The best child car seats to use on airplanes

These 13 Group 0+, Group 1 and Group 1/2/3 car seats have been safety approved to use on an airplane

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If you’re planning to take a flight with your little one, you may be considering taking your own car seat along for added safety on the aeroplane. 

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It also means you have your own car seat at your destination, so don’t have to rely on renting one that might be old, outdated or confusing to use. You can see the full list here, or read through the safety information you should check out.

Can I use my car seat on an airplane?

To use a child car seat on an airplane it has to be CAA (UK Civil Aviation Authority), FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) or TÜV approved.  

If the car seat is CAA (UK Civil Aviation Authority), FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) or TÜV approved, it will have a sticker that says ‘Certified For Use in Aircraft’.

Approved car seats meet test standards from the certification bodies, but bear in mind they generally must be used by the window and cannot be used in emergency exit rows.

Can I take my child’s buggy on our flight? Rules for the major airlines here.

Check with the airline first

You normally have to book a separate seat, but it’s best to check whether the airline will allow you to use a child car seat on the plane.  Not all airlines do – even if the seat is approved for use in an aircraft.

And to make things more tricky, different airlines have different rules. Easyjet requires the seat to be able to fit in the 42cm gap between the armrests, while for Ryanair this is 42.5cm.

And on British Airways, while the maximum seat width is 45cm, the airline will only allow you to bring your own car seat if it is forward-facing and being used for a child aged 6 months to 3 years.

Do I have to use a car seat on an airplane?

No, you don’t have to use a car seat on a plane. But the safest place for your little one if there is unexpected turbulence or an emergency is in an approved car seat, not on your lap.

When using any car seat at any time, it’s worth remembering the 2-hour rule.

How do I position/install a car seat in a plane?

For a rear-facing, infant car seat:

  • Position it either by the window, or in the middle seat of a central row on larger aeroplanes. This is to make sure there’s always access for other passengers.
  • Place it as you would on a car seat, rear facing towards the backrest of the plane seat.
  • Take the two parts of the plane lap belt, and thread each under the guides on either side of the car seat
  • Buckle the belt
  • Pull the loose end to tighten until the seat belt is taut

For a forward-facing car seat for a toddler or older child:

  • Position it either by the window, or in the middle seat of a central row on larger aeroplanes.
  • Recline the plane seat back
  • Place the car seat forward facing onto the plane seat
  • Thread the plane lap belt through the holes at either side of your child’s car seat
  • Buckle the belt with the release flap towards the plane seat back, so it’s easier to release
  • Pull the loose end taut
  • Raise the airplane seat back to its normal position

What about booster cushions? Are they allowed on planes?

No, only high-backed booster seats are allowed on planes if they have a 5-point harness.  You can not use a seat that uses the seat belt to secure children. 

They must still be CAA, FAA or TÜV approved, with a sticker that says ‘Certified For Use in Aircraft’.

See the best car seats for use on an airplane…

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Group 0+ car seats from newborn 

1. Kiddy Evolution Pro 2, £189

  • Weight: 4.5kg
  • Width: 44cm
  • Age suitable for: Birth to 13kg
  • Certification: TÜV approval
  • Extras for airline use: Belt shortener (included)
  • Travel system compatible: Yes

With its innovative lie-flat feature this Group 0+ infant carrier is ideal for travel.  The car seat can be switched from a regular curved shape to a flat bed for your little one when it is not strapped in the car. 

From car, to plane, to travel system, the Kiddy Evolution Pro 2’s breathable mesh structure allows for air flow, and it comes in 8 colourways.

Plus the large sun hood extends well over your little one, and the covers are easily removable for washing.

Read our full review of the Kiddy Evolution Pro 2 car seat here.

Buy the Kiddy Evolution Pro 2 from Kiddy, Uber Kids and Amazon


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2. Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus, £199

  • Weight: 4.55kg
  • Width: 44cm
  • Age suitable for: Birth to 12 months (up to 75cm tall)
  • Certification: TÜV approval and FAA approval
  • Extras for airline use: N/A
  • Travel system compatible: Yes

As well as being approved for the TÜV and FAA for use in an aircraft, the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus infant car seat complies with i-Size regulations when used with the brand’s 2wayFix base in the car.

Scoring a full 5 stars in our MFM review, our tester found it high quality and loved the fact it was so comfortable and easy to use.

Read the full review of the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus here.

