Managing 3 car seats on a plane - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 07-03-2012, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know checking is unsafe, so I want to avoid that. I have a 5yo harnessed in a nautilus, and a 3yo and 7mo both rearfacing in radians. First thought, should I forward face the baby on the plane? I don't think its possible to rf a radian on a plane without pissing off the person in front. And seriously.. how will we physically DO it? The smart carts at the airport will help a little, but how will we *physically* get onto the plane, down those cramped aisles, to our seats... carrying a baby, 3 car seats, carryons, and supervising 2 other kids? The thought of it fills me with dread. Has anyone here ever traveled with more car seats than adults? 

 

I don't trust family to be able to borrow car seats that are SAFE for the kids to just use at the destination. we're not traveling to an region that... to put it gently, "has a culture that respects car seat safety"


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#2 of 12 Old 07-03-2012, 12:31 PM
 
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I'm assuming you have another adult?

 

Would your budget stretch to buying travel seats? I'm thinking a scenera for the baby and maestro for the 3yo if you would consider ff. Maestro for 5 yo or possibly a turbobooster if you are up for booster training for this trip. For boarding you can put the scenera on your back (sling it with the tether clipped to the seat), baby on front in carrier. Other adult with maestro and 3 yo and 5 year old carrying own maestro or the bottom half of the turbo (pack the back in a suitcase).  For the airport, bring an umbrella stroller and bungee the scenera to it and put baby in or put 3 yo in stroller, baby on back and one car seat hanging over back of stroller. Other adult pushes cart with hand luggage and other seats. 

 

If you can't get new seats, just bring plenty of bungees, pile everything on a cart and tie it down, bring a stroller for the 3yo and carrier for the baby and park yourself at the gate. Make sure you board first. Personally, I would not attempt to rear face a radian on a plane because I think you'd be in for a fight and I don't like confrontation. A scenera should be OK. 

 

If you are the only adult then all I can say is best of luck and try and find a good samaritan to help you. 

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#3 of 12 Old 07-03-2012, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, dh is coming too :) I might be able to get one new seat.. but not multiple. I thought about buying a turbobooster at the destination then only having to deal with that on the way back. My hesitation for boostering her for the trip is that there's a good chance there will be some several hour drives where falling asleep is likely. slumping over while sleeping in a booster doesn't seem super safe! But, your suggestion of putting the back of the booster in a suitcase and having her carry on the bottom.. I like it! That sounds great. Is it okay to do that with one of the radians, too? Since they fold? If it was well padded with clothes on all sides? Then we'd carry on the baby's seat and have the 3yo sit in the booster and the 5yo just in the plane's seat. 


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#4 of 12 Old 07-03-2012, 01:09 PM
 
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I'm not sure about the Radian in the suitcase. It might be safe but it's super heavy remember. You can't have your child in a booster on the plane. You'd need to put it in the overhead bins. In your situation, I would buy a scenera for baby and a turbobooster for the 5 year old. Bring the Radian for the 3 yo on the plane. If sleeping in the booster causes slump I would lock the seatbelt but I am not a tech so that is just my personal comfort level. Hopefully someone more expert than me will chime in! 

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#5 of 12 Old 07-03-2012, 02:22 PM
 
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If you're only going to invest in one travel seat, I'd get a ride safer travel vest.  Your oldest can use it now, and then your middle child can use it on future trips when your oldest is booster ready.  If you can swing two, I'd do a rstv for the oldest and a scenera for one of the younger two (probably the baby so the baby can rf on the plane - a scenera is oodles lighter than the radian).  I see you're in WA.  If you're in the seattle area I'd be happy to let you borrow my travel vest.  I also have a complete air we're not using, which is nice and lightweight for hauling through the airport (especially compared to the radian!).   I've hauled both a nautilus and a radian through the airport and both were heavy and torture!  The radian was a bit easier because it folded flat.  And I did use to have a stroller with a sibling step that I would strap it to to get through the airport.  Getting kids on the plane with or without seats is a hassle any way you do it!


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#6 of 12 Old 07-03-2012, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by LiLStar View Post

And seriously.. how will we physically DO it? The smart carts at the airport will help a little, but how will we *physically* get onto the plane, down those cramped aisles, to our seats... carrying a baby, 3 car seats, carryons, and supervising 2 other kids? The thought of it fills me with dread. Has anyone here ever traveled with more car seats than adults?

I have done one adult with one infant and a 6yo, and two adults with a baby, a kid, one carseat, two laptops, a huge camera, a nebulizer for the baby's asthma meds, and a large art portfolio.

 

We used 30 bins at the security checkpoint.  It was hell. 

 

Since then, I have adopted the following family rules for air travel:

- If you can walk, you walk and you carry your own carry-on (or you don't have one).  Your 5 and 3yos can either carry their own stuff or go without carry-ons.  I recommend small backpacks.

- As the mom, I am carrying ONE bag.  Now that my kids are big, it's my purse.  When they were little, it was the diaper bag with emergency supplies (spare shirt for me, change of clothes for baby), diapers, prescription medication, and small amusements (wikistix, 2 small books, pack of crayons, small notebook - pack in kid carry-ons if that is an option).  It's tempting to stuff that thing to the gills, but don't give in.  Allow one diaper per hour you will be in transit (in the airport plus in the air).  Put the rest in your checked baggage or purchase more at your destination.  If your supply looks inadequate before takeoff, they do sell diapers at the airport. 

- Don't pack snacks.  Put aside a snack budget to pick up some snacks and drinks once you pass security.

- Tell Dad to limit his carry-ons too.  It's no good you and the kids each bringing one thing plus seats while he brings 4 things. 

