Last Updated: February 23, 2019
Celia Miller Author: Celia Miller

Best Airline-Approved Pet Carrier

Best Airline-Approved Pet Carrier

After looking through every top airline approved dog carrier on the market, we narrowed down the list to 20. Every airline is different, so we included the updated requirements for 5 of the major airlines (American, United, Delta, Southwest & Frontier) and picked carriers that fit within the guidelines of ALL of them. Our personal favorites were for its sheer strength and durability.

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DZMWEK Soft-Sided Expandable Kennel Crate
DZMWEK Soft-Sided Expandable Kennel Crate
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Won’t collapse on pup
  • Can be strapped to car seat or luggage
  • Escape-proof - zippers can’t be nudged open by pet
  • Pet feels less confined
  • Expandable sides allow more air circulation
  • Folds flat
  • What we Dislike
  • Sized for only smallest of pets
Product Details
Material Unspecified (appears to be nylon)
mesh
Size 11x11x18 (31x11x18 expanded)
Ventilation All sides
Capacity 11 lbs.
Openings 2 zipper doors (front
top)
Closures Self-lock zippers
Interior tether

Extras Expandable on two sides
washable mat
side pockets
reinforced steel frame
self-locking zippers
1-year guarantee
nylon woven tape hand/shoulder strap
car seat/luggage cart adaptable
Our Review

This is an attractive, compact pet carrier with plenty of bells and whistles. The expandable nature allows your canine companion a little more space to stretch out. Given the size, this carrier is best suited to puppies or the smallest dogs, including toy breeds.

IRIS Deluxe Pet Travel Carriers
IRIS Deluxe Pet Travel Carriers
$137
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
8/10
  • What we Like
  • Screw closure
  • Very sturdy
  • Easy to assemble
  • Easy to carry
  • What we Dislike
  • Arrives w/defects on occasion
Product Details
Material Heavy duty rigid plastic
Size XS - 18.11”L x 11.42”W x 11.22”H
SM - 14.70”L x 21.00”W x 14.50”H
MD: 26.40”L x 18.50”W x 20.00”H
LG: 34.25”L x 24.41”W x 32.17”H
Ventilation Both sides
top/bottom
Capacity 11 lb - 75 lb
Openings 1 (front)
Closures One-handed latch
Interior tether

Extras Detachable food/water tray
foldable handles (one on smaller units
two on large size)
Our Review

Overall, this is a well-built, solid and dependable pet carrier for travel. Suitable for larger breeds as well as pint-sized pups, this carrier can take whatever the airline’s cargo crew can dish out. Your furry friend will have plenty of air circulation as well as food and water on his/her trip. This carrier does not include a padded interior mat, so you might want to include Fido’s favorite blankie for a touch of home while en route.

Petpeppy Premium Airline-Approved Expandable Pet Carrier
Petpeppy Premium Airline-Approved Expandable Pet Carrier
$50
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
8/10
  • What we Like
  • Won't collapse on pet
  • Can be fastened on luggage
  • Folds flat for easy storage
  • Spacious
  • What we Dislike
  • Excessive use of zippers
  • Zippers can be opened by determined pets
  • Weak shoulder strap
  • Metal rod can come out of casing
  • Flimsy sides
Product Details
Material Fabric
nylon mesh
Size 18"Lx11"Wx11"H
Ventilation All sides and top
Capacity 14 lbs
Openings 3 (front
back
top)
Closures Zipper
Interior tether

Extras 1-year guarantee
wire frame at top
rubber feet on bottom
free collapsible pet bowl
shoulder strap
side pocket
fleece pad
padded double handle
Our Review

This pet carrier, like the DZMWEK Soft-Sided Expandable Kennel Crate, is built for smaller pets only. With plenty of storage for pet gear, and three zipper openings, this stylish carrier makes traveling with your canine companion a snap. Folded up on board, or fully expanded in the terminal, your precious pup will enjoy a breezy, padded “canine condo” when traveling.

