23 Airline Car Seat and Cradle Policies Around the World

Aug 23, 2019

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This will surprise no one, but air travel with kids is not always easy, especially when it involves lugging a car seat. Car seats can be big, bulky and heavy, but also necessary at times to ensure a safe trip. In addition to the safety issues, some little kids sleep better on a plane when they are cozy in their car seats at 36,000 feet. (Here are TPG‘s eight favorite travel car seats)

Unfortunately, there are many rules when it comes to car seats and air travel. Most parents assume that car seats are always allowed for use on airplanes. We hate to say it, but that is not always the case.

Just this week, Chrissy Teigen (TV host, internet personality, former model, etc.) had yet another family travel-related tweet go viral when she commented about Cathay Pacific not allowing her 15-month-old to sit in his car seat during a flight.

There are some situations where car seats on a plane are, in fact, not safe or permitted for a variety of different reasons. This could be related to cabin class, seat width, placement or seat direction/angle. There are many asterisks and small print surrounding the use of car seats on flights around the world.

In Chrissy’s case, the car seat dilemma most likely stemmed from her seat selection. Based on what we know of her travel patterns, odds are high her family was sitting up front and in some types of Cathay Pacific first and business class cabins, car seats are not permitted — though they are allowed in virtually all of the airline’s economy cabins. If Chrissy wants to fly home in first class with the car seat, she should closely examine this chart and choose the aircraft type carefully.

(Here’s how to use your miles to fly in Cathay Pacific’s first class, even if you’re not a celebrity.)

Cathay Pacific First Class

To help traveling parents navigate the admittedly complex rules, TPG has put together a guide for families to what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to car seats and bassinets (cradle) on 23 of the world’s most traveled airlines.

Summer Hull
Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy

Airline Bassinet and Car Seat Policies

Aeromexico

Car Seat Guidelines

  • The use of an onboard child car seat is only permitted when it has been certified for use in motor vehicles and airplanes.
  • The car seat labeling must include the text: “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.”
  • The car seat must be placed in a window or middle seat. It must not be put in emergency-exit-row seats or in the rows immediately in front of or behind the emergency-exit row.
  • The car seat must be fastened to the airplane seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
  • A car seat may be used when an airplane seat has been purchased for an infant (under 2 years of age) or minor (age 2 and over).

Bassinet Guidelines

  • A limited number of cribs are available upon request and subject to availability.
  • Aeromexico provides cribs for infants weighing no more than 24 pounds.
  • Cribs are complimentary but availability is not guaranteed.
  • During the check-in process, crib availability will be confirmed.
  • Priority boarding will be required.
  • Infants must be lap-held during takeoff and landing.
  • An AM Plus seat must be purchased to qualify.

Air France

Car Seat Guidelines

  • For infants under 2 years old, an approved car seat must be installed on the seat. It must be attached with a seat belt and its width should not exceed 44 centimeters/17 inches. (If your seat is located in the first row of the Economy cabin, the width should not exceed 42 centimeters/16 inches.)
  • During takeoff and landing, the car seat can face the back of the aircraft. At cruising speed, the car seat must face the front of the aircraft so the seat in front can be reclined.
  • The use of a car seat is not allowed in the following cabins: 1) Business cabins on certain Boeing 777 aircraft and all Boeing 787 aircraft; 2) La Première cabin on all types of aircraft. On these flights, your infant must travel on your lap. 

Bassinet Guidelines

You can request a bassinet on long-haul flights in the Business, Premium Economy and Economy cabins, subject to availability. Bassinets are designed for infants weighing less than 10 kilograms/22 pounds and measuring less than 70 centimeters/27 inches.

NOTE: For safety reasons, any equipment designed for children to sleep horizontally (convertible bag that serves as a bed, inflatable mattress placed in front of the seat, etc.) are not permitted on board Air France aircraft.

Air New Zealand

Car Seat Guidelines

Forward- or rear-facing car seats can be used to restrain children up to 7 years provided the seat is:

  • Designed for the child’s weight
  • Equipped with a built-in restraint system
  • Approved for use in a motor vehicle
  • In good, safe working condition
  • Not wider than 43 centimeters (17 inches )
  • Not higher than 48 centimeters (19 inches) for rear-facing or 65 centimeters (25.5 inches) for forward-facing
  • The car seat should also display one of the manufacturing-standards marks showing that it is an approved car seat (these marks can be found directly on the Air New Zealand site).
  • Car seats cannot be used in Business Premier lie-flat seats on all 777 aircraft. This includes both the CARES harness and MERU TravelChair. Additionally, child booster seats and/or booster cushions are not permitted as they are designed to be used with a diagonal seat belt rather than a lap belt.

