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Trouble purchasing airline seat for 18 month old

Old Feb 5th, 2008, 05:37 AM
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Trouble purchasing airline seat for 18 month old

My wife and I are planning on traveling from Chicago to Rome in June with our son who will be 18 months old at that time.

I would like to buy a seat for him (and ideally use a car seat on the plane). I have had no luck finding an airline that will allow this (I have talked to Delta, Alitalia, and Lufthana so far). Northwest claims this is not an issue, but I have my doubts that will change once I get on the plane (after already paying for the seat).

Is this reality or am I asking the wrong question? Any thoughts?
btheld is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2008, 05:43 AM
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All you need to do is pay the child fare for his seat. Probably just by saying he's 2 years old will you have an easier time.

I'm a travel agent in South Africa and that is usually what we would do for a client who was wanting to buy a seat for an older infant. The airlines consider him a child from the age of 2, or you have the option of paying the child fare before that for him to occupy a seat.

When phoning the airlines just ask them to quote you on a child aged 2. There won't be any problems once you've paid for the ticket. They're getting 65% more than they would for the fare if you didn't buy a seat.

The car seat will be an issue, most airlines don't allow them in the cabin any more at all. How big is he? If he's a fairly big child I don't see much of a problem at all. And it really would save you from fighting an 18 month old for such a long flight LOL.

Best of luck
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Old Feb 5th, 2008, 06:01 AM
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In have travelled flown 13 times with our 2 and a half year old and I would under NO circumstances lie about his age.

As far as I am aware (and I am no expert) their are international guidelines regarding the carrying of infants/toddlers and each carriers uses a slightly different interpretions of those guidelines. Very few allow car seats in the cabin as they are a danger to other passengers in an emergency.

All I have come across will allow you to purchase a seat for comfort for your under two year old but you will need to have him seatbelted to your lap at take-off /landing.

I coud be wrong but lying about his age, then plonking him on an adjacent seat for take-off/landing could land you liable for criminal charges if things go wrong.

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Old Feb 5th, 2008, 06:19 AM
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I guess what I was trying to get at, is that once a child is two they automatically are required to have a seat bought for them. You're right, mark, that an under two will have to be held on laps for take off and landing. But the costing for an infant with a seat, and a child of 2 is the same with every airline. So I was making the suggestion of asking for the price of a child of 2 in order to work out the costing.

We have never had a problem booking a seat for an infant, as long as the parents were prepared to pay the flight price for a child, not an infant. I was just giving some suggestions to the OP, on how to get clearer answers.
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Old Feb 5th, 2008, 08:45 AM
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It would appear that you are not being understood. Most of the airlines have listed guidelines for using car seats on flights on their websites. They all seem to specify that you must purchase a seat for the child in order to assure that there will be a vacant seat next to you. the seats themsleves must be labeled with cerain safety labels and must be fastened to the seat with the aircraft seatbelt.

Try again and ask to speak to a super visor if you can't seem to get the point across.
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Old Feb 5th, 2008, 08:55 AM
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I think the problem is that you are not following the airplane's rules in terms of what kind of seats are allowed for a child, that's all. Delta clearly allows you to buy a seat for your child if you want, and specifies exactly what kind of restraints are allowed. So it cannot be that Delta says they won't allow it, it's right on their website. They probably won't allow you to use a regular car that, that's the problem.

You have to have a child restraint system that is approved by the FAA for use on an aircraft, see this
http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/crs/

I have heard Alitalia has funny rules about that, though, so that could well be true.
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Old Feb 5th, 2008, 09:20 AM
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What we found when looking for tickets with our 20-month old (as of last Nov when we went), most US carriers will allow you to use a car-seat while most European carriers will not, even if you buy them their own seat. Alitalia will not sell a seat for a child under 2. In fact, I have seen at least one report of someone having to give up their paid-for seat due to this.