PetAmi Premium Airline-Approved Soft-Sided Pet Carrier
PetAmi Premium Airline-Approved Soft-Sided Pet Carrier
$56
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
8/10
  • What we Like
  • Can be strapped to car seat or luggage
  • Escape-proof
  • Plush comfort for pet
  • Convenient access to pet
  • Won't collapse
  • Conveniently carries dog essentials in pocket
  • Washable bedding
  • 14 colors
  • What we Dislike
  • Size is inaccurate - runs extremely small
Product Details
Material Polyester
nylon mesh
Size SM - 17”Lx10.2”Wx11.2”H
LG - 19.5”Lx10.2”Wx12”H
Ventilation All sides and top
Capacity Depends on pet measurements
Openings Both ends
Closures Safety buckle zippers
Interior tether

Extras ID name tag
detachable shoulder strap
side zipper opening
safety buckle
seat belt loops
Sherpa lined bedding
collapsible bowl
front mesh pocket
Our Review

With so many fashionable colors to choose from, the chic pet parent can have one to suit every outfit in his/her wardrobe. Or Fido’s! Looking more like a designer tote than a pet carrier, this economical valise will transport your darling doggie in high style. Whether flying to far off locations or just motoring up the road, your pup will have all the conveniences and comforts of home on the road or in the air.

PPOGOO Soft Sided Pet Travel Carrier
PPOGOO Soft Sided Pet Travel Carrier
$28
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
6/10
  • What we Like
  • Easy to fold - stores flat
  • Spacious
  • Easy to clean
  • What we Dislike
  • No inside safety tether
  • Hooks that hold shoulder strap are plastic - breakage is possible
Product Details
Material Waterproof fabric w/mesh panels
Size 13.8"Hx10.2"Wx22"L
Ventilation All sides
top
Capacity 20 lb
Openings 1
Interior tether

Closures Zipper
Extras Padded shoulder strap
rigid bottom
soft padded interior
outside mesh pouch
Our Review

For the budget conscious, this basic pet carrier will get the job done. Not a lot of extras, but a good carrier for the price. For pet parents with a “runner,” the lack of interior safety tether might be an issue and should be noted. Can be carried by hand or using the shoulder strap.

“None” Pet Carrier Backpack
“None” Pet Carrier Backpack
$100
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
6/10
  • What we Like
  • Easy, hands-free way to carry small pet
  • Nice accessories
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Folds almost flat for storage
  • Padded back for wearer comfort
  • What we Dislike
  • Looks like a huge bucket on back
  • Might be a problem in crowds due to size
Product Details
Material 600 Denier Eco-friendly polyester Oxford cloth
nylon mesh
polyester lining
Size 13"Lx11"Wx16"H
Ventilation Front and sides
Capacity 20 lbs
Openings 2 (top and front)
Closures Zipper
Interior tether

Extras Adjustable waist and chest straps
padded shoulder straps
top handle
fleece comfort pad
additional pockets for necessities
easy-fold for storage
Our Review

There’s no getting around it – this pet carrier looks like a giant bucket strapped to the wearer’s back. If this doesn’t appeal to you, maybe the idea of a hands-free pet carrier will. Your pet will be nestled in the bright, airy compartment, securely attached to the interior tether while the parent is left with both hands free. With all of the extra padding and straps, the weight is distributed evenly and comfortably across chest and waist. And the extra storage provided puts dog treats and toys (and a water bottle for you) at handy reach. Comes in four fun colors.

Best Budget
AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier
AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier Best Budget
$28
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
8/10
  • What we Like
  • Good ventilation
  • Washable pet bed
  • Attaches to car seat and luggage
  • Frame can be conformed to fit under airline seats
  • What we Dislike
  • Sizes run very small
  • Ridged feet can damage car seat
  • Flimsy fabric; wire can poke through
Product Details
Material Waterproof fabric
nylon mesh
Size XS - 14”Lx9”Wx9”H
Med - 16.5”Lx9.4”Wx9.8”H
Lg - 19.7”Lx10.2”Wx11.2”H
Ventilation All sides
Capacity 8 - 22 lbs
depending on pet's measurements
Openings 2 (top and front)
Closures Zipper
Interior tether

Extras Shoulder strap
removable base insert
fleece comfort pad
spring-wire frame
1-year warranty
ridged "feet" for protection
Our Review

This pet carrier has two zippered openings – one in front, one on top. The top makes it very convenient to load your pup if he/she is a wiggler – just pop him/her in and zip it up! It is sturdily built, and the straps go all the way around the bag, adding strength and support. The biggest complaint with this bag is the size- the large is still very small. And the hanging tether can be a strangling hazard. It also tends to hit the animal’s head during transport. A safety pin or Velcro should fix it nicely. Even with the size issue, though, this is a customer favorite – pets and budgets love it!

