The Best Airplane Car Seat

Traveling with little ones can turn into a mission, especially when it's time to fly. The Cosco Scenera Next stands out as a top pick for parents seeking an affordable travel buddy in the skies. This blog reveals how choosing the right car seat makes air travel less stressful and safer for your child. Dive in to find the perfect fit for your family's high-flying adventures!

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Airplane Car Seat

When choosing the best airplane car seat, it’s important to consider safety features, such as proper harnessing and side impact protection. Additionally, look for a lightweight and compact design for easy travel, as well as comfort and convenience features for long flights.

Safety Features

Safety features are the backbone of the best airplane car seat you’ll choose for your child. Look for a car seat that boasts a 5-point harness system, which secures your little one at the shoulders, hips, and between the legs — this is crucial during turbulence or sudden changes in altitude.

FAA-approved seats should be on top of your list as they meet strict safety criteria; both Cosco Scenara and Chicco Keyfit 30 carry this important certification.

Crash testing results provide peace of mind with evidence of how a car seat performs under stress. Seats like The Safety 1st Jive 2-in-1 Convertible Car Seat are recommended as top travel options due to their rigorous safety standards.

As every parent values their child’s well-being above all else, investing in a reliable travel car seat with robust safety features is non-negotiable. Moving beyond security measures, let’s explore how the dimensions and weight of a car seat affect its portability on your next flight.

Lightweight and Compact Design

Traveling with kids requires gear that’s easy to carry and doesn’t take up too much space. That’s why a lightweight and compact design is crucial for the best airplane car seat. You’ll breeze through airports with a seat like the Cosco Scenara Next, which is not just affordable but also simple to transport from taxi to terminal to plane.

Its slim profile means it slides effortlessly into tight airplane seats, making installation a stress-free process.

Parents know every ounce matters when juggling luggage, strollers, and a wiggly two-year-old or three-year-old at the airport. The best travel car seats prioritize both weight and size without compromising on safety or comfort.

Models such as the Safety 1st Jive 2-in-1 Convertible Car Seat boast these features, ensuring they’re an excellent fit for families on-the-go. Opting for FAA-approved options like the Chicco Keyfit 30 can give you peace of mind knowing your little one’s seat meets all air travel requirements while being incredibly portable.

Comfort and Convenience

Long flights can be tiring for both parents and children, but a comfortable car seat transforms that experience. Look for padded seats with plenty of head support to help your little ones nap easily at 30,000 feet.

Adjustable straps ensure they’re snug and secure without feeling restricted throughout the journey.

Ease of installation can make all the difference when you’re switching between car, airport terminal, and airplane seat. Opt for airplane car seats designed with intuitive belt paths and clear instructions.

This saves precious time and spares you from frustration before takeoff and after landing. Seats like the Cosco Scenara Next are not just lightweight; they are also straightforward to set up, making them one of the best travel car seat options available.

Top Picks for the Best Airplane Car Seats

Diono Monterey 5iST

Travel in style

Compact, safe, and adjustable booster for intrepid families.
Best Overall

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  • Converts quickly and easily from a compact fold to a full-size booster seat
  • Provides safety and comfort without compromise
  • Suitable for children between 40 to 120 pounds in weight
  • Offers 12 reclining positions for customized comfort
  • Features durable materials, including polypropylene, alloy steel, plastic, and polystyrene
  • Convenient and easy-care with machine washable covers

Traveling with kids can be a breeze with the Diono Monterey 5iST FixSafe booster seat. Its unique ability to fold compactly ensures portability without sacrificing your child’s safety or comfort. Parents who are often on-the-go will appreciate that this seat makes transitions from car rides to flights smoother, as it quickly expands from its folded state into a full-size booster ready for use.

The Monterey 5iST stands out due to its 8 layers of impact protection and a diverse range of adjustability — featuring 12 headrest positions and expandable sides. This means as your child grows, their safety does too, making it an incredibly long-lasting choice. It eliminates the worry of constant upgrades thanks to its suitability for children up to 120 lb and up to 63 inches tall. The cup holder is just the cherry on top for those long journeys where snacks and drinks are indispensable travel companions.

