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Traveling with 18-month-old -- buy a seat or not?

Traveling with 18-month-old -- buy a seat or not?

Jun 5th, 2000, 09:33 AM
  #1  
jean
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Traveling with 18-month-old -- buy a seat or not?

My husband and I will be traveling from NYC to Florida with our 18-month-old son. I know the airline does not require him to have his own seat, but what would be the safest and most comfortable arrangement for all of us?? Any help is appreciated.
 
Jun 5th, 2000, 09:49 AM
  #2  
ilisa
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Frankly, I can't believe people even think there is a choice in the matter. Without a doubt, the safest and most comfortable arrangements would be to buy him a seat. Young children can make very ugly projectiles in the event of severe turbulence. That is fact, not speculation. Just about all airlines offer half price tickets for children under the age of two. When we went to Florida in April, our daughter's ticket cost a mere $86. She was very comfortable and slept most of the way, which I no doubt attribute to the fact that she was in her seat. Of course, you can not purchase a seat, bring along your carseat and hope there are open seats on the plane, but why take the chance? Also, do you really want to hold a squirming 18 month old child on your lap for 3 hours?
 
Jun 5th, 2000, 10:38 AM
  #3  
Cindy
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Jean,

I've flown over the last 8 years with various combinations of my three kids since they were born. We usually go cross-country, so extra seats were a major financial burden (I don't recall any half-priced seats, but maybe things have changed). Ilisa is absolutely correct that the best situation is separate seating for the little ones. But I'd be lying if I said I always did that, due to the aforementioned financial considerations. Often, we would call and determine how full the flight was, and we took care to pick flights that were usually undersubscribed. In those situations, we would not buy the seat and would request an aisle and a window, leaving the middle open. We would just strap the kid into that seat, and no one ever asked us to move. One of the airlines was even nice about it and said they would try to "hold" that middle seat unless it was needed, so you might ask about this. Also, one of our kids would never sit in her own seat, screaming unless she was held the whole time. So we didn't buy seats for her every time either.

That said, I think 18 months old is awfully big and squirmy to try to fly as a lap baby. The car seat does give you some control, as the kids are used to sitting in them for long stretches. Also, it is very cramped with you and a big kid in one seat. So if you don't get the seat, you won't be the first person to do it. You also won't be the worst parent in the world (after all, that honor belongs to me). But if you can swing it, go ahead and opt for the peace of mind and comfort of the extra seat for the child.

Have fun!
 
Jun 5th, 2000, 11:33 AM
  #4  
ilisa
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Regarding the half price seats, airlines do indeed offer them. However, in many cases, you have to ask for them; the reduced rates won't automatically be offered.
 
Jun 5th, 2000, 12:44 PM
  #5  
jean
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Thank you both for your information. I think we will probably opt for the extra seat. I'll be sure to ask about the half price option.
 
Jun 10th, 2000, 12:32 PM
  #6  
SuziQ
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In response to Cindy, I have never known an airline to "hold" a middle seat for anyone. Most flights now are wayyy overbooked. You cannot count on the airlines to have an extra seat to give to you. My advice is to buy the extra seat. Kids that age are used to being in their car seat and it is much safer. Remember that United crash in Sioux Ciy, Iowa? The flight attendant told the woman to put her lap baby on the floor of the plane and the baby was killed. Both the Dept. of Transportation and the Flight Attendants Union strongly urge parents to buy the extra seat. Clear air turbulence does occur even on a clear day, and it is extremely dangerous to hold a child on one's lap. And from a practical stand point, do you want to hold a squirming toddler for x amount of time in a confining space. For safety and your own sanity, buy the seat.
 
Jun 26th, 2000, 03:21 AM
  #7  
Roger Vineall
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For the sake of the poor person who may end up sitting between you if the flight is full, please book the extra seat! (In addition to the safety considerations raised above.)
 
Jul 8th, 2000, 04:51 PM
  #8  
Rhonda
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Jean, Go for the seat. In addition to the safety concerns, the room in most arilines has diminished to the point there isn't room for an adult in a seat, much less one with a child. May I make a suggestion if you have a morning flight? Take along some kellogs milk mates- they are small bowl of cereal, milk and spoon. The last morning flight I was on with my daughter, all they offered were peanuts (at 7am no less) and I was glad I brought her breakfast.
 