Best for Small Pets
Mr. Peanut's Soft-Sided, Low-Profile Pet Travel Tote
Mr. Peanut's Soft-Sided, Low-Profile Pet Travel Tote Best for Small Pets
$42
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
10/10
  • What we Like
  • Donates a portion of profits and products to various animal welfare organizations
  • Lightweight
  • Can be strapped to car seat or luggage
  • Escape proof
  • Great customer service
  • Visible in low light
  • Durable
  • Zippered small opening on side to give treats or pet your pup
  • What we Dislike
  • Occasional zipper issues
Product Details
Material Parachute-grade nylon
mesh
Size 18”Lx10.5”Wx11”H
Ventilation All sides
top
Capacity 15 lbs.
Openings 3 (both ends
top)
Closures Metal zippers w/buckle clasps
Extras Bottom panel with metal bead feet
roll-down top cover
2 exterior pouches
seat belt straps
interior leash ring
padded shoulder strap
padded handle
fleece comfort pad
reflective strip
replacement fleece pad available
Our Review

Here’s the grand poobah of pet carriers – this one has bells and whistles galore! Besides being super sturdy, this carrier will be super comfortable for your pup. The hand washable fleece pad is soft and thick with a thicker rim around the edge to prevent sliding. The top fabric cover rolls back to leave a mesh ventilated panel for additional airflow, and escape attempts will be foiled with the locking metal clasps at the ends of the premium brand zippers. Strong and waterproof, this bag will carry your pup in comfort for years.

As a feel-good side note, the USA-based, family owned, cruelty-free business generously donates a portion of their profits, as well as their products, to various animal welfare

Petpeppy Premium Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier w/Tunnel
Petpeppy Premium Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier w/Tunnel
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
9/10
  • What we Like
  • Plenty of room for pet to sprawl
  • Good air circulation
  • Doesn't collapse on pet
  • Folds flat for storage
  • Attaches to luggage
  • Excellent customer service
  • What we Dislike
  • Excessive use of zippers
  • Zippers can be opened by determined pets
  • Flimsy sides
  • Weak shoulder strap
  • Metal rod can come out of casing
Product Details
Material Nylon fabric w/nylon mesh
Size 18"Lx11"Wx11"H
Ventilation Both ends
top (all sides when fully expanded)
Capacity 14 lbs
Openings 2 (top
front)
Closures Zippers
Interior tether

Extras 2 expandable sides
telescoping tunnel for more space
wire frame for shape
1-year guarantee
side pocket
collapsible pet bowl
shoulder strap
bottom fleece base
seat belt strap
Our Review

If a pet carrier could be described as “fun,” this would be the one. This sassy number not only expands on both sides (like Petpeppy Premium Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier) but it also features an expanding “tunnel” for additional stretch-out room for your pet. Truly, a pet condo! On an airplane or in a car, this carrier will keep your pup comfortable and safe with plenty of ventilation and viewing pleasure. The top, while strengthened with a steel bar, still has enough “squish” to fit under airline seats that are a bit lower, yet the carrier will not collapse on your pet. The number of zippers can be confusing, so make sure you know exactly which one you’re opening to prevent escapes.

Petmate Sky Kennel
Petmate Sky Kennel
$268
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Durable
  • Good air circulation
  • Pet can see out all sides
  • Made w/recycled materials
  • Food/water dish is sufficiently deep
  • What we Dislike
  • Need to replace plastic bolts w/metal bolts for international travel
  • Size charts are incorrect
  • Largest crate seems to be of thinner weight than smaller crates
  • Shipping can cause damage
  • Weak handles on smaller crates
Product Details
Material Plastic
steel
Size XS: 21”Lx16”Wx15”H
SM: 28”Lx20.5”Wx21.5”H
MD: 32”Lx22.5”Wx24”H
LG: 36”Lx25”Wx27”H
XL: 40”Lx27”Wx30”H
XXL: 48”Lx32”Wx35”H
Ventilation All sides
Capacity Depends on pet's measurements
Openings 1
Interior tether

Closures 4-way vaulted door
Extras 2 "Live Animal" stickers
clip-on bowls and ID stickers
Our Review

This pet carrier is for larger dogs that have to be transported in the cargo hold.  It’s high-strength construction and 360-degree ventilation provide long-lasting protection, assuring your pooch a safe trip with plenty of fresh air. The larger sizes have an extra horizontal wire across the door for added security.  The smaller sizes have a carrying handle for easier transport. The biggest complaint among customers is the shipping process, with crates sometimes arriving broken, or worse, in used condition.

