If you and your four-legged friend are jetsetters who enjoy traveling the world together, you need to have the right container to take them around in. And if they are going to get on flights with no issues, you need a container that is airline approved. To give you the broadest range of choice, we have selected the best airline approved pet carriers to choose between, offering a breakdown of their key features and the positive benefits. We have also picked the best choice, premium pick, and best value options to give you the broadest range of choice, ensuring that we cater for the different sorts of buyers out there, all with their individual set of priorities.
The Best Airline Approved Pet Carrier
With thousands of positive ratings from previous customers, this airline approved pet carrier in cabin features a spring wire frame that allows you to push down the rear end of the carrier to fit comfortably underneath the seat. The mesh windows allow for plenty of air to circulate, ensuring that your pet won’t get too stuffy when they are inside.
Another important factor to consider is how you are going to transport the bag around and this one features a no-slip carrying strap to make this as straightforward as possible. There is a convenient side pocket that allows you to carry around all your pet’s essential items in one place.
Side pockets provide convenient storage
Approved for use on most airlines
Locking zippers for security
Designed for pets up to 16 lbs in weight
- Weight2.5 pounds
The next airplane dog carrier on the list has removable wheels and a handle that allows you to roll your furry friend through the airport until it is time to board your flight! There is a thick wire frame at the top that provides some extra stability to the carrier.
Designed for pets of up to 14 lbs, it is designed to expand from both sides to offer some increased room for your dog or cat. You can even use it at home as a pet condo with its ventilated top and sides, taking it around by using the shoulder strap.
Expandable from both sides
360-degree rotating and removable wheels
Easy to attach and detach platform
Thick wire frame improves stability
- Weight6.4 pounds
Now, we have an affordable pet carrier from AmazonBasics, which has been highly rated by hundreds of previous customers. There are carrying handles and an adjustable should strap, which gives you different portability options based on your needs and your pet’s preferences as well.
As for the sizing of the bag, it has been created in such a way that they can fit under the seat of most planes. The fleece bed at the bottom helps your pet to relax while they are inside. You can wash the bed in the washing machine, while the carrier itself can be spot cleaned.
Mesh panels improve ventilation
Carrying handles and adjustable shoulder strap
Conforms to under-seat dimensions of the majority of airlines
Machine washable fleece pet bed
- Weight2.65 pounds
This soft sided pet carrier is certainly one of the most stylish options on the list. Inside, there is a plush faux fleece padding, which helps to keep your pet comfortable while they in the carrier.
Both strong and waterproof in its design, the bag is also lightweight, which makes it easy to move around from place to place. There is mesh on all sides, which helps to keep the air flowing and keeps your furry friend nice and cool.
Plush faux fleece padding on the interior
Weighs only 2.7 lbs in weight
Plywood base provides extra support
Padded shoulder strap for comfortable transportation
- BrandMr. Peanut’s
- Weight2.7 pounds
When your pet is traveling in a carrier, it can certainly become a little cramped and uncomfortable for them. There are a couple of ways that this problem is combatted in this carrier, including the mesh windows for ventilation and ultra-plush fleece sleeping pads for a touch of luxury on the inside.
Other useful features that this carrier boasts include reflective strips for nigh visibility, reinforced safety zippers, and seat belt buckles for car travel.
Two pockets of storage space
Padded hand strap for carrying
Ultra-strong polyester material
Clip-on shoulder strap
- Weight2.6 pounds
Next up, we have this pet carrier, which expands at the different sides to give your pet plenty of space. But you can zip them up when space is limited on the aircraft. Four entrances are available, which ensure that your pet can get in and out easily.
For portability, there are carrying handles and an adjustable shoulder strap. If you want to take it in your car, you can secure it with ease. There is also a comfortable fleece pad to maximize your pet’s enjoyment of being inside.
Detachable and easy to clean fleece pad
Expands at the different sides
High level of air circulation
Easy to set up and fold away
- BrandX-ZONE PET
- Weight3.4 pounds
Now, we have an airline approved pet carrier with wheels, which features a 4-in-1 design, allowing it to be used as a backpack, wheely carrier, car seat, and pet bed. This way, you are prepared for all sorts of different situations in which you need to transport your pet around.
There is mesh on the different sides to increase airflow and make it less likely that your pet is going to get too stuffy and uncomfortable when they are inside.
Features a storage pocket
Available in small and medium sizes
Two different colors available
- Weight7 pounds
The comfortable padding on the inside helps your pet to feel cozy when they are traveling inside. You can remove and wash the plush bed cover when needed, and there is even a built-in leash that allows your pet to be secured inside.