Our recognition of the Diono Monterey as number one on our list comes down to not only its advanced engineering but also practical features suitable for real-life use – like machine-washable fabric, which is perfect after those inevitable in-flight spills. The rigid latch connectors simplify securing the booster firmly in place, meaning parents can install it swiftly with confidence every time they buckle up. With this blend of reliability, flexibility, and convenience packed into one product, Diono truly sets itself apart in offering peace of mind while jet-setting with young ones.


  • Enhanced safety with 8 layers of side impact protection and rigorous crash testing
  • Long-term usability with 12 headrest positions and expandable sides to accommodate growth from 40 – 120 lb
  • Easy installation and secure fit with FixSafe rigid latch connectors
  • Convenient portability, compact folding feature, and one-hand automatic height and width adjustment


  • Cup holder may not be large enough for some cups and bottles
  • The booster seat might feel heavy for frequent travel
  • Some may find the installation process challenging

The Diono Monterey 5iST is perfect for busy parents and travel-savvy families who want the ultimate safety and convenience in a compact booster car seat.

Diono Monterey 2XT Latch Airplane Car Seat

Ultimate design

Travel with peace of mind thanks to this easy-to-install airplane car seat.
Best Features

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  • Forward-facing orientation is suitable for children weighing 40 to 120 pounds
  • Easy installation with seat belt and portable design
  • Offers maximum comfort and safety with 11 reclining positions and a harness-type seat belt
  • Made from durable materials including polyethylene, aluminum, alloy steel, and plastic
  • Easily maintainable with machine-washable covers and spot-clean shell and components
  • Accommodates children up to 63 inches in height

The Diono Monterey 2XT Latch car seat stands out as a top pick for parents on the move. Its lightweight design and simple connectors make installation in airplanes or different vehicles quick and stress-free, allowing families to transition from land to air travel without hassle. With its one-hand adjustable headrest and an easy-to-use dial that widens the seat up to 20 inches, it adapts effortlessly to your child’s growth spurts, ensuring comfort during long flights or road trips.

Parents will appreciate how the Monterey 2XT has been engineered with attention to detail—offering features like dual cup holders for those much-needed drinks and snacks, removable plush fabric for easy cleaning after inevitable messes, and superior side impact protection, keeping safety a top priority. It’s more than just a car seat; it’s peace of mind in every journey.

This booster earns its spot at number two on our list not only because of its safety accolades but also due to its unparalleled flexibility that meets the ever-changing needs of growing kids. The combination of extended utility from toddlerhood through pre-teen years—serving as both a high back booster and eventually transitioning into a backless booster—and thoughtful design touches resonates well with traveling families looking for longevity in their purchases.


  • Comfortable and Supportive: Contoured premium soft fabrics with layered foam padding provide comfort and support for your child and are easily removable for machine washing
  • Convenient Storage: Two built-in retractable 2-in-1 cup holders and snack trays keep your big kid’s essentials close at hand while on the go
  • Adjustable for Growth: The easy-adjust expandable backrest allows up to 6.5 inches of growth, ensuring the seat grows with your big kid
  • Enhanced Safety Features: Engineered with two layers of Side Impact Protection, deep padded cushioning, an 11-position adjustable headrest, and designed to accommodate a child from 40 – 120 lbs


  • Cup holders may not accommodate larger-sized cups or bottles
  • The width expansion feature may not fit in smaller vehicles
  • The weight of the car seat may make it difficult to transfer between vehicles

This airplane car seat is perfect for parents who prioritize safety, comfort, and convenience for their child while traveling. With its soft fabrics, adjustable features and advanced side impact protection, the Diono Monterey 2XT Latch is the ideal choice for any family who loves to travel.

Clek Oobr High Back Booster Car Seat


Safety and comfort combine to make this one of the best airplane car seats on the market.
Most Secure

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  • Forward-facing high-back booster car seat
  • Suitable for children from 40 to 120 pounds and up to 63 inches tall
  • Features a 3-point harness system
  • Offers 10 reclining positions for customizable comfort
  • Made of durable foam and fabric materials
  • Easy installation using the seat belt

The Clek Oobr High Back Booster Car Seat stands out as a top choice for families who are always on the move. Its slim design fits comfortably in tight airplane seats, making it an excellent travel companion without sacrificing safety or comfort. Parents can breathe easy knowing the car seat boasts a complete metal substructure and energy-absorbing foam layers that protect children on every journey.

