View Full Version : Air Travel without stroller, Marathon in the airplane

10-05-2004, 09:14 AM

After researching and asking the humble opinion of the toddler bargain crowd, I decided to skip the stroller at the airport on my last trip. We had a stroller to use at Grandma's house. Here's how it went.

I travelled alone with my DD of 29 months on a 6 hour cross country flight from NJ to CA. Previously (also solo) I have lugged the Roundabout, stroller, diaper bag/food bag, and DD alone to the gate, checked the stroller (after putting it in a bag), snapped the RA in and prepared to be the tv/jungle gym, chef, entertainer for DD for 6 hours. This time was different - My husband couldn't drop us off so I had to handle everything plus the luggage from the garage to the gate. In addition, I had to carry the heavy Marathon onboard and the flight times were not condusive to DD wanting to walk any part of the terminal. Thanks to the kind advice of folks here, they suggested the Samsonite Micromover and the Kiddie Cargo LoRider. Due to the size of the Marathon and the not so secure lookingbase on the MM (DD could not have ridden safely with the seat strapped to the MM) , I opted for the LoRider.

The LoRider (www.kiddiecargo.com - cheapest at www.BabyAge.com since s/h is only 3.95) is an ingenious little cart that securely and quickly straps onto (and off of) the carseat - and DD could ride in her carseat while I pulled it along! We got many surprised and envious looks as we wheeled from the garage to ticketing and to the airplane. Many of the looks were from the adults who wished they could travel like DD! The only sticky point was at Newark security since the LoRider made the carseat too high to fit through the x-ray machine. Within 30 seconds, I had the handle/base off and we were through security. On the other side, it did take me a little longer to pull things together since the straps had slid a little and I had to readjust the tightness. Overall very smooth. DD had no problem riding around in her carseat - she actually helped by carrying her lunchbox (which wouldn't fit in our already superfull backpack). The only improvements I would make to the LoRider is larger wheels so it can get over the gaps better (gaps between elevator and floors) and less slippery straps since I did have to tighten them a couple of times in the airport. The straps may have slipped due to the bouncing around from crossing the elevator gaps and the airtrain/monorail gaps. LoRider seems to be the way to go - as long as DD is awake during the transition times of moving the carseat on/off the airplane. If she's asleep, I wouldn' be able to carry everything off the plane myself and set things up again once off the plane without help.

The LoRider and Marathon set up could have rolled down the first class aisle easily on our outbound flight - not so on the return flight. Bottom line, the Marathon is too wide for most airplane aisles to pull along - plan on carrying it.

Once on the plane, the fun started with installing the Marathon. I had previously researched this issue and thought I had it covered. Since I had a latch system in the minivan, I didn't understand the previous posts about why people were having trouble installing the Marathon on the airplane. Now I know and I will try to explain step by step how to wrestle this seat in. First, the main problem is the black latch bars themselves since they are fitted so closely to the seat NO BUCKLE WILL FIT UNDER IT as is required for correct installation with a lap belt only. Here is my solution for installation (others have posted this,but I hope this information will clear things up more since I have labeled each part in full -no short cuts to cause confusion).


1) Get a seat belt extender from the flight attendant.
2) Recline the airplane seat.
3) Feed the TONGUE (metal flap that you insert into the buckle) of the airplane seatbelt (not the extender) UNDER THE LATCH BAR and through to the back of the Marathon.
4) Take the seatbelt EXTENDER BUCKLE. WITH THE BUCKLE RELEASE TOWARDS THE BACK OF THE AIRPLANE SEAT,snap the airplane seatbelt TONGUE into it (the one you just threaded under the latch bar).
5) Take the EXTENDER TONGUE (keeping all belts untwisted) and feed it UNDER THE LATCH BAR on the second side.
6) Shorten the airplane seatbelt buckle (the one you normally use) as much as possible and snap in the EXTENDER TONGUE.
7) Reach behind the Marathon (through the triangular cut outs on the side) to the EXTENDER BUCKLE and shorten the seat belt extender section as much as you can.
8) Return the ariplane seat to its full upright position.

To REMOVE Marathon:
1) Recline airplane seat
2) Release the airplane seat buckle (on side of MA).
3) Reach behind seat anyway you can (probably via the triangular side cuts) and pull the Extender Buckle Release to release the Airplane Seatbelt Tongue.
4) Collect your breath, bags, and wit - You're done!

You may need to try a couple of times to figure out how to get your hands behind the seat. I have small hands and short arms (really tough to be a TRex these days) and had some difficulty reaching. You big strong HeMen may be able to reach better, but your hands may not fit behind the Marathon too easily. Do ask the flight attendants (or maybe Mommy?!) to try as well.

Sorry for the long winded post, but I thought this would help. :-)

Karen (
Elsa's mom (3/26/02) (almost a frequent flier elite!)

10-05-2004, 09:51 AM
I am soooo jealous! After lugging a RA halfway across the world and back 5 times I know the value of a $90 "convenience". I would have snapped it up two years ago. Now with (hopefully) only one big trip left I can't justify it, but all you folks out there, whose kids have outgrown infant seats, take heed!

Jen in Okinawa
Mom to a wonderful preschooler,
who is almost three, Noelle!

10-05-2004, 11:32 PM

Hope your daughter has been earning those frequent flier miles along with you!

I only decided to pay the money because both of our Grandmas live in other states that are mainly reachable by plane and usually I fly back to CA to visit my mom alone with DD. I expect that she will eventually fly without her carseat (when?!?), but then I also expect that kiddo number 2 will be here and could use the lorider too.

Good luck with your travels and moving!


10-06-2004, 02:56 AM

A lot of our flights are taken on military transport and/or commercial planes under contract to the military (read no airmiles). On our last trip we registered her with United, but they failed to add her miles into our account. We've been sending red-hot emails to United to no avail.

Oh well, DH has an enormous amount of mileage to his name!

Jen in Okinawa
Mom to a wonderful preschooler,
who is almost three, Noelle!

10-06-2004, 05:16 PM

If you ever are able to fly and get miles, just be sure to open a separate account for Noelle. Most airlines have a rule about miles be credited to the actual passenger flying. Maybe this is why you're having trouble with United.

Hope you and Noelle get to see DH some time! My husband lives about 10 minutes from work and works long hours - sometimes the only chance to talk with him face to face is over his one hour lunch!

Take care,
Elsa's mom/playgroup/jungle gym/cruise director/chef/etc.

10-07-2004, 12:56 AM
Actually this has been the best assignment ever as far as DH-DD time. Because of the position that he holds my DH hasn't deployed since we've been here. That is a big change from our last base. DH has to be connected by his cell phone at all times though and because we live so far outside the 'normal' time zones he gets calls at all hours of the day and night - small price to pay for having him home each night!

Jen in Okinawa
Mom to a wonderful preschooler,
who is almost three, Noelle!