Alaska Airlines car seat policy
Know the Alaska Airlines car seat policy before you book for a family trip – YS (unsplash)

Going on a trip and leaving your house takes a lot of planning and you need to be thoroughly prepared for everything. This includes the seating arrangements on the plane when you’ll be traveling with your kids. All airlines have their own car seat policies and Alaska Airlines is no different.  

Key Takeaway
Alaska Airlines permits the use of any FAA-approved car seat or child-restraint system on their flights if you pay for an extra seat. Infants under two can travel for free as lap infants and they’ll let you check your car seat at no additional charge. 

In this comprehensive article, you’ll learn everything there is to know about Alaska Airlines’ car seat policy. You’ll find information about checking your car seat as checked baggage and letting your child sit in it during the flight. Plus, keep reading to see which seats on a plane are a no-go when it comes to lap infants and car seats. 

Bringing your car seat on the plane

Alaska Airlines will let you strap your child into a car seat on the seat next to you if it is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). You will need to pay for an extra ticket because your child will be taking up the seat of another paying traveler. 

*Here are our top list of FAA approved car seats for you to check.

If your child is younger than two, you can bring your car seat to the gate and ask if there’s an available seat on the plane. If there is, you’ll be allowed to put your child in a car seat for free. If there isn’t, they’ll check your car seat with the rest of the checked baggage at no extra cost. 

Note: with kids in tow, you might bring a stroller as well. Here’s what you need to know: Alaska Airlines stroller policy.

Checking your car seat  

If you don’t want your child to sit in the car seat on the flight, you have to check it into the hold at security. This doesn’t cost you anything extra and the weight isn’t added to your checked baggage, granted that you are traveling with one car seat per child. They’ll label it with the claim-at-gate tag, which means that you’ll get it back as soon as you land. 

Note that if you’re an active military personnel, you’re eligible for military discount in Alaska in the form of five free checked bags.

Permitted car seats 

The only car seat that you can use on a plane is one approved by the FAA. You can find this information in the manual but there should be a sticker located on the seat. The sticker should state the following;  

  • This restraint system conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
  • This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft. 

Seats where car seats are prohibited 

While the use of a car seat is strongly recommended by Alaska Airlines, they don’t permit them in certain seats. For the safety of your child, the following seats aren’t suited for car seats and lap infants: 

  • Aisle seats 
  • Emergency exit rows
  • Rows in front of or behind the exit rows
  • “A” seats in rows 1-4 on Embraer E175 aircraft flights 

The best seats for car seats and lap infants are the window seats. However, if the window seat is occupied, the middle seat would be the next best option.

Alternatives to bringing a car seat 

There are other ways to get by if you don’t want the hassle of bringing your own car seat from home. If your child hasn’t turned two years old yet, you could always travel with them on your lap. You need to be at least fifteen years old to travel with a lap infant and only one child is allowed per adult. 

To move around in a car at your destination, you’ll need to strap your child into a car seat. For this, you could look for a reputable company to rent a car seat for the duration of your trip. 

Should a toddler be in a car seat during a flight?

While putting your child in a car seat isn’t mandatory when flying with Alaska Airlines, the airline does strongly recommend the use of a child-restraint system for all children on their flights. 

Their policy states that babies are no longer considered infants when they turn two years old. Thus, your toddler won’t be able to travel as a lap infant from the day they turn two. You can choose to have them seated in a car seat on the plane but you should book a seat for them nonetheless. 

How can I protect my car seat during a flight?

The airline will provide you with a cover to protect your car seat during the flight. This will prevent dirt accumulation, small dents, and scratches but there is no guarantee that your car seat will be fully protected. Take a look at our article on traveling with a car seat for more tips and information.  

Will my child get seated with me if I don’t book seats? 

Alaska Airlines promises that they won’t seat your child away from you if they are younger than 13. It is important to note that your family may be split up because children are only guaranteed to be seated next to one adult. Thus, you could end up sitting with one child while your partner is seated in an entirely different row with another child. 

Check out our article on flying with kids for more tips: from booking the flight, surviving the airport wait, keeping your kids busy, and more.

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