OxGord Paws & Pals Rolling Backpack Travel Tote
OxGord Paws & Pals Rolling Backpack Travel Tote
$32
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Pup can travel with head out of window (using tether)
  • Rolls like a luggage carrier
  • Plenty of storage for treats and toys
  • What we Dislike
  • Straps need more padding
  • Dog tilts when bag is in rolling position
Product Details
Material 600 Denier polyester
Size 14"Lx11"Wx19"H
Ventilation Front
one side
Capacity Depends on pet's measurements
Openings 1 (front)
Interior tether

Closures Zipper
Extras Telescoping handle
dual wheels
4 zippered side pockets
removable comfort pad with washable exterior
Our Review

Here’s a pet carrier that’s a backpack and rolling carrier in one.  For those who don’t want to carry their pet carriers by hand, this is the one for you. Suitable for smaller dogs only.  While not the best quality, it’s very serviceable for the price. Good for the budget-minded.   

Mr. Peanut's Soft-Sided Backpack Pet Carrier
Mr. Peanut's Soft-Sided Backpack Pet Carrier
$40
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
10/10
  • What we Like
  • Good ventilation
  • Waterproof
  • Versatile - backpack, airline carrier, car seat
  • Collapses to 3" for storage
  • Carrier and mesh - both durable
  • Escape proof
  • What we Dislike
  • Need to figure out how to clip pup to D-ring inside. Not a true tether.
Product Details
Material Nylon
nylon mesh
Size 17”Lx10.6”Wx11”H
Ventilation 3 windows
Capacity 10 lbs
Openings 2 (top
front)
Interior Tether

exactly*
Closures Locking zippers
Extras Interior leash ring
removable fleece pad
top window roll cover
safety zippered pocket
water bottle pocket
waste bag holders
side pocket
ID tag holder
padded shoulder straps
Our Review

Here’s another bucket design, similar in size to the “None” Pet Carrier Backpack. This one has a few more accessories, such as the roll-up cover that goes over the top mesh window and the locking, escape-proof zippers.  And pockets galore. There’s a pocket for your water bottle, one for the pup’s waste bag, a tiny pocket, and even a zippered pocket for keys or cell phone. With super comfortable padded straps, this strong, waterproof carrier can be worn on the parent’s back or front, the better to keep a close eye on their precious pup. The leash ring inside will need an additional way to clip to a leash (a small carabiner, maybe), but otherwise this is the ideal carrier to cart your little fur baby around.

As a feel-good side note, the USA-based, family owned, cruelty-free business generously donates a portion of their profits, as well as their products, to various animal welfare organizations.

Best for Large Dogs
Collapsible, Durable Aluminum Dog Crate from Grain Valley
Collapsible, Durable Aluminum Dog Crate from Grain Valley Best for Large Dogs
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
10/10
  • What we Like
  • Easy to collapse
  • Extremely durable
  • Escape proof
  • Rust-resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Good air circulation
  • Plenty of headroom for pet
  • What we Dislike
  • Expensive
Product Details
Material Aluminum
Size Med: 30”Lx19”Wx22”H
Lg: 35”Lx25”Wx29”H
XLg: 41”Lx2”Wx29”H
Ventilation All sides
Capacity Depends on pet's measurements
Openings 1
Interior Tether

Closures Stainless steel "Slam Latch"
Extras Airline rail storage slots
made in USA
spring-loaded handles
Our Review

Made in the USA, this is the crate that gets our vote for most reliable cargo dog carrier. Customer after customer raves about the chew-proof, escape-proof and destroy-proof nature of this dog carrier. While it may look like something out of a horror movie, this is the carrier that can handle any dog, whether it’s aggressive or suffers from separation anxiety. For dogs with those escape tendencies, you can either spend money on carriers that can be destroyed and then spend more replacing them, or you can spend once for a dog carrier that will LAST. It collapses to less than 8” in seconds, making it convenient to store as well. The corners are crush-proof, and the rivets are rust-proof. In other words, this crate is practically indestructible!  

