A Carseat Nerd's Blog

A Carseat Nerd's Adventures in Carseats

I made it. Barely. October 29, 2010

Filed under: Seat Reviews,Uncategorized — carseatnerd @ 4:35 am
Tags: , , ,

I’ve been home from my trip for almost a week now.  I haven’t quite fully recovered. I don’t think I’ll do that again. Flying solo with two small kids is no walk in the park! I don’t need to bore you with a lot of details, but I’ll sum it up for you just for kicks.

Highlights: Snacks smooshed all over the floor where we sat at the terminal, Mr Orange licking the bathroom sink at the airport, Little Dude throwing an all-out fit waiting to board the plane, Little Dude kicking the seat the whole flight both directions, Mr Orange licking the bottom of his SHOE in flight after visiting the bathroom on the plane, Little Dude throwing an all out fit when I took his shoes off for security and again waiting to board the plane, both kids dropping everything in their laps on the floor so my seatbelt was almost never actually on, and Mr Orange had to pee RIGHT NOW before the seatbelt sign was turned off so I got lectured by a flight attendant.

On the way out, my mom helped me. Thank goodness!  I had Mom roll my suitcase to the baggage check counter, while I wore my (30 lb!) backpack and rolled the boys in their car seats.  Then I put their backpacks on the GoGo Kidz handles.

Here’s the setup I was working with:

Marathon with attached GoGo Kidz Travelmate

Radian with backpack straps

Radian folded with rearfacing boot stored in straps

I also obviously had wheels on the Radian which are not in the pics above.  Here is a crappy cell phone pic of me walking through the parking garage with both seats in tow.

Trekking through the airport garage

Now this worked great except going through security.  The seats don’t fit in the scanner with the wheels on and have to be hand-screened which of course takes longer.  But it was worth it to not have to carry them, check them or rent some upon arrival.

I installed both seats forward facing on the plane mostly to make it easier for me to entertain the boys and be interactive with them. FAA regulations state that they could not impede access to the aisle, so the Radian was installed in the window seat and the Marathon went in the center.  This left me in the aisle.  You know, in case I wanted to leave them behind in an emergency situation.

Also worth noting is that the Radian DOES NOT INSTALL WELL on the plane with the wheels on. Because the Radian is such a straight seat, the wheels pushed it out from the seat bight (crack) enough that when we landed, the whole seat leaned forward quite a bit. On the return trip, I opted to take the wheels off and carry it backpack style once we got to our terminal. I got a much more secure installation that way!

The nice features of the Radian are 1) It sits low enough that the child in the seat is able to use the tray table, and 2) It’s narrow enough that it fits down the aisle of the plane so you don’t have to lift it up over the seats. I rolled it on the wheels right to our seats on the way down and walked down the aisle with it on my back on the way home. Fabulous! (pics soon!)

The Marathon installs beautifully with the wheels on, though you do need a seatbelt extender. You can get them from the flight attendant. If you don’t use an extender or flip the female end of the buckle 180 degrees, your seat will be stuck and the pilot will not be happy about having to call a mechanic to come get your seat out by removing screws in the belt attachment.  (pics coming soon!)

I am hoping to make this trek again in March, but with two not-so-minor changes. I will have another adult with me and I am buying a Ride Safer Travel Vest for Mr Orange to wear instead of using a car seat in the rental car. I plan on using the Radian for Little Dude both on the plane and in the rental car and Mr Orange will use just the plane belt during the flight and the RSTV in the rental car.

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6 Responses to “I made it. Barely.”

  1. Megan Says:

    Hi – we are going to be flying this spring. We also own a GoGo Travel Mate, Britax Marathon 70, and a Radian XTSL. My LO will be about 15 months when we travel. Would you recommend the Marathon or the Radian on the plane?

    • carseatnerd Says:

      I personally found the Radian much easier to travel with for a forward facing child. In the car, both of my boys are rearfacing, but on the plane I installed both seats forward facing for my own ease. With a 15 mo, I would probably elect to forward face just for the plane ride unless the flight will be long or late enough that the LO will likely sleep through it. In that case, I’d get a bulkhead seat and rearface.
      The Radian with the backpack straps wasn’t too hard to carry. I’m small framed at 5’6′ and 116 lbs. It was much easier to carry the Radian on my back than to use the GoGo Kidz, but I was using the older one without the quick connect option.
      The Marathon 65 was much easier to use the GGK with, but it doesn’t fit down the plane aisle, so you’ll still have to lift it over the seats.
      I haven’t tried it with a Marathon 70, which is very different than the Marathon 65.

  2. Megan Says:

    Also – what do you mean when you say “flip the female end of the buckle” (for Marathon installation on plane)?

    • carseatnerd Says:

      The female end, or the part with the flip-up part of the buckle needs to be flipped 180* if you install the seat forward facing. If you don’t flip it, it will be next to impossible to unbuckle it when you get to your destination because of the way the back of the seat is. The release handle will be blocked by the black plastic or the shell of the seat. You can also just use a seatbelt extender to give you two points at which you can unbuckle it. Just be sure that at least on eof them is well outside your beltpath. I wish I had taken better pictures on the plane. I’ll go through my pics again and see if I got any of the beltpath.

  3. sayra Says:

    how do you install the travelmate on a radian xt? the support tabs on the travelmate don’t seem to fit anywhere on the back of the seat? is it just supposed to balance on them somehow? help! this is keeping me up at night.


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