You can buy the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus from Mothercare, Mamas & Papas, and John Lewis.


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3. Joie i-Gemm, £130

  • Weight: 4.62kg
  • Width: 43.5cm
  • Age suitable for: Birth to 13kg (up to 85cm tall)
  • Certification: TÜV approval
  • Extras for airline use: N/A
  • Travel system compatible: Yes

The i-Gemm is one of the latest car seats from Joie, and meets the new i-Size regulation when used in a car with the Joie i-Base or i-Base Advance.

But it can also be strapped in with a seatbelt, and features a curved base for rocking – great for soothing your little one if you have a flight delay!

It’s travel system compatible, and has side impact protection, a Tri-Protect headrest with three layers, and adjustable no re-thread headrest and harness.

Plus the removable sun canopy has a zip-out ventilation panel, to increase airflow.

You can buy the Joie i-Gemm from John Lewis, Mamas & Papas, and Uber Kids.


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4. Britax Baby-Safe plus SHR II, £140

  • Weight: 4.7kg
  • Width: 44cm
  • Age suitable for: Birth to 13kg
  • Certification: TÜV approval
  • Extras for airline use: N/A
  • Travel system compatible: Yes

The Britax Baby-Safe plus SHR II has been designed for ease of use, with washable seat covers that can be removed without having to dismantle the harness and one-handed adjustment of the headrest and harness.

It has side impact protection, plus in-built adapters that connect to Britax pushchairs to create a travel system.

And our reviewer loved how soft and cosy it was for her son, and the deep padding on the side wings.

Read the full review of the Britax Baby-Safe plus SHR II here.

You can buy the Britax Baby-Safe plus SHR II from Britax, Amazon, and Mothercare.


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5. Maxi-Cosi Citi, £100

  • Weight: 3.25kg
  • Width: 43.5cm
  • Age suitable for: Birth to 13kg
  • Certification: TÜV approval
  • Extras for airline use: N/A
  • Travel system compatible: Yes

This great value car seat may not be packed with bells and whistles, but it does have a side impact protection system, comfy padding and can be used as part of a travel system.

And its best feature is that it is incredibly lightweight at just 3.25kg – so carrying it around the airport and on and off the plane won’t give you armache!

You can buy the Maxi-Cosi Citi from Argos and Amazon.


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6. Doona convertible car seat, £279.99

  • Weight: 7kg
  • Width: 44cm
  • Age suitable for: Birth to 13kg
  • Certification: TÜV approval
  • Extras for airline use: N/A
  • Travel system compatible: Yes

This unique Group 0+ car seat takes easy travelling to the next level, as the Doona can be used not only in the car and on a plane, but converts into a travel system at the push of a button!

The integrated wheels fold up under the seat when it’s being used in the car or on a plane, then can be popped out along with a handle to convert it into a stroller in just a few seconds.

Used by celebrity parents including ex-rocker Ronnie Wood, the Doona was described by our reviewer as ‘best for parents who travel a lot’.

Read our full review of the Doona car seat here.

You can buy the Doona convertible car seat from Precious Little One, and Kiddies Kingdom.


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7. Recaro Privia, £135

  • Weight: 3.7kg
  • Width: 43cm
  • Age suitable for: Birth to 13kg
  • Certification: TÜV approval
  • Extras for airline use: N/A
  • Travel system compatible: Yes

It’s no surprise that Recaro has an airline-certified child car seat as the German brand is actually one of the world’s top manufacturers of the aircraft seats used in economy and business class cabins!

The Privia is incredibly light at 3.7kg and can be used as part of a travel system, including on the award-winning compact Recaro Easylife pushchair, as well as with brands like Bugaboo and iCandy with adaptors.

Its innovative HERO Safety System means the shoulder supports, shoulder belts and headrest form a single unit, so there’s no slipping or twisting of the straps and harness.

Read the full review of the Recaro Privia here.

You can buy the Recaro Privia from Uber Kids, and Kiddies Kingdom


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8. Joie Juva, £40

  • Weight: 3.1kg
  • Width: 41.5cm
  • Age suitable for: Birth to 13kg
  • Certification: FAA approval
  • Extras for airline use: N/A
  • Travel system compatible: Yes

Super affordable, ultra light, compact, and attaches without adapters to compatible Joie strollers including the Brisk lx, Mirus and Muze, making this budget Group 0+ car seat perfect for holidays.