Texsens Innovative Traveler Bubble Backpack Pet Carrier
Texsens Innovative Traveler Bubble Backpack Pet Carrier
$49
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
5/10
  • What we Like
  • Comfortable shoulder straps
  • Eye catching
  • Pet remains stable inside - no slipping or sliding
  • Sturdy
  • Perfect for tiny pets
  • Can be strapped to seat belts
  • What we Dislike
  • Difficult to install bubble window (no instructions)
  • Shipping is poor
  • Frequently arrives with defects
  • Foul odor
  • Runs very small
Product Details
Material Synthetic leather
PVC mesh
Size 13.4”Lx10.2”W.16.9”H
Ventilation 3 sides through mesh
holes
Capacity 10-13 lbs
Openings 2 (both sides)
Interior tether

Closures Zippers
Extras Machine washable pad
several colors
interchangeable windows (mesh or plastic bubble)
padded shoulder straps
Our Review

This unusual pet carrier is guaranteed to cause a stir wherever you go.  Looking every bit like a tiny spaceship, this carrier provides a soft yet firm ride to the petite pup lucky enough to ride in it. With plenty of ventilation and a washable pad, your tiny traveler will look seriously cute peeking out of the bubble window.  Unfortunately, the synthetic leather tends to carry an odor that takes days to remove. This is the biggest complaint. The bubble window is interchangeable with a mesh insert, but it doesn’t come with instructions and can be quite difficult to switch out. But if those seem like small problems, then get ready to accept comments and compliments while you travel with your furry companion.

CozyCabin Comfortable Backpack Travel Carrier
CozyCabin Comfortable Backpack Travel Carrier
$42
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
5/10
  • What we Like
  • Hands-free transportation
  • Washable
  • Escape-proof
  • Carry dog on front or back
  • What we Dislike
  • No mesh panels for ventilation - can get hot inside
  • Side pockets too shallow for water bottle
  • Needs more bottom support
  • Bottom needs extra cushion
  • Uncomfortable straps
Product Details
Material Oxford mesh canvas
Size M: Top width: 7.8”
Bottom width: 12.0”
Height: 13.3”
Neck hole: 7.1” -18.8”
L: Top width: 8.0”
Bottom width: 14.2”
Height: 15.7”
Neck hole: 7.2” - 21.2”
XL: Top width: 8.6”
Bottom width: 14.9”
Height: 17.7”
Neck hole: 7.0” - 22.8”
Ventilation Limited
Capacity 6-12 lbs
Openings 1
Interior tether
a hook for the collar
Closures Drawstring around pup’s neck
Extras 2 side pockets
one zippered front pocket
padded straps
waist strap
Our Review

Here’s the backpack (or front pack) for you if you’ve got a very small dog and want to keep him/her right next to you at all times. Most users carry their pooches at the front so they can keep an eye on him/her.  It also fosters closer bonding with your pup and is ideal for small dogs recovering from injuries who might otherwise need to remain crated. The side pockets are shallow but the center pocket is deep enough for keys and a cell phone, and the bottom of the pouch could use a little more support. Our biggest issue with this carrier is the lack of cross-ventilation.  The mesh fabric affords some airflow, but not as much as backpacks with mesh windows. If you live in a hot climate, this is something to consider – there is little to no air circulation inside the pouch and your pup can overheat on long trips. (This is less of a problem in cooler climates.) Therefore, we’ve lowered our rating a bit. Other than that, this is a nice, serviceable pet carrier.

WPS Airline-Approved Removable-Wheeled Pet Carrier
WPS Airline-Approved Removable-Wheeled Pet Carrier
$105
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Wheels are easy to remove
  • Straps to car seat or luggage
  • What we Dislike
  • Handle is difficult to operate
  • Must remove wheels to fit under airline seat
  • Tips over if dog shifts weight to side
Product Details
Material Unspecified (looks like nylon
claims to be “tear-proof”)
mesh windows
Size 23”Lx11.8”Wx15”H
Handle telescopes to 35”
Ventilation All sides
Capacity 20 lbs
Openings 2 (front
back)
Interior tether

Closures Zipper
Extras 2 side pockets
detachable wheel base
long pulling strap
front wheels turn 360°
fleece bed
zippered access pocket
60-day money back guarantee
seatbelt straps
ID tag
Our Review

Arthritis sufferers rejoice! If you have trouble carrying your dog in a backpack or tote-style carrier, you’re in luck. With six wheels on a sturdy base, this pet carrier lets you roll your pet in style instead of lugging it all over the airport by hand or on your shoulders.  While it has shoulder straps and double padded handles for traditionalists, the wheels and telescoping handle are what make this carrier a breeze to operate. Pull it like luggage right onto the plane, easily remove the wheelbase (storing it in the overhead bin), and tuck your pet under the seat in front of you. Or just wheel your pet to the vet. Either way, joint pain sufferers have options. (If you don’t like the telescoping handle, use the padded leash strap instead). The chief complaint with this carrier is the inability to fit it under an airplane seat.  You MUST remove the wheels to do so. That said, this carrier can make traveling with your pet a first class pleasure.