Bassinet Guidelines

On international flights, Boeing 777-200, 777-300, and 787-9 aircraft may offer seats with bassinets that are:

  • Designed for infants up to 8 months old and 11.8 kilograms (26 pounds)
  • Made up with sheets, a pillow and blankets
  • 73.66 centimeters (29 inches) long and 34.29 centimeters (13.5 inches) wide
  • When booking a bassinet online, make sure to select a seat with a bassinet icon from the bassinet row. If you are traveling with an infant aged between 8 and 15 months who does not weigh more than 11.8 kilograms (26 pounds), Air New Zealand may be able to allocate you a bassinet seat when you check in.

NOTE: Air New Zealand does not permit the use of non-aviation certified products, such as Fly-Tot, JETKIDS Bedbox and LegsUp leg hammock.

Alaska Airlines

To be used onboard, your child-restraint system must bear both of the following labels:

  • “This restraint system conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety conditions.”
  • “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft (in red lettering).”
  • Labels that indicate US or foreign government approval or show the seat was manufactured under the standards of the United Nations are also valid.

Child-restraint systems are not permitted in:

  • Any aisle seat
  • Emergency exit rows
  • Rows immediately in front of or behind the exit rows
  • “A” seats in rows 1–4 on flights operated with Embraer E175 aircraft

The window seat is the best location for a child restraint system, although it may be placed in the middle seat if the window seat is vacant or if the restraint system does not block access to the aisle. If you are uncertain, the flight attendant can assist in determining if middle seat is acceptable.

The Alaska Airlines website publishes a chart that includes the width of the narrowest and widest passenger seat in each aircraft. This will help you determine the maximum width for your car seat.

Bassinet Guidelines

Alaska Airlines does not offer bassinets on any of its flights.

American Airlines

Car Seat Guidelines

  • 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.
  • The label may include: “This child restraint system conforms to all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards” and “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft” or “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” or “Approval of a foreign government or a label showing that the seat was manufactured under the standards of the United Nations.”
  • The safety seat can’t be used in an exit row or in the rows on either side of an exit row; window seats are preferred. Make sure your car seat fits within the maximum seat width for the plane you are traveling on.
  • Safety seats are not allowed in first class or business class on select planes because of the seat angles: First class — Airbus 321T, Business class — Airbus 330-200, Airbus 330-300, Boeing 777-200, Boeing 777-300, Boeing 787-800 and Boeing 787-900

Bassinet Guidelines

To use an infant bassinet, your child must be younger than 2 years old and weigh no more than 20 pounds (9 kilograms)

  • Bassinets are available on a first come, first served basis at the gate for travel only on 767-300, 777-200, 777-300 and 787 aircraft.
  • Bassinets are not available in first-class and business-class cabins.

British Airways

Car Seat Guidelines

You can bring your own car seat for use by infants in their own seat or by children, subject to the following conditions:

  • The age/weight range of the child is in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • The width across the car seat should be no more than 45 centimeters (18 inches) to ensure it fits in the aircraft seat.
  • The child in the car seat must face the same direction as the aircraft seat to which it is secured.
  • The car seat must remain in position for the duration of the flight.
  • The aircraft seat-belt buckle must not lie over any part of the frame or under the structure of the car seat after tightening.
  • The frame of the car seat must be either metal or plastic/polycarbonate material.
  • Where possible, car seats should be secured into a passenger seat next to a window.
  • The car seat must not be placed before, after or on an emergency exit row.
  • The car seat harness must secure the lap, torso and crotch, but does not need to have five individual straps.
  • Non-approved car seats may only be used during the cruise when the seat belt sign is off. At other times, these car seats must be stowed in an overhead locker.

Instead of bringing your own car seat, you can also reserve a child seat supplied by British Airways. The child seat attaches to the carrycot position, so you’ll need to make sure to reserve a carrycot-position seat. The child seats supplied by British Airways are:

  • suitable for older babies who weigh no more than 12.5 kilograms (27.5 pounds)
  • available on all long-haul flights (except on the London City to JFK service)
  • adjustable to a variety of reclined positions
  • not to be used during taxi, takeoff, landing and turbulence (when the “fasten seat belt” sign is on)

NOTE: Only child seats supplied by British Airways can be used in Club Suite.

