Now that pandemic-related restrictions are lifting and families can fly abroad this summer, you may be considering whether to bring your baby or child car seat with you when flying.
Sitting on a child car seat can provide a more comfortable flight for young children, but is it worth bringing your car seat with you?
Here are the five essentials you need to know before you board that flight.
Some child car seats are TUV approvedand will have a sticker that says 'Certified For Use in Aircraft', but that's not a mandatory requirement for taking a car seat on a plane.
Typically the car seat must:
Some airlines have their own child car seats you can hire for the duration of the flight if you want to use a car seat but don't want to carry your own, however you must pre-book them in advance.
Check with your airline before you fly.
All major airlines publish the width of the narrowest and widest seats in each class so it's vital to check your car seat is compatible with the aeroplane seat before you fly.
If your car seat doesn't have airline approval or is too big for the airline's restrictions, you may be asked to check it as baggage and won't be able to use it on the flight.
Below are the narrowest seat widths of the economy seats for the most popular airlines, so you can compare at a glance to see if your car seat is suitable.
|Airline||Width of seat|
Not all airlines will allow you to use a child car seat on the plane, even if the seat is approved for use in an aircraft, and some airlines don't allow rear-facing car seats.
It's essential to speak to your airline before you fly, and it's worth confirming the make and model of your car seat too.
Try to email ahead of time and get something in writing so you can show airline staff if queried at the gate.
Whether your car seat is forward or rear-facing, it's essential that it's placed next to a window, so that in the event of an emergency all passengers can evacuate quickly and easily.
Here's our step-by-step guide to setting up a forward-facing child car seat on an aeroplane seat:
But if your car seat is rearward-facing, it's slightly different. Here's our step-by-step guide to setting up a rear-facing child car seat on an aeroplane seat:
This group 0+ car seat is approved for use from birth up until around 15 months.
It offers a lie-flat position thanks to the removable seat insert, and an 11-position height adjustment so you can tailor the car seat to comfortably fit your child.
Approved for use from birth up to 15 months, this aeroplane-friendly car seat has a practical multi-height headrest and harness system that adjust simultaneously to fit your little one, so you won't need to fiddle about with re-threading the five-point harness.
Take a look at our Joie i-Gemm review to see how this car seat fared in our tough tests.
This airline-approved car seat features a one-handed harness for securing your baby quickly and easily, and it comes with an inlay for a snug and near-flat lying position.
It's approved from birth up to about 12 months old or until your child is more than 75cm in length.
These car seats are narrow and relatively light, so you won't be struggling with carrying a bulky and heavy infant seat through a busy airport.
This travel system-compatible car seat can be used from birth up until around 18 months.
When used with the Base Z it has a 180° rotation to make it easier to put your baby in the seat, and outside of a car the seat can recline to a more ergonomic lie-flat position that's better for baby.
This Group 0+ budget-friendly car seat is approved from birth to around 15 months.
It has features typically seen on pricier car seats, including a removable newborn body-support cushion and a sun canopy.
If you accidentally mess the covers they can be removed and hand-washed.
As well as a car seat, many airlines also allow you to bring a pushchair on a plane.
Some strollers are small enough to be taken into the cabin with you, while larger buggies will need to be checked into the hold.