As for the materials, they are in turns durable, lightweight, and waterproof. There is a pocket that allows you to store some of your pet’s accessories. Plus, the adjustable should strap functions as a restraint to attach to your car’s headrest.
Comfortable padding on the inside
Removable and washable plush bed cover
Durable, lightweight, and waterproof material
Pocket for accessory storage
- Weight3 pounds
Designed with the dimensions of various high profile airlines in mind, this airline approved dog carrier has been designed with a ventilated roof to keep your pet cool while you are traveling around. The fabric is easy to clean by wiping it down, while it is also waterproof.
On the inside is a plush fleece padding that ensures your pet’s comfort, while also being easy to clean. There is also a padded shoulder strap to make sure that you can take it around from place to place in maximum comfort.
Designed with breathable mesh
Removable plush faux fleece bedding
Snowflake two-tone fabric
Sturdy and lightweight
- BrandMr. Peanut’s
- Weight2.7 pounds
The final choice of airline pet carrier is also our best value pick, which has been highly rated by hundreds of previous customers. You can secure your pet in place with the built-in leash. Plus, there are a couple of pockets for accessory storage. There is an adjustable padded carrying strap that allows for different transportation options.
There are several different available colors, so you can ensure that your pet travels in style. The bag has been made in such a way that it is easy to clean, ensuring that it looks good and it is hygienic for when your pet is next inside.
Different sizes available
Insertable hard board support
Easy to clean
Built-in leash for security
- Weight1.61 pounds
Best Airline Approved Pet Carrier Buying Guide
Next comes the buying guide and frequently asked questions section, which starts with a look at some of the features to look for in a dog carrier. After this, we look at how you can accurately measure your pet to ensure they fit the carrier comfortably. Following on from this comes the frequently asked questions part of the guide. And we finish with a recap of our top product on the list.
Features to Look for in an Airline Approved Dog Carrier
There are a host of different features to look for in a cat or dog carrier for planes. Here are a few to add to your priority list to help you make up your mind on which is the right one for your four-legged friend.
There are a couple of issues to discuss regarding the size of the airline approved dog carrier. First, it needs to fit your pet inside comfortably, so you should get the measurements right before purchase. Secondly, it needs to be suitable for the airline, as they all have their different individual specifications. You don’t want to find yourself in any difficult situations when trying to board a flight with your pet. With regards to the size of the carrier, it is better to go for a larger option if it is a toss-up between two as your pet will appreciate more room rather than less.
When you close your pet inside the carrier, you don’t want them to get too stuffy and uncomfortable, so you should look for features like mesh windows that allow air to circulate freely. Some of them just have small mesh windows, whereas others have windows on all sides to all for maximum airflow.
- Transportation and carrying
Look at the different ways that you can carry or transport the bag around. For example, some of them feature wheels and handles that all you to drag your pet along the ground. Others have backpack-style straps or over-the-shoulder-style straps. Essentially, you need to think about how you want to carry your pet around – also taking their weight into account as this could end up being a defining factor in your decision-making process. Some of the carriers allow different transportation options, so you are not limited to a single one or two.
When you take your pet to a new place, there are all sorts of accessories that you need to bring along too including a lead, toys, snacks, etc. Pet carriers with pockets allow you to take these things around with minimal difficulty, ensuring that you have everything your pet needs in a place that is easy to access.
We all know that flights are not the most comfortable experiences in the world, so imagine your pet’s plight when they are stuck inside a bag. Look for features that make your little animal more comfortable such as a plush faux fur lining on the inside. Also, look for expandability that allows you to give your pet a little more room when this is an option. Extra zippers around the bag can allow your pet to poke their head out and at least get some air, which can help to keep them calm when they are on long plane trips.
Ensuring your pet’s safety while they are inside the carrier is obviously vital. Look for lockable zippers that stop your dog or cat from escaping. Also, a built-in leash tether will allow you to secure your pet inside. Plus, some of the carriers allow for car transportation and have straps that you can attach to a car headrest, etc. The quality of the manufacture is also highly important as you don’t want any of the safety features to not work effectively due to shoddy workmanship.
Wherever your pet has been, they are inevitably going to leave dirt, fur, and other debris around, so you want to be able to wash the carrier. Some of them have linings that are suitable for the washing machine and need to be spot cleaned on the outside. You need to know about the washing options, so you don’t risk damaging the bag by doing the wrong thing.
It can sometimes involve a lot of walking when you are going through an airport, so you don’t want the carrier to be any heavier than strictly necessary. So, look for a lightweight bag that is not going to add any more weight to your load. At the same time, you want the carrier to be sturdy enough to support your pet’s weight comfortably. Which brings us onto the next point…
All baggage needs to have a degree of durability to ensure that it stands the test of time, but this is particularly important in offering your pet some protection. Look at the materials that have been used, as well as any previous online reviews that give you some more guidance on how long you can expect the carrier to last.