Alternatively, if you have your own AmSafe Child Restraint System (CARES), you can use this on board in economy seats for infants from 12 months to children of 4 years. The AmSafe System is not suitable for use in first class, business class, Club Suite or Premium Economy and cannot be used in the rows before, after or on an emergency exit.

Bassinet Guidelines

  • British Airways has specially designed carrycots on board, so that your baby can sleep during the flight. Just make sure to reserve a carrycot position seat when purchasing your ticket. The carrycot guidelines are the same as reserving a carrycot position if you were using a car seat supplied by British Airways. (Guidelines above)
  • You can also bring your own CoziGo carrycot cover which can be used with all styles of carrycots on our long haul flights.

NOTE: All other seat comfort devices are not technically permitted for use in the cabin. Devices not allowed include, but are not restricted to, seat extenders for children, hammocks for lap-held infants, inflatable footrests and devices that attach to the seat to restrict movement or for leg support.

Cathay Pacific

Car Seat Guidelines

If you have infants or children between 6 and 36 months (under 3 years) old, you can consider bringing your own car safety seat on board though not that booster seats are not permitted. Child safety seats must meet these criteria:

  • Forward-facing and in operational condition
  • Rear-facing car safety seats are also permitted if the use of such seat will not cause any impact on other passengers’ comfort. You should contact our reservations offices to request an assigned seat.
  • Possess a well-defined shell (e.g., a plastic frame), and if there is a separate shell and understructure, they must be securely attached to each other
  • Designed so you can quickly and easily secure and take care of your child
  • Your child should not be able to easily adjust or loosen the harness straps of the car safety seat. It should be a single-release harness that secures a child’s lap, torso and shoulders with a minimum width of 25 mm (1 in).
  • The seat must meet one of the following safety standards: European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) ETSO-C100b; Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) TSO-C100, TSO-C100a, TSO-C100b, or TSO-C100c; European Safety Standard requirements of ECE Regulation 44; United States Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard FMVSS 213 or Australia/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS) 1754
  • Due to safety requirements, safety seats may not be used on some of our aircraft passenger seats. The Cathay Pacific website lists which aircraft and class of service allow and do not allow car seats.

Additionally, you can opt to use your own CARES harness on board for children under the age of 3 years old. This harness can be used if your child is:

  • Seated in a forward-facing passenger seat of his or her own
  • Able to comfortably sit upright and unsupported
  • Under 1 meter tall
  • Between 10 kilograms (22 pounds) and 20 kilograms (44 pounds)
  • Younger than 3 years old

NOTE: If your child is over the age of 3, CARES harness is not accepted for use on all aircraft. Instead, you can consider other types of Postural Support Equipment (PSE) which are accepted on Cathay Pacific aircraft. The CARES harness can only be used on seats not equipped with an air bag seat belt. Cathay Pacific lists these aircraft on their site.

Alternatively, Cathay Pacific offers its own child restraint seats. These seats are for children between 6 and 36 months (under 3 years). There are only a limited number of child restraint seats available, so you’ll want to make sure to make your reservation early. To use one, your child should be under 100 centimeters tall, under 20 kilograms and needs to be accompanied by an adult passenger 18 years or older. This is a great option if you are flying on an aircraft that does not allow a car seat onboard. 

Bassinet Guidelines

Bassinets are recommended for infants under 6 months old. Bassinets are available on all of Cathay Pacific’s flights –- with the exception of Cathay Dragon flights operated on Airbus A320 aircraft. You can ask for a baby bassinet when you make your reservation.

  • Measurements: 76.2  x 38.1 x 20.32 centimeters (30 x 15 x 8 inches)
  • Maximum carrying weight: 12 kilograms (26.5 pounds)

NOTE: Onboard use of children’s sleeping devices are subject to Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon’s acceptance. Devices that do not affect the functionalities of a seat or cause any impact on other passengers’ comfort, such as a JETKIDS Bedbox, are accepted. Examples of devices that are not acceptable are Fly LegsUp and Flyebaby hammock.

