car seats and airplanes

I have been going over, and over, and over which car seat to take on 9 hours of flight time to Germany (and two pretty short layovers). M currently uses an Evenflo Tribute (retired edition) in my car, and a Britax Marathon in my mom’s car. We also have a Cosco Apt hanging out in my grandma’s garage. The Britax is out because of its weight (19.5 lbs). The Cosco Apt weighs 11 lbs and the Evenflo Tribute weighs 10 lbs, so pretty much the same.

So it then comes down to width. The Tribute is 18.6 inches wide, and the Apt is 22 inches wide at the cupholders. Therefore, the Tribute is my winner. I opted not to buy a Cosco Scenera, even though it would’ve given me an extra inch of room, because we would only be using it on this trip. Unless someone gave me one, she wouldn’t need it or be able to use it much after the trip. But at 17.6 inches wide and 11 lbs, it sounds like a good option for those looking for a travel seat. The seat on our short Air Canada flights (45-60 min) will be 18 inches wide, and the seats on our longer flight (7.5 hours!) will be 18.5 inches wide, so we should be ok.

The Cosco Apt
The Cosco Apt
Cosco Scenera
Cosco Scenera
Evenflo Tribute
Evenflo Tribute

I heard good things and bad things about the Radian XRT car seat, the bad mostly being it’s heavy weight, the good being that it folds down. It’s a very pricey purchase though, and I didn’t really want to spend any extra money for the trip if I could get by with the seats we already have. I can carry them in my travel car seat case, which I wear like a backpack. With their light weight, the burden is almost unnoticeable, even if it is bulky worn that way. I could also use bungee cords to strap it to the stroller for in the airport. I’ll have to give it a dry run before we go and see which way I prefer. I plan to have only the diaper bag as extra baggage in the airport, including pull-ups, clothes, snacks, and entertainment.

Both the Tribute and Apt are going to be useless to me pretty soon, though, as they max out at 40 lbs. My daughter is at least 35 lbs now, I think. So I’m looking at what to buy for our next seat. I don’t really have a preference except that she be able to sleep in it relatively well, so not be straight up and down but have a bit of an incline and head rest or lip she can rest her head against. Comfortable, in other words. I am also not going to buy one brand new that costs over $100 (I can often find deals for the more expensive car seats that have been used only a few times, or just the box was opened, etc). Suggestions? The Radian will be over $100 for sure, but what about the Britax family?

Author: Mother of All Things

Mother by fostering, adoption, and marriage... wife to my best friend... Bay area critical care nurse... travel in my blood, reading in my bones, clean food on my mind!

10 thoughts on “car seats and airplanes”

  1. I love the Britax Marathon and Boulevard and I get them on Craigslist for $50-75. They’re comfortable like a La-Z-Boy. I think they go up to 70-80 lbs but they are wide. Why do you want her in a car seat on the plane, for safety, or to keep her contained? I always check the car seat because it’s not worth the hassle and won’t do much in a plane crash.

    1. It’s to keep her contained! She is very used to long travel in her car seat and doesn’t whine to get out. Plus she will stand on the plane seat and jump and throw things over the headrest and whine to get out, etc. It will be much better with a seat for sleeping too, because she is so used to sleeping in one on trips.

  2. With the slight difference between the two seat weights and widths, I would go with whichever she seems most comfortable in and is used to. I have heard not to check car seats because they can be compromised in handling and flight. I have a graco my size something like that that goes to 65-70lbs forward facing and 40lbs rear facing. I think you forward face, right? Might look into one that can turn into a booster if she fits those. Hmm, but those don’t have much recline to them.

    1. I do feel good that she is used to her Tribute and sleeps well in it, so it shouldnt be a problem for her to get comfy on the plane. I think I will take her to a store when its time to get the next one so she can try some out!

      1. True, it is tempting! But I don’t have one already so I didn’t want to spend that much money. I’m also not sure if she’ll sleep as well that upright, and don’t want too much extra weight during layovers.

  3. Just wondering how it went. I am debating between taking my Titan 65 or borrowing a Cosco Apt for the airplane on our 10 hour trip from Europe to the USA. Both are wider overall than the 17 inches stipulated by British airways, but I don’t know if that refers to the width of the base or the overall width. Also, do you know if they allow you to use the carseat in a middle seat, or only a window? Thanks so much! This is making me crazy with indecisiveness !

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