Best Travel Car Seats [FAA-Approved ✈️]

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Best Travel Car Seats [ FAA-approved for Air Traveling]

In this review, we delve deep into the top FAA-approved travel car seats of 2024, highlighting their key features, advantages, and shortcomings to help parents make the best choice for their young travelers.

Top Picks for the Best Car Seats For Travel

  • Best Combo Car Seat/Stroller for Travel: Doona Infant Car Seat and Latch Base | Jump to Review;
  • Best for Newborns: Evenflo LiteMax DLX Infant Car Seat | Jump to Review;
  • Best ClearTex Design Car Seat: Chicco KeyFit 35 ClearTex Infant Car Seat and Base | Jump to Review;
  • Best Convertible Car Seat for Travel: Graco SlimFit3 LX 3 in 1 | Jump to Review;
  • Best Affordable Car Seat: Britax Allegiance 3 Stage | Jump to Review;
  • Best Long-Term Use Car Seat: Diono Radian 3RXT | Jump to Review;
  • Best Accessory for Air Travel: Britax Car Seat Travel Cart | Jump to Review;

TOP-3 Travel Car Seats on Airplanes

Features to Look for in the Best Travel Car Seats:

  • Safety Approval: It’s essential to check that any travel car seat is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration before purchase. This ensures that the product meets air safety regulations and standards.
  • Lightweight and Portable Design: On long journeys, having a lightweight yet durable car seat can provide added convenience and comfort. The best travel car seats will be easy to carry around when needed without sacrificing quality or performance.
  • Adjustability: Depending on your child’s size and growth rate, it might be beneficial to invest in a travel car seat with adjustable harnesses, straps, and padding. This ensures that your little one is securely strapped in while still providing them with enough freedom of movement.
  • Versatility: When investing in a good quality travel car seat, versatility should be taken into account as well. Make sure it has different methods of installation and supports various vehicle models – including airplanes!

By considering these points when purchasing a travel car seat, you can help ensure a safe and comfortable journey for everyone involved!

