own seat or in arms for 5 month old on a flight? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-10-2010, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, I am thinking of flying with my DD to see the inlaws over thanksgiving. I have the option of either having her in arms, which is free or buying her a seat and using the car seat. It is a 1 hour and 20 minute flight.

She's kind of independent so I don't know how well she would tolerate having to be in my arms for that stretch of time. She only naps for 30 minutes at a time so I can't see her sleeping the whole time. But her car seat is soooooo heavy. And since it would be a new experience, and I would be nursing her on the way up and down, she might just be in my lap the whole time anyways, in which case a seat of her own would be a big waste.

Which would you choose? For flying is it worth the extra cost and hassle to have her in her own seat? Or would you feel safe enough to just have your LO on your lap?
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:27 PM
 
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We flew a 2 hour flight when DS was about 10mo. We did in arms because it was free (honestly, that was the kicker for us) We gate checked the carseat so we had to lug it around ANYWAY. It was a PITA because he wanted to get down and run around (well, cruise around)...but it was easier to nurse him on take-off and landing to help his ears.

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Old 09-10-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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You're going to get a whole lot of definitely buy a seat.

Personally the money always wins out - I wish it wasn't true but plane tickets aren't cheap. We flew with ds at about that age & it was doable with him on the lap, although crowded. On such a short flight though I probably wouldn't hesitate.

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Old 09-10-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ebbb View Post
. And since it would be a new experience, and I would be nursing her on the way up and down, she might just be in my lap the whole time anyways, in which case a seat of her own would be a big waste.
I hope the flight attendent mom chimes in because I am rather certain that if she has her own seat, meaning you purchase her a seat, she MUST be in that seat for take off and landing.

It is one of those rules that might seem silly but the FAs must follow the FAA rules whether the rules are reasonable or not.

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Old 09-10-2010, 01:37 PM
 
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money was how we decided/still decide on this one...dd1 flew to florida (great-grandparents live there) 4 times under 2 & we kept her on our laps. the last time, (a month before she turned 2) was tough though. i was pregnant too-just uncomfortable etc.

we are going down again in nov & bought dd1 a seat for the 1st time. dd2 will be 9 mos & will be on our laps.

it's less than 3 hours. lots of nursing, passing back & forth...board books, teething toys...

incidentally, jet blue told me we check our car seat & that dd1 doesn't use it on the plane???? is that true? i thought the rep just didn't know what she was talking about so i asked her to double check, but she is insisting. i thought folks here bring the car seat on the plane & install it?

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Old 09-10-2010, 01:38 PM
 
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Do you need a car seat on the other end?

And yes, if you buy her a seat she must be in it for takeoff, landing, or whenever the fasten seatbelt sign is on.

ETA - ellairiesmom - yes, bring it on the plane and install it. you don't have to at her age, but why wouldn't you if you're bringing it anyways?

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Old 09-10-2010, 01:41 PM
 
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we did lap at 10 months. on the way there, it was an empty flight, so we got an extra seat anyways (we didn't have our car seat though.)

On they way back the flight was full, DS slept the whole way. I'm so glad that we didn't shell out the big bucks for a ticket for him.

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Old 09-10-2010, 01:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ellairiesmom View Post
incidentally, jet blue told me we check our car seat & that dd1 doesn't use it on the plane???? is that true? i thought the rep just didn't know what she was talking about so i asked her to double check, but she is insisting. i thought folks here bring the car seat on the plane & install it?
The rep probably doesn't know what she was talking about.

We have flown with DS since he was 3.5 months old, lots of flights, both domestic and internationally.

If you buy your child a seat, you can use his/her carseat as long as it is FAA approved.

Again, I hope the FA mom chimes in but I don't think the airline can force you to check an FAA approved seat if your child is a ticketed passenger.

I have encountered FAs that didn't even look twice at seats and others who were very concerned about carseats on planes.

When DS was still an infant, a ticket agent at check in asked to see DS's seat and show me where, on the seat, it was labeled as FAA approved. He was nice about it and when I questioned him, he said always checks because it was their policy to check seats prior to boarding.

I was on one flight where the pilots refused to take off because a passenger had their child in an unapproved seat. It was a huge mess.

The seat was probably the first bucket carrier (it was so old and seriously looked like a toy) ever made and the parents kept insisting they were using it. FAs would not back down and said, check the seat or get off the plane. (they checked the seat)

While I never had a FA check our seats FAA clearence, I have had a few that definately checked out how the seat was situated on the seat and whether or not DS was strapped in.

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Old 09-10-2010, 01:58 PM
 
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Also, the rep may have been thinking your seat was a boaster, which are definately not allowed to be used on planes.

