7 Best Airline Approved Dog and Pet Carriers – for Cabin Use

Vacations are something all of us like to go on in this busy robotic life. But pet parents always find it difficult to leave behind their tiny furry friends as most of them are not comfortable in boarding kennels, friends or any close member’s premises. Hence many pet parents nowadays prefer to travel with these pet pals when they are on vacation. 

Air flying with pets becomes very common nowadays as many folks are saving to go on international holidays as well as relocating to foreign countries due to work. Every airline has many specifications for pet flying. No two airlines follow the same rules and regulations for pet relocation both in a cabin or as checked-in in cargo. 

This article will provide insights into airline approved pet carriers that are one of the pivotal gadgets for a smooth vacation. For checked-in or cargo air flying approved crates please check out our post detailing the best airline approved Dog carriers (for cargo’s)– .

Why Tiny Dog Breeds Require a Carrier for Their Air Travel?

Dogs are den animals that prefer den-like to rest homes at times of stress like traveling or when not well. Pet location or traveling through air is one such stress where a dog needs to feel safe and relax to undergo the long or short travel even though its parents are next to it. Hence any dog would require a carrier for a safe and comfortable journey. 

How Does a Dog Crate Differ from a Pet Carrier?

Many pet owners purchase a dog crate for one of the below reasons that include housebreaking, general use for the dog, crate training for checked baggage, and cargo traveling. But pet carriers are mostly purchased for traveling only and are used as carry-on most of the time.

The pet crates, as well as the carriers, come in variant designs, materials, styles, and sizes. One needs to choose the right crate or carrier that is suitable for their pets and one’s budget. More insights on the buying guide are provided beneath.

7 Best Airlines Approved Pet Crates for Cabin Use

This section reviews some of the best airline cabins approved air carriers.

1. Sherpa original travel deluxe pet carrier

Sherpa travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier - allabout-pets

This pet carrier brand is not only popular but also a trusted brand in the pet industry. This carrier is perfect for traveling in style and comfort by air, road, for an adventure, or just a trip to the vet.

The carrier has a quilted nylon exterior with mesh side and top panels, that provide tons of ventilation and maximum visibility for the pet. 

A top wide zipper panel and a side zipper that opens flat aids in the hassle-free entry of getting the most agitated pet into their carrier. 

Possess a patented spring wire frame that is seen to allow the rear end of the carrier to be pushed down several inches to comfortably fit the under-seat requirements.

The carrier also has luggage and a padded shoulder strap for making traveling easy.  The rear pocket is convenient for storing the treats, leash, bags, or pet pal needs for the travel.

Locking zippers ensure that the pet is always securely inside the carrier. 

Pros

  • Durable
  • Compact and stylish design
  • Has a machine-washable faux lambskin liner.
  • Side and top wide openers help in the easy entry of pets in and out of the carrier.

Cons

  • Carrier is only intended for safe and comfortable travel no excess space is available for free-roaming or movement.

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2. Pet peppy expandable pet carrier

Moist airline approved cabin pet carrier. The carrier has a thick wireframe at the top for extra stability this eliminates sagging corners or bunched up edges. 

A pet of a maximum of 14 pounds can use this pet carrier. An extra layer of protection is provided in this carrier for accidental bump onto a wall or car door during the pet travel.

Pet Peppy carrier possesses a two-side expansion. This creates a comfortable area for the pet to move around with increased ventilation and airflow. 

This carrier comes with a random colored pet bowl, a shoulder strap, a bottom fleece base, and a side slip pocket that is a great option to store treats, medicines or other essentials for the travel. The manufacturer provides a one-year unbeatable money-back guarantee for the carrier.

Pros

  • Safe and secure
  • The carrier is expandable from both the sides
  • Travel essentials like bottom fleece base, pet bowl, and a shoulder strap are available.
  • One-year unbeatable money-back guarantee is offered by the manufacturer.