Delta Air Lines

Car Seat Guidelines

If you decide to use a child safety seat aboard the airplane and purchase a ticket for your child, there are a few restrictions and guidelines you’ll need to follow:

  • When using a child safety seat, don’t select seats in the following areas:
    • Aisle seats
    • Emergency exit rows
    • Any seat one row forward of or one row back from an emergency exit row
    • Bulkhead seats when the safety seat is a combination car seat and stroller
    • Flatbed seats in the Delta One area of the following aircraft: Airbus A330-200 or A330-300; Boeing 777 or 767 aircraft
  • An adult (18 years or older) may hold an infant (infant-in-arms) or place the infant in a FAA-approved child restraint in their seat during takeoff and landing. Booster-type car seats are not permitted for use during taxi, takeoff and landing.
  • Ensure that the child restraint seat meets FAA guidelines
  • Ensure that the child restraint seat functions properly and is free of obvious defects
  • Secure the child according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Ensure the child does not exceed the restraint’s weight limit
  • Ensure the child restraint is secured to the aircraft seat using the aircraft seat’s safety belt

Bassinet Guidelines

On some international flights, Delta offers onboard baby bassinets. They’re ideal for babies weighing up to 20 pounds and up to 26 inches long.

  • Onboard bassinets, also known as SkyCots, are available free of charge for passengers in select seats on equipped aircraft for some international flights.
  • SkyCots can be requested by contacting Reservations before arriving at the airport and then speaking with the gate agent at the boarding gate, but cannot be guaranteed due to a limit of two SkyCots per aircraft and weight restrictions.
  • Please note that all infants must be held during takeoff, landing and whenever the seat belt light is on.

Emirates

Car Seat Guidelines

If you bring a baby car seat on your flight, the check-in staff will check that it carries a label showing that it’s approved for use on an aircraft, along with the instructions for use. Emirates will accept car seats that have been accepted or approved by one of the safety standards listed on their site.

Infants weighing under 10 can travel in either a forward-facing or rear-facing car seat. However if your infant weighs more than 10 , their car seat must be forward-facing. All car seats must be secured using the lap seat belt — not those that need to be secured by a three-point seat belt or shoulder harness.

If you prefer a restraint harness over a car seat, you can also use these four approved devices:

  • Special CARES
  • Crelling/Houdini Model 27
  • Meru TravelChair
  • Leckey Firefly GoTo Seat

Related: Review of the CARES Harness

Bassinet Guidelines

You can request a baby bassinet in the “passenger details” section when you make a booking on the website, or by calling your local Emirates office

After you make a booking on the website, you can request a baby bassinet in “Manage your booking” or by calling your local Emirates office. Bassinets are subject to availability.

Bassinets are approximately 75 x 33 x 22 (29.5 x 13 x 8.8 inches) in size and can hold babies weighing up to 11  (24.2 pounds). Bassinets are designed for babies up to 2 years old, but will only be provided if your baby fits safely

NOTE: Many children ride on suitcases or leg-rest devices that aren’t certified by the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority and therefore aren’t permitted on board Emirates flights. This includes – but isn’t limited to – devices by Bedbox, Fly Legs-up and FLY-Tot.

Etihad

Car Seat Guidelines

Children up to 3 years old traveling on a child’s ticket may use certain approved car seats in conjunction with an aircraft seat. Your infant must be secured in the seat and accompanied by a responsible adult in an adjacent seat for takeoff and landing. The seat must meet the following standards:

  • Forward-facing or rear-facing type with the proper harness that can be strapped to a seat by the use of a lap belt only
  • Rear-facing seats are restricted to infants from 0 to 6 months weighing less than 10 kilograms and are only allowed in first or business class. They are not allowed in economy class due to space limitations (hampering the seat recline of seat in front).
  • Must be in good condition and show no signs of damage
  • The car-seat harness must have a single release button and must secure the infant’s lap, torso and crotch.
  • Must meet standards per the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority.

Supporting devices are allowed for children with special needs. These devices include:

  • CARES harness for children over 1 year and 20 kilograms in weight (only allowed in economy class)
  • SPECIAL CARES harness for adult guests with special needs and children more than 20 kilograms in weight
  • CRELLING harness Model 27. Type 27I (2 to 5 years) and Type 27A (5 to 8 years) are only allowed in economy class. Type 27B (9 to adult) is allowed in all classes.
  • CRELLING shoulder strap HSB1. Type HSB1 (2 to adult) is only allowed in economy class.