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Old 09-10-2010, 01:58 PM
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We did lap until exactly 2 years, and I flew alone with him 11 times before he was 2. The cost was not worth it, and there were many times (probably 3/4 of they time) when the re-seated me to the empty seat, so I ended up having a seat for him for free. We even did lap on an international flight (very long), but had a free seat.

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Old 09-10-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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My kids always get their own seat.

Source Many great resources here!
Quote:
Air travel is proven to be much safer than car travel; however, rear-facing on aircraft is even more important than in cars, as the spacing between airplane seats is so limited that a child in a forward-facing seat will very likely impact the seat in front of them...even in a minor crash or during turbulence. For those who need information to take with them to educate the aircraft crew on the necessity and safety of rear-facing, the following links and quotes should help.

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Old 09-10-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DahliaRW View Post
Do you need a car seat on the other end?

ETA - ellairiesmom - yes, bring it on the plane and install it. you don't have to at her age, but why wouldn't you if you're bringing it anyways?
we hadn't decided if we were going to lug our Britax Blvd with us or rent car seats with the rental car. and now we also have the baby & while we don't need the seat on the plane for her, we will in the car. the 1st time we flew down there, we brought our infant seat & it was such a pain. since then, we have rented with the cars & had great experiences. We always seem to get seats that are brand new or practically brand new & have been able to do a latch install.

so weird that the jet blue agent was so adamant that we check it. maybe she did think we were talking about a booster seat...

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Old 09-10-2010, 04:25 PM
 
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i just saw that the flight was less than 2 hrs! no way I'd be buying my kiddo a ticket.

Most carriers will gate check a stroller, carseat and diaperbag for your lo. Use the stroller to shlep your carseat and one bag. put your kiddo in a wrap, and have a small backpack for essentials. hands free!

When you get to the gate, give them your stroller and carseat. (and your bag, too if they'll take it!). just hold and nurse and play with your lo for the hr and a half.

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Old 09-10-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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i had my son in my arms when we did that flight but they also gave me a seat beside me cause the plane wasn't full so it workd out well for us

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Old 09-10-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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Sorry but I would NEVER fly babe in arms. I don't consider it safe. We always had a seat and besides with three of us, once she was mobile, we had the whole row for her to move around and not bother anyone.
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:14 PM
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On the related question-- We have definitely used our car seat (RFing-- took up more room, guy couldn't recline in front but he didn't get kicked, either!) on a flight, and I'm bringing DD's new Frontier on a plane in about a week. I'm short term disabled and they even said (southwest) they'd install it for me. It's rated for the plane. I bet the woman on the phone was thinking booster, yeah.

I can see why people make both choices about seats for babies-- it's especially hard if it makes or breaks the whole trip or a relative buys the tix (we flew once w/o when family bought us tix, before we realized). But be ready for them to bug you about any wrap/sling etc-- even when we had a seat, the FA bugged me about being sure to take DD out during takeoff/landing (I had the wrap to help hold her to me during the flight, so my arms didn't die or I didn't doze off and drop her when she was big, mind you) which makes little sense but they do have to follow the rules, and them's the rules
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:45 PM
 
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I know everyone is going to say own seat, because it is safer. But for such a short flight, I generally do not buy the extra seat. I bring the car seat along though and check at gate in case there are extra seats. In recent times, extra seats has happened half the time. I just do not have much money for more plane tickets than I have to and on that length of a flight, with my baby nursing and all, it has not been worth paying for the extra seat.
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:52 PM
 
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I didn't ever buy a seat for my daughter when she was under two. No, it is not The Safest Decision Ever, but neither is leaving my house.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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Old 09-10-2010, 09:03 PM
 
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My daughter will be two in November. Up until now she has flown 5 times, all as a lap child. She will make her first flight with her own seat in October but because I am going without my husband, and I will be 6 months pregnant.

I'd hold her on your lap, especially for a flight that is barely over an hour.
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:17 PM
 
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Sorry but I would NEVER fly babe in arms. I don't consider it safe. We always had a seat and besides with three of us, once she was mobile, we had the whole row for her to move around and not bother anyone.
so is it only take off & landing that you consider to be dangerous? i would think there is more of a chance of turbulence during the flight causing an injury than a take off or landing "incident"????? of course, i know nothing about the real %s or anything...just thinking outloud here?

it just seems like a lot of $$$$$ to spend for a seat that only gets used for a few mins of the flight?

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Old 09-10-2010, 10:23 PM
 
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Don't buy her a seat. Just bring the car seat with you. When you get to the gate, check if there are empty seats and you might have one you can use if you need to. If the flight is full, they'll check the car seat for you no big deal.

