I fly by myself with my son all the time. He is 28 months old and already has 8 airplane trips under his little belt. I have (once) been that lady struggling to lug my ginormous Britax Marathon through the airport while trying to push a three-month old in a stroller and carry an over-loaded diaper bag (including breast pump!). And, I have (twice) used one of those black car seat travel bags with wheels and checked it with the rest of my luggage only to have the wheels come off and the strap break after the first trip - the zipper broke after the second trip when I struggled to zip up the behemoth car seat.
I looked at my options for awhile before going with the GoGo Baby Travelmate. One option I really considered was the Traveling Toddler strap. You can look it up; Amazon sells it and it gets great reviews. After sleeping on it, I decided against the strap mainly because I often travel by myself and I would probably never have a carry-on suitcase with me to strap the car seat on to. That would be something else for me to keep track of. And besides, after reading almost all of those 200+ reviews, I decided that if I really wanted one I could make one myself using some of the reviewers' suggestions. And, so, I went with the Travelmate.
It was a great surprise how easy and well the Travelmate worked. I spent a few minutes before our first trip with it to familiarize myself with the ratcheting belt and to test out the ride. It fits my over-sized Britax perfectly. And it is super easy to navigate! I can roll it behind me or in front of me. I found it easier to push/pull than my suitcase, and it is not "heavy" on my arms. The sturdy wheels make for a smooth ride.
I gate-check the car seat because it is easier for me, and I have never had a problem. The first time I used the Travelmate, I took the whole thing off and stored it in the over-head bin. On the return flight, I popped the wheels off and kept the back board strapped to the car seat. This last time, I kept the entire thing, wheels and all, strapped to the car seat - I think will continue to do that until I foresee an issue.
I don't travel with a stroller very often because I can rent one (Disney) or borrow (lovely sister) at just about any place I go, but when I do travel with one, I typically check it (for free!) with the rest of my luggage and keep the car seat with me.
Though the Travelmate is quite a bit more $$ than the Traveling Toddler strap, I definitely think it is well worth it. I have used it twice now: in August from DAY to DEN and just last week from CVG to MSP. My son LOVED sitting in it as we made our way though the airport. More than once I was stopped and asked about it. I can't say enough about the Travelmate. If you fly with your child's car seat more than once a year, quit reading all of the 200+ reviews and add it to your cart.
This new model has solved the issue of attaching and releasing the car seat. Apparently it used to be done via a screw, but now there's a strap that is very easy to release. I strongly recommend this product.
This is a great product, well designed and great price. However, a little research and test fit would have been a smart option. I purchased this based on web searches and found that it would work on my Britax Car seat. The fact is that the GoGo Kidz did not secure very well to the seat. I had a newer model and the latch system on the Travelmate was very difficult to tighten and release because the 'passthru' slots, on the seat were too narrow, and had a bad angle. Maybe a different latching mechanism would be more effective. Britax Model #E9L57J3, Manufactured on 04/09/08. Would recommend to others if they could test fit the set up. When attached to the car seat and the wheels remove, it fits on the airline seat (coach). Book a window seat for your child though.
Telescopic handle extends from a compact 28" to 47.5 and 50.5" for easy handling Eliminates the need to hand carry, rent or borrow a car seat at your final destination Easily lifted into shuttles or trams Easy mounting Lightweight: weighs only 5 lbs Compact: 5 -Materials: