American Airlines car seat policy
American Airlines aircrafts – Miguel Ángel Sanz (pexel)

*this article has been fact-checked for updated information in 2024 by Michelle Magerat

American Airlines is one of the USA’s leading airlines, with 350 destinations in 50 countries. It’s one of the airlines of choice, especially for families, when flying in the USA. In this article, we will cover all you need to know about the American Airlines car seat policy and help you get flying in no time.

Key Takeway:

On American Airlines, passengers traveling with infants or young children can bring a safety seat or car seat for free. The seat must meet FAA standards and display a label on the seat. You can check it for free and it won’t take your baggage limit.

It is essential to ensure you are prepared when flying with children and up-to-date on the latest policies and procedures. This article will go into detail and explain all you need to know about bringing a car seat on an American Airlines flight so your next family vacation runs smoothly! 

American Airlines car seat policy

You can bring an FAA-approved car seat onboard an American Airlines flight free of charge. This can make traveling with young children much easier and prevent parents from feeling fatigued during the flight. 

If you haven’t got one, check out our list of the best FAA approved travel car seats to help you get what you need.

Rules and limitations to car seats on American Airlines flights

Although bringing a car seat on board a plane is a free option available to anyone, there are some rules and limitations. 

  • All car seats must be FAA approved and have a label that states they are suitable for use on an aircraft. 
  • To make sure that you can use your car seat in the aircraft, you must purchase a seat for the infant or child that is not in the exit row or the rows on either side of an exit row. 
  • First or Business flights do not allow car seats due to the seat back angle.
  • The infant or child must stay in the car seat during taxi, take-off, and landing. 

Note: some car seats such as Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1 have 2 different modes. Make sure you’re aware of which one is acceptable for flying.

Bringing a car seat onboard an American Airlines flight

You can bring your car seat through the airport and up to the gate like you would for any other mobility device. Once you are at the gate and are called to board, check in as usual. A flight attendant can help you get the car seat strapped in. 

Booking two seats is the best way to ensure space for your car seat onboard your flight. This ensures there will be space next to you for the infant and seat. If you can’t or don’t want to book two seats, you can still bring your car seat. In this case, a gate attendant will check for an unoccupied seat beside you. If there isn’t a spare seat, they will check your car seat for you free of charge. 

About booster seats

Passengers can bring a booster seat if it adheres to the following criteria:

  • Has an approval label on it (FAA approved)
  • Has shoulder harness

Benefits of bringing a car seat onboard an American Airlines flight

There are many benefits of bringing a car seat onboard your flight. In most cases, parents choose to seat any child under two on their lap for the duration of the flight, and for shorter flights, this is a good option. Read more about this in our article on flying with infants on American Airlines.

Some parents and caregivers find that seating an infant or child on their lap isn’t practical for long-haul flights. Children, even babies as young as five months, tend to squirm, bounce, fidget, and cry or need constant rocking. Holding a moving or crying child for hours on end can be exhausting, and many parents find relief in having a safe place to put the baby so that they can have a break. 

If you are new to flying with a baby, you’ll want to make sure you have one of the best travel car seats that are FAA-approved before booking your flight to ensure your vacation goes as smoothly as possible.  

Other items allowed for infants on American Airlines flights


In addition to a car seat, you can bring other items for your baby on your flight. You can bring one stroller to the gate and check it for free. It is a good idea to brush up on the American Airlines stroller policy to learn which kind of strollers to bring and which ones you should check before boarding. 

Diaper Bag

When traveling with an infant, you can bring one diaper bag free of charge, which doesn’t count towards your carry-on allowance. Adult passengers traveling with a baby can still bring a diaper bag for the child and their own carry-on bag. 

Other accessories

Other infant-related accessories like a breast pump or soft-sided cooler bag are not your carry-on item and can be brought onboard. 


You can bring breast milk, formula, and toddler foods like purees on a plane. They don’t have to adhere to the 3oz rule that applies to other liquids in your carry-on. 

Now that you’re aware of the car seat policies in American Airlines, are you ready to book your AA flight? Book it at one of our most recommended flight booking sites.


Does a car seat count as carry-on baggage?

Each airline has a different policy regarding car seats and whether or not they count as carry-on baggage. Most, if not all, airlines in America will allow you to use a car seat if you have purchased a second seat for your child, assuming the seats fit the correct angle. 

For complete American Airlines baggage policies, check our article here. If you’re a member of the US military, you’ll get a military discount on both fares and baggage fees.

Do airlines charge for car seats?

No, Airlines in America won’t charge a fee for you to check your car seat.

Is it better to bring a car seat on a plane?

For longer trips, having somewhere safe to put the infant can be helpful. It can provide a much-needed break for parents or caregivers who are traveling alone. However, bringing a car seat on a plane is ultimately up to personal preference.

Is it better to gate-check a car seat?

For some parents with car seats that snap into strollers, it’s worth gate-checking both items so that you can use the stroller/car seat throughout the airport.

When flying with American Airlines, which does allow you to use the car seat if the seat beside you is free, it is worth bringing your car seat to the gate. It might be your lucky day and you can use your car seat without booking a second seat.

Car seat is just 1 factor to consider when traveling with kids. We’ve compiled a list of tips to make it easier in our article about flying with kids. Check it out!

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