FrontPet Rolling Pet Travel Carrier w/Backpack Straps
FrontPet Rolling Pet Travel Carrier w/Backpack Straps
$80
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
8/10
  • What we Like
  • Spacious
  • Versatile
  • Good air circulation
  • Plenty of storage
  • What we Dislike
  • Wheels roll a little rough
  • Fabric is somewhat flimsy
  • Insufficient padding
Product Details
Material Unspecified (claims to be “durable mesh
fabric
zippers”)
Size 14.5”Lx12”Wx19.5”H
Ventilation 4 windows (front
both sides
top)
Capacity 15 lbs
Openings 1 (front)
Interior tether

Closures Zipper
Extras Memory foam fleece inserts on bottom
sides and back
2 zippered side pockets
Our Review

Here’s a backpack pet carrier designed much like OxGord Paws & Pals Rolling Backpack Travel Tote, but with a bit more style. The fleece foam inserts all around the lower portion cocoon your pup in comfort, and when you aren’t able to roll the carrier, simply carry it like a backpack instead. The mesh is strong as are the zippers. It would be nice for the foam to extend all the way up the back so that when the carrier is placed under an airline seat, your pup will have a softer bed to lay on. This would also protect the fabric against “accidents.”

PetsHome Dog Carrier Purse
PetsHome Dog Carrier Purse
$89
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
9/10
  • What we Like
  • Stylish
  • Waterproof
  • Folds flat
  • Good ventilation
  • What we Dislike
  • Escape artists can nudge zipper open
  • No way to attach to luggage or seat belt
  • Not convenient to carry for long periods due to width
Product Details
Material PU leather
wool
fabric
Size S: 14.96”Lx7.87”Wx10.24”H
M: 17.33”Lx9.25”Wx11.81”H
Ventilation Sides
front
Capacity 20 lbs max (depends on measurements of dog)
Openings One (top)
Interior tether

Closures Zipper
toggle
Extras 2 comfort pads
storage pocket
shoulder strap
optional cover flap on front window
Our Review

OK, Doggie Divas, here’s your carrier, er… Puppy Purse. Fashion meets function in this stylish number that will bring in the complements, many of them not realizing you have a dog in it! It is chic, sophisticated , and the word we heard most often… “cute.”  This sturdy, well-made bag was made for those who want a safe, comfortable experience for their precious pooches but want to do so fashionably. The generous proportions ensure plenty of room for your pint-sized pups, and the many zippers enable complete breakdown for storage. The pocket in back provides space for treats and a cell phone, and it fits quite comfortably under airline seats. It also comes in 13 trendy colors. For travel, or merely for shopping and lunch, this is the carrier that will suit your impeccable style.

Petmate Remington Ruff Maxx Kennel
Petmate Remington Ruff Maxx Kennel
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
3/10
  • What we Like
  • Good air circulation
  • Smaller sizes are easy to carry
  • Versatile - good for camping or for home kennel purposes
  • What we Dislike
  • Plastic wingnuts are provided; however, must buy metal wingnuts separately to satisfy airline requirements
  • Determined dogs can chew through the plastic
  • Plastic is flimsy
  • Handle can break if used while pet is in carrier
  • Door latch has closure issues
Product Details
Material Plastic
Size XSM: 19”Lx12.6”Wx10”H
SM: 24”.1Lx16.7”Wx14.5H
M: 26.2”lx18.6”Wx16.5”H
Lg: 28”Lx20.5”Wx21.5”H
XL: 36”Lx25”Wx27”H
XXL: 40”Lx27”Wx30”H
Ventilation All sides
Capacity Up to 90 lbs
depending on measurements
Openings 1 (front)
Interior tether

Closures Metal door w/squeeze latch
Extras Carry handle on smaller sizes
Our Review

That this carrier comes in a wide variety of sizes is the plus.  That it’s made of flimsy plastic is the negative. With that being said, the larger sizes of this carrier might be better suited as home kennels rather than airline shipping containers, whereas the smaller sizes are well-suited to air travel.  The plastic is getting poor reviews from customers as many of them say their large animals can chew right through the sides. However, these carriers travel well by car, and they do a great job in the home. We’re just not that excited about your furry friend being left down in the cargo hold of the plane without supervision.  Collapsible, Durable Aluminum Dog Crate from Grain Valley would be a much safer option for your beloved animal.