Top Infant Car Seats For Travel Comparison Chart

Preview
BEST CHOICE
Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base - Rear Facing, Car Seat to Stroller in Seconds - US Version, Flame Red
Evenflo LiteMax 35 Infant Car Seat (Knoxville Gray), Lightweight, Extended Use, Belt Lock-Off, Ergonomic Handle
Chicco KeyFit 35 ClearTex Infant Rear-FacingCar Seat and Base for Infants 4-35 lbs, Includes Head and Body Support, Compatible...
Title
Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base – Rear Facing, Car Seat to Stroller in Seconds – US Version, Flame Red
Evenflo LiteMax 35 Infant Car Seat (Knoxville Gray), Lightweight, Extended Use, Belt Lock-Off, Ergonomic Handle
Chicco KeyFit 35 ClearTex Infant Rear-FacingCar Seat and Base for Infants 4-35 lbs, Includes Head and Body Support, Compatible…
Installation Type
Latch
Latch or Seat Belt
Latch
Material
PA+GF, PP, Al, PU, EPS, Polyester
Polyester
77.0% Plastic, 9.0% Metal, 14.0% Fabric & Foam
Orientation
Rear Facing
Rear Facing
Rear Facing
Dimensions
17.28 x 25.98 x 23.58 inches
‎28.5 x 19 x 24 inches
‎28 x 16.5 x 24 inches
Weight
17 pounds
8.17 pounds
18.5 pounds
Age Range
Newborn and up
Newborn and up
Newborn and up
Weight Range
4 Pounds (minimum) to 35 Pounds (maximum)
4 – 35 pounds
4 – 35 pounds
Harness Type
5-Point
5-Point
5-Point
Adjustability
Adjustable handlebar (also acts as an anti-rebound bar inside the car)
4 shoulder harness positions
5-position headrest for rear-facing use; Removable infant head and body support insert
Safety Testing
FAA Aircraft Approved for travel
Rollover tested, temperature tested, structural integrity tested at energy levels approximately 2X the federal crash test standard, meets or exceeds Federal safety standards.
GREENGUARD Gold certified for low chemical emissions
Recline Positions
5
Separate, stay-in-car base with recline indicator
One-hand ReclineSure spring-loaded leveling foot
Cup Holders
Seat Pad
Removable and washable fabric
Machine washable seat pad in cold water, delicate cycle, tumble dry 10 to 15 minutes on low heat
Machine washable seat pad
EasyClick LATCH System
Yes (LATCH Base included)
Premium LATCH connector for easy attachment
Rear-Facing Mode
Forward-Facing Mode
BEST CHOICE
Preview
Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base - Rear Facing, Car Seat to Stroller in Seconds - US Version, Flame Red
Title
Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base – Rear Facing, Car Seat to Stroller in Seconds – US Version, Flame Red
Installation Type
Latch
Material
PA+GF, PP, Al, PU, EPS, Polyester
Orientation
Rear Facing
Dimensions
17.28 x 25.98 x 23.58 inches
Weight
17 pounds
Age Range
Newborn and up
Weight Range
4 Pounds (minimum) to 35 Pounds (maximum)
Harness Type
5-Point
Adjustability
Adjustable handlebar (also acts as an anti-rebound bar inside the car)
Safety Testing
FAA Aircraft Approved for travel
Recline Positions
5
Cup Holders
Seat Pad
Removable and washable fabric
EasyClick LATCH System
Yes (LATCH Base included)
Rear-Facing Mode
Forward-Facing Mode
Buy Now
Preview
Evenflo LiteMax 35 Infant Car Seat (Knoxville Gray), Lightweight, Extended Use, Belt Lock-Off, Ergonomic Handle
Title
Evenflo LiteMax 35 Infant Car Seat (Knoxville Gray), Lightweight, Extended Use, Belt Lock-Off, Ergonomic Handle
Installation Type
Latch or Seat Belt
Material
Polyester
Orientation
Rear Facing
Dimensions
‎28.5 x 19 x 24 inches
Weight
8.17 pounds
Age Range
Newborn and up
Weight Range
4 – 35 pounds
Harness Type
5-Point
Adjustability
4 shoulder harness positions
Safety Testing
Rollover tested, temperature tested, structural integrity tested at energy levels approximately 2X the federal crash test standard, meets or exceeds Federal safety standards.
Recline Positions
Separate, stay-in-car base with recline indicator
Cup Holders
Seat Pad
Machine washable seat pad in cold water, delicate cycle, tumble dry 10 to 15 minutes on low heat
EasyClick LATCH System
Rear-Facing Mode
Forward-Facing Mode
Buy Now
Preview
Chicco KeyFit 35 ClearTex Infant Rear-FacingCar Seat and Base for Infants 4-35 lbs, Includes Head and Body Support, Compatible...
Title
Chicco KeyFit 35 ClearTex Infant Rear-FacingCar Seat and Base for Infants 4-35 lbs, Includes Head and Body Support, Compatible…
Installation Type
Latch
Material
77.0% Plastic, 9.0% Metal, 14.0% Fabric & Foam
Orientation
Rear Facing
Dimensions
‎28 x 16.5 x 24 inches
Weight
18.5 pounds
Age Range
Newborn and up
Weight Range
4 – 35 pounds
Harness Type
5-Point
Adjustability
5-position headrest for rear-facing use; Removable infant head and body support insert
Safety Testing
GREENGUARD Gold certified for low chemical emissions
Recline Positions
One-hand ReclineSure spring-loaded leveling foot
Cup Holders
Seat Pad
Machine washable seat pad
EasyClick LATCH System
Premium LATCH connector for easy attachment
Rear-Facing Mode
Forward-Facing Mode
Buy Now