We did not use his car seat overseas (as we only had a couple of taxi rides apart from flights and train), but have used is domestically without problems. The seat must be labeled as "approved for aircraft use" (or something along those lines), but I believe virtually all seats sold within the last decade+ are labeled as such. KLM did provide a extra belt which attached to my wife's belt for takeoff and landing. When we booked, we simply booked a regular, "adult" ticket and had no problems. We did this at the suggestion of the Northwest customer rep since this is exactly what she would have done and she would have charged us the call center fee. While most airlines do offer a discount for kid's tickets (most at 50%), this is off the full-fare, so it's generally cheaper to buy the standard discount-fare.

Paul
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Old Feb 5th, 2008, 09:28 AM
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Just a quick clarification, we bought him his own seat for flights on KLM via NW (for our overseas legs) as well as on Lufthansa (for Frankfurt-Venice). One thing to watch for is many Delta flights to/from Italy are code-share flights on Alitalia aircraft. I don't know what would happen in this case with an under 2-year old in their own seat.

Paul
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Old Feb 5th, 2008, 09:55 AM
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I've had no problem buying a seat for a baby...but I HAVE HAd PROBLEMS USING THE "AIRLINE APPROVED" car seat! I checked and checked...called the airline and everything...I actually have NEVER been able to use a carseat on the plane outside of the US both Aer Lingus and Alitalia claimed (when I was onboard - not when I called beforehand) that it was "against their safety policy" and forced me to hold my baby on my lap during take-off and landing. They made me CHECK the carseat This happened to us more than once and, like I said, on two different carriers...not a huge problem for us and my son was actually delighted to be in a "big" seat and was wonderful the whole flight becasue of it...but wanted to warn you becasue it was NOT what we expected. (and I can't recall, but I'm pretty sure we had the same thing happen ono Delta AND Coninental!! justy know we were never able to ever use one to Italy nor Ireland before )

Also....one more tip on the Rome flight...when we left the US, I was told to check the stroller at the gate so we could have it right off when we landed in Rome (this was a nonstop Delta flight)...well...of course...got into Rome with our 2yr old and no stroller had to drag a 2 yr old around Rome airport (!) and hunt it down in oversized bags...was HORRIBLE. so...beg, plead, whatever, to KEEP your stroller IN the overhead and don't let them check it in with promises!!! ;-)
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Old Feb 5th, 2008, 09:57 AM
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p.e. just to be REALLY clear here, mine was a child restraint system that was approved by the FAA for use on an aircraft, and listed on the site
(http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/crs/)

was told tough luck. the rules are made by the airlines no matter WHAT FAA says. (this has never happened, BTW in the US - only transatlantic flighyts I've had the issue with)
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Old Feb 5th, 2008, 10:00 AM
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British Airways will let you use a carseat on a plane. So if you need to use one overseas try that airline.
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Old Feb 11th, 2008, 05:12 PM
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Air Iberia let us use our Britax Roundabout carseat on flights to Rome. Just say that you have an infant but want to buy him his own seat. I think you get a 10 or 20% discount off the adult (sale) fare.

On the way to Rome our daughter sat in the carseat on the take off but on the way home I had to hold her in my lap using a seatbelt that attached to my seatbelt (which seemed a heck of a lot less safe then just keeping her in the carseat). This sounds silly but bring the carseat pamphlet on the plane so you know how to install the carseat. The flight attendants were all busy seating people so no one helped us with that. Otherwise, I found Air Iberia to be fine and the staff was very accommodating of the baby. They even gave us the bulkhead seats so we'd have more room.

Rome is a fantastic place to travel with a baby. If you look under my name there is a thread of tips for traveling with a baby in Rome ("Rome and a Baby"). I'm happy to answer any specific questions.

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Old Feb 18th, 2008, 08:28 PM
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By the time my daughter was 14 months old, she was too tall to use a car seat on a plane in coach. The last time we used it she spent the entire trip kicking the seat in front of her. My husband ended up holding her feet for the last 2 hours of the flight.

Afterward, we always bought a seat for her, and just made her comfortable with pillows and blankets. But then at 18 months she figured out how to unlatch the seatbelt...
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