bump. "Excuse me! Oops - so sorry! Oh my gosh - Raines, no kick! So sorry about that!"
bump bump. "Excuse me! Oops - so sorry! Yes, it IS hard to fit through."
bump. "Was that your toe? I'm so sorry!"
bump bump bump. "Oh! I'm sorry. Oops! Yes, I do have a laptop in this bag."
Raines was in the Ergo, my diaper bag weighed about 50 lbs (it was stuffed full of dipaers, wipes, clothes, a laptop and various toys/dvds/non-messy art supplies), and I was attempting to wheel the car seat to the very BACK of the airplane, where the stewardess had so very helpfully assigned us two seats. THANK YOU, UNITED. And it turns out that while our car seat DOES indeed fit down the aisle of the plane, it only fits by INCHES. THANK YOU BRITAX. Or maybe, THANK YOU BOEING. Not really sure who to blame for this one. But one thing was clear: never again would I bring a car seat on-board an airplane.
Once at our destination, I ordered a CARES harness (pictured at left) and used it on the return trip home, as well as all on all of our subsequent trips. Instead of wrestling the ridiculously heavy car seat down the aisle, the CARES harness weighs roughly 1 lb, and fits into a 6" stuff sack. It's completely easy to install on the plane and Raines has spent many a flight snoozing in his harness.
The only two downsides are that the harness isn't as comfy as his car seat, so we've tried to induce him to sleep by flying during naptimes or at 6AM. Also, CARES is only for kiddos who are over a year old.
This product is officially approved by the FAA as a car seat replacement on an airplane. It retails for $75.
So now, travel is easy. I check the car seat with my luggage (virtually all airlines check it for free), throw the little man in the Ergo, and off we go! Now the only thing I end up apologizing for is my singing.
ps. To the dude in 16C on Frontier Flight 652 last week, I am especially sorry for the many, many, MANY renditions of the hokey-pokey you had to endure. But trust me - it was still better than the alternative.