Best Travel Car Seat Comparison Chart

Preview
BEST CHOICE
Graco Slimfit (Slimfit w/ 3-Across Fit, Katrina)
Best Britax
Britax Allegiance 3 Stage Convertible Car Seat, Static
Best Diono
Diono Radian 3RXT, 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, Rear and Forward Facing, Steel Core, 10 Years 1 Car Seat, Ultimate Safety and...
Title
Graco SlimFit3 LX 3 in 1 — best travel car seat
Britax Allegiance 3 Stage — best car seat for plane
Diono Radian 3RXT — best car seat for flying
Orientation
Rear-Facing and Forward-Facing
Rear-Facing and Forward-Facing
Rear-Facing and Forward-Facing
Use only on forward-facing aircraft seats
Certified for use in aircraft only when in harness mode
Certified for use in aircraft when used in booster mode.
Rear-Facing
5-40 pounds (2.2-18 kg)
5-40 pounds (2.2-18 kg)
5-50 pounds (2.2-22.7 kg)
Forward-Facing
22-65 pounds (10-29.5 kg)
20-65 pounds (9-29.5 kg)
22-65 pounds (10-29.5 kg)
Positioning booster
40-100 pounds (18-45 kg)
40-120 pounds (18-54 kg)
Backless booster
Product Dimensions
20.7 x 16.7 x 24.5 inches
26 x 18.5 x 21 inches
‎16 x 17 x 28.5 inches
Item Weight
‎19.2 pounds (8.9 kg)
19.5 pounds (8.8 kg)
‎28.1 pounds (12.7 kg)
Buy Now on Amazon
BEST CHOICE
Preview
Graco Slimfit (Slimfit w/ 3-Across Fit, Katrina)
Title
Graco SlimFit3 LX 3 in 1 — best travel car seat
Orientation
Rear-Facing and Forward-Facing
Use only on forward-facing aircraft seats
Certified for use in aircraft only when in harness mode
Certified for use in aircraft when used in booster mode.
Rear-Facing
5-40 pounds (2.2-18 kg)
Forward-Facing
22-65 pounds (10-29.5 kg)
Positioning booster
40-100 pounds (18-45 kg)
Backless booster
Product Dimensions
20.7 x 16.7 x 24.5 inches
Item Weight
‎19.2 pounds (8.9 kg)
Buy Now on Amazon
Best Britax
Preview
Britax Allegiance 3 Stage Convertible Car Seat, Static
Title
Britax Allegiance 3 Stage — best car seat for plane
Orientation
Rear-Facing and Forward-Facing
Use only on forward-facing aircraft seats
Certified for use in aircraft only when in harness mode
Certified for use in aircraft when used in booster mode.
Rear-Facing
5-40 pounds (2.2-18 kg)
Forward-Facing
20-65 pounds (9-29.5 kg)
Positioning booster
Backless booster
Product Dimensions
26 x 18.5 x 21 inches
Item Weight
19.5 pounds (8.8 kg)
Buy Now on Amazon
Best Diono
Preview
Diono Radian 3RXT, 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, Rear and Forward Facing, Steel Core, 10 Years 1 Car Seat, Ultimate Safety and...
Title
Diono Radian 3RXT — best car seat for flying
Orientation
Rear-Facing and Forward-Facing
Use only on forward-facing aircraft seats
Certified for use in aircraft only when in harness mode
Certified for use in aircraft when used in booster mode.
Rear-Facing
5-50 pounds (2.2-22.7 kg)
Forward-Facing
22-65 pounds (10-29.5 kg)
Positioning booster
40-120 pounds (18-54 kg)
Backless booster
Product Dimensions
‎16 x 17 x 28.5 inches
Item Weight
‎28.1 pounds (12.7 kg)
Buy Now on Amazon

The Best Combo Car Seat/Stroller for Travel

June 24, 2024 3:47 pm

The Best Infant Car Seat For Travel

June 24, 2024 3:47 pm

Best Infant Car Seat for Extended Use

June 24, 2024 3:47 pm

The Best Convertible Car Seat for Travel

June 24, 2024 3:47 pm

The Best Long-Term Use Car Seat

June 24, 2024 3:47 pm
Diono Radian 3RXT Convertible Car Seat 

The Best Affordable Car Seat for Travel

June 24, 2024 3:47 pm

The Best Car Seat Travel Accessory

June 23, 2024 3:26 pm

FAQ about Travel Car Seats

Types of car seats for travel

There are two main types of car seats that are approved for air travel: infant car seats and convertible car seats.

Infant car seats are only for babies who weigh less than 22 pounds and are less than 29 inches long. These car seats have a handle so that they can be easily carried, and they can be attached to a stroller. Some models even have a base that can stay in the car, so you don’t have to lug the whole seat with you through the airport.

Convertible car seats can be used for children who weigh between 20 and 65 pounds (depending on the model). These seats can be installed in either the front- or back-facing position. Convertible car seats are not as convenient to carry as infant car seats, but they can be used for a longer period of time.

What are FAA-approved car seats and why are they important for parents with young children?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved certain car seats for use on airplanes. These seats have been tested to make sure that they are safe for use in an aircraft.

It’s important to note that not all car seats are FAA-approved, so it’s important to check before you travel. Additionally, even if a car seat is FAA-approved, the airline may have its own restrictions on which types of car seats can be used. Be sure to check with your airline before you travel.