Bassinet Guidelines

  • The bassinets on Etihad are specially designed carry-cots, to help your baby sleep flat during the flight. If you’re traveling with an infant who will weigh less than 11 kilograms on the day of travel, you can request a baby bassinet when you book your flight. Your infant must also fit comfortably in the bassinet. The cabin crew will confirm that your infant safely fits in the bassinet before affixing it at your seat position.
  • Bassinets are limited, so make sure to make the request when you book your flight. Bassinets are allocated on a first come, first served basis. If you would like to add a bassinet request to an existing booking, go to Manage my Booking and update the “Special Requests” for your Infant.
  • For safety reasons, you may only use bassinets during the flight when the seat belt sign is switched off and when the cabin crew permit you to do so.

EVA Air

Car Seat Guidelines

Royal Laurel class (aka business class) cannot accept use of a child restraint system such as a car seat or  CARES Harness.

Bassinet Guidelines

Baby bassinets are available aboard all EVA Air aircraft and are suitable for infants up to approximately 8 months of age. The bassinets are free of charge, but for safety reasons, height and weight limitations apply. When you make your reservation, you’ll have to advise the airline of your baby’s date of birth, height and weight.

The EVA Air website lists all basinet measurements based on aircraft.

Frontier Airlines

Car Seat Guidelines

Car seats must be preapproved with air-travel-approved FAA (Federal Aviation Administration​) labels. If they do not have a label, the car seat may be checked only. Booster seats may not be used during takeoff and landing but may be used during flight.

Car seats cannot be placed in emergency exit rows, in the rows directly in front or behind of emergency exit rows or in the very first row. Frontier suggests placing car seats in window seats so they do not impede access to the aisle by other passengers.

Seat widths vary depending on the size of the aircraft. Minimum seat widths on the A319 and A320 are 17.4″ and on our A321 minimum seat widths are 16.5 inches.

(Image by Katie Genter / The Points Guy)
(Image by Katie Genter / The Points Guy)

Bassinet Guidelines

Frontier Airlines does not offer bassinets on any of their flights.

Hawaiian Airlines

Car Seat Guidelines

  • All safety seats used inflight must have a label stating certification for use in aircraft. The Hawaiian Airline website lists the label requirement.
  • All car seats must fit within the maximum seat width which depends on your aircraft type and class of service. The Hawaiian Airlines website lists these details.
  • Children using child restraint systems will not be permitted to sit in the following rows: aisle seats, exit rows and rows immediately in front of or behind an exit, and row 4 on our  B717 planes.
  • Backless booster-type seats, safety belts, belly belts, harness-type and vest-type devices are not allowed during taxiing, takeoff, and landing. Exception: CARES harness

Bassinet Guidelines

Bassinets are available on most of Hawaiian Airlines international flights. To reserve a bassinet, the accompanying adult must purchase a bassinet-compatible Extra Comfort seat in Row 14 (14 AB, CD or EG, HJ).

If you’d prefer not to purchase an Extra Comfort seat, you may see an airport customer service agent at check-in (on the day of departure) for bassinet availability. If available, Hawaiian Airlines will accept up to two (2) requests per flight. Confirmed bassinets will be assigned during the boarding process. Priority will be given to the customer with the earliest check-in time as they are not guaranteed.

To use a bassinet, your child must be:

  1. Under the age of 2 years old and
  2. Cannot weigh more than 20 pounds (9 kilograms).

The bassinet is 32 inches in length, 14.5 inches in width and 7 inches in height.

NOTE: Devices such as footrests and child beds which attach to aircraft seats, fit between the seats, or block access to the aisle may not be used onboard. They may be carried on but may not be used onboard.

Japan Airlines

Car Seat Guidelines

Japan Airlines has two options: You may bring your own child seat, or you may use our child seat rental service if you do not have one.

To use your own seat on board, it must satisfy the following standards:

  • Child seat is set by guardian following maker’s instruction.
  • At the time of fixing the child seat to the installed aircraft seats, even if the child seat is of a suitable type, there may be times that the crew may decide that it is unable to be safely fixed depending on aircraft configuration or installed seat types. The Japan Airlines website lists all the safety standard marks.
  • The aircraft seat belt buckle (2.5 centimeters thick, 6.5 centimeters wide, 6.5 centimeters long) can be slipped through the hole of the child seat belt.
  • The infant/child can be seated in the child seat and does not exceed the weight limitation shown on the child seat.
  • If the width of the child seat exceeds 42 centimeters, it may not be possible to mount, depending on the equipment and seat.

