Best Convertible Car Seat for Air Travel – Make Your Journey More Comfortable

Baby Gear

Baby sleeping on an airplane

​Planning a trip? With a baby or toddler? Not excited about dragging your luggage and a thousand-pound carseat around the airport? (Can't imagine why! But if that's the case...) Then congrats! You've found the right resource.

We take a look at some of the best convertible car seats for air travel, because we know that airports are stress-inducing by nature (Security! Lines! Delays and cancellations!), but if you have a convertible car seat that's safe and light as a feather, well, that's just one less thing to worry about. 

"When the stewardess comes, please tell her I'd like a white wine."



While you're technically not required to use car seat on a plane for a child under 2, it's certainly one of your safest options for traveling with kiddos.

Just think—if there's significant turbulence, what better place to be than safely strapped into a car seat?


What if the flight attendants give you a hard time about your car seat? How do you install it on the airplane? For the answers to these burning questions, check out this great article.

Benefits of using a car seat on an airplane​

There are several advantages to investing in the very best car seat for air travel, rather than lugging the car seat from your car on the plane with you.

First of all, there's the aforementioned lugging, especially if the seat is heavy (and they usually are)! Second, bringing your car seat gives your kid a familiar seat during the flight. And third, you're going to have to reinstall it after your trip. Hmm... Thanks but no thanks!

That being said, there are several things to consider when purchasing the best car seat to travel with. This includes:​

We About WordPress

  • Weight - This goes without saying: the lighter the better
  • Width - It should be able to fit into a normal seat in Coach on the airplane
  • Ease of installation - You should be able to install it just by locking the regular seatbelt across the front
  • FAA approval - To be able to use your car seat on an airplane, it must be approved by the FAA, which is usually indicated in red on the seat's label

A word (or two) to the wise: It's a good idea to know how to install the car seat before you get on the plane. That will make the whole process a lot easier, faster and stress-free. Also, just to be sure: you might want to call ahead and confirm with your airline that your car seat fits. The models we cover below are airplane ready, so you shouldn't have any problems, but these days airplane seats are getting increasingly smaller, and you might want to double check.

We take a closer look at the following convertible car seats:

  • ​Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat
  • Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat
  • Evenflo Tribute Sport Convertible Car Seat
  • Cosco APT 50
  • Cosco Comfy Convertible Car Seat
  • Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat
  • Britax Roundabout G4.1 Convertible Car Seat
  • Safety 1st Complete Air 65 Protect Convertible Car Seat

These are some great options if you're flying, and are sure to make your trip a little bit a heck of a lot smoother!


Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat 

Cosco is an excellent brand to cover your air travel needs, as you'll see with the 3 models we've included on our list of the best car seats to travel with. It has a similar price point to the APT 50 model below (under 65 bucks), and fulfills all of your requirements for travel: it's compact, affordable, and it's not just lightweight, it's light as a freaking feather at 8 lbs.

The details:​

  • Rear facing: 5 to 40 lbs. (19 to 40 inches)
  • Forward facing: 22 to 40 lbs. (29 to 43 inches)
  • Airplane ready
  • So compact most cars can accommodate 3 of them in the backseat (to give you an idea)
  • Easy-to-adjust 5-point harness
  • 5 harness heights and 3 buckle locations, so it fits your growing kiddo
  • Seat pad can be machine-washed and dried
  • Easy to install and uninstall
  • Crotch buckle may be on the shorter side, but all you have to do is call Cosco's customer service and they will send you an extended buckle for free
  • Side impact protection built into headrest
  • LATCH equipped
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Built-in cupholder

Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat

This car seat is seriously compact. Seriously. It's narrow. And it weighs next to nothing—a mere 9.11 lbs.—which means that it may very well be one of the best convertible car seats for airplane travel. Oh, and did we mention it's a total bargain? What's more, Evenflo is a trusted name in making excellent baby products, and this seat is no different. 

The details:

  • Rear facing: 5 to 35 lbs.
  • Forward facing: 20 to 40 lbs.
  • Armrest to armrest: 17 inches
  • Airplane ready
  • 5-point harness makes it easier to put your kid in and take him out
  • Harness has 4 positions, so it fits your growing child
  • Reclines when rear facing
  • Comes with the LATCH system
  • Easy to move from one car to another and install
  • Side impact tested, meeting or exceeding all federal safety standards
  • Car seat pad is removable and machine washable
  • 2 crotch buckle positions means you can use the seat for longer

Evenflo Tribute Sport Convertible Car Seat

As with the previous Evenflo car seat, this model is very compact and extremely light at just 9.11 lbs., thus making it ideal for air travel. Beyond that awesomeness, it shares a lot of the same characteristics as the ​Tribute LX above (such as a good price point!), but we included it to give Evenflo fans one more great option.

The details:

  • Rear facing: 5 to 40 lbs.
  • Forward facing: 22 to 40 lbs.
  • Airplane ready
  • Made in the USA
  • Perfect for air travel and for switching between multiple vehicles 
  • Easy to install
  • Reclines when rear-facing
  • 5-point harness can be adjusted quite easily from the front of the car seat
  • 4 shoulder harness positions, so it accommodates your growing child
  • Meets or exceeds all federal safety standards
  • Side impact tested
  • Available in 3 colors
  • Machine-washable seat pad
  • LATCH equipped
  • Extra soft padding makes it comfy for kids

Cosco Apt 50

Here's another convertible car seat that's perfect for taking on an airplane. This model from Cosco weighs... are you sitting down? 11 lbs! It's compact and ready to fly, and beyond that it has many other redeeming qualities.

Cosco Apt 50
CoscoAPT

The details:​

  • Rear facing: 5 to 40 lbs.
  • Forward facing: 22 to 50 lbs.
  • Airplane ready
  • 5 harness heights, 3 buckle locations, so the seat fits your kids as they grow
  • Seat pad is machine-washable and dryer-safe
  • 2 built-in cup holders
  • Comes with the LATCH system
  • Comes with directions for installation on a Boeing 737
  • Has side impact protection around the head
  • Available in 6 colors

Cosco Comfy Convertible Car Seat

The last Cosco model we feature is a slight upgrade from the APT 50 and the Seneca NEXT. It's a little more everything: it's slightly heavier, though not heavy, at 11 lbs.; it's a tad wider; and it's a bit more expensive. That being said, it's still perfect for taking on an airplane, it's got some more "luxurious" features, and it offers excellent bang for your buck.

Details:​

  • Rear facing: 5 to 40 lbs. 
  • Forward facing: 22 to 50 lbs. 
  • Airplane ready
  • Measures 31" H x 16.75" W x 22.75" D
  • Comes with side impact protection
  • Deluxe padding and top-notch fabrics
  • Available in 2 colors
  • LATCH equipped
  • Exceeds federal safety regulations
  • Seat pad is machine-washable and can go in the dryer
  • Made in the USA
  • Reclines for rear-facing positions

Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat

Here's another option you might want to check out, if Graco is more your style. It's heavier than the previous models, though it's not heavy by any stretch, weighing in at a cool 15 lbs. Also keep in mind that all the fabulous add-ons inevitably add on a 'lil bit of weight. All in all, another excellent option for your next trip by airplane.

For a fantastically thorough look at the Contender, check out this article.​

The details:​

  • Rear facing: 5 to 40 lbs. 
  • Forward facing: 22 to 65 lbs. 
  • Airplane ready
  • Side impact tested
  • Meets or exceeds US safety standards
  • 5-point harness system automatically adjusts
  • 8 position adjustable headrest, to accommodate your child as he grows
  • Seat pad can be washed in the machine
  • LATCH equipped
  • 2 buckle positions ensure that your little one is snug in his seat
  • A cinch to install
  • Built-in cup holder
  • Available in 4 colors

Britax Roundabout G4.1 Convertible Car Seat

Britax is another trusted name in baby gear, so you really can't go wrong with this one. It's an extremely popular model among traveling families, and is robust, i.e. a bit heavier (around 17 lbs.)​. It has a ton of great features, which we highlight for you below.