The benefits of using an FAA-approved car seat while traveling with young children

There are several benefits to using an FAA-approved car seat while traveling by airplane:

  • Safety. FAA-approved car seats have been tested to make sure that they are safe for use in an aircraft. This means that your child will be properly restrained during turbulence or if the plane experiences any other type of emergency.
  • Convenience. FAA-approved car seats can be easily installed in an aircraft seat. This means that you won’t have to hold your child on your lap during the flight.
  • Comfort. Your child is likely to be more comfortable in their own car seat during a long flight.

Tips for properly using an FAA-approved car seat during travel

  1.  Make sure that the car seat is properly installed in the aircraft seat. The car seat should be attached to the airplane seat with the lap belt and shoulder harness.
  2. Make sure that your child is properly secured in the car seat. The harness straps should be snug, and the chest clip should be fastened at the armpit level.
  3. Do not use any aftermarket products with the car seat. This includes car seat covers, cushions, or toys. These products have not been tested with the car seat and could interfere with its performance.

How We Tested

Before you take off, it’s important to make sure that your car seat is FAA-approved and meets all safety standards.

Here’s how we tested our car seat for flying:

  • First, we checked the bottom of the car seat for red text indicating whether it was approved for air travel.
  • We also looked up the specific airline’s rules and regulations regarding car seats and made sure that our car seats fit within their requirements.
  • Next, we inspected the car seat for any signs of damage or wear and tear that could compromise its safety.
  • We also made sure that all straps were securely fastened and that there were no loose parts or pieces.
  • Finally, we placed the car seat in a protective bag before checking it at the airport. This helps protect the car seat from any potential damage during transit.
  • By following these steps, you can ensure that your child’s car seat is safe and secure when you fly!
Here's how we tested our car seat for flying
Here’s how we tested our car seat for flying

Comparing the Safety

When it comes to car seats, safety is the primary concern for parents. 

When embarking on air travel, it’s essential to ensure that your car seat has FAA approval for use on airplanes.

The Britax Allegiance 3 Stage Convertible Car Seat, Evenflo LiteMax DLX Infant Car Seat, and Diono Radian 3RXT Convertible Car Seat all offer different features that can enhance the safety of your child during car journeys. 

Here’s a comparison of these three models:

The Britax Allegiance 3 Stage Convertible Car Seat is known for its robust safety features. It’s equipped with SafeCell Impact Protection, an integrated system of safety components including an impact-absorbing base, tether, and harness, an impact-stabilizing steel frame, and Complete Side Impact Protection. These features work together to minimize the force of a crash and protect your child. However, this model doesn’t have an NHTSA rating at the time of writing, which makes it difficult to objectively compare its safety with the others.

The Evenflo LiteMax DLX is a rear-facing-only car seat designed for newborns and infants. It doesn’t have advanced safety features like side impact protection, which is a downside when compared to the other models. However, it meets or exceeds all applicable federal safety standards and Evenflo’s side impact standard. Its overall NHTSA rating is 4.6, indicating a high level of safety performance.

The Diono Radian 3RXT Convertible Car Seat stands out with its steel alloy frame and reinforced sidewalls, providing excellent safety and peace of mind. It also offers extended rear-facing use, which is considered the safest position for young children. The seat is FAA-approved for air travel, which is a plus. Its overall NHTSA rating is 4.8, indicating superior safety performance.

All three car seats are designed with safety as a priority, but they each have their unique strengths. The Britax Allegiance stands out with its integrated SafeCell Impact Protection system but lacks an NHTSA rating. The Evenflo LiteMax DLX meets all federal safety standards but lacks advanced safety features. The Diono Radian 3RXT shines with its steel alloy frame, reinforced sidewalls, and highest NHTSA rating among the three, making it the best of the three in terms of safety features and ratings. However, the best choice will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget.

Lightweight and Portable Design

Parents often prioritize lightweight and portable designs in car seats to facilitate easy movement between vehicles and carrying. The following is an in-depth examination of the lightweight and portable design features of the Britax Allegiance 3 Stage Convertible Car Seat, Evenflo LiteMax DLX Infant Car Seat, and Diono Radian 3RXT Convertible Car Seat:

  1. The Britax Allegiance is a convertible car seat designed to transition from a rear-facing to a forward-facing seat. It’s a bit on the heavier side, weighing around 19.5 lbs, which may make it less convenient to move around regularly. It is, however, slim enough to fit three across in most vehicles. The seat does not come with a carrier handle, reducing its portability when out of the car.
  2. The Evenflo LiteMax DLX is the lightest among the three, weighing only around 16 lbs. This model is designed to be an infant carrier, featuring an ergonomic handle that makes it easier to carry. The LiteMax DLX is also compatible with most Evenflo strollers, allowing for a seamless transition from car to stroller.
  3. The Diono Radian 3RXT is heavier, weighing around 27 lbs, but its unique design allows it to fold flat for travel and storage, making it relatively portable for a seat of its kind. It also comes with a carrying strap for easier transportation. However, its weight might make it less convenient to move frequently between vehicles.

