Aside from the things you need to bring, you need to understand the steps, conditions, and steps you need to take before you board. Taking a car seat with you is no exception. Some airlines provide convenient options for car seats, and others do not. This is why it is important to understand how you should properly pack one to ensure it is intact and secure throughout the flight. Here are some of the things you need to know on how to pack a car seat for checked baggage and other helpful tips and reminders.
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You need to double-check the rules and regulations of the country you are visiting if it is allowed to bring a car seat overseas. Some countries do not allow car seats to be taken out of the country. For instance, car seats from the UK and EU are made to be used in their countries only. Therefore, you cannot take it legally if you are going to Canada, the US, or Australia.
You might be wondering if airlines provide car seat wrapping services. Sadly, no facility does this. That is because this is not part of their responsibility, making it more important for you to ensure it is free from damage while in transit.
If possible, it is also not recommended to take a very costly car seat. Affordable car seats are better to bring so that you will not feel too bad in case it gets damaged.
How to Pack a Car Seat the Right Way
Use Strong Cardboard or Plastic
It is crucial to take some precautions when checking in your car seat and ensure that it will not be damaged. One of the methods you can do is pack it using something that withstands pressure, such as durable cardboard or plastic, and tape to seal and secure the seat entirely.
The process of packing a car seat for checked baggage this way can be a little inconvenient for you. If you do not do it properly, you are putting the security of your car seat at risk. Another difficulty you can have is the security requesting you to open the wrap for a checkup.
Use a Car Seat Bag
If you do not mind spending some money, you can prevent being bothered by this problem by purchasing a car seat bag. This bag is designed for car seat safety. Aside from making your car seat easy to carry in an airport, it offers a lot of protection.
Since a car seat is not built to withstand much pressure, a car seat bag is required. Nevertheless, you need to keep in mind that a car seat bag can protect your car seat from external damages, and there is no guarantee that the parts will be well-protected. All in all, it is still best to have your car seat in a bag because some baggage handlers are a bit rough, which can cause scratches on your seat.
Reinforce Your Car Seat
If you have ample space, you can reinforce the packaging of your car seat by adding some baby diapers. You can also choose other soft items such as towels and socks and place them around your car seat. This will give extra protection to your car seat.
Use Bubble Wrap
Using bubble wrap and tape is a cheap way to pack your car seat when checking it in. What you can do is layer several layers of bubble wrap around your car seat. You need to ensure that the bubble wrap covers all the areas of the seat. After that, you use heavy-duty tape to secure the bubble wrap.
However, similar to using plastic or cardboard packaging, this can be a hassle during a security checkup because you need to open it and show it to the security personnel.
Request for a Car Seat Bag When Checking In
Aside from buying a car seat bag, there is another way you can have it. You can try asking for it during check-in. The plastic bag provided needs to be extra heavy and large so that it fits your car seat properly. You will also see an adhesive strip to secure it. You can also bring it to the special baggage area and have it as your carry-on.
And you also need to request another bag. You will use this spare bag when you return home. Nevertheless, you have to keep in mind that this depends on the airline you are flying with. This might or might not be available.
What Happens When You Check-In Your Car Seat
Aside from the rules and regulations of the airline you are flying with; you need to know the requirements needed by the airline to allow your car seat to be checked in. After meeting these requirements, you can check in your car seat.
What you need to do first is to bring your car seat to security and go to the boarding gate. Then, you inform the airline team that you will check in a car seat. The crew checks the packaging of your car seat. They will check if the car seat is correctly fitted. An extra strap will be attached if needed.
After that, you do not need to pay extra to check in your car seat. You just need to go to the check-in desk of the airport and ask for assistance.
Why You Need to Be Early When Checking In a Car Seat
When you are checking in a car seat, it is always best to arrive early. You can use the extra time to finish some tasks at the last minute. Being early allows you to enjoy your flight without having to feel stressed about your car seat.
The extra time also gives you the chance to talk to the airline staff and understand the requirements better. This is especially true if you are flying for the first time since you need to be acquainted with their regulations about car seats and available options.
The staff will not cooperate with any special request if you are late or holding the gate because of it. Whether you are flying for the first time or not, it is best to arrive early to have helpful consultation with the airline staff.
Now, you understand the importance of being punctual. It is time to picture and prepare yourself for the bad things that could happen to the car seat you packed. There are two; either, it would be damaged or lost entirely.
What to Do If Your Car Seat is Lost or Damaged
Because your car seat is out of your sight during the flight, it can be exposed to damage. Therefore, it is best to think of a replacement as a precaution.
Even though car seats can withstand collisions, as mentioned, they are not made to be subjected to too much pressure. That is why you should not take securing your seat for granted.
After you arrive at your destination, you check the seal for any damage all the time. Carefully check it and make sure that there are no damages that can cause it to malfunction.
When you notice that your car seat has not arrived with your other baggage, you need to go to the main desk and file a claim immediately.
If there are damages to your car seat, you should keep in mind that the airline will not pay for all the damages. For insurance, if there are minor dents, several scratches, or torn wheels, do not expect the airline to refund. Airlines often refund items that are packed carefully and are in suggested shipping containers.
You need to let go of your car seat if your airline does not reach you within 1 week after your seat is lost. The definition of lost luggage in airlines is around 5 to 35 days. You will be paid about $3,500 in US domestic flights, but it is best to check your airline’s website to know their policy regarding lost or damaged luggage.
Bringing a Car Seat as a Carry-On
The regulation regarding hand-carrying your car seat is the same as other luggage. If it can fit into the overhead compartment, it is okay. Otherwise, you need to pack it and check it in.
Finally, you have a better understanding of how to pack a car seat for checked baggage. You also know some tips to make the process of checking it easier. You can consider the methods and tips given and determine what works best for you. Inquiring about the rules and requirements about luggage to your airline is also recommended.