February 22, 2015
The thought of being in a confined space with a very small child is intimidating to nearly every parent. There is little that we wouldn’t do to keep our children comfortable and most important, quiet. In the market there is certainly no shortage of products out there claiming to do just that. Today, I’m going to tell you my experiences with the Flyebaby.
I purchased the Flyebaby when my son was five months old (since he arrived eight weeks early he was really more the size of a three month old at the time). Like many parents I opted to purchase only one economy class ticket and have my son sit in my lap. Seeing as I’m 5’4" and petite I thought we’d still fit okay. Also, I was a little worried that the airline wouldn’t let me use the Flyebaby because it wasn’t FAA approved to be used during the entire flight (you couldn’t use it during take-off, landing, or turbulence).
First, I give the designer kudos for trying to make it easy to set up by color-coding the straps. However, without a tray table at home to practice it’s still quite challenging to set up on the spot. Once I did get it set up I was surprised to find that even at the tightest strap settings it was really loose. When placed in the seat, my son’s head was already at the max height mark and nearly bumping into the seat in front of us. My feeling is that this product was either designed years ago when there was more room between seats or for the people only fly the more expensive classes. Needless to say, back into the bag it went!
As abysmal as the Flyebaby was for air travel, I did find that it worked well as a portable high chair – albeit a very expensive one. Again, the straps were a bit hard to figure out but once I did it a couple of times, I got the hang of it. It will work on both high and short backed chairs, and although there is not a specific height restriction for this type of use, your child will likely outgrow it before they are a year old.
In summary, the Flyebaby is great in concept as an airline seat, just not in execution for your average traveler.