All three car seats offer different levels of portability. The Britax Allegiance, while not the lightest, is slim enough to fit three across in most vehicles. The Evenflo LiteMax DLX is the lightest and most portable, with an ergonomic handle and stroller compatibility. The Diono Radian 3RXT, despite being the heaviest, offers unique portability features like its foldable design and carrying strap. The best choice will depend on the specific needs of your family, including how often you plan to move the car seat, your vehicle size, and your budget.

Journey Through the Best Travel Car Seats: An Expert Perspective

Embarking on a journey with your little one requires utmost preparedness, especially when it comes to safety. Our search for the best travel car seats involved in-depth testing, reviews, and analysis to ensure your journey remains as smooth as possible. Here’s a preview of what we discovered:

  1. Graco SlimFit 3-in-1: A lightweight design, easy installation, and safety features that go the extra mile. Read our review to learn why this might be your next travel companion.
  2. Britax Allegiance 3 Stage: Safety and comfort go hand in hand with this model. Dive into our review to understand how this seat can make your travel easier.
  3. Diono Radian 3RXT: This slim yet robust car seat is designed for the long haul. Discover the features that set it apart in our comprehensive review.
  4. Evenflo LiteMax DLX: With its lightweight design and comfortable build, this seat promises to keep your little one secure and cozy throughout the journey. Our review provides all the details.
  5. Doona Infant Car Seat: A car seat and stroller in one, this innovative model aims to simplify travel for parents. Find out if it lives up to its promise in our in-depth review.

These insights stem from our practical knowledge and thorough tests, laying the foundation for our guide to the best travel car seats. Join us as we navigate the diverse world of travel car seats, helping you find the perfect one for your next family adventure. The road ahead is exciting—let’s explore it together!

Top Car Seat Recommendations

Car seats are a crucial part of child safety while on the road. With countless options available, making the right choice can seem daunting. To assist you, I’ve put together a selection of comprehensive guides featuring top car seats in various categories:

  1. Best Car Seat for Small Cars: Is space a concern in your compact car? This guide helps you identify the best car seats that provide safety without compromising on space.
  2. What Is The Best Convertible Car Seat?: Convertible car seats offer flexibility as they grow with your child. Find out which ones are the best on the market this year.
  3. The Best Carseat for a 1-Year-Old: One-year-olds have specific needs when it comes to car seats. Explore this guide to find out which car seats cater best to them.
  4. Best Car Seats for 3-Year-Olds: Is your child ready to transition to the next stage? This guide lists the best car seats designed to keep 3-year-olds secure and comfortable.
  5. Best Car Seat for a 5-Year-Old: As your child grows, their car seat needs to grow with them. Check out the top car seats suitable for 5-year-olds in this guide.
  6. Best Budget Car Seat: Ensuring your child’s safety doesn’t need to break the bank. This guide presents the best affordable car seats that deliver on safety and comfort without a hefty price tag.

Feel free to delve into these guides for detailed information on each product, helping you make an informed decision when choosing the perfect car seat for your child.

Sources:

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8 responses to “Best Travel Car Seats [FAA-Approved ✈️]”

  1. Rose Avatar
    Rose

    Does it have an Isofix system from Graco SlimFit 3-in-1?

    1. Nicole Moore Avatar

      The Graco SlimFit 3-in-1 Convertible Car does have a latch system.

  2. Charlene Avatar
    Charlene

    Graco SlimFit3 LX 3 in 1 car seat still FAA approved?

    1. Nicole Moore Avatar

      The SlimFit3 has been approved by the FAA for use on aircraft in 5 different modes of the harness. It’s not suitable when installed facing forward or back, since it could come loose during flight and cause danger to both passengers and crew members alike!

  3. Virginia Avatar
    Virginia

    Can I use Britax Allegiance 3 car seat a tether in the rear-facing mode?

    1. Nicole Moore Avatar

      This seat does not permit tether use when rear-facing.

  4. Rita Avatar
    Rita

    Can I use Britax Allegiance 3 car seat a tether in the rear-facing mode?

    1. Nicole Moore Avatar

      This seat does not permit tether use when rear-facing.

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