June 20, 2005

GoGo Kidz Travelmate: Airport Wheelies For Your Car Seat?

gogokidz.jpgFor all the hubbub in the media about equal parenting and dads changing diapers, taking leave, and getting more involved, you almost never hear about moms grabbing the car seat and hauling it around the airport. And that's fine. I'm happy to redirect my own rage at the myopic airlines, who've apparently decided that making family travel as annoying and difficult as possible is somehow their only hope for avoiding bankruptcy.

On the trip last week, I occasionally loaded our temporary, cheapo car seat into the seat of the Maclaren Volo and pushed it around that way, but it occurred to me that a wheelie-like attachment for a car seat, perhaps one that was compatible with the near-universal LATCH system, would be a smart move for a company somewhere.

Then a reader sent in this link for GoGoBabyz's GoGo Kidz Travelmate, a wheelie/handtruck attachment for the Britax Roundabout (or Marathon). Unlike the little collapsible luggage carts (you know, the ones you're not supposed to store in the overhead bins), the GoGoBabyz [?] stays on throughout the trip; it can require a seat belt extender to use it on the plane.

I don't know anything about it, except that it's $89. Oh, and although the fonts aren't too evil, the decadent use of mispelled words ('babyz,' 'kidz") is contributing to the fall of western civilization.

Buy a GoGoBabyz GoGoKidz Travelmate wheel attachment for $89 straight from the source [gogobabyz.com]

26 Comments

I am not certain if the Gogokidz handtruck has to be removed from the car seat before strapping the carseat into the airplane seat OR whether you can keep it intact as one unit and install it in the airplane seat....it was not clear from the web site.

We like the idea of being able to transport the child through airports (in the car seat), simply pushing the handtruck.

Anyone out there actually use this yet?

I saw one in the airport the other day.

Since I need to buy a second carseat anyway, I was going to go the "cheap, yet safe, and fits airplane seats" route. Any recommendations? Sure, it would be nice to travel with the Marathon (avec wheels), but would it fit on the plane?

The Britax Marathon WILL fit on the plane seats. I flew with my son in his a while back. No problem. It's big, of course, but it fits just fine.

Also, hauling a Britax around the airport sucks hardcore. I should have shelled out the $2 for the cart!

Dude. I have had the same thought on multiple occasions. I've flown three or four times in the past two years, all with a Latch-equipped carseat, and each time, my wife has had to juggle luggage and an antsy toddler, while I carried two or three bags and our carseat.

A royal pain in the ass, and one that led me to the same conclusion as you: if they can make a universal car seat carrier, they ought to make a universal car seat luggage cart.

We looked at a Sit'n'Stroll, but decided they would be a bigger pain in the butt.

To the other Amy, another solution I found to help me carry my 10-month old's Britax Marathon is the canvas tote/backpack "ultimate car seat carrier" by j.l childress co. It's big enough for the Marathon and the bag wraps up for the overhead bin.

The Marathon is FAA approved and it fit in the seats well.

Carrying this giant carseat on my back as we changed gates, with my messenger-style diaper back across my chest and the kid in front in her "one-hand-can-really-close-it, gate-checked" stroller was the only way we survived a trip to Europe last month.

Of course the first flight attendant on the first leg said, "Ma'am, you won't be able to fit that bag in the overhead bin." "No problem, just my trusty carseat!" So it does look a bit ominous to the casual observer, but even if you're only interested in protecting a carseat that's being checked, it's a great option!

I haven't tried it, but the Sit 'n' Stroll looks like another decent (if pricey) option.

Wow, that's a weird coincidence; I just heard about someone who was told she couldn't bring their carseat-in-a-bag on the plane because it counted as a carry-on, not a carseat, and she was over her limit.

Well darn, if the car seat is counted as carry-on.... Surely baby gets a carry-on allowance. I mean you're paying for the kid's seat, no?

So, I still don't want to haul the Marathon through the airport(s). Any suggestions for smaller/lighter, yet safe & easy to use car seats?

And to open a can o' worms--how many buy baby a seat before you have to at age 2? We haven't yet; baby sits on my lap & nurses through take off and landing. At 14 months, she's flown several times (Europe once) with no fussing.

A Touriva is a safe bet for flying. Cheap, easy enough to use and among the lightest on the market.
I don't fly, but have reports from family who fly from Vancouver to Denver that it workds great, installs well in cabs at your destination and is at least pretty comfy.

I just called the manufacturer and the trolley/hand truck thing can be used while attached to the car seat or it can be removed during the flight by loosening two thumb screws. I wanted to make sure no tools (like screwdrivers) were needed to attach/detach this to the car seat. I gave in and ordered one this morning to use with a Roundabout for our nine-month old. The thought of going through Detroit and Narita airports while carrying the car seat, a stroller and baby in addition to all our other stuff was not that appealing to DH. The stroller is going to be checked through.

Would anyone be interested in something that does the same thing but rolls up to store in a diaper bag or suitcase when not in use?

