If you’ve booked a flight with your little one, you might be wondering whether to take their car seat with you.


Taking a car seat to use on the plane with you will give your baby or toddler extra comfort and protection while they are travelling. It will also mean you have your own seat with you on holiday, and can use it abroad without worrying about how you will travel safely in a taxi or hire car at your destination (for most destinations, though not all – more below).

Different airlines have different guidelines, and not all car seats are approved for use on an airplane. So we've picked out some of the best infant and toddler car seats approved to take on an airplane, plus the key information you need to know before you buy – including guidelines from the top airlines.

Best aircraft-approved car seats at a glance

  • Best for a lie-flat position: Maxi-Cosi Pebble 360 Pro, £259.99
  • Best for comfort: Joie i-Gemm 3, £160
  • Best budget buy for wider seat limits: Kiddy Evolution Pro 2, from £119
  • Best for lightweight carrying: Bugaboo Turtle Air by Nuna, £209
  • Best for sun protection: Nuna Pipa Next, £240
  • Best for length of use: Cybex Aton M i-Size, £169.95
  • Best for converting into a stroller: Doona, £339
  • Best for fitting most airline seats: UPPAbaby Mesa i-Size, £199.99
  • Best for newborn comfort: Britax Baby Safe 3 i-Size, £219
  • Best for toddlers: Kiddy Guardianfix 3, £239

Jump straight to our round-up of the 10 best car seats you can use on an airplane

Can I use my car seat on an airplane?

Some airlines will have restrictions on the use of infant and child car seats, so always check with the company your flight is booked with before you travel. However, many airlines will allow you to bring your child’s car seat onto the flight with you as long as the model is approved for use on an aircraft.

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Not all car seats available on the market are approved for use on an airplane. To use it on a flight, the car seat must be approved by either the FAA (the US-based Federal Aviation Administration) or TÜV (a safety certification recognised all over Europe). All car seats which are FAA or TÜV-approved should have a sticker on them saying ‘Certified for use in aircraft’.

If you are able to use your car seat on the flight, you can leave your baby strapped into it as you would if they were travelling by car. But remember, it is not recommended to leave babies under 6 months in car seats for more than 2 hours at a time. If your flight is longer than 2 hours, take your baby out of their seat from time to time for a cuddle, a nappy change or a quick wander up and down the plane.

And you will need to make sure you book a seat for your child to travel in with their car seat. This will usually mean spending more money as under-2s without a car seat can travel on your lap, either for free or at a significantly-discounted fare. See our guide for more information on the cost of taking a baby on the plane.

Can I take a car seat that isn't approved for use on an airplane?

If your existing car seat is not FAA or TÜV-approved and you still want to take it with you on your trip, you can check it in as baggage. Most airlines will allow you to check an infant car seat in for free in addition to your usual luggage allowance.

However, be aware that the seat will be carried in the hold and there is a risk it could be damaged or lost in transit.

You might also want to consider the best pushchairs to transport with you, and have a look at our guide to sitting your family together on a flight.

Do I need to check with the airline I’m flying with too?

Even if you have a car seat you know has been approved for use on an airplane, it is always worth checking with the airline you are travelling with. We spoke to eight major airlines to find out their current car seat rules. Some airlines will have different policies regarding infant car seats and you need to check the model you have will fit the widths of their airline seats.

There may also be certain seats on the plane which are not suitable for car seats due to either the seat design or its position in relation to emergency exits.

Car seat criteria for major airlines

AirlineMaximum seat widthRestrictions
British Airways43cmCar seat cannot be used in rear facing position – must face direction of travel
Aer LingusN/ANo car seats allowed in cabin
Air Canada43.2cmMust have label stating ‘Certified for use on aircraft’
Air France44cm (or 42cm if seated on front row of economy)Seats can only be in rear-facing position on take-off and landing
Easyjet44cmCar seat must be suitable for age and weight of child
Ryanair43.2cmMust be FAA or TÜV-approved and have 5-point harness
TUI43cmInfants under six months must sit on adult’s lap
Jet244cmSeat must be no wider than 42cm and meet European safety standards, Only under-2s can use car seats
Virgin Atlantic43cmChild car seats can only be used in economy by under-2s, must be certified for use in aircraft
American Airlines44cmMust have label indicating it has been approved for use on aircraft, car seats can only be used in economy
Emirates45.7cmMust meet ECE R44 safety standards or be FAA or TÜV-approved
Qantas43.7cmMust meet ECE R44 safety standards or be aircraft approved (if for infants under 20lb)

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

Using a car seat for your baby or toddler is completely optional. If you don’t want to take a car seat on board and your child is under the age of 2, they will need to sit on your lap during the flight.

