Travel after 2 yrs
We flew to Las Vegas over the 4th of July weekend to visit my parents and to do a bit of chillaxin. For us, it was the first time flying with Natalie after she turned 2, which meant 2 things really: 1. She is no longer a lap child and flying as a family is now getting ridiculously expensive since she canâ€™t fly free anymore, and 2. we flew with a convertible car seat for the first time. Now, some people will just check the car seat in but we decided to bring it with us on the plane since Natalie is usually quite comfortable in the car seat. To aid us in moving this awkward large seat around the airport, I bought a used Go Go Kidz Travelmate which turns the car seat into a stroller essentially and made it super easy to move Natalie around in the airport. (that said, I bought the older style â€œscrew onâ€ travelmate and would recommend getting the â€œrelease strapâ€ version as you will need to remove this from the car seat often, see notes below).
That said, there were a few things that made this somewhat of a painâ€¦and I donâ€™t know if we will bring the carseat with us on the plane again. Hereâ€™s why:
1. At security, the car seat was too big to go through the scanner. As a result, it â€œgot flaggedâ€ and had to get checked for explosives. Also, as a result, they had to do a pat down of one of us as standard protocol. Ugh Ugh Ugh. It just made getting through security that much more of a painâ€”just because of the car seat.
2. Because they had to test it for explosives and then try to rescan it, they made us take apart the Travelmate from the car seat. This just caused the time to go through security that much longer as we had to reassemble the Travelmate afterwards (note above â€“ get the quick release version instead)
3. While itâ€™s super easy to pull your child around in the car seat in the airport, once you get on the plane, youâ€™ll need to remove your child from the car seat to get down the aisle â€“ because the car seat itself is likely too wide for the airplane aisle. This is super annoying to be carrying a carryon bag, holding a big car seat and getting a toddler to walk down an airplane aisle at the same time.
4. Technically, you can keep the Travelmate on the car seat and just install the car seat onto the airplane seat to keep everything together, but this then adds an extra 2 inches or so to the back of the car seatâ€¦which means your child is 2 inches closer to kicking the back of the seat in front of them. Once we were in flight, I had Matt change Natalie while I removed the Travelmate just so I could position the car seat as far back as possible against the airplane seat because she kept kicking the seat in front of her at takeoff. This was so much betterâ€¦but now, when getting off the flight, we had carry on bags, a toddler, a car seat and the travelmate to carry separately. Ugh.
5. When you have a child in a car seat, it makes them sit up higher than the trayâ€”so if you try to bring the tray down, it wonâ€™t be able to lie flat. That can be annoying for eating or propping up an iPad. Fortunately for us, I have an old school iPad with an old school big cover, so we were able to prop the iPad up. You can see in this picture how the tray is essentially laying on Natalieâ€™s knees.
All in all, it wasnâ€™t terribleâ€¦but I think we will probably plan to check in the car seat in the future if we need to travel with oneâ€¦and just get the CARES harness instead for the flight.