If you prefer to rent a car seat, you’ll need to contact the reservations center at least 96 hours prior to departure time. Child seats are limited, so make sure to book early. These child seats are not available on codeshare flights operated by other airlines.

Bassinet Guidelines

  • Bassinets on Japan Airlines are ideal for infants weighing up to 10.5 kilogram (age 2). Bassinets are available in limited numbers and reservations may not always be possible.
  • Bassinet dimensions: (length: 72 centimeters, width: 30 centimeters, and depth: 15 centimeters).

JetBlue

Car Seat Guidelines

  • Infants and children may occupy a seat with or without a child restraint system (CRS). If the infant is not in a child restraint system, they must be able to sit upright.
  • Use of booster seats, harness and vest restraints will not be allowed during the movement on surface (taxiing), takeoff or landing, unless it is an FAA-approved device.
  • Safety seats, including harnesses or other restraint systems, should be placed in a window seat; it may be placed in a middle seat or aisle seat as long as the other seat(s) remain empty or occupied by another infant seat.
  • Safety seats may not obstruct a customer’s pathway to the aisle.
  • Safety seats may not be placed between two individuals.
  • A safety seat may face backward if it is FAA-approved and properly secured by the parent/guardian.
  • Any safety seat used during flight must remain secured to the aircraft seat at all times, even when unoccupied.
  • Seat belts must fit low and tight across the waist of all customers, including children. If used with a CRS, the seat belt must be affixed to the CRS so that it is secured tightly in the seat. In seats equipped with an air bag seat belt, JetBlue-provided seat belt extensions must be used in conjunction with the seat belt to secure the CRS. For safety purposes, if the CRS is not able to be properly secured with the air bag seat belt, the customer may be required to move to a seat with a standard seat belt in order to use the CRS.
  • Only one lap infant will be assigned per row of seats on each side of the aircraft.
  • Lap infants may not be seated in emergency exit rows.

The JetBlue website includes seat dimensions for each of their aircraft to ensure that your car seat will fit within the seat.

Bassinet Guidelines

JetBlue does not offer bassinets on any of their flights.

KLM

Car Seat Guidelines

If you booked a seat for your child, KLM recommends that you bring your own child car seat on board. Make sure to meet these requirements:

  • The child car seat must be able to fit between the armrests of the aircraft seat, which is 42 centimeters (16.5 inches) wide.
  • Your child and the child car seat need to be secured according to the seat manufacturer’s instructions.
  • During takeoff and landing, child car seats may be secured in a rear-facing position. At cruising altitude, they must be placed facing forward, to allow recline of the seat in front.
  • A child car seat may show no defects and must be approved and visibly certified for air transport.
  • You will need to reserve the use of a car/child seat in advance. Please contact the KLM Customer Contact Centre or your local KLM ticket office.

If you have booked a seat for your child on a KLM flight, you may also use a Child Aviation Restraint System (CARES) on board, if you meet these requirements:

  • Your child and the CARES need to be secured according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • The CARES may show no defects and must be approved for air transport and marked accordingly.
  • You will need to reserve the use of the CARES in advance. Please contact the KLM Customer Contact Centre or your local KLM ticket office.

Bassinet Guidelines

For intercontinental KLM flights, onboard carrycots can be reserved via My Trip or by contacting the KLM Customer Contact Centre. These cots are suitable for babies that are no longer than 65 centimeters and weigh no more than 10 kilograms on the day of the trip. Keep in mind that KLM cannot always guarantee the availability of a carrycot when you board the aircraft.

NOTE: If you booked a seat for your child, you may bring an inflight bed/legrest extension (e.g., Wick, BedBox, Fly Tot, 1st Class Kid Travel Pillow, Plane Pal). Such a device is allowed, as long as it is not attached directly to the seat. Inflight bed/legrest extensions that are attached to the seat (e.g., Fly LegsUp or FlyeBaby) are not permitted. Please note that it may not be used during takeoff, taxiing or landing and it may not impede other passengers.

(Photo courtesy of Stokke)

Lufthansa

Car Seat Guidelines

A child restraint system or child car seat or baby seat can be used on board to increase the passive safety of infants and children (up to about 7 years of age). Their use is entirely voluntary. Lufthansa offers a list of approved car seats.