Cons

  • The expandable section is not easy to open when the pet is inside the carrier.

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3. Pawfect Pets dog carrier

The soft-sided in-cabin pet carrier is accepted by most of the airlines. The carrier comfortably fits under the seat.

The reinforced polyester and claw defense mesh on the top and all around the four sides ensure ample ventilation and airflow for the pet. 

Highly durable pet carrier with mini zipper buckles that ensure the pet stays tucked safely inside. The carrier also comes with two fleece padded mats that keep the pooch clean and comfortable throughout the journey. 

The product comes with a no satisfaction cash refund for unhappy customers from the manufacturer.

Pros

  • Approved by the major top airlines
  • Extra durable and highly safe
  • Comes with a pair of fleece pads that are replaceable and hassle-free to clean
  • Three side opening for easy loading and unloading of the pet.
  • Sturdier frame that doesn’t collapses on the pet pal.

Cons

  • Pet measurement needs to be accurate for zeroing on the right pet carrier size.

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4. Mr. Peanut’s soft-sided pet carrier

Premium brand with auto self-locking zippers for safety, the tote is strong as it cannot be pushed open from the inside. This carrier is recommended for furry pals that weigh up to 15lbs. 

Airline approved (18″ Length x 11″ Width x 11″ Height), best fit for pets that approximately is 16 inches in length while laying down.

Additional supports come through a plush faux fleece pad with a plywood base insert.  The Teslin resin mesh windows on the top and all sides provide good ventilation and airflow. 

The fabric roll, away cover enhances privacy. Then carrier comes with a luggage strap and an extra zippered mesh pockets to store travel essentials of the pet or of the pet pal’s parents.

It also has a padded shoulder strap with thick metal connectors for additional safety and a hand-carry handle. The carrier is made of a wipe down composite 600D nylon fabric with PVC coating that improves the strength and durability of the carrier.

Pros

  • Durable and weightless
  • Auto self-locking zippers that cannot be withered easily.
  • Enhanced privacy due to the presence of the fabric roll away cover.
  • Padded shoulder strap with thick metal connectors for extra safety.
  • Variant designs and colors.

Cons

  • Soft-sided carriers need proper pet training prior to travel.

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5. Sleepypod air in-cabin pet carrier

Mobile pet bed that is an in-cabin airplane carrier and car seat. Suits pets up to 17.5 pounds. The carrier possesses a padded shoulder strap and comes with a machine washable ultra-plush bedding. 

Top and ends are easy to open for easy access to the pet.  It has large zipper pockets on both sides for storing travel utilities of the pet as well as its parents.

The carrier is built of grade nylon outside and Ultra Plush polyester inside.

The carrier can be compressed from 22 inches long, 10.5 inches wide, and 10.5 inches high down to 16 inches long, 10.5 inches wide, and 8-inches high. It can be folded flat for easy storage and is crash tested for durability.

Pros

  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Tear-resistant mesh
  • Safety tether aids in preventing the pet to escape.
  • Adjustable comfort shoulder strap.
  • Padded carry hadle.
  • Airline compliant

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6. WPS Airline Approved Removable Wheeled Pet Carrier

The carrier has plentiful mesh windows, a comfortable interior, and a telescopic handle for a smooth journey. It comes with six detachable wheels for extra support. 

Most airlines compliant and are available in black, red, and grey color variants. The fleece bed bottom enhances the support and is removable. 

The inner safety leash increases the security of the pet. The carrier also has a hand-carry strap and a non-slip, adjustable shoulder strap for easy pulling and pushing during the travel. 

Pros

  • Telescopic handles
  • Detachable wheels for easy movement and extra support.
  • Stylish and compact size.
  • Mesh panels for improved ventilation.
  • Includes travel essentials like a name tag, seat belt straps, and snack door.
  • Washable and replaceable mattress pad.
  • Extra interior leash for improved safety.