- Loading and unloading
Check how many entry and exit points that the carrier features. Some just have a single port, whereas others have doors at different sides, which gives you more of a range of options when it comes to loading and unloading.
While this may not take precedence over some of the other options that we have discussed so far, style is still a factor that you may want to take into account. Just like all your luggage, you want it to look good as well as being practical!
You need to be able to afford the pet carrier, but there is no point in sacrificing quality for price as it is less likely to do the job that you want and you may end up having to buy a replacement sooner than you would have otherwise wanted.
How to Measure Your Pet for a Carrier
You need to measure your pet accurately to ensure that they fit inside the carrier comfortably – both in terms of their height and length. Your pet should be able to easily stand up, stretch, and curl up as they choose. In terms of length, you should measure from the back of the neck to the base of the tail, adding a few inches to allow for movement. As for the height, you should measure from the top of the shoulders down to the ground. If you are choosing a soft sided carrier, add two to three inches. If you are going for a hard sided one, four or five inches. Your pet’s weight is also likely to be a factor, so get them on the scales before purchase. And remember, if your pet is between sizes, it is better to go for the larger option. It is better that they have too much room rather than too little.
Best Airline Approved Pet Carrier FAQ:
Q: Are airlines strict with pet carriers?
A: Airlines have different rules when it comes to pet carriers. Many require that your pet can comfortably stand up and lie down when inside. The carrier needs to be in good condition without breaks and tears. There may also be rules about how many pet carriers you can take on the plane with you. Pets have to stay in the carrier throughout the duration of the flight. You will not be able to sit on the row with an emergency exit or where there is no under-seat space available. Some airlines may allow multiple pets in one carrier, whereas others are strict in only allowing one. All dog crates should be leak-proof and ventilated on at least two sides.
Some airlines may have restrictions on the breed or age of the dog, so check these in more detail too. Then there are the restrictions regarding vaccinations if you are taking an international flight.
Q: Is it safe for dogs to fly in the cabin?
A: The issue of pet safety when traveling by plane is one that is best discussed with your vet. Preexisting health problems and age are a couple of the most important factors to bear in mind. If your pet has entered their senior years, plane travel may not be advisable. Similarly, if they have underlying health problems, flying may not even be permissible under the rules of some airlines. You may have to consider alternative transportation options or leaving your pet behind with friends and family. If your pet is particularly anxious, plane travel can also be a problem as they may struggle to see or hear you and this means that you cannot provide them with sufficient reassurance.
Before travel, it is worth giving your pet the chance to familiarize themselves with the carrier. You can train your pet to get in and out, providing them with treats and praise to help make the positive associations in their mind. There are also some herbal stress relief options out there that may prove to be effective.
Most airlines will charge an additional fee but will allow you to take a cat or small dog in the cabin with you. Make sure that you book your tickets well in advance as there are restrictions on the number of animals allowed in the cabin at once. Also, double check to ensure that your pet meets any size guidelines specified. Ask whether a specific type of carrier is needed if you are not sure.
Q: Should I sedate my pet?
A: The short answer is no, you should not sedate your pet for a flight. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, sedating your dog or cat can end up increasing the risk that they suffer from heart or respiratory issues. Unless there are exceptional circumstances as dictated by your vet, sedatives should not be used on pets in transit. Even though plane travel can be a very stressful experience for an animal, you don’t want to put their health at risk. Short-nose dogs such as Pugs are in particular danger of suffering from respiratory problems. Another thing that they can affect is your pet’s equilibrium, which means that they cannot properly maintain their sense of balance while under sedation.
Q: How many pets are allowed per flight?
A: There are different restrictions on pet numbers depending on the airline. Your best option is to get in touch with your airline well in advance of your travel date to give yourself the best chance of booking your pet on board. There may also be restrictions based on whether or not your pet is providing a life-saving function or emotional support. Plus, there are usually limits based on weight as well. If you are unable to travel by plane, you need to know at the earliest possible opportunity so you can make the appropriate alternative arrangements and avoid disappointment on your trip.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick of airplane dog carrier is this one, which allows you to take your pet around by car or plane. With its wire frame, this allows you to push the bag down a few inches to fit any size restrictions that the airline may prescribe to you. There are mesh windows for ventilation and roll down flaps to add some privacy to the journey. Inside is a machine washable faux lambskin liner. The side pocket allows for convenient storage of many of your pet’s essential bits and pieces. All of these reasons add up to us ranking it as the number one choice of airline approved pet carrier.