The best lightweight car seat for flying is the Cosco Scenara Next. This will totally change your travel experience and make things so much easier. I use it every time I fly with my boys and believe it’s the best option for flying.
I have been flying with the boys since they were five months old and have learned a lot of things along the way. Make sure to check out my tips for flying with toddlers blog post where I give a lot of great tips to make your travel experience less stressful!
Reasons why the Cosco Scenera Next is best lightweight car seat for flying
Here are some of the reasons this lightweight car seat is the best for flying.
Reason 1: The cost
The Cosco Scenera Next is only $49 which is such a great price for a car seat. I bought these car seats just for flying. I felt that it made my decision easier to just go ahead and buy them because they were so cheap. I’m so glad I did because they have been life savers!
Reason 2: Lightweight
Another reason the Cosco Scenera Next is so great for flying is because of how lightweight it is. This lightweight car seat is only 10lbs which makes it so easy to carry onto the plane. You can easily lift it above your head to get through the tight spaces. I once brought my normal car seats(Graco extend 2 fit) on a flight and they were so heavy and wide I couldn’t walk down the aisle with them and ended up holding it above my head which was so heavy. It’s worth just getting this lightweight car seat.
Reason 3: Compact
The third reason I love this lightweight car seat is because of how compact it is. I can hold the car seat in front of me and walk down the aisle and it will fit. With my normal everyday Graco car seat I would have to hold above my head and walk down the aisle because it was too wide. I can also easily stack the two car seats on top of each other and carry them both down the aisle at the same time. It really has made it so much easier.
Reason 4: It’s convertible
You can have the car seat rear facing or forward facing to get more use out of it. When my boys were younger I would rear face them on the plane and as they got older I started to forward face them. You will get more use out of it because its convertible! Rear-facing 5-40 pounds and forward-facing 22-40 pounds.
How I carry them through the airport
I put their car seats on this luggage cart roller and it makes it super easy to get through the airport. I use to put them in a car seat bag and wear it as a backpack, but it was so bulky and hard to carry. This roller makes it super easy to push through the airport, easy to get them on and off for security, and easy taking them off at the plane door.
How I carry them on the plane
When I get to the door of the airplane I will take the car seats off my luggage cart roller. You might be able to roll it down the aisle on some planes, but it’s easier to take it apart at the door while people can still pass you. I’ll then fold up the luggage cart roller and put it in my bag. I stack the two car seats on top of each other and hold them both in front of me. They are so lightweight I can even put the diaper bag inside the top one and carry it all to my seat.
Car Seat Option for older kids: Cosco 2-1
If you have kids that no longer fit in the Cosco car seat you can try this one. It is still super light weight and great option for flying.
Do you need a car seat for your toddler to fly?
No, you do not need a car seat for your toddler to fly. On most airlines infants and children under 2 years old can travel on the lap of an adult for free. Once they are older than two you have to purchase a seat and they can just sit on the airplane seat without a car seat.
Due to FAA safety requirements, 1 adult passenger may only carry 1 lap-held infant. If an adult passenger is traveling with 2 infants, a seat must be purchased for the additional infant. Infants occupying a seat on domestic flights require a ticket and pay the applicable fare.
Why I like to bring a car seat?
I think it’s so worth bringing a car seat because it keeps your child strapped in and prevents them from running down the aisle or jumping all over your lap. If you are going on a long flight I would highly recommend getting a car seat because they sleep better and longer in one. It’s more comfortable for them and you if they sleep in the car seat opposed to your lap. If your child is 2 and under and you can afford to buy an extra airplane seat to put a car seat in, I would do it!
Can the kids still use a tray table with a car seat?
No, the tray will not work when you are using the car seat. Their legs get in the way and because they are strapped into the car seat they can’t really lean forward to use it anyways. You can still find plenty of fun travel toys for kids that will work when they are sitting in their car seat. I would rather have my kids in the car seat than sitting on the seat just so they can use the tray. Its always worth bringing a car seat!
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Thank you! Such good info! Purchased the car seats and luggage carrier because you recommended. Planning on flying next month with my almost two year old twins, praying all goes well!
Good luck! The car seats will help a ton!
Wondering how you feel about this car seat in a vehicle? Planning on purchasing this and using it once we land in my parents suv…would this be an OK option for a few days of travel in their car or is this really just for flying?
Oh totally great for the car during your trip. I will use it on the flight and in the car during our vacation stay.
Hi! When forward facing on the plane, are you able to put the lap tray down? Thanks!
No that is the one bummer. It just doesn’t work.
Thank you for letting me know. I’ll just have to be extra clever with activities!
Did you purchase carriers for car seats separately? If you did, can you please provide me a link to buy them? Thank you.
I linked the luggage cart carrier in the post. Do you mean bags?
How do you carry your toddler down the aisle with the seat? Or do they walk down on their own? I have a rambunctious 18-month-old.
When they were younger I used a carrier and then carry the car seat. When they got older I would let them walk and hold the car seat
Hannah B says
Coco we have just arrived in the US after our first long haul flight from the UK with our 16 month old. Your advice on the car seat was a game changer. Thank you so much.
Such an easy journey and using the fold down trolley made it so easy to bring the car seat through the airport. By far the most helpful advice we’ve been given
This makes me so happy to read! So glad the tips helped!
Can you strap 2 car seats to one cart?
I was able to strap two Cosco Car seats on one car because they are so lightweight. It will depend on the two car seats you have.
Thanks so much for this info! Do you have to add a tether when forward-facing on the airplane? I’ve read that in several reviews. Just not sure how that works. Thanks!
No I did not add a tether. I just used the airplane seat belt to secure it to the seat. As long as your car seat is airplane certified that is all you need to make sure of before a flight. Technically kids do not need a car seat on a plane. When they are two and under they sit on your lap and they don’t even need a car seat two and older. I use a car seat because it keeps the child strapped in so they are easily contained and not wanting to run around. I also use car seats because they sleep so much better in one.
Hi. When using the car seat on the plane, can your kids still use/reach the tray? I have a 2.5 y/o and we’re going on a 6-hr trip and I plan on using the Cosco car seat but just want to make sure the tray would still be accessible to her.
They can’t reach it well when they are in the car seat. If there is more leg room I can put it down and set their ipad on it, but hard for them to play on it. But I always think its worth it to bring a car seat. For a 6 hour flight you will want a car seat for sure. You can find toys they can still play with and have fun. Here is a list of some of my favorite travel toys https://www.cocoscaravan.com/the-best-travel-toys-for-toddlers/