Children over the age of 2 will sit on their own seat and can use the standard seat belt on the plane. Be aware though that using a car seat will be more comfortable and familiar to your child and will be safer if you have a bumpy flight and your plane hits some turbulence.

Can I use my car seat in any country?

Different countries have different rules when it comes to infant and child car seats so do check the situation in your destination before you travel. Just because your car seat is approved for use within the UK and on your flight will not necessarily mean you are allowed to use it in motor vehicles while you are on holiday.

For example, in Australia all car seats must comply with Australian/New Zealand standards, so products from the UK are not allowed. Use of UK car seats is also not allowed in the United States and Canada.

However, car seats sold in the UK can be used throughout the EU and many other countries in the world, as they meet European safety standards. If your car seat has an orange ECE R44/04 or R129 label, it can be used in more than 100 countries around the world.

What features should I consider when buying a car seat to use on an airplane?

  • Not all car seats are suitable for use on flights so check that it is FAA or TÜV-approved. If you have already booked a flight, check the seat meets the airline’s specific criteria and that it can be legally used at your destination.
  • Also think about how much the car seat weighs, as you will be having to carry it through the airport and onto and off your flight. Check the dimensions of the seat and make sure it isn’t too wide to safely fit onto airline seats.
  • Look for car seats which are comfortable and supportive as your little one will be remaining in it for most of the flight. If you have a baby under 6 months, you may want to look at car seats which have a lie-flat feature as this is the safest sleep position for infants.
  • Covers which can be removed and washed are a bonus as there will be plenty of opportunity for messy spills during the flight.
  • As car seats are an expensive investment, make sure any car seat you buy to use on an airplane can also be used in your car at home. If you have a travel system, it is a good idea to find a compatible car seat so you can get the most use out of your purchase – especially if you plan to take your pushchair on holiday with you.

How do I position/install a car seat on an airplane?

Your plane car seat will need to be installed using the aircraft seat belt. Position the seat on either the window seat or central seat (check with airline staff if you are not sure).

Take the plane lap belt and thread it under the guides on each side of your car seat before buckling the belt. You will then need to adjust and tighten it, making sure it is taut and not loose.

Do airplane seats have ISOFIX?

Airplanes do not have ISOFIX points so you will need to install your car seat using the lap belt. This means you will not be able to use a car seat that does not have the option of being secured using a seatbelt.

Are booster cushions allowed on airplanes?

High-backed booster seats with a 5-point harness are allowed if they meet the airline’s criteria. However, booster cushions which would need to use the seat belt on the aircraft to secure your child are not allowed.

If you are looking for family travel inspiration, see our travel page for ideas, including the best family hotels in Majorca and Crete and the best family holidays in Portugal.

Here are the 10 best car seats you can use on an airplane

Car seats you can use from birth

1. Maxi-Cosi Pebble 360 Pro, £259.99

– Best for a lie-flat position

Maxi-Cosi Pebble 360 Pro rotating car seat

Suitable for: From birth to approx. 15 months| Rear facing: Yes until 87cm | i-Size: Yes | Safety standard: R129 | Weight: 4.3kg | Width: 44cm | Installation: FamilyFix 360 Pro base or seatbelt | Certification: TÜV approved

One of the big plus points of the Maxi-Cosi Pebble 360 Pro is its lie-flat feature, meaning your baby can sleep in a comfortable and safe position even whilst on a flight and not able to be in their cot. A flat sleeping position is recommended for all babies under 6 months as it helps keep their airways open. The car seat has 3 recline positions and can move into a fully flat position in all modes, including when it is attached to a travel system.