Cons

  • Slightly expensive

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7. Teafco Argo airplane pet carrier

The Teafco Argo airline-approved stylish carrier comes with durable fabric and has surrounding dual mesh windows for enhanced ventilation, viewing, and pet comfort. 

It is made from quality 840 denier nylon fabric. Ideal for small dogs and cats. The sturdy construction aids in better pet security and is water-resistant.  

The shoulder strap is adjustable and removable for easy access to the top zipper. Available in two sizes and variant colors that include black, kiwi green, berry blue, and tango orange.

Pros

  • Highly durable
  • Sturdy construction and water repellant
  • Dual mesh windows
  • Compliant with major airline specifications
  • Available in variant colors

Cons

  • Slightly costlier
  • Customer reviews suggest that ventilation is less.

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How to Choose The Right Crate or Carrier for In-Cabin Flight Journeys?

You should think carefully when selecting an airline pet carrier. There Wide variants of crates and carriers are available in the market or online. The following features need to be considered while zeroing down the right dog carrier for general or air travel.

1. Material

The material of the crate is a pivotal feature that one needs to look for during the purchase of a pet carrier. Generally, the exterior of a pet carrier is composed of hard materials like plastic, steel or aluminum and some are also made of soft materials like nylon fabric of various thicknesses. 

While most carriers use similar materials, they aren’t necessarily created equally. Some manufacturers make carriers out of thick, heavy-duty durable materials while others cut corners with thinner light-duty fabrics that are obviously more prone to wear than the heavy-duty counterparts.

The best carriers are ones that provide a waterproof exterior with optimal airflow and resistance to unpleasant pet odors. 

2. Ventilation

One of the other key concerns that every pet owner needs to investigate while purchasing a pet carrier is the airflow or ventilation. The best carrier needs to have plenty of heavy-duty mesh sections to not only optimize the airflow but also allow the pet to see through the carrier. Many manufacturers use a resin mesh over a plastic mesh as they are more resistant to rips and tears and are highly durable. 

3. Construction quality

One needs to bet on the best carriers that are durable for a long period. Hence the construction quality needs to be thoroughly checked before purchasing an apt carrier with all major features.

Most carriers possess a wireframe throughout the top, this helps the frame maintain its shape and prevent sagging. Many also have a hard bottom for carrier shape retainment and enhanced stability for the pet 

4.  Pet comforts

The most well-made carrier also go waste if the pet isn’t comfortable inside. Many affordable models of the pet carriers provide equal comfort to the pet as a duffle bag that one carries to their gym, some provide a warm and inviting travel home for the furry friends to relax in.

One needs to zero on carriers that are composed of a plush or faux fur lining throughout, especially in the sitting or resting area of the carrier. The lining should be removable was hassle-free maintenance.

5. Locking zippers or Velcro enclosures

For enhanced safety and security of the fur baby, many carriers have the locking zippers or Velcro that prevent many escape artists, furry friends, to break out without the pet parents or anybody’s knowledge.

Many carriers have two zippers for each opening, but the best of the lot has clips on each zipper that can be attached together. This will help in enclosing the pet to its confined area and it only can be released when these zip lockers are opened.

6. Storage pockets

The best carriers should have extra storage compartments that aid in storing pet’s toys, treats, medication, and other accessories like leash and food. This not only helps in keeping the pet engaged during the travel and in medical emergencies also, but a pet parent can also place their belongings post checking in their luggage.

Many models feature slit pockets while the best of them have secure pockets with zippers or Velcro. If one is intending to store important or valuable items in the compartments, it is best advised to invest in zippered storage pet carriers.

7. Washable

A carrier needs to be washable to not only keep its look new but also aids in eliminating any pet odors as accidents are prone to happen anywhere anytime during the relocation or travel. Investing in a washable carrier will help a pet owner from not reinvesting in them post an unwanted accident.