Jul 9th, 2000, 11:04 PM
  #9  
I_Have_A_Better_Suggestion
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How about strangling the little rugrut? That way, we won't have to listen to the brat scream & cry on the plane. Just a suggestion, dear.
 
Jul 10th, 2000, 05:41 AM
  #10  
cass
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Dear Jean -- Ignore the previous pre-Neanderthal and praise the gods it probably won't reproduce, given its attitude.

By all means get the extra seat -- it's better all around. But also see other posts for suggestions as to how to entertain the boy, since 18 months is a tough age: too old to sleep all the way, too young to hold a crayon or read, and full of beans. Have a stash of new toys (little cars, maybe with a home-drawn cardboard lap "road"), see if he'll tolerate earphones and music or book-on-tape (some will, some consider earphones the devil's invention), have lots of snacks (raisins, etc.) and read to him as a treat "if he's good" (but do it anyway. This is a great time to introduce him to travel etiquette, like not kicking seats, banging tray-tables, etc. Better now than at Intractable 2,24,6, or 8 yrs.
 
Oct 9th, 2000, 01:46 PM
  #11  
Mom
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On overseas flights, ask to sit where you can have a cot. They over the cots for infants for free. They are hooked up to the bulkheads and baby sleeps in first class comfort and can stay in the cot and play. It worked beautifully for me on a flight from NYC to Helsinki. Baby arrived happy and well rested. I brought her own food. I didn't want to depend on an airline to know what she may or may not like to eat.
 
Oct 13th, 2000, 05:36 AM
  #12  
Medevac
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I am not 100% sure about the States, but in many countries, kids under the age of 2 aren't allowed to sit in an adult seat without a safety approved car seat. So if you take the extra seat (good idea if you can) make sure you have one. If you don't, you child may end up sliding under the belt, or more horrifyingly, catch the belt under the chin. Definitely get a bassinette (sp), kids just fall asleep straight away, making it much less stressful for you, and those around you. All the flight attendants will then remark on what a wonderful child you have and will be falling over themselves to help you. Trust me, I've seen it.
 
Dec 5th, 2000, 04:17 AM
  #13  
Kim
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Does anyone have experience with taking the car seat for the plane, but not needing the car seat at your destination? For example, on a cruise or going to a big city where you won't be renting a car, but using the subway. I always see one of the pluses mentioned is that you will have your car seat at your destination, but I am trying to figure out what to do with the car seat when I get there. Thanks!
 
Dec 5th, 2000, 05:51 AM
  #14  
ilisa
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Just keep the car seat in your hotel room. You can purchase through rightstart.com or onestepahead.com carrier bags for the car seat. For all those suggesting a bassinet, you should be well aware that an 18 month old won't fit into one.
 
Dec 5th, 2000, 07:11 AM
  #15  
Kim
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Yes, I know keeping it in the hotel room seems like the logical answer. I was concerned since we were thinking about a trip to Paris, where I understand the hotel rooms may be small. That's why I was curious if anyone has encountered this problem on a cruise where the cabins are also very small.
 
Dec 5th, 2000, 07:20 AM
  #16  
Gary
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Isn't there a way to check it with the airline upon your arrival. I know they used to do things like that, but, admittedly, the only time I tried it was many years ago. They gave me a claim check. You might call them and ask. OR--wouldn't the boat have a hold for excess luggage and such?
 
Dec 7th, 2000, 08:39 AM
  #17  
Kim
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Thanks for the advice. That's a good idea to ask the airline. For some reason I thought that wasn't an option, but it won't hurt to check. Otherwise, the hotel could probably store it for us.
 
Dec 12th, 2000, 12:08 PM
  #18  
xxxx
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Hey Tipper;
Aren't you the guy who threatened Jeff in his post about walking in the hallways outside your room with a crying child...oh and someone traveling with a 7 year you said you would wring their neck "with your bare hands"
Real Hero aren't you?
 
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