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Thread: Question re car seats and United/ Air NZ

  1. #1
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    Default Question re car seats and United/ Air NZ

    I am flying with 2 kids (4/6) on a flight from DC to San Fran and then AKL. Even though it was booked through Air NZ website the domestic carrier is United. I was told by Air NZ once before that car seats (boosters) are free to be checked with kids but I have just been told that there is a charge for kids over 2. I am definitely taking them as we did not like the quality of car seats when we were in NZ recently.
    Can anyone clarify?
    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Smile Kids Fare and CARES

    It sounds to me that the charge Air NZ was talking about is that you have to pay for a separate seat? Our experience, although our twins are just over 1 now, was that domestic flights in the US are free for kids under 2 unless they occupy a seat. International flight kids under 2 pay 10% of the adult fare, and over 2 under 11 (this may not be exact) can no longer get the infant on lap 10% fare, they have to buy their own seats, but only 75% of the adult fare not the full price.

    I do not think you have to pay for bringing the car seats with you, however, the airlines are pretty innovative these days on posing new fees and charges, so yo have to call them directly. Usually I have to book our tickets first, then contact the airlines to give them our kids' passport number, date of birth and name information to pay for their fare separately, sometimes I can only book and reserve their tickets for them over the phone then pay at the airport. Those were with China Eastern and Delta. So we booked our domestic flight separately from the international portion to avoid the 10% of the domestic flight.

    Outside the US, it's different, when we went to Thailand with the boys, both the Chinese airlines and Thai Air were charging close to the adult fare even though our kids do not occupy a seat.

    We plan on getting the car seats when we get to NZ, simply because we couldn't bring our brand new ones from the US (when we made that move, we only used 6 pieces of luggages, incredible isn't it?), then we were in China, only to find the car seats are super expensive, about 3 times of the prices in the US. So we ended up having our friend bringing over the CARES Aviation Restraint System, it's essentially a child seat belt designed for flights, there are mixed reviews about it on Amazon, but we thought we would give it a try. It's the only one that's approved by FAA, and I believe it's approved by UK, New Zealand as well.

    I really think they will have you check in your car seats as a piece of luggage without charging you but check with whatever airlines you are going with to make sure.
    Last edited by dragonrides; 3rd August 2011 at 02:52 AM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonrides View Post
    It sounds to me that the charge Air NZ was talking about is that you have to pay for a separate seat? Our experience, although our twins are just over 1 now, was that domestic flights in the US are free for kids under 2 unless they occupy a seat. International flight kids under 2 pay 10% of the adult fare, and over 2 under 11 (this may not be exact) can no longer get the infant on lap 10% fare, they have to buy their own seats, but only 75% of the adult fare not the full price.

    I do not think you have to pay for bringing the car seats with you, however, the airlines are pretty innovative these days on posing new fees and charges, so yo have to call them directly. Usually I have to book our tickets first, then contact the airlines to give them our kids' passport number, date of birth and name information to pay for their fare separately, sometimes I can only book and reserve their tickets for them over the phone then pay at the airport. Those were with China Eastern and Delta. So we booked our domestic flight separately from the international portion to avoid the 10% of the domestic flight.

    Outside the US, it's different, when we went to Thailand with the boys, both the Chinese airlines and Thai Air were charging close to the adult fare even though our kids do not occupy a seat.

    We plan on getting the car seats when we get to NZ, simply because we couldn't bring our brand new ones from the US (when we made that move, we only used 6 pieces of luggages, incredible isn't it?), then we were in China, only to find the car seats are super expensive, about 3 times of the prices in the US. So we ended up having our friend bringing over the CARES Aviation Restraint System, it's essentially a child seat belt designed for flights, there are mixed reviews about it on Amazon, but we thought we would give it a try. It's the only one that's approved by FAA, and I believe it's approved by UK, New Zealand as well.

    I really think they will have you check in your car seats as a piece of luggage without charging you but check with whatever airlines you are going with to make sure.
    I am paying for 3 seats (although I got 75% off kids fares) and they just need boosters for when we get there. I am talking about if they will allow me to check them with kids free. I am not really bothered as I am going to take them anyhow.
    Thanks for your reply,

  4. #4
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    Talking

    Wow, 25% of the adult fare, that's a really good deal for having their own seats? Booster should be fine, did you ask the airlines about that? Air New Zealand sounds much nicer than the American airlines...there's no bargain for kids' fare there. Under 2, 10%, above 2, 75% and they have to get their own seats!

  5. #5
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    Slightly off topic (but only ever-so slightly) Are you aware of Plunket's car seat hire? It is very reasonably priced. We used them whilst we waited for our car seats to arrive in our shipping container. Would strongly recommend them to anyone who needs 'tiding over'.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by YouMeAndThree View Post
    Slightly off topic (but only ever-so slightly) Are you aware of Plunket's car seat hire? It is very reasonably priced. We used them whilst we waited for our car seats to arrive in our shipping container. Would strongly recommend them to anyone who needs 'tiding over'.
    No I was not aware of that! But our shipping container has gone..
    There was a special deal that if you booked before June 30th and flew after August 1st 75% off kids fares so we got one way Dulles-San Fran-AKL $1930 (US) total.....that is for 1 adult and 2 kids.

  7. #7
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    We flew over to NZ last November with 2 kids aged 1 and 3. (Family of four) Although we could have seated our youngest as a lap passenger, we elected to fork out and get her a ticket (seat), and we're so happy we did. Every traveller, young or old, who has a ticketed seat is allowed to take one personal item AND one carry on.

    The personal item can be such as: an umbrella, cane, baby seat, pocketbook, fanny pack, etc.

    The carry on, is the typical small luggage or laptop. If your laptop is in a thin sleeve or thin case, it is considered a personal item, not carry on baggage.