Weighing in at just over 3kg, it’s one of the lightest airline certified car seats out there, and one of the narrowest at 41.5cm wide.

With side impact protection, a 5-point harness and machine washable covers, the Joie Juva is an ideal budget buy for travel.   

You can buy the Joie Juva from Boots and Pramworld.


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9. Graco Snugride, £123

  • Weight: 5.1kg
  • Width: 44cm
  • Age suitable for: Birth to 13kg
  • Certification: FAA approval
  • Extras for airline use: N/A
  • Travel system compatible: Yes

Featuring Graco’s Click Connect system, the Snugride doesn’t require adapters to attach to the brand’s strollers such as the Evo Mini, making it easy to use as part of a travel system.

It can either be used on its own using a 3-point car seatbelt, or paired with the Graco Snugride Base, if you want to use it with ISOFIX.

You can buy the Graco Snugride car seat from Argos and Amazon.

Group 1/2/3 car seats for children from 9 months


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10. Britax Eclipse, £135

  • Weight: 7kg
  • Width: 43cm
  • Age suitable for: 9 months to 4 years
  • Certification: TÜV approval
  • Extras for airline use: Britax Eclipse aircraft accessories kit (approx. £20)
  • Travel system compatible: No

This Group 1 car seat from Britax is suitable for little ones 9kg-18kg, or from around 9 months to 4 years.

It’s got a multi-position recline, and can be fixed in your car using a 3-point seatbelt or a lap belt.

And although it’s a Group 1 car seat, it’s relatively lightweight at 7kg – meaning it won’t require Olympic strength to lift and position in the car or on the plane.

Read our full review of the Britax Eclipse here.

You can buy the Britax Eclipse from Britax, or from Halfords or Mothercare.


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11. Kiddy Phoenixfix 3, £229

  • Weight: 6.6kg
  • Width: 53cm
  • Age suitable for: 9kg – 18kg (around 9 months to 4 years)
  • Certification: TÜV approval and FAA approval
  • Extras for airline use:  Seat belt shortener (£5)
  • Travel system compatible: No

The upgraded successor to the award-winning Phoenixfix Pro 2 car seat, the Phoenixfix 3 has passed new, rigorous changes to European Safety Regulations, although it is not a rear-facing for longer car seat.

What it does have is an impact shield rather than a harness – a padded cushion that fits snugly across your little one’s body with the aim of distributing any impact in the case of a collision.

Our reviewer loved the style of the seat and its safety features, and was impressed at how lightweight it is.

Read the full review of the Kiddy Phoenixfix 3 car seat here.

You can buy the Kiddy Phoenixfix 3 from Amazon and PreciousLittleOne.


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12. Diono Radian 5, £225

  • Weight: 11kg
  • Width: 41cm
  • Age suitable for: Birth to 25kg (around 6 years)
  • Certification: TÜV approval
  • Extras for airline use: Seat belt shortener (£4)
  • Travel system compatible: No

If a car seat that can be used on a plane as well as rear-facing for longer in a car is what you’re looking for, then the Diono Radian 5 could be the one for you.

It can be used rear facing in a car from newborn up to around age 6, although it cannot be used with ISOFIX, and can also be used forward facing with its 5-point harness from 9kg-25kg.

The Radian 5’s fully steel frame has a slightly narrower design than similar seats, plus it has a unique folding mechanism – so it can be stored easily and even carried in a travel bag – although it is heavy!

Read our full review of the Diono Radian 5 car seat here.

You can buy the Diono Radian 5 from Diono, Precious Little One, and Uber Kids.


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13. Kiddy Guardianfix 3, £279

  • Weight: 8kg
  • Width: 55cm
  • Age suitable for: 9kg – 36kg (9 months to 12 years)
  • Certification: TÜV approval and FAA approval
  • Extras for airline use: Seat belt shortener (£5)
  • Travel system compatible: No

Like its sister seat, the Kiddy Phoenixfix 3, this Group 1/2/3 car seat has been approved for airline use by the TÜV and FAA and has a protective impact shield rather than using a 5-point harness or car seat belt to strap in your child.  

It is worth noting that although the seat can be used from 9 months to 12 years in a car, it is however only approved for Group 1 use on a plane – up until your child is 18kg, or around 4 years old.

You can buy the Kiddy Guardianfix 3 car seat from Uber Kids, Precious Little One, and Amazon.

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