Child Car Seats on QF

Discussion in 'Your Questions' started by Blue Peter, Jan 15, 2007.

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  1. Blue Peter

    Blue Peter Junior Member

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Can anyone advise on travelling with a child's car seat?

    We are flying LHR-MEL-SYD-LHR at Easter with a 22 month child that has been bought her own seat.
    At the time of booking QF in London made no comment about taking a car seat, but this seems to be recommended practice although, speaking with the airline, they do require full details of the seat. As we shall buy one for the purpose has anyone any recommendations?

    Mothercare suggested a seat that can be fastened with solely a lap belt is the type to go for - presuambly so it can fit into any seat (preferably a window for evac purposes, I imagine)

    A bit of research reveals that all car seats in Australia have a top tether - something unheard of in Europe, but a damned good idea - so it seems unlikely that anything we but in the UK will be legal for use in Australia.

    Any comments / recommendations / news of experiences would be welcome. Infants of this sort of age must be fairly common on these routes.
     

  2. serfty

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  3. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
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    QF need to know your plans - from the website:

    "To obtain pre-approval for the use of a child seat contact your local Qantas Office once you have a confirmed booking (pre-approval must be obtained at 24 hours prior to departure).
    Note: Approval cannot be obtained on departure at the airport"

    This report will be of interest to you when it comes to actual seats:

    http://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/2006/crs_final.aspx
     
  4. NM

    NM
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    Note that airlines that permit the use of card child restraints in flight normally require that the seat meets the design standards of the country in which the airline is based. That means that QF require the seat to meet the relevant AS (Australian Standard) and will only permit its use if the seat displays the approved AS sticker.

    So if you purchased the car seat in the UK, it is unlikely that it will have an AS sticker on the car seat. Even if it meets the Australian design standards, if it does not have the AS sticker on it, then it may not be accepted. This can be a real problem when travelling overseas and using different airlines.

    If your seat has a UK sticker on it, then you may be better off moving to a flight operated by BA (even if it has a QF codeshare number) since BA will require the use of UK approved seats while Qantas require the use of AS approved seats.

    The actual seat design and quality is not relevant. The people who fit the seat into the aircraft for you are only interested in seeing the relevant standards approval sticker.

    I looked at doing this for a trip that would have used QF and AA on the same itinerary. Qantas would have happily accepted our Aussie seat with its AS sticker, but AA would not accept it since it does not have the necessary USA approval sticker. I know seems crazy but it what they require.

    You are also required to contact Qantas Engineering with at least 48 hour notice to inform them that you want to use a car child restraint on the flight. They will then ensure the necessary engineering people are available to check the seat (i.e. look at the standards approval sticker) and supervise its installation on the aircraft. They will also ensure you are seated in a location with the appropriate child restraint anchor point.

    If you call Qantas Reservations, they can send you the documents that describe what needs to be done and what seats are approved for use on their aircraft.
     
  5. Soundguy

    Soundguy Member

    Jun 15, 2006
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    We bought a folding infant seat in the US (much cheaper than in Oz & also cheaper than getting one with the rental car) but didn't attempt to use it for the flight (child about 26 months at the time). NM is correct about the Australian Design Rules so your chances of using it on QF are not good.

    Personally I couldn't care less about the design rules; the American seats are equally good and far cheaper - IMO the ADR does little more than drive up the price dramatically (eg US$70 vs A$240 for about the same seat) being slightly different to the USA and EU rules for a relatively tiny market. We buy most childrens stuff in the USA, whatever we can carry or get posted over as it is all so much cheaper.
     
  6. NM

    NM
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    I think in many cases it is the exact same product, just with a different sticker. The major manufacturers can make one that meets both Aussie and USA (and UK and most anywhere else) design rules and they just attatch the right sticker for the market in which it will be sold.

    But when it comes to using on an aircraft, it must have the right sticker regardless of how it is made or if it meets the design standards. No AS sticker means no install on Qantas. It is actually a joint Australian/New Zealand design standard sticker that all seats sold in Australia and NZ carry, indicating AS/NZS 1754.
     
  7. Blue Peter

    Blue Peter Junior Member

    Jan 15, 2007
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    I am really grateful to everyone for their response to this post. In looking at all the links and working on a little, I found the following:

    http://www.casa.gov.au/download/CAAPs/ops/235_2.pdf

    "Carriage and restraint of small children in aircraft"

    This says that a seat complying to ECE Regulation 44 (which is not a problem) is acceptable in Australia (and, one must assume, for an Australian registered aircraft).

    In fairness to QF in London, they gave no indication of there being a problem - just that they wanted notification in advance of the details of the seat.

    If I hit any turbulence, I'll let you know.
     
  8. NM

    NM
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    Here is all that Qantas has listed on their web site regarding car seats.

    However, when I made enquiries a few years back, the Qantas agent on the phone emailed me a document with lots more detail and all the info on the standard approval sticker etc. So call Qantas and ask them to send you all the info you need to ensure you are compliant with their current policy. Policies do change and it may well have changed since I was sent the info a few years back. I suggest you call Qantas in Australia for the most accurate answers.
     
  9. Blue Peter

    Blue Peter Junior Member

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Thanks, NM. Probably well worth the call to be certain.
     