8. Easy operations

One of the most critical features that most of us overlook while buying a pet carrier is the hassle-free usage of the pet carrier. Lucky are those pet parents that have pets that love to travel in their carriers but for many it’s, a nightmare as many pets are nervous or frightened to travel.  Hence the best pet carrier is one that can be easily opened and closed for better interaction with the pet during travel.

9. Carrying options for relocation

The last key feature for purchasing the best pet carrier is it’s carrying or handling options. The carriers available today come with wheels, handles or backpack straps. One needs to zero on the right handling method that is comfortable for the pet owners and pets.

The top carriers that approved by major airlines provide multiple carrying points that include well-padded and ergonomically designed handles and shoulder straps that are seen to reduce fatigue as one carries their pooch.

Some variants even feature provide wheels that aid in wheeling the pet without having to put extra stress on one’s hands or back. Backpack style carriers are also available for tiny pets that weigh less than 4 kg, this just resembles a book or laptop bag.

What are the various airline pet sizing and price requirements?

Every airline has its own pet policy and price specifications. The table beneath will provide a fair idea of this. The measurements are denoted in length x width x height in inches or centimeters as appropriate.

Airline Maximum permissible crate dimensions Pricing Special specifications
United Airlines Hard-sided crates: The maximum acceptable limit is 44.5 cm long x 30cm wide x 19 cm high.
Soft-sided crates: The maximum dimensions allowed are 46 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm.
Note: The dimensions can slightly exceed recommended since the soft-sided crates are adjustable and can be conformed to the under-seat space.
  • $125 for one way. 
  • An addition $125 for each stopover of four hours or more within the US or 24 hours or more outside the US.
  • The pet should be a minimum of 4 months /16 weeks or older to fly. 
  • No pets are permitted in flights to/from or through Australia, Hawaii, and New Zealand.
American Airlines Hard-sided crates: Should not exceed the under-seat dimensions of the aircraft one chooses. Contact customer care for exact details.
Soft-sided crates: Can be slightly larger than the hard-sided carriers but should be made of water-repellent material, padded, and needs to possess nylon mesh ventilation on two or more sides.
$125 per kennel
  • Four months/16 weeks or older pets are accepted to fly on these airlines within the US. The exception is for pets that fly from or to Puerto Rico (8 weeks or older).
  • Carry on dogs are not permitted in Business class or first class due to under-seat storage scarcity.
  • Pets are not permitted in the following aircraft: Boeing 757-L,Boeing 757-EW, Boeing 767, Boeing 777-200, Boeing 777-300, Boeing 787-8, Boeing 787-9, Airbus A330-200, and Airbus A330-300.
  • Most pets are allowed on most international flights up to 11 hours and 31 minutes. 
  • No carry-on pets are permitted in international flights that fly to parts of the Caribbean that include Barbados and Jamaica, Hawaii, Parts of South America such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and Venezuela, Transatlantic flights,Transpacific flights, Australia (service or assistance pets only)
  •   For pets traveling inside or outside Mexico government regulations on vaccinations need to be met.
Alaskan Airlines Hard-sided crates: Maximum carry on acceptable crate dimensions are 43cm x 28cm x 20cm.
Soft-sided crates: Maximum carry on acceptable crate dimensions are 43cm x 28cm x 24cm.
$100 one way
  • Have the option to bring two pets in the main cabin when two adjacent seats are blocked by the same customer.
;
  • The pet counts as the passengers carry-on baggage, hence the customer can only bring on the pet and a personal item but not a pet, personal item, and standard size carry-on bag.
  •   Accepts two pets of same species and similar size ​traveling in a single carrier.
  • Airbus aircraft do not allow pets in first-class seating.