Approved for use on aircraft with TÜV certification, the car seat may be a little wide for some airline seats at 44cm, so check before you fly. When it comes to protection from turbulence, though, this seat has a lot going for it. The Pebble 360 Pro has impressive G-CELL side impact protection, which has been designed to spread the force of any impact away from your baby and minimise the risk of them suffering a head, neck or shoulder injury.

The ergonomic handle means it is comfortable to carry, which is a bonus when you are carrying your little one on and off an airplane. And its back-friendly design has been given the seal of approval by AGR (an independent testing committee made up of medical experts and orthopaedic specialists).

When using the seat with your car, it is compatible with the rotating FamilyFix 360 Pro slide-out base, which is sold separately. As the car seat can spin on the base, you won’t have to twist yourself into any awkward positions to put it into your vehicle, making this a great combination to invest in and use well beyond your holiday. It locks, slides and turns into place but the rotation lock means your baby must be in rear-facing position before you travel.

Pros: Lie flat recline function
Cons: Expensive

Available from: Maxi-Cosi, John Lewis and Mamas and Papas

2. Joie i-Gemm 3, £160

– Best for comfort

Joie i-Gemm 3 car seat

Suitable for: From birth to approx. 12 months| Rear facing: Yes until 85cm | i-Size: Yes | Safety standard: R129 | Weight: 4.5kg | Width: 43.5cm | Installation: ISOFIX with i-Base or seatbelt | Certification: TÜV approved

Comfort is a key factor with the Joie i-Gemm 3. The seat is designed for use right from day one with an insert to keep your newborn snug and memory foam in the headrest adds extra protection and a soft luxury feel.

Certified for use in aircraft, it is simple to fit onto the airline seat using the lap belt and the i-Gemm 3’s green belt path. It is also compatible with Joie pushchairs and can be added to some other travel systems using special adaptors.

The generous hood with UPF 50+ sun protection makes the i-Gemm a good seat to take on holiday to hot, sunny destinations. The in-built ventilation at the sides will help keep your little one cool on hot days. The ergonomic handle has a soft grip to make the seat easier to carry and we love the curved base, which makes it simple to rock your baby if they’re sleepy.

In the car itself, you can fit it quite simply using the seat belt. However, if your vehicle has ISOFIX points, you’ll probably want to invest in Joie’s i-Base Advance base which allows you to quickly click it into place without any fiddling. This base has a 7-position recline and can also be used with the larger i-Venture toddler seat when your baby outgrows the i-Gemm.

Pros: Comfort, easy to fit
Cons: Only two colour options

Read the full MFM Joie i-Gemm review

Available from: Joie, Halfords and Pramworld

3. Kiddy Evolution Pro 2, from £119

– Best budget buy for wider seat limits

Kiddy Evolution Pro 2 car seat

Suitable for: From birth to approx. 15 months| Rear facing: Yes until 83cm | i-Size: No | Safety standard: R44/04 | Weight: 4.9kg | Width: 47cm | Installation: ISOFIX with base or seatbelt | Certification: TÜV approved

The Kiddy Evolution Pro 2 has been around for a while but still earns a place on this list as an excellent option. Kiddy’s newer offering – the Evo-Luna – is not approved for aircraft use. The fact the Evolution Pro 2 isn’t one of the latest models on the market could also mean you get a bargain. We found some independent retailers selling it for as little as £119.

The lie-flat feature is this seat’s big draw, allowing your baby to nap in comfort and safety. It can be adjusted to the lie-flat position with a simple move of the handle but, unlike the Maxi-Cosi Pebble 360 Pro, this feature cannot actually be used in the car. This means it is only useful when the seat is clipped onto a travel system or if you’ve carried your sleepyhead out of the car in their seat and you don’t want to wake them up.

The Evolution Pro 2 is certified for aircraft use but be warned, with a width of 47cm it may be too wide for many airline seats. It is also on the heavy side at 4.9kg so carrying it through an airport is likely to feel like a workout.

We do like the bright colours and fun patterns this car seat comes in, which makes a change from all the black and grey options on the market. Its versatility is also a good selling point as it clips onto lots of different travel systems using the same adaptors as Maxi-Cosi.

