Just got back from Thanksgiving at Grammy's house, and here's the epiphany I had at O'Hare, watching armies of dads lumbering under the weight--and bulk--of gigantic carseats while balancing carry-on luggage and personal pan pizzas, and while screaming after wandering, mini-wheelie-toting kids:
THE AIRLINES SHOULD PROVIDE THE CARSEAT.
Of course, it doesn't have to be a carseat. It could be a child restraint specially designed for an airplane: a planeseat.
Families traveling with their carseats could then check them with the rest of their luggage.
The airline is obliged to provide wide-waisted people with seatbelt extensions, so why don't they provide kids--at least those who are traveling on a paid ticket--with the seating equipment they need?
Those parents who roll the dice and don't buy their kid a ticket, who hope for an empty seat in which to deposit their lap baby, could pay $20 to rent a planeseat at the gate.
Not having to carry your own car seat could transform flying with children from a travel hell to, well, if not a travel heaven, maybe at least a travel heck.
Like shopping carts and restaurant high chairs, planeseats could spawn a whole cottage industry of portable or disposable cover makers.
If only someone were to design, test, and manufacture this to the rigorous specs demaneded by the FAA and the airline industry... What's that, you say? Someone does make one? And they call it what? The PlaneSeat CRS-2000?
So you mean the only reason you have to haul that damn carseat everywhere is because of the airlines?