  • Special country travel policy includesHawai- Pets may be permitted, but this is a rabies-free state, additional specifications and policies are laid that needs to be checked with the airlines personally.Nome, Kotzebue- Proof of parvovirus and rabies vaccination is mandatory.
Delta airlines Hard-sided crates: Acceptable dimensions are flight and aircraft size-dependent. Contact the reservation desk for more information.Soft-sided crates: Acceptable dimensions change based on individual flight and aircraft size. Contact the reservation desk for more information.
  • $125 one way for the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.  
  • $200 for the Virgin Islands and International flights 
  • $75 for Brazil.
  • The pet is counted as one’s personal items. 
  • Pets must be a minimum of 10 weeks old for domestic travel and 16 weeks old for international flights.
  • Pets are not allowed to travel in the cabin to/from the following destinations with Delta airlines: Australia, BarbadosDakar, Dubai, Hong Kong, Iceland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Pets are also not allowed in certain sections of many flights:Rows 30-35 in A330-200, Rows 30-43 in A330 -300, and Center seats in 757-200 aircraft, respectively.
Southwest Airlines Maximum dimensions for carriers are 47x 22 x 34cm. $95 one way
  • International flights do not accept pets as carry-on baggage.
  • Two pets of the same species and similar size ​are permitted to travel in a single carrier. 
  • Pet carriers are considered either as a personal or carry-on item. That means one can bring the pet carrier and a regular-sized carry on a bag during the travel.
Virgin Airlines Contact the airline for details. The total depends on destination, time of year, and size of the carrier. No pets except service dogs are permitted to fly in the cabin with Virgin Airlines. Only service dogs are permitted in-cabin, all others must go in cargo.
Allegiant 23x 41 W x 48cm for all types $100 one way per carrier
  • Two pets per carrier are permitted. 
  • Each paid traveler can have one carrier each. 
Frontier Airlines 46 x 36 x 20cm for all times $75 one way
  • Cargo traveling for pets not allowed.
  • Pet air flying to/from the Dominican Republic and Mexico on international flights are permitted.
Spirit Airlines 46cm x 36cm x 23cm for all crate types  Please contact the customer desk.
  • The pet carrier needs to fit under the seat. 
  • The combined weight of the pet and carrier should not exceed 40 lbs.
  • Two pets per container are permitted. 
  • Pets are not allowed on international flights.
Aeroflot Hard-sided crates: Must not exceed 44х30х26inches for a rigid skipper.
Soft-sided crates: The sum of all dimensions must not exceed 126cms.
Contact customer care. More than one pet per reservation is allowed, but the total weight of the carrier should not exceed 8kg.
Aero Mexico 19 x 12 x 10 inches for both hard and soft carriers
  • USD 125 plus taxes for the USA, Canada, Central, and South America.
  • MXN 1000 within Mexico.
  • Only one pet per reservation.
  • Maximum carrier weight permissible is 9 kg.
  • Pets in cabins are allowed in flights with a duration of 6 or fewer hours.
  • Pets in cabins are allowed in flights with a duration of 6 or fewer hours.
Air Canada
  • On Boeing 777-300ER and 777-200LR aircraft, the pet carrier should be under 17 x 15 x 8.25 inches.
  • In cabins equipped with lie-flat beds, dimensions should not exceed 16 x 8 x 11cm.
  • CAD 50-59 within US/Canada (excluding Hawaii) 
  • CAD 100-118 for all other international routes (excluding Hawaii).
Air Europa 21.5 x 14 x 10 inches for all types of carriers.
  • USD 27 or EUR 25 for Spain, Canary Islands, and the Balearic Islands.
  • USD 55 or EUR 50 to Europe and Africa.
  • USD 165 or EUR 150 for the long-haul.
  • Up to three pets are allowed per reservation.
  • Maximum permissible weight is 6 to 8 kgs.
Air France 18 x 11 x 9 inches for all types.
  • Within France- EUR 40. 
  • Within Europe or between Europe and North Africa- EUR 55.
  • Long-haul from Europe- EUR 125. 
  • Long-haul from the USA- USD 125. 
  • Long-haul from Canada-CAD 125.

For the complete pet policies of individual airlines please refer to their web sites or contact their customer service desks.

What are the additional precautions a pet owner should take while traveling a pet in the cabin?