Pros: Good value, fun colours and patterns
Cons: Heavy at 4.9kg, may be too wide for airline seats

Available from: Baby Planet, Baby and Child Store, Smart Kids Store

4. Bugaboo Turtle Air by Nuna, £209

– Best for lightweight carrying

Bugaboo Turtle Air by Nuna car seat

Suitable for: From birth to approx. 15 months| Rear facing: Yes until 83cm | i-Size: Yes | Safety standard: R129 | Weight: 3kg | Width: 44cm | Installation: ISOFIX with base or seatbelt | Certification: TÜV approved

If you hate lugging a heavy car seat around, the Bugaboo Turtle Air by Nuna is for you. At just 3kg, the seat itself is lighter than most newborns and won’t feel unwieldy even when your little one is strapped safely inside. Don’t let its low weight fool you, though. It is durable and resilient and meets the R129 safety standards, the latest legislation covering children's car seats.

A collaboration between two premium brands Bugaboo and Nuna, the Turtle Air has a lot going for it including soft padding and a luxury Merino wool insert so your baby can travel in style, whether in the car, plane or buggy. Designed for use from birth until your child reaches 83cm or 13kg (28.6lb), the seat has an adjustable headrest that can be moved into 7 different positions as your baby grows.

TÜV-certified for use in aircrafts, the Turtle Air should fit most airline seats but double-check with the airline in case their seats come up narrower than 44cm. The seat would certainly be easy to carry on and off the plane and is compatible with any Bugaboo stroller using adaptors.

Although it can be installed in the car using the seatbelt, for everyday use, consider buying the Bugaboo 360 ISOFIX base by Nuna to go with it. With a 220-degree swivel rotation, you can strap your baby easily into the seat before turning it into the right position for travel. Far better than twisting yourself like a contortionist!

Pros: Ultra-lightweight at 3kg
Cons: Only lasts until baby is 83cm

Available from: John Lewis and Bugaboo

5. Nuna Pipa Next, £240

– Best for sun protection

Nuna Pipa Next car seat

Suitable for: From birth to approx. 15 months | Rear facing: Yes until 87cm | i-Size: Yes | Safety standard: R129 | Weight: 2.8kg (without inserts and canopy) or 3.58 kg (with inserts and canopy) | Width: 44cm | Installation: ISOFIX or seatbelt | Certification: TÜV approved

Lightweight and highly portable, the Nuna Pipa Next is easy to carry with a comfortable grip that won’t rub your hand. The high-strength handle also has an added safety purpose – it is designed to transfer the impact of any crash away from your baby’s head and into the shell of the seat.

TÜV-certified for use on planes, the Pipa Next would be a great addition to your holiday. It is compatible with all Nuna pushchairs and a number of buggies from other brands so it is simple to take out and about for a walk, as well using when travelling by road or air.

The seat comes with a generous UPF 50+ canopy to protect your little one from the sun’s rays and there’s even an in-built sleep shade called the Dream Drape which offers even more shade if needed. This pulls out smoothly and stays in place using magnets, allowing you to create a peaceful and dark cocoon for your baby’s naptime.

When used in the car, this rear-facing i-Size seat can be fitted with the vehicle’s seatbelts or a Nuna ISOFIX base. The super-comfy memory foam headrest can be adjusted into 7 different positions without needing to mess about rethreading the harness – a big plus for busy parents. There is also impressive side impact protection.

Pros: Shady canopy, lightweight
Cons: High price point

Available from: Nuna, Mamas and Papas and John Lewis

6. Cybex Aton M i-Size, £169.95

– Best for length of use

Cybex Aton M i-Size car seat

Suitable for: From birth to approx. 24 months| Rear facing: Yes until 87cm | i-Size: Yes | Safety standard: R129 | Weight: 4.2kg | Width: 44cm | Installation: ISOFIX or seatbelt | Certification: TÜV approved

Suitable for newborns with a length of 45cm plus, the Cybex Alton M i-Size has a removable insert which will keep young babies comfortable and in a near-flat position. For an infant car seat, it has surprising longevity and Cybex claim it can be used until your little one is 2 or reaches 13kg (28.6lb).

