How to Check a Car Seat for Airline Travel

1.

Call your airline carrier to ask if checked car seats count toward its checked bag limit. This is important so you know whether you'll be required to pay extra to check it. Sometimes, you might be able to pack light enough that the checked seat is within the allowed number of baggage and you pay nothing to check it.

2.

Arrive at the airport early. You'll not only be toting your tot with you, but also a bulky car seat, so it may take you some time to get up to the check-in counter. Plus, you may have to wait for a supervisor to approve the car seat as checked-in baggage. You may also be asked to check it at the gate, in which case, you'll have to tote the seat an even longer distance.

3.

Attach an airline tag, found at the check-in counter, to your car seat. Write your name, address and phone number on it. In case the car seat ends up on the wrong flight or is otherwise temporarily lost, it'll eventually find its way to you if it's properly labeled.

4.

Hand the car seat to the person at the check-in counter or to the associate at the gate if checking the seat at the gate. Then, proceed to your plane. Your car seat will be waiting for you in baggage claim at your final destination, or just outside the plane entrance once it lands if you checked it at the gate.

If you're going on vacation with a child who still needs a car seat, it's much more cost-effective to bring your car seat with you rather than to purchase or rent one at your destination. Checking a car seat for airline travel is also easier than you might think, requiring that you carry the bulky contraption only to the airport check-in counter.