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We're planning to travel to India to visit family in a couple of weeks (still haven't booked the airfare) and I haven't been able to get good information about what to expect with using a car seat on international flights (probably Emirates or Qatar Air) or in Indian vehicles. We'll be using my husband's family's car (an older small Maruti sedan, maybe the 800) when we arrive.

I'm not sure if we should go through the headache of bringing the car seat on the plane since I've heard of flight attendants not allowing passengers to install them correctly (even when they are installing per the company and FAA policy) and it's unlikely our baby will sleep for long in the car seat. If we don't use the car seat on the plane, then we will check the seat in its original box. This leads me to my first questions; does anyone have experience with either option for the flight with a car seat? Is it likely the car seat will even make it to the final destination? Can you gate check a car seat on international flights (to reduce chances of it being lost in transit)?

Then there's the concern of using the car seat in the family vehicle with unknown seatbelt locks. If we travel anywhere outside the home area then we will probably hire an Innova minivan + driver for more space. Are automatic locking retractors common in India or will I definitely need to use a seatbelt locking clip?

I just want to add that I know there are no requirements to use car seats on airplanes or in India, and it is incredibly uncommon to see one used, but I think this contributes to my trouble with finding answers so I can better prepare for the trip. Thanks for your help!

  • Welcome to TSE. This might be better to split into two separate questions: one about bringing a car seat aboard (different airlines have different policies), and another about the practicalities of using a US car seat in India (I presume US, since you mention the FAA). Also see Car rental with baby seats: is it better to carry seats or rent seats? and International children car seat standards for multiple regions among others. – choster May 29 at 21:32
  • Are you planning to buy the baby a seat? or have baby-on-lap? If you can book bulkhead seats with access to a bassinet (if the baby is small/light enough, that's another possibility. – mkennedy May 29 at 23:45
  • Thanks for the comments. @choster, if I split the question, shall I modify this one and create another or simply create two new questions? Thanks for the links but they are not really addressing my concerns. Yes, as I stated in the title, we are coming from the US, Houston TX. – JHamm May 30 at 2:44
  • @mkennedy that is precisely what I'm debating, not sure which option to take based on the issues I've heard from others. – JHamm May 30 at 2:46
  • @jhamm You can modify this one and then submit another, and you can cross reference them if the context will be helpful. If you prefer, you can also delete this question and pose new ones, but I don't see any advantage in doing so – choster May 30 at 4:51
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First of all congratulations on your bravery in taking your baby overseas. We did a similar trip except to Europe 9H flight. We slept maybe 2H. You will be first to board after first class and last to disembark due to all the stuff you’re carrying.

My recommendation is Do not bring car seat at all.

Not worth the hassle.

Bring a baby carrier and ask your relatives in India to either buy/rent a car seat for use there. Typically taxi drivers will, all of a sudden, become safe drivers when you get in with a baby in baby carrier. You will feel unsafe by American standards but try to get taxi vans or suvs Just in case.

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