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Just a comment on the safety argument for taking a car seat on the plane.

I live in NZ and have flown both domestically and internationally (to Europe) with my small children. I've never taken a car seat on board. I've always been given a wee seat belt thingy, just like a long piece of belt with those typical closures at the ends, which you slip through your own one once buckled up, and then around your child. It's a no-brainer - you won't squash your kid against your own seatbelt that way.

Secondly, I've always wondered how useful/essential the whole seat belt policy really is. I guess there could be a bit of a jolt sometimes, and it doesn't hurt wearing the lap belt. Maybe. I've kind of always felt that the disruption that you cause by having to wake and buckle up your "just-gone-to-sleep" baby stands in no relation to the usefulness of the wee lap belt. Be that as it may, re car seats, I'm with "Shawn" who already posted in this comments list: What kind of incident would shake the plane/your child as much to require a car seat type harness, other than a complete disaster - in which case the car seat wouldn't save anyone either.

I can imagine it might be useful to strap your squirmy kid in to keep him/her under control. This alone might be worth the money, if you've got it. Might have to win lotto first. Good luck, either way.