I’ll admit I’ve never taken my dog on a flight before, but that’s because she’s fifty pounds and would not tuck easily under my seat. Had she remained puppy-sized this might be a different story. Airlines always have their own requirements for the type of pet carrier they allow onboard, mostly having to do with appropriate dimensions in order to fit beneath the seats, leak-proof construction, and adequate ventilation. The 7 carriers below are generally accepted by most airlines.*
*Note: No two airlines require the same things, so be sure to contact yours before your flight for specific instructions.
This medium-sized carrier measures 18”L x 11″W x 10.5”H, and fits dogs up to 16″ long, 10″ tall, and up to 16lbs. A pliable wire frame allows the rear end of the carrier to collapse a few inches and fit properly beneath an airplane seat, and at least two sides are mesh to allow plenty of airflow. Most airlines have breed restrictions in place to protect brachycephalic (or short-nosed) breeds like French Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boston Terriers, since breathing issues have been known to occur. Cabins are always pressurized, but it’s extremely important to make sure your dog can breathe freely and easily with the added stress of flying.
This carrier opens on both the top and side, has a faux lambskin liner, and includes locking zippers so your pup doesn’t end up doing laps up and down the aisle. I’m a big fan of the side pocket to pack away leashes, treats, and poop bags, AND there are several color options to choose from.
For less than $25 you cover all your bases. This carrier is approved for kittens, puppies, and small dogs weighing no more than 10lbs, and the dimensions are 19″L X 10″W X 13″H. The carrier itself is made of tough, breathable nylon in several colors, and the whole dang thing is washable!
Also included is a soft fleece bed for the ultimate naps in the sky, plus straps for three ways to carry: in your hand, on your shoulder, or resting on top of your own luggage whilst strapped securely to the handle.
If only us lowly humans could triple our seat size during a long flight. This carrier expands longways on one side to give your best friend a chance to spread out a bit and relax. The expandable area is completely ventilated and supported by a sturdy wire frame to prevent the mesh from sagging, and it’s large and tough enough to support a pup up to 14lbs. This is traveling in style, folks.
I prefer my regular luggage on wheels, so why not pop a few on your dog’s carrier and take the strain off your shoulders? This carrier rolls easily in the vertical upright position and lies flat to slide under your seat—both the bottom and the back (in the upright position) are rigid and lightly padded for comfort. Unlike some of the other options, the Snoozer also comes in three sizes. Don’t forget to check the measurements required by your airline before you buy!
This carrier’s exterior—in addition to being an awesome blue or orange color—is completely waterproof and washable. The entire bag only weighs about two pounds, comes equipped with a handle and shoulder strap, and has soft walls from top to bottom. Dimensions are 18″L x 11″W x 10″H.
This backpack-style carrier touts a larger-than-average height and six ways to travel: carried on your back, front, shoulder, or in-hand, laid either on the bottom or side, or used as a car seat carrier. It has four mesh windows for ventilation, plus zipper locks and an interior tether to keep your pup from darting out when the door is open.
Flexibility makes things easier amid the stress of traveling, so I can appreciate the three access doors on this bag: one on top, and one on both ends. Multiple mesh panels provide good air flow. This option also includes two fleece mats just in case one gets dirty and they need to be swapped out. Did I mention good preparation is another key to stress-free travel?