I’m going to go over a couple of options here. Legally, you can have a child up to 24 months of age sit on your lap during a flight. You don’t have to pay for an extra seat, but if it’s a long flight, maybe you don’t want to have to hold them for the whole time. They do make car seats for airplanes, and they also make airline certified travel bags for your current car seat.
Car Seat Travel Bag
A car seat travel bag is a great idea if you do decide to hold your child on your lap, but need your car seat for the rest of your trip. It is a good way to protect your current car seat from scratches and debris while on the go.
The Wheelie Car Seat Travel Bag is easy to use when gate checking a car seat, and made of water-resistant, heavy-duty fabric. It has an adjustable interior strap to hold the strap in place, dual rubber wheels, and a solid platform to prevent dragging.
It has a full-access front opening, making moving a car seat in and out quick and easy. There is a clear ID pocket to make it easy to identify your bag.
This bag will fit the convertible seats, and also an infant car seat with the base.
Car Seat Carrier Bag
This Alnoor USA bag is a less fancy version of the Wheelie Bag. It still protects your seat from debris and dirt while being gate checked, but it will have less support. It is mildew resistant. It is bright orange, has a shoulder strap and double handle. It fits many brands of infant, convertible, and booster seats.
When not in use, it folds up into a handy travel pouch. The bag measures 36″ long, 18″ high, and 18″ deep.
The CARES Child Aviation Restraint System is designed for airplane use on children age 1 and older, weighing anywhere from 22 to 44 pounds. It is FAA approved, and marked clearly if a stewardess were to ask you to verify. (I did find a second brand that says they are FAA approved, but none of the reviews verified that.)
This harness will allow children to be in their own airplane seat. They are too small for just the seat belt to protect them in rough turbulence. The CARES harness is small enough that it will fit in your pocket or purse, and installs in one minute, and weighs one pound. Pretty convenient.
Evenflo Sonus Car Seat
The Evenflo Sonus Convertible car seat passes FAA Inversion requirements for airplane use. This seat can be used in your vehicle as well, but we will just discuss it for airplanes in this article. It will hold your child from 22-50 pounds, or 28-50 inches.
It has up-front adjustment for easy access to harness, 5 shoulder strap positions, 2 cup holders, and a head pillow for support. It weighs 13 pounds. It is narrower than other seats, making it able to fit on an airplane. On airplanes, car seats are only allowed in window seats. They will not allow you to put them on an aisle or middle seat.
This seat is very decently priced if you need a seat for just travel use around the holidays or for vacations. It could be used for multiple years.