Traveling with kids can be challenging, so Clek has included conveniences like quick-release LATCH systems for effortless installation and removal between flights and car rides. The seat’s high back position supports proper posture and provides a cozy spot for your child to rest or catch up on sleep during long trips. Plus, its ability to convert into a backless booster makes it versatile enough to grow with your kid through different stages.

We’ve selected this impressive piece of gear as No. 3 in our lineup because the Clek Oobr not only ensures your little one’s safety but also ticks all the boxes when it comes to portability, longevity, and ease of use—essential features that give parents peace of mind while tackling the hectic world of travel with children.


  • Two layers of side impact protection for maximum safety
  • Removable cover and dishwasher-safe cup holders for easy cleaning
  • Plush foam padding and built-in armrests for enhanced comfort
  • Easily converts to a backless booster seat, providing extended safety


  • Cup holders are not adjustable and may not accommodate larger drink containers
  • Some find the seat to be quite heavy and difficult to move between cars
  • The fabric cover, while removable for cleaning, can be somewhat challenging to put back on

The Clek Oobr High Back Booster Car Seat, designed with 2 layers of side impact protection and a plush foam padding for comfort, is perfect for parents looking to keep their child safe and comfortable while traveling. Upgrade your child’s safety on flights or road trips with this versatile and easy-to-clean car seat.

Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat

Bang for your buck

Sturdy, secure, and comfortable, this car seat offers a great snooze spot for long flights.
Best Value

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  • Can be used in both forward and rear-facing positions
  • Designed with a 5-point harness system for added security
  • Offers 5 reclining positions for optimal comfort
  • Accommodates children from 5 to 65 pounds
  • Provides ample room with maximum height recommendation of 30.5 inches
  • Features Latch installation type for hassle-free setup

Traveling with little ones often comes with an array of challenges. Still, the Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat simplifies your adventures by ensuring safety and comfort for your child on the go. Picture gliding through airport security with ease; this car seat’s compact design makes it manageable even in bustling terminals. A focus on protection is clear as the built-in side-impact guards shield your precious cargo during unforeseen jostles and turns that come with driving or flying.

During long flights or road trips, children need a cozy retreat, and the plush foam padding of this versatile car seat offers just that. Parents can rest easy, too, thanks to its machine-washable fabric, making cleanup after spills a breeze – no more fuss about dropped snacks or drink mishaps! It’s all about less stress and more quality time enjoying destinations together. The Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX doesn’t just meet safety expectations; it surpasses them while keeping parents’ convenience in mind – a crucial companion for family explorations near and far.


  • Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat meets or exceeds federal, ASTM, and JPMA safety standards
  • Its plush padding and premium fabric provide an extra comfy ride for your child
  • Designed to fit three across in most vehicles, it’s perfect for growing families
  • This car seat accommodates infants from 5 pounds up to toddlers weighing 40 pounds in rear-facing mode and kids up to 65 pounds in forward-facing mode


  • Machine washable cover may shrink after washing
  • Limited color options for personal preference
  • Some users may find it a bit heavy to carry

The Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat is perfect for busy, on-the-go parents looking for a safe and comfortable option for their little ones during car rides and air travel. This compact seat is best suited for infants up to toddlers weighing 40 pounds in rear-facing mode and kids up to 65 pounds in forward-facing mode. With its sturdy design, easy installation, and machine washable cover, it’s the ideal choice for families who value convenience and safety.

Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat

Smooth transit

Convenient and lightweight car seat for on-the-go families.
Top Pick

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  • 3-in-1 design grows with your child
  • Simply Safe Adjust Harness System for easy adjustments
  • Side impact protection keeps your child safe
  • Converts from harness booster to high back booster to backless booster
  • Cup holder provides convenience for your child’s beverages or snacks
  • Machine washable seat pad makes cleaning a breeze

The Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat stands out as a versatile travel companion for parents on the go. Its lightweight design simplifies transitions from car to airplane, giving peace of mind during those high-altitude trips. Crafted with portability in mind, it quickly converts from a 5-point harness seat suitable for younger children to a high-back booster and finally into a backless booster perfect for kids who still need that extra lift.