Pawfect Pets Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier
Pawfect Pets Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier
$35
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
8/10
  • What we Like
  • Elegant appearance
  • Lightweight
  • Side opening for pet to stick head out between flights
  • Easy to load pet in top opening
  • Escape-proof
  • Can be strapped to car seat or luggage
  • Visible in dim light
  • What we Dislike
  • Fabric flimsy for active dogs
  • Mesh can be torn by aggressive dogs
  • Frame bends too easily, sides can collapse on pet
Product Details
Material Reinforced polyester
claw-proof mesh
Size 17.5”Lx10”Wx11”H
Ventilation All sides
top
Capacity Depends on measurements only
Openings 3 (both ends
top)
Closures Reinforced zippers with safety buckles
Interior tether

Extras Money-back guarantee
2 fleece comfort pads
zipper pocket
ID tag
padded shoulder strap
seat belt straps
mesh pouch
padded handle
reflective strips
Our Review

Here’s a pet carrier with a nice, “executive” look to it. It’s strong and durable, thanks to the reinforced fabric, and the mesh is durable with all but the most aggressive animals. It can be used for air travel as well as car travel, thanks to the seat belt straps on the sides. With plenty of ventilation, your pup will have lots of fresh air and views to keep him/her happy. There is storage for pet and people essentials, and the thickly padded handle provides a secure grip. This is another carrier that generously provides two fleece comfort pads – when one gets dirty, pop the other in without missing a beat. The most common complaint is the lack of strength in the frame, allowing this carrier to collapse on the animal inside; however, the “soft” nature of this frame allows the parent to manipulate it under the airplane seat in front if an inch or two is needed.  Most pet parents appreciate the small side window that allows quick access to the pup. A mid-flight ear scratch (or treat) is always appreciated.

Best Products Best Airline-Approved Pet Carrier
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AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier Best Budget 8
Mr. Peanut's Soft-Sided, Low-Profile Pet Travel Tote Best for Small Pets 10
Collapsible, Durable Aluminum Dog Crate from Grain Valley Best for Large Dogs 10

How to Choose an Airline-Approved Pet Carrier

Choosing a pet carrier that will be approved by your airline is a process that requires careful thought and precision.  You need to think carefully how you want your pet to travel, and you need to measure your pet to get the exact measurements needed.  The rules vary from airline to airline, but each one is very strict and leaves no room for error.  Pet carriers are built with these strict standards in mind, but the buyer is still responsible for making sure their chosen carrier complies with airline regulations.

Keeping your pet safe and comfortable are the two most important criteria for traveling with your pet(s). Happy pet, happy trip.  (Imagine your pup running loose in a panic on a plane inflight. It’s happened.)

Check airline pet policies first

The very first thing you must do is check if your chosen airline allows pets to travel on board.  This is the time to check your airline’s pet policies. Airline rules for traveling with pets varies, but most of the major airlines will allow small dogs and cats to accompany adult passengers in the cabin. (The exceptions are when traveling to the U.K., Australia, Japan, South Africa, Hong Kong and several other countries.  These require pets be transported as cargo, regardless of size.)

If your pet is small, you need to check if they allow pets to travel in the cabin.  If the pet is too large, they will have to travel in the cargo hold in a special carrier designed for this purpose.

Plan to do this well in advance of your trip, as many airlines only allow a certain number of pets on each flight.

Which type of carrier?

Your next step is to choose the type of carrier you want. Do you want a soft-sided carrier?  These are designed for small pets to fit under airplane seats. If your dog is too large (and even one inch past the maximum allowed measurement can be considered “too large”), he/she will have to be placed in a hard-sided crate in the cargo hold.  Here is where measurements are critical.

Perhaps you want a carrier with wheels to make between-flight times easier. Make sure the wheels are detachable, which can greatly influence whether the carrier can fit under the seat. Detached wheels can be stored in the overhead bin.

Many carriers come with shoulder straps, which can make life easier for the pet parent.  Make sure they’re padded for obvious reasons. Even the tiniest pups can get heavy quickly.

Determine the space allowances

This is the time to determine the specifics allowed for your pup’s size and weight. Again, there are slight variances from airline to airline, so check with your specific airline first. The general rule of thumb allows a dog 18” from tip of nose to base of tail, and about 11-12 pounds to accompany his human.  Each airline will give you their specifics.