Bassinet Guidelines

Lufthansa has special carrycots available for you on our entire long-haul fleet: The cots are suited to babies under 11 kilograms in weight and under 67 centimeters in length. The number of carrycots on board is limited. You can reserve the carrycots up to 52 hours before flight departure. Please note that, depending on your booking class, a seat reservation fee for the seat with the carrycot may apply.

NOTE: “Comfort devices,” which are attached to the passenger seat or placed in the footwell (e.g., inflatable cubes, seat extenders, etc.) may not be used on board Lufthansa flights for safety reasons.

Malaysia Airlines

Bassinet Guidelines

A number of bassinets are provided on board, depending on the aircraft.  Due to safety and storage reasons, passengers are not allowed to carry their own bassinets into the cabin. This service must be requested through the Reservations/Ticket Counter/Call Centre at least 24 hours before departure.

Qantas

Car Seat Guidelines

Child car seats can be carried on board most Qantas and QantasLink flights and secured to an aircraft seat if approved by Qantas prior to travel. Approval can’t be obtained at the airport. Qantas recommends contacting them at least seven days prior to your intended travel date, as preapproval must be finalized at least 24 hours before departure. You’ll also need to show your device to our airport staff on the day of travel, including at check-in.

  • Child car seats must have at least one relevant certification which you can find on the Qantas website.
  • Forward-facing child restraint systems for infants and children weighing between 9 and 18 kilograms (20 and 40 pounds).
  • Rear-facing child restraint systems for infants weighing under 9 kilograms (20 pounds) (although some seats may be certified to carry children of greater weight). Rear-facing seats are generally large and may not fit in economy-class 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.
  • Seat allocation for use of car seats and child restraint systems is restricted and availability may vary by aircraft type. Not all aircraft and all cabins are able to accommodate car seats and child restraint systems, particularly those that require the use of a top tether point.
  • Car seats can’t be located in an aisle seat or in an exit row. If there are two responsible adults traveling with a child and the allocated child car seat is in the center aisle, then the two responsible adults must be seated on either side, adjacent to the child car seat.
  • QantasLink flights (QF1400 – 2899) operated by Dash-8 aircraft or Fokker aircraft can’t accommodate a child car seat that is only certified for use if a top tether point is used to secure it. Please be aware that this includes some Australian-certified car seats.

NOTE: Booster seats are prohibited on our aircraft. A booster could be a simple cushion or a shell base, back with side wings, and doesn’t contain a built-in harness. It only enhances the positioning of the seat’s harness on the child. The Child Aviation Restraint System (CARES), however, is an approved alternative to car seats.

Bassinet Guidelines

Bassinets on Qantas flights are approximately 71 centimeters long, 31 centimeters wide, 26 centimeters deep, and have a weight limitation of 11 kilogram. If your infant is too large for a bassinet and is traveling on a parent’s ticket, they must be lap held.

Bassinets are limited, so make sure to request one at the time of booking.

Singapore Airlines

Car Seat Guidelines

Booster seats, vests and harness-type child restraint devices are not permitted on board, but Singapore allows the use of approved car-type child safety seats and FAA-approved child harnesses for children under 3 years of age. Car type/ infant seats (for children under 3 years of age) which are accepted for use on the aircraft must be a model that has been approved by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE).

Car seats must:

  • be forward- or aft-facing and secured to the passenger seat with the aircraft safety belt by a lap belt or two-point harness, according to the child/infant car seat manufacturer’s instructions. The passenger seat will be charged at a child’s fare. (Child safety seats that must be secured by a three-point harness cannot be used on Singapore flights.)
  • not extend unreasonably beyond the passenger seat, which means an adult can move past the child safety seat when the seats in the row immediately in front of it are in the upright position.
  • not block the aisle, which means the aisle remains accessible during taxi, takeoff and landing.
  • fit within these maximum areas, measured between the armrests of the typical passenger seat in each cabin class:
    • Economy: 17 x 27 inches
    • Premium Economy: 18 x 31 inches
    • Business: 19 x 33 inches
    • First: 36 x 42 inches
    • Suites: 23 x 64 inches

NOTE: The use of booster seats and harness-vest-type child restraint systems is prohibited, with the exception of AmSafe Child Aviation Restraint System (CARES) child harness. However, this child harness may not fit in some of the airline’s first- and business-class seats.

Bassinet Guidelines

  • Singapore Airlines encourages you to request a bassinet when you book an infant ticket, as only a limited number of bassinets are available on board and offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Each bassinet measures at 768 mm (l) x 298 mm (w) x 158 mm (h), and can support a maximum weight of 14 kilograms.