In terms of a carseat. Take a look at the Evenflo Titan 5. Consumer Reports ranks it as #1, even better than the Britax Marathon. We have the Britax and needed a second seat. The best part . . .I was able to purchase it for $55 at Target. Much more digestible versus the cost of some other models. So far we like it quite a bit, and is a bit cooler for our son in the summer heat. The Titan 5 also is approved by the FAA, and it's a lot lighter than our Britax.

My under 2 child "rides" on my suitcase straddling the handle. She thought it was great fun and I had to pull her around the entire time we waited to board. At least we saved $89.00

This was posted while I was on vacation with Mrs. Buck and Buckette, and I actually have something of value to bring to the discussion. I bought a Safeit Car Seat Protector/Carrier ($29.99 from Amazon), basically a tote bag with wheels, to carry the car seat to the plane. We bought a seat for the baby, and strapped in the carseat. Both directions the flight was full, so it saved us having the baby in our laps the entire trip, and she slept 90% of the time. It was bliss, although I got in a verbal altercation at the end of the 3 hour flight out with the older woman in front of Buckette who couldn't recline because the carseat got in the way.

Her: "I hope you'll be more considerate in the future."

Me: "Nah, I don't think so. From my point of view this worked out great!"

Actually, what I said was nastier and less witty, but really, the baby never peeped and does 3 inches of recline really that important to you?

====
One funny thing about buying an under-2 a seat on a domestic flight: Buckette actually got flagged at security for a more extensive search. The security people were a bit bewildered, and ended up doing my wife (who was holding the baby at that point) in addition.

I just got back from a two-layover, three-airport, four-plane trip with an 11-month-old and the Go-Go Kidz worked great with a Britax Roundabout seat.

It stayed attached while on the plane, but had to come off for the rental car, which was a little bit of a pain, but not a big deal. Also, the carseat itself was too wide to roll down the economy class asile.

Oh, and we go ahead and buy a seat for the girl; planes are just too cramped as it is to add an on-lap infant, and with three abrest, we end up with a row to ourselves ...

I have 21mnth old twins that I have flown by my self with several time in their short little lives and now that they are in the big Britax seats I've been looking at ways to get them on the planes easier then strapping the two of them to me with Mayan wraps and carrying the car seats. With 2 kids I always had to buy at least one seat so I just started buying 2 seats. F.Y.I. on most domestic US flights kids under 2yrs old sitting in a seat are half price. I have one beat up Sit N' Stroll but was looking into the GoGo Babyz Cart and can't decide which is better. I love my Britax seats and so do the girls but I also can't decide if spending $200 for 2 GoGo Babyz Carts or 1 Sit N' Stroll is better. Any suggestions?

GoGoKidz. We had the same problem on our recent international journey with this product. Does not fit down economy aisles, even on the 747sj. Result - You have to carry the car seat and the GoGoKidz trolley over your head as you walk 30+ rows (while trying not to knock out other passengers who raced on the airplane during pre-boarding.

Second, in economy, it was not possible to attach the car seat w/GoGoKidz attached in a rear facing position. Well, you could attach it, but the person in front of us would have been screwed - as it meant their seat could not recline at all for the duration of the flight. Resulted in us moving to plan B: Detach the GoGoKidz and hand it to the flight flight crew to check through.

Sweating and exhausted before the flight begain, checked both the car seat and the GoGoKidz.

Royal pain in the butt and a big disappointment.

[hmm. it sounds like a fundamental design criterion, to be able to fit on the plane. But what rear-facing seat would this fit on anyway? I only ever used the infant carrier rearfacing on the plane, and it doesn't look gogokidz-compatible anyway... -ed.]

does anyone know if you can use the gogokidz with any other carseat? My daughter is 18 mos and about 32 inches. I have read that she would probably be too tall for the sit and stroll and that her legs would drag!!! seems both the gogo and the sit/stroll tip back the same way....so it seems as if it would be an issue with both. If we do put her car seat in a bag could we recline her car seat in the airplane? thanks for your help

I bought a Go Kidz to use on my Britax Boulevard for our Christmas travels.

It works great in airports, between flights, etc. Other comments are correct that the seat will not fit down the aisle. I used a amall backpack for my carry on, then threw the diaper bag over my shoulder, picked up the seat front facing, and carried it down the aisle. Really no problem but I'm not sure my wife could have picked it up.

Note: mounting the Britax rear-facing WILL prevent the seat in front from reclining. Also, you can leave the GoKidz attached, but the wheels will tilt the car seat forward a bit, just enough so the kid's head will bob when sleeping. I solved this on the second flight by stuffing some blankets under the front when installing the seat. I expect I will have to do the same when installing the seat forward-facing.

As we have two infants, we booked a block of four seats, two against the window,and two against the window in the row directly behind. Therefore, the seat in front that couldn't recline conveniently had my daughter's smaller car seat in it.

In summary, there are a few quirks you have to learn to work around, but I'm definitely happy I made the purchase.