Keep in mind that the weight allowed includes the weight of the carrier. Therefore, choose a carrier that’s as lightweight as possible so that you have a little weight “to spare.” If you don’t choose a rolling carrier, or one that attaches to luggage, having a lightweight pet carrier will also be easier on you as you’re carrying your darling dog through the terminal.

Also keep in mind that most airlines consider a dog’s erect ears as part of the height limitation.  They won’t allow a pup’s ears to be bent for the flight. If your dog has floppy ears, then measure to the top of its head.

Standard pet carrier requirements

The carrier must fit under the seat in front of you and include the following features:

  • Secure closures (zippers, not snaps). Carriers with lockable zippers are ideal, but zipper locks can be purchased separately.
  • Proper ventilation. At least 2 sides of the carrier should have mesh “windows.”
  • A waterproof bottom. Many carriers include padded inserts for the pup’s comfort, but it would be wise to take a few “potty pads” along, just in case.
  • Full enclosure. Your pet must be fully contained and cannot travel on board with its head sticking out of the carrier.
  • Sufficient interior space. Airlines require that pets be able to stand up and turn around comfortably within their carriers. Squashed pets that can’t move will not pass muster with the ticket or security gate agents
  • Bite- and rip-proof. If you have an aggressive dog, make sure the carrier you choose is immune to his/her aggression. Or bring duct tape just in case.

As a side note, make sure you travel with a metal-free collar and leash. You will be required to remove your dog from the carrier at all security checkpoints, and many pet carriers come with short tethers attached to the inside to keep your pup from bolting when the closure is opened. Chasing a dog through the terminal will not be the highlight of your trip, so be aware of carriers that don’t include a tether as a feature.

Features to consider

Openings

Most (but not all) airline-approved pet carriers feature multiple points of entry. They are often at each end of the carrier. But the best carriers also offer an opening at the top, which is perfect for stressed pups who can’t be encouraged (or pushed) into either of the end openings. The top zipped openings allow the pup to be gently lowered inside with no stress.

Expandability

Some carriers have sides that can be unzipped and expanded outward. This allows your pup more space to stretch out between flights (inflight expansions are forbidden); however, the extra materials often reduce visibility for your pet.

The view outside

Some pets want to see what’s going on at all times. Pet carriers with lots of mesh windows will make these pups happy. On the other hand, some animals are quite shy and would prefer a more snug, enclosed carrier. One option is to put a towel or blanket over the excess windows, if you don’t mind walking around with a towel- or blanket-covered pet carrier.

And if you frequently travel in cold, wet weather, consider using a carrier with fewer windows as well.

Pockets

Consider pockets your best friend on a trip with your pet. Most soft-side carriers feature at least one pocket, often two or more. If you haven’t reached the weight limit with the pet carrier, you can carry treats, medications, leash, etc. in the carrier’s pocket(s). If you’ve reached the weight limit, then be sure to carry these items in your carry-on bag.

The floorboard

To enjoy the trip as much as possible, you must ensure that the pet carrier has a firm, sturdy and washable floorboard. Carriers with weak floorboards will fold up like a hammock with your pet in the middle. Not fun for either of you. If the floorboard is a bit on the weak side, you can bolster it with stiff cardboard, which won’t add much weight.

The floorboard also needs to be washable. Most carriers provide washable comfort pads (some are hand wash only), but you could also provide a soft towel to add a little more absorbency to the floor. It would also add a bit of “home smell” as well, which can be comforting to your pet.

Airline Policies

For a brief guide to some of the major airline policies regarding pet travel, please see the chart below. Note: this is only a guide. All requirements are subject to change at any time. You must check with your airline for specific requirements before you travel with your pet.

Airline Pet carrier size Max number of pet carriers per flight Fees (subject to change and limitations)
American 19″ x 13″ x 9″ American – 7, Amer. Eagle – 5 $125 one way
United 17.5”x12”x7.5” Check w/airline $125 one way
Delta Check underseat dimensions on individual aircraft Main cabin – 4, 1st. Class – 2, Business – 2 $125 one way
Frontier 14”x18”x8” N/A $75 one way
Southwest 18.5”x13.5”x8.5” 6 $95 one way

American Airlines – https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/special-assistance/pets.jsp
Delta – https://www.delta.com/us/en/pet-travel/overview
United – https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/animals.html
Frontier- https://www.bringfido.com/travel/airline_policies/frontier/
Southwest- https://www.southwest.com/pets/

Or visit…

Airline pet policies – https://www.pettravel.com/airline_rules.cfm