To help it last, its height can be adjusted as your child grows with 11 different positions. And there is extra safety from any side impact collisions with shoulder and head protectors and an energy-absorbing shell.

One thing we love about the Cybex Aton M is the range of colours it comes in, including a vibrant magnolia pink and striking autumn gold. You can also remove the fabric covers and pop them in your washing machine at 30C.

The harness is wide and softly padded and there is an built-in extra-large sun canopy. Approved for use on aircraft with TÜV certification, it can be taken safely on planes and is compatible with Cybex and GB brand pushchairs. In the car, you can either secure with the seatbelt or a Cybex Base M which connects to your vehicle's ISOFIX points.

Pros: Potential to last 24 months
Cons: No grip on handle

Available from: Boots, Cybex and Natural Baby Shower

7. Doona, £339

– Best for converting into a stroller

Doona car seat

Suitable for: From birth to 13kg (approx. 15 months) | Rear facing: Yes | i-Size: No | Safety standard: R44 | Weight: 7.5 kg | Width: 44cm | Installation: ISOFIX with base or seatbelt | Certification: TÜV and FAA approved

If you’re keen to take both a stroller and car seat on holiday with you, the Doona offers a convenient solution as the only car seat on the market with integrated wheels. Approved by both TÜV and FAA, you can take it on the flight with you and then swiftly unfold it into a pushchair to use at the other end.

The Doona converts into a stroller in seconds using one simple motion and is ideal for quick trips out. While you'll likely still want a regular newborn pushchair with a lie-flat seat or carrycot for your everyday use, it's a brilliantly convenient 2-for-1 product for travel.

It comes in seven different colours to suit your own sense of style, including racing green, flame red and blush pink. It is heavier than a simple car seat but that is perhaps to be expected due to its dual use, and certainly lighter than a regular travel system.

If you have a newborn, you can use the antibacterial bamboo insert which will allow your baby to be in a near-flat position. The Doona also has a rocking function, washable covers and folds up easily.

Pros: Built-in stroller, convenient
Cons: Heavy to carry

Available from: Boots, Mamas and Papas and Doona

Read the full MadeforMums Cuddle Co Doona car seat review

8. UPPAbaby Mesa i-Size, £199.99

– Best for fitting most airline seats

UPPAbaby Mesa i-Size tester picture

Suitable for: From birth to 14 months | Rear facing: Yes to 78cm | i-Size: Yes | Safety standard: R129 | Weight: 4.3 kg | Width: 43cm | Installation: ISOFIX with base or seatbelt | Certification: TÜV approved

With a width of 43cm, the UPPAbaby Mesa i-Size is the narrowest aircraft-approved car seat on our list and its size means it should fit the majority of airline seats. But this isn’t its only selling point. One of the best features about the seat is that it is designed to make sure your little one doesn’t overheat while travelling with breathable covers and built-in ventilation.

The one drawback is that as an infant seat, the Mesa is only really designed for babies in their first year, up to 13kg or 78cm (whichever comes first). If you have a long and lean baby, you may need to replace the car seat with something else fairly quickly.

It's a cosy option for younger babies, though, featuring a newborn insert for babies less than 60cm and a headrest with side impact cushions for extra protection. Like the Nuna Pipa Next, the headrest adjusts as your little one gets bigger so you don’t need to take the seat apart and rethread the harness every few months.

If you’re looking for a seat which works with a travel system, the Mesa can attach directly to both Vista and Cruz pushchairs. In the car, it works with the Mesa i-Size base or can be fitted using the seatbelt.

Pros: Narrow enough to fit most airline seats
Cons: Only suitable for babies up to 78cm

Read the full MFM UPPAbaby Mesa i-Size review

Available from: Fenwick, John Lewis and Boots

9. Britax Baby Safe 3 i-Size, £219

– Best for newborn comfort

Britax Baby Safe 3 i-Size car seat

Suitable for: Birth to 15 months | Rear facing: Yes to 83cm | i-Size: Yes | Safety standard: R129 | Weight: 4.6kg | Width: 44cm | Installation: ISOFIX or seatbelt | Certification: TÜV approved

Britax are one of the most well-known car seat brands and for good reason. The Baby Safe 3 i-Size is the latest version of the popular Baby Safe, which has gained popularity with parents for its functionality, practicality and comfort.

