Getting to the airport with a toddler - 510 Families
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Getting to the airport with a toddler

Getting to the airport with babies or toddlers is a challenge on a good day. Every time we fly, we consider the car seat, flying, destination trifecta to determine our best course of action. It’s just not as simple as grown adults flying to a place, is it?

Here are my tips for you for on the airplane:

  • BABIES. Babies under two years may fly on your lap. Babies over 9 months, however, are squirmy and annoying and you’ll often wish they had their own seat.
  • TODDLERS. Children over two years require their own airplane ticket and car-seat at the destination. I think they are more comfortable (read: more likely to sleep!) on the airplane with a car seat; however a CARES restraint system is much less hassle.
  • PRESCHOOLERS. These guys still need a car seat or booster at both ends of the flight but can manage just fine in the airplane seat. Yay!

If you do not need a car seat on the airplane, you can use B.A.B.E.S. Airporter shuttle service (510-317-6983) to get to/from the airport in a carseat and deal with the rest of your vacation as needed. We used BABES on our recent trip to Denmark. I was nervous about the driver showing up with the right seats on both ends of the trip, but it all worked just as it was supposed to.

The question of whether or not to lug a car seat on board an airplane has as much to do with where you’re going as what you’re child can handle. Here are a few examples:

  • Destination car seat provided (or no car seat needed): For little big kids, there are three scenarios in which you do not need to pack a car seat at all: “grandma” visit (where someone has one waiting), the “rental”, and “public transit trip” (where you’ll be on trains and have no need of a car seat).
  • Destination car seat needed: If you’re packing it, you’ll want to us it on-board or invest in a cushy backpack device so it doesn’t get all smacked up to hell by the cargo handlers. We have a carseat travel bag for packing it with luggage. We also have a strappy carseat backpack device for when we’re using it on the plane.

Are there any other services like BABES that you’ve had good luck with? Please share in the comments.

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2 thoughts on “Getting to the airport with a toddler”

  1. I regularly check the carseat through with no bag and it has never been a problem. It is so much easier to just drop the carsear at curbside check in than to lug it through the airport. On the rare occasions when I’ve ised it on the plane, I bungee cord it to my umbrella stroller to wheel it through the airport.

    We are thinking of using ABC shuttle service for our next flight. They advertise that they will provide carseats as long as you give them advance notice when you make the reservation and we don’t need our carseat at our destination.

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