This question originated on the Travels with Baby Facebook wall. Since it raises some important points about using a popular convertible car seat on aircraft, I thought it would make a good Ask Shelly post here in the blog, and if any of you have flown with this car seat, by all means let us know in the comments below.
As far as convertible car seats go, including Evenflo’s other models, the Triumph is pretty darn wide. I mean wide. It measures 20” wide at its widest point (not counting the cup holder), and though it has a narrow base, those adjustment knobs below the seat stick out far enough that you may run into some trouble with it on any row of airplane seats where you can’t lift the arm rests.
Although its label states that it is FAA-approved for use in aircraft, it is at least a full 2” wider than most airlines want to see onboard (many state car seats should not be over 16” wide, but most are—just like the passengers!), and the flight crew (and technically the pilot) has the final say. Sometimes they say something that might surprise you like, “Nope. We’ll have it for you at the gate when we arrive.”
If you are in the market and have not yet purchased this car seat:
I’d encourage you to look at the Evenflo Titan as an alternative (which I have used myself). It also goes up to 50 lbs but has a narrower base without the knobs and weighs much less to ease transporting. You might also want to look at Best Convertible Car Seats for Travel.
If you already own it:
You might want a backup plan for your flight depending on your circumstances (size of aircraft, size of your child, etc.). You might find some helpful alternatives or ideas in Car Seat Alternatives, or consider renting a good car seat for air travel for your trip (see the Worldwide Directory of Baby Gear Rentals for an agency near you—or at your destination).
A note on travel with tall car seats:
I’m not sure if you would be using it forward-facing or rear-facing for your child, but another important point of consideration when traveling with any of these higher weight limit car seats (like this, which goes up to 50 lbs.) is that the taller backs take up more space in the reclined, rear-facing position than do the more common 40 lbs. / 40”H max convertible car seats. Depending on the aircraft and how much recline you’d need for your child, this could be another issue on airplanes.
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning guide Travels with Baby
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children