  10. Blue Peter

    Blue Peter Junior Member

    Jan 15, 2007
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    I thought I'd update this thread with our experiences in case it's of interest to others. At the request of QF in London, I called them with the full details of the car seat we propose to take onboard (make, weight, type, EC approvals etc) along with the age and weight of the occupant and they called a day later to say that it had been approved and to give us our seat allocations on of which is equipped to take a car seat.
    I can't fault their service so far and, if it all goes as smoothly at the airport / onboard we're home and dry. There was certainly no hint of a problem with it being an EC not Australian approved seat. After all, what else is an English passenger flying from London likely to have?
     
  11. NM

    NM
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    Great to hear you got it all sorted out and common sense prevailed - unfortunately common sense is not very common :rolleyes: .
     
  12. csueb31

    csueb31 Newbie

    Mar 6, 2007
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    Hi, I just wanted to add that the car seat from UK will not be legal to use to restrain a child in a car in Australia, as the Australian ones must have the top tether and meet the Australian standards (which European car seats don't).

    I guess this is only a minor potential issue, its pretty unlikely the police would be checking, I don't know what implicatiosn ofr insurance in event of an accident.

    Just thought I'd mention it.

    As far as I know, I am going to have the reverse problem when we travel from Aus - UK later this year: our car seat won't be approved in the UK (and I gather not all cars have the top anchor point there either). I really wish tehre was a universal standard. As you know, it is nigh on impossible to buy a car seat for anotehr country unless you are already there!!

    Sue
     
  13. Blue Peter

    Blue Peter Junior Member

    Jan 15, 2007
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    csueb31. Your post is timely as we are due to travel in a week and I was only discussing the issue of car seat approval in Australia with our host in Melbourne on Friday. His view (and it is only that) is that EC approvals are widely accepted in Australia, though I doubt if the police would agree.

    I am happy enough to have my child travelling in exactly the same way as she would in the UK, though, as you say, if there is an accident, everyone will dive for the rule-book. This cannot be an uncommon occurance and you would think something would have been sorted-out.

    If it's any help, I think you will find it easier coming here. The Australian requirement for a top tether is more stringent (and seemingly safer) standard than the UK requirement and I think that so long as your seat fits properly with a standard 3-point belt you will have no problem at all.

    There has been a recent tightening in the law here in this area, the main result of which has been a definitive statement of how old/tall children must be before they can travel without a seat or booster.
     
  14. Blue Peter

    Blue Peter Junior Member

    Jan 15, 2007
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    I thought I'd post a follow-up on this now that we are back (and have been for some time!) as there is perhaps a point to note.

    On our way out on the LHR-MEL via HKG sector, we were met at the check in by the QF Duty Manager who had been expecting us and checked the seat for its EC sticker. He also explained that we would have new boarding cards in HKG as the seats we were in (and HAD to be in because of the seat) had been pre-allocated on the HKG-MEL sector. No drama: all went as he said it would and at HKG we were met at the gate and handed new boarding cards allowing us to remain where we were. In both cases my daughter's boarding pass clearly stated "Approved Child Seat".

    On our flight from MEL-SYD there was no problem. No mention was made of the seat which we just strapped in an off we went.

    The problems came at SYD for the return to LHR via SIN. The agent at check-in had no record that we had a child seat and panic ensued when we pointed out that we should be seated in a specific place. A supervisor had to be called, the seat's sticker was checked again and we had the same situation as the outward trip - seats OK for the first sector but not the second. Didn't seem a problem as it had all been sorted out before. I did ask how it could be that, despite having sorted this all out in London and having the outward boarding passes endorsed with "Approved Child Seat", the system decided that we would not be taking our seat home with us. The agent bascially said that what happens in London has nothing to do with what happens in Sydney! Nice system!

    When we arrived at the gate after a delay (hey-ho) the agent looked at the seat as if it was a dose of Anthrax and demanded to inspect it! I was less than impressed as we had gone through this 7 hours before at check-in.

    On-board a very helpful Cabin Service Manager (or whatever the title is) came to see me and I explained my concerns about seat allocation as, at that point, I was trusting no-one from QF. He said he'd check as soon as the door was open in SIN to ensure the seat move had been made. You guessed it -when we arrived nothing had been done. The CSD and ground staff sorted it out, but the QF staff in SYD clearly just couldn't care less.

    So, after a ramble and a rant: my advice. If you are travelling with a child seat, call the airline in plenty of time before every sector to make sure they are expecting you and have the seat details to hand. Had I called QF in SYD a few days before my flight you can bet they would have wanted to go through the whole approval process from scratch.

    The REALLY sad thing in all this is, as you can see from my previous posts, I was REALLY impressed with the service and care from QF and, to an extent, it lulled me into a false sense of security. The level of customer care we received from the staff in SYD was truly shocking.

    I tried to e-mail my comments to QF, but they said I had to write! Fired the letter off, but am yet to hear back.
     
  15. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
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    Not exactly a great result there BP :(

    It's a real annoyance that one can't find a seat that is compatible for all airlines - there must be a market for this - maybe not a huge market but some market nonetheless...

    Thankfully not an issue for a few years here :)
     
  16. NM

    NM
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    Glad to hear that you did get it sorted out in the end - thanks to the SYD-SIN CSM and SIN ground staff.

    Your advice to contact the airline a few days before each sector is sound. I call that the Jamieson Principle - to be sure, to be sure, to be sure. Although it should not be necessary, your experience should be a warning to us all that information does not always flow correctly through a large and geographically disperse organisation such as Qantas.
     
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