The following precautions and points need to be considered

  • The carry-on travel carrier needs to be chosen in such a way that a pet can stand up and lie down comfortably in it.
  • The Crates must be in great shape and without cracks, breaks, or tears. Not well-maintained crates have a greater chance to be rejected. 
  • Each flight in any airline has restricted in-cabin pet tickets. Hence the tickets need to be blocked well in advance.
  • Crate and potty train prior to air travel.
  • Refrain choosing seats in the exit or any row where under-seat space is not available in front.
  • Snub-nosed dogs are restricted by most of the airlines.
  • Pets that are less than 8 weeks are not permitted to fly in most airlines, additional specifications need to be checked with each airline.
  • Unaccompanied minors cannot take pets in the in-cabin.
  • Not all airlines allow multiple pets of the same species and similar size in one carrier.
  • All the carriers must be airline compliant and its best to check each airline’s pet policies for more details as carrier dimension limits vary between airlines and flights within the same airlines.
  • Zero on direct flights. Layovers increase the travel time enhancing the chances of more accidents like restlessness, nagging and so on.

Final thoughts

Traveling with tiny pets is not very difficult with these approved in-cabin pet carriers. Browse and zero on the right product for the pet based on pet preferences and one’s budget. Vacations now can be enjoyed without any guilt. Happy parenting!!!!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How does one know if their carrier is compliant with the in-cabin carrier specifications of the airlines?

A. Most of the airlines accept IATA and USDA compliant pet carriers. But it is always safe to check the pet policies of the respective airline that one has chosen for traveling.

Q.  What is IATA, TSA, FAA, and why are they important?

A. IATA (International Air Transportation Association), TSA (Transportation Security Administration), and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) are different organizations tasked with drafting safety regulations for passenger air travel.

Before flying, one needs to visit each administration’s website to know about the different regulations so one can ensure safe travel. Some of these agencies also offer independent certifications for the airline-approved carrier. However, these certifications are not mandatory for a carrier to be accepted for air flying.

Q. Can one choose their seat if they travel with a pet?

A: One may select a seat based on their preference before one checks-in the flight. This depends on the airline they select. An aisle seat is not likely to be available since these seats have the least under seat clearance, and most airlines refrain from travelers to choose these seats while bringing a pet. Hence it’s the best to confirm this with the airline before purchasing the air tickets.

Q. What should one do on the day of the flight for cabin traveling pets?

A: Make the pooch comfortable in its carrier prior to the journey and check-in the pet as late as possible to reduce the time the pet will have to wait in the terminal. 

Q. Should one sedate a pet for long flights?

A: It is mostly not recommended to tranquilizers a pet when traveling by air as this is seen to enhance the risk of heart and respiratory problems.

References

  1. https://www.pettravel.com/airline_pet_rules/delta.cfm
  2. https://www.allegiantair.com/traveling-with-pets
  3. https://djangobrand.com/blogs/news/international-airline-pet-policies-for-in-cabin-travel
  4. https://thepointsguy.com/guide/best-airlines-for-pet-travel/
  5. https://www.thegoodypet.com/best-airline-approved-pet-carriers
  6. https://animalso.com/airline-approved-pet-carrier/
  7. https://www.pawgearlab.com/best-airline-approved-dog-carriers/

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Yeshwanthi Kamalraj
Yeshwanthi Kamalraj is a freelance copy editor, Pet sitter, and content writer who mainly focuses on scientific journals and health-related web pages. Before becoming a freelance content writer Yeshwanthi worked for Cenveo publishers as document analyst for various science journals published by Taylor and Francis Journals and later continued as a freelance copyeditor for the same publishers. Post marriage in 2009 Yeshwanthi developed a keen interest in pets after her husband and she brought a labrador puppy home. This interest helped her to explore a new niche of the pet sitting world whose journey is still on. Yeshwanthi is a dog lover who in her freetime enjoys listening to music, cooking, and meeting new people.

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