Southwest Airlines

Car Seat Guidelines

The child restraint system (CRS) should be secured in a middle or window seat. If placed in a middle seat, the CRS may not impede the exit path of a passenger in the window seat. A CRS may not be placed in an exit seat or in a row directly forward or aft of an exit row of seats. 

If the CRS was manufactured prior to Feb. 25, 1985, it must have one of the following labels. A CRS manufactured on or after Feb. 26, 1985, must bear both of the labels in “A” and “B” below:

  • (A) This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.
  • (B) This child restraint device conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
  • (C) FAA APPROVED IN ACCORDANCE WITH 14 CFR PART 21.305 (D) APPROVED FOR AIRCRAFT USE ONLY.

Southwest Airlines will also accept seats approved by the United Nations or foreign governments. The CRS must have a stamp or decal or some other mark that indicates foreign government approval. Seats manufactured under the standards of the UN must have a label with a circle surrounding the letter E, followed by a number assigned to the country that has granted approval.

Make sure your car seat will fit within the width of a Southwest seat:

  • Boeing 737-700: 15.5 to 17 inches
  • Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 737 MAX 8: 15.5 to 17.8 inches

NOTE: Southwest approves the use of the CARES harness.

Bassinet Guidelines

Southwest Airlines does not offer bassinets on any of their flights.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

SWISS

Car Seat Guidelines

You can take your child’s car seat on board the aircraft if your child is under 12 years of age and weighs less than 27 kilograms. In the case of infants, a separate passenger seat must be booked for the flight. The car seat must be certified for use in aircraft and must fit on a SWISS seat (43 x 43 centimeters).

Bassinet Guidelines

Baby bassinets are available in all flight classes on long-haul flights and in business class on European flights. They are approved for babies of up to 8 months and weighing a maximum of 11 kilograms. The number of cots is limited, so please be sure to contact the Service Center ahead of time.

United Airlines

Car Seat Guidelines

  • You may use an FAA-approved child restraint system (CRS) or child safety seat in certain seats on board the aircraft if you have purchased a seat for your child, including customers who have purchased a Basic Economy ticket. United does not provide child restraint systems or child safety seats.
  • The FAA has approved the use of the child safety restraint system CARES (Child Aviation Restraint System) for travel. Children weighing between 22 and 44 pounds may use this device.
  • Child safety seats or restraint systems must be placed in window seats on single-aisle aircraft, and in window seats or in the middle seats of a center section on two-aisle aircraft. To ensure the child’s safety, the use of child restraint systems is not permitted in rear-facing seats or seats directly in front of, behind or in the exit row on any aircraft.
  • Child safety seats or restraint systems are also not permitted in first class on three-cabin 767 or 777-200 aircraft, on 757-200 aircraft with rear-facing seats, or in Polaris business class on 767, 777 and 787 aircraft. United is unable to seat customers under the age of 15 in exit rows due to federal regulation.
  • Car seats manufactured after February 1985 should also be certified for use in aircraft. You should place your child in the child safety seat for takeoff, landing and during turbulence.
  • Booster seats, belly belts attached to adult seat belts, and vests or harnesses that hold an infant to an adult’s chest cannot be used on board the aircraft.

Bassinet Guidelines

  • A limited number of complimentary bassinets are available for use on international aircraft only. Bassinets are large enough to hold an infant weighing 22 pounds (10 kilograms) or less. They may not be used during taxi, takeoff or landing, or when the seat belt sign is illuminated.
  • Bassinets are available for customers traveling international segments in Polaris business class on select 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft and in United Economy on 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft.
  • Bassinets are not available for customers traveling in first class or business class at this time.
  • Customers can request a bassinet by calling the United Customer Contact Center at 1-800-UNITED-1 (1-800-864-8331) within the United States or the appropriate Worldwide Contact Center. Bassinet availability is limited, and these arrangements are not guaranteed, so request a bassinet early.
bassinet
(Photo by Dangubic / Getty Images)

Bottom Line

Knowing the rules for your particular airline ahead of time can save you aggravation before and after stepping onto your plane. It’s also not a bad idea to double-check (or even triple-check) with the airline directly to ensure that your particular car seat will absolutely work with your assigned seat on your exact aircraft.

Featured image by RyanJLane / Getty Images

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