TÜV-approved for use on planes, this car seat has a five-point harness to help keep your little one safe and secure. And its innovative D-SIP technology offers impressive protection from any side impacts if you ever were unlucky enough to be involved in a car crash.

The Baby Safe 3 i-Size is great for newborns with an included insert designed to give extra support to small babies with energy-absorbing foam pads. The seat also allows little ones to lie flat, giving extra support to newborns.

The seat is compatible with the BabyStyle Oyster 3 as well as a number of Britax pushchairs. When using it in the car, it can clip simply onto the rotating Flex base, which is sold separately. For peace of mind on the plane, Britax sells an aircraft fitting kit for £20, which includes a clip that shortens the aircraft’s seatbelt to ensure it is installed correctly.

Pros: Comfortable for newborns
Cons: Needs adaptors to fit onto pushchair

Available from: John Lewis, Britax and Boots

Car seats you can use on an airplane from 12 months

10. Kiddy Guardianfix 3, £239

– Best for toddlers

Kiddy Guardianfix 3 car seat

Suitable for: 12 months to 12 years | Rear facing: No | i-Size: No | Safety standard: R44/04 | Weight: 8kg | Width: 44cm | Installation: ISOFIX or seatbelt | Certification: TÜV and FAA approved

The Kiddy Guardianfix 3 is a group 1/2/3 car seat that can be used from 12 months right up until your child is 12 and no longer needs any sort of booster seat. Although the initial cost for the seat is quite high, you are potentially getting 11 years of use out of your purchase, making it good value for money.

The seat is approved by both TÜV and FAA for use in an airplane and with a 44cm-width base should fit many airline seats. But be aware that it is quite wide at the top of the seat, with side walls that offer your child extra protection. This means you probably wouldn’t want to install the seat next to a passenger you don’t know as it is likely to infringe on their personal space.

The Guardianfix 3 has been designed to absorb shock, useful if you are unfortunate enough to have a collision in the car. It is packed with safety features, including the K-FIX+ system, which allows the seat to move from side to side reducing the force of a side impact.

For younger children, there is a durable impact shield that goes across your child’s stomach and acts like an airbag in the event of a car crash. The seat easily adjusts as your little one grows and you can expand it in three directions – height, width and depth – with 13 different settings for the headrest.

Pros: Impact protection, adjustable
Cons: Wide wings at side

Available from Pramworld and BuggyBaby

Do all airlines allow you to bring your own car seat on board?

Each airline has its own rules when it comes to allowing car seats on board so please check with whoever you are flying with before heading to the airport. We spoke to some of the major airlines to find out more about their policies regarding infant and child car seats:

These are the car seat rules for different airlines:


According to a spokesman from Emirates, you are allowed to use an infant car seat on board the airline’s flights but you must book a separate seat for your child. Check-in staff will look to see if the seat has been approved for use on aircraft before they allow you to board but it doesn’t necessarily have to be TÜV or FAA-approved. Car seats which meet the ECE R44 European safety standards will also be allowed.

The spokesman said: “If your car seat doesn't meet the safety standards, you can check it in to the hold with your other baggage. Infants weighing under 10 kg can travel in either a forward facing or rear facing car seat, however if your infant weighs more than 10 kg, their car seat must be forward facing.”


Child car seats are allowed on board Qantas flights but UK-bought car seats must meet ECE R44 European safety standards. A Qantas spokesman said the rules were tighter concerning rear-facing infant car seats than forward-facing seats for children weighing more than 20lb.

He said: “Rear facing seats are generally large and may not fit in economy seats or only selected seats. Rear facing seats are permitted without an attachment base only if certified by the manufacturer as suitable for installation in aircraft seats without the base.”

Qantas recommends children who are more than 100cm tall, weigh more than 40lb or are older than four sit in a standard seat on the aircraft.


Budget airline Ryanair allows aircraft-approved car seats on board so long as the children using them have their own seat booked.

A spokesman said: “If you bring a car seat for an infant under 2 years of age and wish them to sit in this car seat for the duration of the flight, you will need to book an extra seat for them. You may bring a car seat on board for an infant or child if it is approved for flying and has a 5-point harness.”