 

If you have the time and money, buy a booster for the oldest kid on amazon or babiesrus.com and have it shipped to the people you are visiting - you can't use a booster on the plane anyway, and a high back booster will provide support for a kid who falls asleep in the car.  Also, you will not all be able to sit in one row.  If you can, plan to split the kids up relatively evenly based on labor intensity of keeping each child amused and properly restrained throughout the flight. 

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#7 of 12 Old 07-03-2012, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good call on making the kids carry their own stuff. They are definitely capable. I learned about being conservative with carry ons when traveling with a 2yo and nb! (That was *not* a fun trip) PMing you dahlia..


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#8 of 12 Old 07-03-2012, 03:40 PM
 
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I second dahlia. I have both the rstv and a scenera and love both for travel. My dd found the vest so comfortable, that she asks to wear it around the home any time she sees it. For the scenera, it has a lip at the harness adjuster and it works perfectly to bungee cord the seat to a rolling carry- on. And then give you a nice shelf to put a purse or tote and/or bottle on top.

I suggest having one adult Install the seats on the plane while the other runs the energy out of the kids at the gate.

Security will be your biggest pain. Hopefully you will get airports that have a lane just for those with special needs.

Rolls of scotch tape can entertain for a long time

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#9 of 12 Old 07-05-2012, 12:36 AM
 
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If I could only get one new car seat for the trip, it would probably be a Scenera for the baby. I would NOT attempt to rear-face a Radian on a plane without an angle adjuster, and I wouldn't use an angle adjuster for a baby that young anyway. Will the 5 year old fit in a Radian? If so, I'd take both Radians and FF them on the plane. Pack a RF boot and an angle adjuster in your luggage to RF the 3 year old at your destination if you like. Or if the 5 year old is big enough and mature enough to use a booster, do that. Even a backless booster would be OK (and cheap) if the child's big enough unless you'll be doing a lot of driving at your destination and he's likely to fall asleep or get too squirmy to stay put in a booster at all.


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#10 of 12 Old 07-11-2012, 02:29 PM
 
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I have done this (it was 4 kids and 2 mommies).  There are a couple of rules that you need to know.

1.  Airlines do not allow booster seats on the plane.  Period.

2.  Most Airlines will only allow car seats in the window seat, you will need to check with your airline since that means you would only be able to have 2 in car seats.

3.  The radian will not rear face an airplane, I have tried. Even in the bulkhead seat, the RF the seat is very unbalanced.

 

I had a couple of thoughts, do you have a friend who would trade infant car seats with you for the trip, my BFF did that our trip (she did not want to carry 3 radians).

 

You can check your oldest's seat, or by/borrow an inexpensive booster seat at your location.  I know that a backless booster will fit in a suitcase, we do it all the time.  The radian backpacks are great, and you can easily put the whole thing through security, which leaves you hands free.  You can also secure 2 car seats to one of those metal luggage carriers (you use a suitcase belt to secure one facing like it was a FF car seat to the rack, then use another strap so secure a second car seat to the first, think of it like a puzzle).  Will you be bringing and umbrella stroller?, if so, you can bungee cord a car seat to the back of the stroller (and then gate check the stroller).


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#11 of 12 Old 07-11-2012, 04:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by anj_rn View Post

I have done this (it was 4 kids and 2 mommies).  There are a couple of rules that you need to know.

1.  Airlines do not allow booster seats on the plane.  Period.

2.  Most Airlines will only allow car seats in the window seat, you will need to check with your airline since that means you would only be able to have 2 in car seats.

3.  The radian will not rear face an airplane, I have tried. Even in the bulkhead seat, the RF the seat is very unbalanced.

 

I had a couple of thoughts, do you have a friend who would trade infant car seats with you for the trip, my BFF did that our trip (she did not want to carry 3 radians).

 

You can check your oldest's seat, or by/borrow an inexpensive booster seat at your location.  I know that a backless booster will fit in a suitcase, we do it all the time.  The radian backpacks are great, and you can easily put the whole thing through security, which leaves you hands free.  You can also secure 2 car seats to one of those metal luggage carriers (you use a suitcase belt to secure one facing like it was a FF car seat to the rack, then use another strap so secure a second car seat to the first, think of it like a puzzle).  Will you be bringing and umbrella stroller?, if so, you can bungee cord a car seat to the back of the stroller (and then gate check the stroller).

You can have car seats side by side on the plane, they just can't be blocking another person in (so in our case, we had one by the window, one in the middle, and an adult on the aisle seat).  I have brought our backless booster on the plane many times and put it in the overhead bin.  Usually the flight attendants just remind me it can't be sat in during flight and I tell them I'm going to stow it and their fine.  I've done this on at least 6 different flights with no issue.


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#12 of 12 Old 07-11-2012, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've borrowed DahliaRW's travel vest (THANK YOU!) for my oldest, so that will go in a carry on bag, she will use the plane seat belt, and the boys will ff in their radians. I'll stash the bases in a carry on so I don't risk them getting lost and not having them at the destination. I won't be bringing a stroller, but we do have a small, foldable luggage cart that we can bungee a car seat onto, plus we'll use one of the airport carts! I'm glad they fold and are compact. Even though radians are heavy as all heck, their trimness should be much more manageable than the ginormous marathon we brought when we flew with dd as a baby. And it was basically IMPOSSIBLE to keep her from kicking the seat in front of her in that dang marathon! I'm optimistic that seat kicking will be much less of an issue with the radians. So, I think we're going to survive the car seat situation. Now all I need to stress about is the other travel-related stuff that I can't control (much) ;)

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