I have a four year old and no matter how short the ride I would never ride anywhere with him in my lap. I think it's too dangerous. If you are really set on flying why not get her her own seat and get a booster seat for her to sit on. Otherwise I would just drive. With the rate of plane crashes these days I wouldn't want to have my baby on a plane at all. At least if you drive you will know that you are in control.
The rate of car crashes is WAY higher then that of plane crashes, and no, you are not always in control of a car accident. My DH's friend lost their 6 m/o daughter, and their older daughter has forever been impaired because some ran into them while at a stop sign. That was very much out of their control.
I just flew with my DD, who is 7 months. On the trip to our destination(which was only 45 mins) she sat in my lap, and on the trip home, the plane was empty so they let me take her car seat. Of course it was nicer to have her in her car seat, but I dunno...you probably only have this one last flight to take advantage of her flying for free, lol. Does DH mind if she sits on his lap? I would look into the reduced fares, but if they were too pricey I wouldn't give a 2nd thought to her sitting on your lap honestly.
Statistically, I think you need to make this decision on how well she'll do behavior-wise in a lap than how safe she is strapped in. Does she like to sit quietly being held, or could you really use that extra seat for her to stand on and jump up and down? And sit and stand and lay down and put her toys on? I have only boys. ;D
If you are saving a lot of money I would go for the lap while you can. Regardless on the situation (carseat or lap) if the plane crashes it is gonna be bad, so as far as safety I think both are equal (only in plane crashes). It will only be a 1 1/2 hour flight and most the time I see parents walking up and down the aisle half the flight. Just bring some coloring books and toys...also you never know, if you get an empty flight she can probably have her own seat for free.
We just travelled with a 27-month-old and I bought a booster seat with a back for him. It was REALLY handy, and much more lightweight to travel with compared to his car seat (we needed something because we were renting a car). It had a handle on the top. The total cost was about $60 bucks for the seat and less than that for my son's ticket.
hmm... i thought about a booster seat, but the impression that I got from the FAA's website is that it has to be a front facing carseat and that booster seats were not considered safe.
"While booster seats and harness vests enhance safety in vehicles, FAA prohibits passengers from bringing these types of restraints on airplanes for use during taxi, take-off and landing. These restraints should be checked as baggage. Also, supplemental lap restraints or "belly belts" are not approved for use in both airplanes and vehicles in the United States."
That's the other thing- my current carseat is huge. I haven't measured it, but the product's width on websites is listed as 17 in, and carseats brought on planes must be under 16 inches wide. i guess i could always buy a cheap carseat.
I think I will call the airline directly and speak to them. Luckily, DD is a very good girl, very docile and can sit and read for over an hour straight. We'll have to pack lots of books! Also, so far, half of the plane is still empty. I'll keep watching that too.
First of all, my 23 month old boy is the same weight as yours, and I never realized that was "petite." Poor little boy...Lol
Anyway, ;We were gonna try to get one more trip in before he turns 2 so we didnt have to pay for his ticket..but then our other one got sick.
Free flights are great, and I say take advantage as much as you can! I just like saving money. :) My husbands fam is in the northeast and we're in the south, so we have to travel a lot to see them. I'm dreading when both of our boys are older than 2...that's gonna be expensive.
Anyway, we've always taken 4 hour flights w him on our lap, and it's worked out. He usually falls asleep.
If you can afford it, I would go with the carseat..the one thing that you have to keep in mind is that babies can get hurt with turbulence or a hard, bumpy landing. I would say better safe than sorry..although it is so much cheaper to hold them, I would always want to be cautious, even if it means buying another carseat to travel with.
we flew at Christmas with a ten month old - I did choose to purchase a seat for her - to give her room to move - to give us room - it was two long flights (going from Reno to Philadelphia) and I felt she would safer buckled into her seat. I do know that Southwest offers discounted airfares for children - not sure who else does. Many don't anymore. In all honesty - in mild turbulents, your child might be safer buckled into her seat - in a crash - your car seat will do very little to protect your child. If you feel confident that an almost two year old can sit quietly on a lap for the length of the flight - then I would say - go for the free flight!
It was a booster seat with back, not just the little pad for the bottom. It works as (and is approved as) a car seat, you put the seat belt over the seat and child and all. We loved it, it was so much lighter to carry around than his carseat, and it worked as a carseat also. Just check the weights on the box, and if your child is big enough, you're in.