The details:​

  • Rear facing: 5 to 40 lbs. 
  • Forward facing: 22 to 65 lbs. 
  • Airplane ready
  • Side impact protection in deep protective shell
  • Exceeds federal safety standards
  • 5-point harness is tangle-free, so it's easier to put your child in his seat
  • 2-position buckle is easy to move and adjust
  • Plush foam padding and soft fabric for maximum comfort
  • Easy to install with connectors that lock with an audible click
  • LATCH equipped
  • Made in the USA
  • Easy to clean
  • Lightweight compared with other regular car seats
  • Available in 2 colors

Safety 1st Complete Air 65 Protect Convertible Car Seat

This is an excellent ​option, although it's slightly more expensive than the other models on the list, it is on the large side, and it weighs in at 18 lbs. That being said, you get what you pay for, and this convertible car seat has a whole lot going for it, besides the fact that it is approved for air travel.

Convertible car seat for air travel


The details:

  • Rear facing: 5 to 40 lbs.
  • Forward facing: 22 to 65 lbs.
  • Height: from 19 to 52 inches
  • Airplane ready
  • Side impact protection - The advanced cushion system will protect your kiddo's noggin in the event of a side collision
  • Easy-to-adjust QuickFit headrest
  • 5-point harness system with 5 harness heights and 3 buckle positions
  • Has one of the best chemical ratings among car seats
  • Well-padded, durable, with a built-in cupholder
  • Cover can be removed and washed
  • Solid, dependable, well-made
  • Does not use removable base
  • LATCH equipped

Other travel accessories you might want to consider

Although these car seats are light enough for you to carry by hand, if you're traveling with a lot things (or even if you're not), you might prefer to turn that car seat into an airport stroller.

Below are three great products to consider, just to make your journey through the airport a little smoother.​

​Go-Go Baby Travelmate Black

This is a great accessory if you want to zip around the airport. Simply connect the car seat, with your child inside, and drag/push him or her around comfortably. It's got great maneuverability, the handle has 4 positions, and it gives you one free hand. It weighs around 6 lbs.

It's compatible with most car seats, but check here to make sure.

Click here for more info and current pricing.

Britax Car Seat Travel Cart

This is similar to the above model, but is just a little simpler. It has easy-glide wheels so you can breeze through the airport, and is compact, so you can stow it in the overhead compartment. The handle has 2 positions, and the cart is compatible with all Britax models as well as most other brands.​ It weighs about 7 lbs.

Click here for more info and current pricing.

Brica Roll 'n Go Car Seat Transporter

This is just one more option for you. We love the Brica because it's lightweight (5 lbs!), fits most big name brands of car seats, and can also be stowed in the overhead compartment. 

There's no assembly required, and it has a stable design, so it won't tip over once you strap your child securely inside. There are several positions for the handle, ​and you can push it or pull it very easily. 

Click here for more info and current pricing.

AirportStrollers

From left to right: Go-Go Babyz Travelmate, Britax Car Seat Travel Cart, BRICA Roll ' Go Car Seat

Well there you have it. We hope something on our list of the best convertible car seats for air travel piqued your interest and will help you prepare for a smooth trip. Getting a great car seat to travel with should make the journey as worry free as possible.

If you need some advice on which stroller to take with you, you should consider a lightweight all-terrain model, which should enable you to weather any situation, or an umbrella stroller specifically for traveling

Other products you might need for your trip include a travel crib, a travel bed, or a large diaper bag.

Happy travels!​

Featured image: Wikipedia

FUN, delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Tiny Fry newsletter and get awesome ideas for spending QT with the little people who make your world go round.