I have used the sit 'n stroll on an international trip (11 hours and two layovers) each way, on my own with my 15 month old son. While the stroller feels a little wobbly, it worked well. I didn't buy a seat. The airline will try to seat adults with children that don't have seats next to empty seats if there are any on the flight. I was able to use the sit 'n stroll as a car seat on 4 of the 6 flights. On the two that were too full, I checked it at the gate as a stroller. (It's always a pain to dismantle all the gear, plus expose the laptop, when going through security too. So think about that when configuring.) The child has to come out of the stroller. The sit 'n stroll went down the aisle on all but the smallest planes, which also had stairs (the American Eagles), and then it was a little stressful to negotiate with a child, a stroller, and rolling hand luggage. The attendants were quite helpful, though, and were obviously prepared to help with this.

When he was six months old I did the same trip with a cheap one hand fold up stroller one way, and with the baby bjorn on the way back. Also no seats. The fold up stroller was GREAT. AND we got stranded overnight at the airport in Puerto Rico. I did not try to contend with a carseat (we had a loaner on the other end). On the way back without it, it was awful. While it was nice to carry everything and have him in the baby bjorn, it was just to much for both of us to spend 11 hours on top of each other (nowhere to put him even when we went to the bathroom.) When I put him on the floor for fifteen minutes to crawl, I got some horrified looks as he started to explore airport carpeting with his mouth. Oh well. It was the only break we got.

Now my son is 18 months old, and the sit 'n stroll seems to small for him, although it is supposed to last until they're three. I just purchased a gogokidz to go with my britax marathon, and I'll try to remember to update. (A quick comment -- a dvd player on my computer was GREAT on the last trip.)

Did anyone actually roll their toddler IN the carseat? How did it roll if so?

We have the Ultimate car seat carrier and it works well - with two of us. Hubby also constantly faces the "sir, you can't take that on the plane!" comments from flight crew. It IS a pain to get out of/into the bag on the plane (we are always on those dinky express jets, so there is NO room, and of course, NO preboarding for people with infants), but for an upcoming trip, hubby is venturing out with our 2 yr old and without me, leaving him to maneuver his carryon, wild child AND car seat out onto the tarmac and up the stairs onto the plane.

If he brings the stroller, he has to try to hold on to our tot while he passes off the stroller to be checked. And I've NEVER had an offer of help on United!

Any thoughts would be helpful. We really don't need a stroller on the other end, so if you can wheel your tot in it, this would be great!

I just got back from the trip (11 hour, three plane each way) using the Marathon car seat with the gogokidz roller. It was fantastic, delightful rolling action. I got quite a few envious stares, and my 19-month old was living large and very comfortable. It does not roll down the aisle in coach. It is possible to carry it with your child in it, although not ideal (what do you do with the rest of your luggage). I did get help from the attendant, although I was only able to use it as a car seat on one flight (I didn't pay for an extra seat). On two of the security checks, it would not go through the xray machine with the wheels on. I did not take them off, and they had to check it by some other means (mysterious to me). On the other four security checks it had no problem going through the conveyer belt box thing. On one of the two that did have a problem, the security guy said "this is the worst invention in the world". Remembering Buck above, I said, "actually it's worked quite well for me." I did not take the wheels off when I used it in the plane nor when I used it in the car at the other end, and, while I know that this is not an approved use, I thought it worked fine.

In summary. As a stroller, I thought it was great. You will not be able to roll it down the aisle on the plane unless you're in first class. It worked wonderfully as a car seat on the plane. You will need a seat belt extension, and it goes over the car seat). It may not pass effortlessly through all security check points, and I can imagine that you may actually find a particularly grumpy person who makes you take off the wheels. My sister travelled without anything for her three year old and suffered. I actually let her use the gogokidz for long walks, because her child is heavier. I plan to use this until my son no longer needs a car seat or a stroller. It was well worth it, and I liked it better than the Sit 'n Stroll.

Just a quick thought, for Jenna-mac has your husband considered a sling (like the maya or kangaroo sling) or something like the baby bjorn (I know your child may be too big for that).

I also saw a stroller/backpack thing made by kelty kids that looks like it might be workable. (In Step also makes one, but it looks more bulky)

For Jenna-mac again: The Kool-Stop stroller pack says it fits into the overhead compartment. Has anyone tried this?

we have this and it is great. we have the quick release wheels and it is great! no more cheap seats, just grab the marathon and go!

We just completed a multi-leg domestic flight with the Travelmate mounted to a Marathon. Loved the wheels on the seat, and so did the baby. We ran in to one problem when I cinched the seat into position with the airline's seatbelt. It got stuck! I failed to turn the buckle around when I latched it and the old-style lift-to-release belts did not have enough room to allow the belt to release. I learned a few tricks about airline seats/seatbelts in getting it out...like you can take the seatbelts off the seats by removing a cotter pin and unlatching the end of the belt that attaches to the seat. Next time, I will remove the wheels before I buckle it in and flip the belt so that it releases to the rear, toward the aircraft seatback. On the whole, I am glad we spent the money on the wheels because MJ loved being rolled around the airport in her own seat.

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