn't even put their kids in car seats in the CAR, let alone on a plane! I have flown Lufthansa, Swiss Air, Turkish Air, Quantas, Air Canada, British Airways, and Air France with my dd and with all but Air Canada, either I personally, or I was personally witness to flight attendants arguing that it is their policy that the baby is on the lap (with an extension belt) for take off and landing. It is a REQUIREMENT by several non-US carriers that the baby NOT be in the car seat for take off and landing. I had this happen to me SEVERAL times!!

I think more international airlines are getting exposed to parents wanting car seats on planes, but seriously, they still just give you this "are you a crazy American?" look most of the time, still.
post #19 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but this is an international flight and that is simply not true. The flight attendants do NOT care about kids being in car seats. Mostly the flight attendants just care that you do whatever it takes to keep the baby from crying, whether in the US or OUS. And btw, most of the rest of the world doesn't even put their kids in car seats in the CAR, let alone on a plane! I have flown Lufthansa, Swiss Air, Turkish Air, Quantas, Air Canada, British Airways, and Air France with my dd and with all but Air Canada, either I personally, or I was personally witness to flight attendants arguing that it is their policy that the baby is on the lap (with an extension belt) for take off and landing. It is a REQUIREMENT by several non-US carriers that the baby NOT be in the car seat for take off and landing. I had this happen to me SEVERAL times!!I think more international airlines are getting exposed to parents wanting car seats on planes, but seriously, they still just give you this "are you a crazy American?" look most of the time, still.

I can second this - I have never seen a child in a carseat on a plane (apart from children under 1) but even then they are more likely to be in a sky cot, especially long haul. We fly pretty frequently too.

To the OP, if it was me, I would check the seat. I think the lap belt is pretty safe for a toddler.
post #20 of 54
OK- travel with carseat questions 101: How do you lug them around the airport?

We didn't use one when we flew with ds1 as a toddler.
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