    Our on-board gear was broken down thus:
    4 Personal items: 1 Fanny Pack (ipod etc), 1 Baby Bag (Nappies, food, etc), 2 car seats.
    4 Carry on items: 2 technical backpacks (all our clothes for the trip), one kids' duffel with toys, one duffel with toiletries.

    We had no checked bags. We brought a stroller, but that was checked at the gate. Avoiding the burden of checked bags (waiting, hoping) was well worth it. Flying around the planet with a baby and a toddler, I cannot say enough about making the journey as easy as possible. Using backpacks with no checked luggage, we had to pack a bit lighter than we might have, but it was well worth it. (Pretty much every place we stayed had access to laundry. Some of the hotels even had a washer/dryer in the room.) I put mine and my sons clothes in my back pack. My wife put hers and our daughter's clothes in her backpack. The backpacks went up into the overhead bins, out of sight and mind for 12 hours.



    Just make sure you don't go over the 15 pound limit. We got out the bathroom scale and made sure we were at least a pound under. You can free up an extra pound if you pull the plastic back-plate/aluminum stiffeners out of the backpack (they are removable). This also makes the backpack more "squishable". After you stuff it with clothes, you can cinch the various straps taught, thus compacting it like a bag of leaves; you won't have to worry about the carry-on size limits. Place any oddball electrical cords, items, or adapters in the outside pockets, so that if security needs to see something, you don't have to disembowel the whole bag.

    We put a lot of thought into how we would move through airports with all this stuff. (Carry-on items, two car seats, and two kids, yikes). The backpacks would be on our backs, our 1 yr old daughter would be in her car seat in the family stroller along with the 2 duffels. My ipod fanny pack around my waist. For my son I found a special car seat that converts into a stroller.



    It's called a Sit N Stroll. It's a standard car seat. You pull a lever and wheels pop out the bottom. Best thing since sliced bread. I got mine off Craigslist on the cheap, $50. You can sell it again after the recce and get your money back. It's good for airport use but the wheels are not bold enough to use it as an outdoor stroller.

    Using these methods, we were able to eliminate removing the kids from their car seats when arriving at the airport, and again when we boarded the plane. All our kids and our stuff rolled through the airport. The kids slept in the familiarity of their own car seats. The flight attendants were surprised when I rolled my son onto the plane and lifted him up in his "stroller" and popped the whole thing into the seat. (The Sit n Stroll fit through the isles of the Air NZ plane, but not through the isle of the domestic flight, so for that flight I had to carry him in it to our seats)

    Anyway, since I've written a book here, I may as well add a few more suggestions:

    If you have a baby, try to book the AirNZ baby station seats designated for parents, these seats feature fold down bassinets built into the plane, in front of the seat. There are two of these locations per plane, and are the center four seats at the front of two separate sections of the plane. There are two bassinets shared for the four seats. A picture of one in action can be seen here

    Bring an iPad, laptop, or portable DVD player with several movies for the kids. Make sure they are the type of movies the kids like, but have not seen yet. Bring some toys and coloring books they have not seen yet.

    (For adults, the three Lord of the Rings movies are a convenient and pertinent way to while away the flight)

    The 3 ounce liquid rule does not apply to baby needs. Bring food enough for possible tarmac delays. Security was very accommodating for our baby foods and liquids. (they did swab test the water in the baby bottles)

    No matter what you do, you will not keep a baby perfectly quiet on a plane for 12 hours. We worried much about it. In return, we were gifted with a psychopathic fellow passenger who took great exception to our children, and was in-turn arrested off the plane when we landed.

    If it is of advantage to you, check the stroller at the gate, not the curb. The stroller can be used to carry carry-ons.

    Bring a toy, blanket, or bear very familiar to the child.

    Fill out your customs forms early in the flight if possible, so that you don't have to fumble for your passports to look up the number while de-planing.

    Leave any fruit or nuts on the plane so you dont have to declare it or worse, get fined for it.

    Check the rules-of-carriage online for every flight before leaving, to make sure there are no changes in size limits, weight limits, or carry on policy.

    Happy Landings!
    Dave
    Last edited by bostonian; 5th August 2011 at 06:22 PM.

  8. #8
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    Great post.
    We are taking check in and carry on as I have all kids clothes and mine and some records(Papers) that we need for medical, school etc before container arrives. I am taking 2 boosters(check in) and will pay if I have to. Last time I flew from Seattle they were flown free so time will tell!
    Luckily we are going San Fran so luggage goes the whole way through. Now how I will manage at this end with 3 suitcases, 2 kids seats and kids (+3 carry on bags)????? I guess that is what Sky Cap is for!

    Wish me luck!

    I did take colouring things, travel games, blankets and pillow pets last time and utilised them all but my 5 yr old loved the Air NZ entertainment /tv. I also brough his Leapster with headphones.

    Sorry you had a psycho passenger!

    Last edited by Hagabel; 15th August 2011 at 01:35 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hagabel View Post
    ...
    I am definitely taking them as we did not like the quality of car seats when we were in NZ recently.
    ...
    Have you checked that your child car seats meet NZ standards?

    Just in case you are not aware, in NZ it is a legal requirement that you use an approved child seat.

    Driver must ensure passengers under 5 years use child restraint
    A driver must ensure that, while the vehicle is in motion on a road, every passenger under the age of 5 years is properly restrained by an approved child restraint appropriate for that passenger
    If you are stopped and the car seat is checked and found to not meet NZ standards then it could be a fine of up to $1000 and an infringement fee of $150.

    Ian

  10. #10
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    we checked our car seat into hold luggage (used a big box packed out with towels and clothes) and it was free. We just had to take it to oversize baggage section once checked in. We flew ANZ.

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