Airplanes operated by TUI do not allow infants under the age of six months to sit in a car seat.

A TUI spokeswoman said: “Infants under six months of age must sit on an adult’s lap and be secured with an infant lap-strap for the duration of the flight - this will be provided on the aircraft. Children aged between six months and two years must sit on an adult’s lap, unless a seat is purchased. In this case, a car seat may be used if necessary.

American Airlines

Car seats can be used on American Airlines flights so long as you are not sitting in an exit row or either side of an exit row. Installing the seat in a window seat is preferred.
An American Airlines spokesman said: “Most safety seats that are approved for use in motor vehicles are acceptable for use in aircraft. The seat must have a solid back and seat, restraint straps installed to securely hold the child and a label indicating approval for use on an aircraft.”

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic will only allow car seats which have been certified by international aviation regulators. No seating aids for children, which are not approved car seats will be allowed.

Only children under the age of two are allowed to use an infant car seat on board a Virgin aircraft.

A Virgin spokesman confirmed that FAA or TUV-approved car seats for under-twos are allowed as are seats which are approved for use in motor vehicles according to the UN standard ECE R44.

He said: “The seat must fit securely using a normal aircraft seatbelt, as unlike cars, we don’t have ISOFIX systems or seatbelts that are worn over the shoulder. If you have a car seat, you may be aware that you can’t use them where airbags are fitted. As all of our Upper Class suites and the Premium seats on many of our aircraft have airbags, you will be unable to use your own car seats.”


Car seats which meet the European safety standard ECE R44 can be used onboard Jet2 flights for children under the age of two. However, the airline states that the car seat must be no wider than 42cm as the seats themselves are 44cm.

A spokeswoman said: “If your car seat is for a travelling infant aged between 0 and 2 years old and is suitable for use onboard our planes, it can be taken onboard. If you’d like to use your own infant car seat, you must pay for a separate seat onboard the plane, which will be charged at the appropriate fare.”

British Airways

British Airways actually provides free carrycots and infant seats for children under the age of 2 (and weighing less than 12.5kg) on its long haul flights. These seats can be used when the seatbelt signs are off and will be fitted by cabin crew. There is also the option to bring your own car seat too.

A British Airways spokesman said: “If you’ve booked a seat for your baby or child, you can bring your own single piece car seat as long as it meets airline safety regulations. Please note that two-part car seats (a seat and separate base) are not suitable for aircraft seats.


“If you’re travelling in Club Suite, or on rear-facing Club seats, your own child car seat can only be used in the cruise, but not for take-off, in turbulence or for landing, due to the safety design of the aircraft seat.”

Are there any car seats which I can take on an airplane to store in the overhead locker?

Most car seats which aren't approved for use onboard the plane will need to be checked into the hold. However, the RyRy Scallop is a compact, portable R129-approved toddler seat, which is small and lightweight enough that you could bring it onto the aircraft as hand luggage.

Suitable for use from 15 months up to a height limit of 105cm (around 4 years old), this toddler car seat is extremely travel friendly. When it isn't in use, it folds up and goes into a handy bag, which is so compact most airlines would allow you to take it onboard and stow it in the overhead locker.

Weighing 9kg, it is light for a forward-facing toddler car seat but heavy enough that you won't want to be carrying it too far. And being able to travel with it as hand luggage would mean you won't have to worry about hiring a car seat or braving a taxi without one at your destination.

The RyRy Scallop has in-built ISOFIX connectors at the back so it can be clicked into place in the vehicle and then needs to be secured using either the seatbelt or the top tether.

Our MadeforMums group editor Gemma, who tested the seat with her 2-year-old, found the installation a little fiddly at first but after a couple of goes felt confident enough to fit it quickly in different vehicles.

However, at £349, it is a big investment for a family holiday so may work best for people who travel in taxis or other people's cars on a regular basis.

Available from: Kiddies Kingdom, Pramworld and Natural Baby Shower

Read the full RyRy Scallop car seat review


Catherine Ball is a freelance journalist who specialises in writing about parenting and health. She has been a journalist for 20 years, writing for a wide range of regional and national publications.