Airline Policies On Car Seats: What You Need to Know in 2023

Travelling with a toddler can be both exciting and challenging, and transport rules can make it harder. Airlines, in particular, have rules you must follow. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines have placed specific guidelines to ensure the safety of their passengers, adults and children alike. This article will discuss the key aspects of airline policies on car seats for this year and beyond.

Importance of Car Seats 

Before diving into the airline policies on car seats, let’s look at why you need to take one with you on your travels.

Car seats reduce the risk of injury in a car accident by 71% to 82%. The FAA (Federal Aviation Association) recommends bringing your child’s car seat on a plane for the safest possible trip. You can start your car seat search with Diono; they have an incredible collection, ranging from infant to rear-facing convertible car seats.

What to Consider When Flying With a Car Seat?

While the details vary from airline to airline, certain car seat specifications apply for air travel across all airlines. Here’s what you should know about flying with a car seat and how to decide which car seat is right for your family. 

FAA Approval And Certification

First, not all car seats available are safe and suitable for air travel. To ensure that yours is, look for a white sticker near the car seat’s base, with print in black and red, that says your car seat is ‘FAA approved’ and suitable for air travel. When buying a car seat to take on a plane, locate that label first. 

The Right Car Seat 

More often than not, if you have a baby under two, airlines don’t need you to buy a separate airline ticket for them if you plan to carry them in your lap. However, some airlines might leave it up to you to get a separate seat for your baby for a more comfortable travel experience. It’s pertinent that you get a car seat if your child is older than two since they will sit separately. 

Rear-Facing, Forward-Facing vs. Booster Car Seats

Three main kinds of car seats are available: booster, rear, and front-facing car seats. Car seats without a back, such as boosters, are not allowed on planes. That is because they don’t secure your child’s back like the other car seats do and may cause abdominal injury in case of sudden turbulence. That leaves us with the rear and forward-facing ones. 

Rear-facing car seats are for children up to three, while the forward-facing ones are for those up to seven years old. In other words, your car seat choice depends heavily on your little one’s height and age. 

Seat Size Requirements

You must ensure your car seat fits in the plane’s seat. While most FAA-approved car seats will work in an airplane seat, double-checking the measurements won’t hurt. Ensure your car seat is within 16 inches, and you’ll be ready to go.

Other Considerations

Check for the installation procedures for your car seat beforehand. Airlines usually provide instructions on fastening your car seat using the aircraft’s seat belt. Still, it’s best to ask for details once you board the plane won’t hurt. In addition, use a protective bag to cover your car seat while carrying it through airports. Not only will this keep it clean, but it will also prevent any damage. 


Travelling with a toddler is no small feat, and ultimately, your child doesn’t have to sit in the car seat for the entire plane ride. However, having one on you is safer to make your journey more manageable. Just check your specific airline policies on car seats beforehand to avoid airport or aeroplane hassle. 

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