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Old 09-10-2010, 10:29 PM
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Now that is good advice-- although I'll only ever bring a cheapo seat on a plane, if there's any chance of it getting checked-- there are flights on our typical trip, that are ALWAYS full of extra seats, and people are happy to give a baby a wide berth

And I have definitely heard (here, actually) that take off and landing actually are the dangerous points (well, I read about that years ago too when I had flying phobia, that booking a direct flight is technically safer, not that flying in big commercials planes is all that dangerous). There's more of a chance of problems then, with weather and all that, of having even a little crash that's harsh on passengers. That's why the seat belt signs are on then
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:44 PM
 
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I've flown long hail flights with each of my children when they were infants. I didn't buy either of them a seat- I'm not recommending that, just saying what I've done. In both cases $$$ was the determining factor.

If you do choose not to buy your baby her own seat, I highly recommend a soft structured front carrier, like a baby bjorn, to hold her in. It'll be easier on your arms, and if you do hit turbulence it will keep her on your lap. I definitely recommend having her in a carrier if you walk around mid-flight in case you hit sudden turbulence.

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Old 09-10-2010, 11:07 PM
 
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a good carrier is so helpful in the airport too.

but newark made me take dd1 out of our sling a couple times to go through security. come to think of it, i think i had to take her out of my kanga xt ssc too-which had no metal at all. hmmm.

if i remember correctly, ft lauderdale & aruba both let dd1 stay in the carrier.

anyway-it makes the whole airport experience easier, even if you do have to taken them out at security for a minute.

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Old 09-10-2010, 11:33 PM
 
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We did lap at 7 mths from Canada to Australia. They have special seat belts that attach to yours for taking off and landing on some airlines (Qantas has them) so your LO is protected. You can also use it through the rest of the journey.

For that short a journey I would for sure go in arms.

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Old 09-11-2010, 12:16 AM
 
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We flew when DS was 3 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 13 months, and 27 months.

We did the lap-baby route for the first trip. The very first time, we checked the seat in up front. After that, we did the gate-check thing and I think we scored an empty seat.

From the second trip on, we have always bought him a ticket. I'm on the "if you can afford it, buy it" thought. With the recession, planes have been more fully booked, making the chances of scoring a free empty seat lower. It's been so bad that sometimes people have been bumped off of an overbooked flight, and unable to get rebooked for days.

I suppose I do agree with the FAA with regards to flying being safer than driving. So from that perspective, if you can't afford their own seat, by all means fly with a lap-child.

On the first trip or two, I used the ring sling during flight. It's not allowed for takeoff or landing, but it helped us with holding him and I hoped that if we did hit turbulence it would help keep him safe.

With an older child, I do my best to keep him in his carseat the full trip. Turbulence does happen, and injures people.

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Old 09-11-2010, 02:29 PM
 
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I just wanted to comment on the carrier suggestion. It has been noted by others before that most of the time the fa's will NOT allow you to keep a baby in the carrier on the flight.

I did fly with ds in a stretchy wrap once, he was sound asleep & they allowed him to stay put but it seems that is most definitely the exception so if you decide to use a carrier be prepared to remove dc while on the flight.

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Old 09-15-2010, 11:03 PM
 
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We used our car seat - it was approved for flight too so no it was not a seat only used for flights. And as far as turbelence, I mean we would let her stand in front of her seat once in a while - kept her happy
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:31 PM
 
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The main reason we have bought DS a seat is not for the added safety of him being in a car seat on the plane (although, of course, that's a consideration), but because I have absolutely NO confidence in the airline taking good care of my gate-checked car seat. It's likely to be tossed about, dropped, and damaged. If you gate-check, perhaps bring a cheap seat like a Scenera that wouldn't be a huge financial burden to replace? If you check it at the ticket counter... well... don't!!

Would it be at all possible for the person you are visiting to have a safe seat waiting for you at your destination to skip the gate-checking entirely? Buying a Scenera online for $45 and having it shipped to your destination (assuming you are visiting friends or family) is cheaper than buying another ticket for your babe, and you're guaranteed not to have the headache of dealing with a damaged seat at the airport!

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Old 09-15-2010, 11:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by an_aurora View Post
My kids always get their own seat.

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I was pretty surprised with the flight attendants' reactions to my installing DS's seat RF on the plane. They thought I was doing it wrong! I smiled and told them that it was my impression that I was allowed to install it the same way he'd use it in the car. They were friendly, but surprised enough to just go along with it! It helped to ask for the bulkhead seats when I got to my gate, because that gave me a bit more front to back room to install it.

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