Parents will appreciate the easy-to-remove covers that make cleaning up after spills a breeze—a common challenge during travel. Additionally, the seat boasts built-in cup holders keeping drinks and snacks within easy reach for little ones. With its rigorous crash testing and adherence to safety standards, this car seat gives families one less thing to worry about while jet-setting or road-tripping.

Every journey can be more enjoyable when confidence in your child’s safety isn’t compromised. The Graco Tranzitions proves itself to be an adaptable solution that grows with your child, making each mile traveled together both safe and comfortable.


  • The Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat provides three stages of use, from harness booster (22-65 lb) to high back booster (30-100 lb), and finally to backless booster (40-100 lb)
  • This seat features an adjustable headrest with eight height positions, providing exceptional side impact protection for growing toddlers
  • The Simply Safe Adjust™ Harness System allows you to adjust the height of the harness and headrest together, ensuring proper positioning and a secure fit as your child grows
  • With its open-loop belt guides, installation is made easier so that the seat can be securely attached in most cars


  • The installation process can be a bit tricky for some parents
  • The seat may feel bulky and heavy to move around
  • The cup holders are not adjustable and may not fit all cup sizes

The Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat is perfect for the busy parent or caregiver who wants a versatile and reliable car seat for their child, whether it’s on road trips or air travel. Its lightweight design and easy installation make it a top choice for families on-the-go. Don’t wait any longer; upgrade to The Best Airplane Car Seat now!


Q: What is the best car seat for airplane travel?

A: The Cosco Scenera Next is a popular choice for airplane travel due to its lightweight and compact design.

Q: Can I use an infant car seat on a plane?

A: Yes, most airlines allow the use of infant car seats on planes, but it’s always best to check with the specific airline before traveling.

Q: Do I need a car seat for travel?

A: The need for a car seat during travel depends on the age and size of the child, as well as the mode of transportation. It’s recommended to use a car seat for safety, especially for young children.

Q: What is a good convertible car seat for travel?

A: The Britax Travel Cart is often recommended as a good option for a convertible car seat that can be used for travel.

Q: Is it necessary to bring a car seat when flying with kids?

A: It’s recommended to bring a car seat when flying with kids, as it provides an added layer of safety and familiarity for the child during the journey.

Q: Can I bring a car seat through the airport?

A: Yes, you can bring a car seat through the airport. Most airports allow parents to check the car seat with their luggage or attach it to a travel cart for convenience.

Q: What is the best infant car seat for travel?

A: The Cosco Scenera Next and the Britax Travel Cart are among the best infant car seats for travel due to their lightweight and easy-to-transport designs.

Q: How do I install a car seat onto a plane seat?

A: To install a car seat onto a plane seat, secure it using the aircraft’s seat belt according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some car seats are specifically designed for airplane use and come with detailed installation guidelines.

Q: Can a car seat be used as a travel seat and stroller in one?

A: While some car seats are compatible with strollers for maneuvering through airports and other travel scenarios, they are not typically designed to function as standalone travel seats and strollers in one unit.

Q: What are the best car seat options for air travel?

A: The best car seat options for air travel include lightweight, easy-to-transport models such as the Cosco Scenera Next, Britax Travel Cart, and other similar convertible or infant car seats designed with travel in mind.


Selecting the right car seat for air travel can make your journey smoother and ensure your child’s safety and comfort. The Diono Monterey 5iST stands out with its adjustable features, ensuring a cozy ride for kids from 40 to 120 pounds.

For a secure and snug fit in the airplane seat, consider the Diono Monterey 2XT Latch, tailored for children who need that extra elevation. Trust these top-notch choices to make flying with little ones hassle-free and more enjoyable.

About the Author

Tanja is a proud mom to her twins Hailey and Bethany. She has blossomed into motherhood since giving birth, and she spends her time doting on the twins and giving them the best upbringing she possibly can.

She's forever experimenting with new parenting gadgets and baby formulas, and scours parenting blogs to gain insight from other moms.

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