Today we’re covering the basics of air travel with your pet. In this post we’re detailing how to select an airline approved pet carrier for keeping under the seat in front of you, in the cabin of the airplane.
If you’re looking for info on checking your dog in the cargo hold of the plane, see our post on the best airline approved dog crates for cargo hold air travel.
Airline Approved Pet Carrier Features
There are several variations of different airline approved pet carriers to choose from. Some differentiating features include:
- Wheels. Some airline friendly carriers have wheels for easy maneuverability, while others function more as standard dog backpack carriers or pet purse carriers, with handles and shoulder straps.
- Zipper or Velcro. Some carriers have velcro closings, while others use zippers. Velcro can be opened potentially by boisterous pets, but provides faster access. Zippers are more secure, but can be a nuisance.
- Ventilation. You’ll want to make sure that your airline approved pet carrier has plenty of ventilation for your dog to breath and feel comfortable.
- Pockets. Pockets are always handy to have on your pet carry on bag. Pockets allow for easy storage of toys, treats, and other supplies. Some airline pet carriers will have more pockets than others.
8 Best Airline Approved Dog Carriers
We’re using extensive research and consumer data to bring you a review of the best airline approved dog carriers. All of these carriers come highly rated, so you can’t really go wrong. With wheels, foldable extensions, mesh sides, and all manner of handles, you have plenty of great options to choose from!
Please note that there is no one official airline approved dog carrier, as carrier requirements vary between airlines. However, all of these carriers have been used for air travel and should suit your needs. Still, we suggest you always double check your specific airline carry-on dimensions with any carrier you consider ordering.
Looking for a carrier you can check in cargo during your flight? See our guide to airline approved dog crates for cargo hold.
- Foldable. When unzipped lies completely flat to save space, approximately the size of a laptop case.
- Expandable. Side zips down to provide extra space while sturdy wire frame maintains shape.
- Zipper Opening. Pet entrance has 2 zippers for easy access and secure closure – perfect as an under seat dog carrier.
- Adjustable Shoulder Strap. Allows for comfortable carrying for you and your pet.
- Maximum Weight. The small carrier is suitable for companion pets up to 12 lbs., the medium carrier 16 lbs., the large carrier 20 lbs.
- Multiple Sizes. This carrier comes in three different sizes. Small (for pets up to 12 lbs), Medium (for pets up to 16 lbs), and Large (for pets up to 20 lbs).
- Available for purchase from Amazon.
- Removable Fleece Bed. Soft fleece bedding and rigid insert panel helps the carrier hold its shape. Both removable for easy washing.
- Comfort Your Pet. Exclusive “Pet Connect” zipper opening allows you to comfortably and safely interact with your pet while traveling – an excellent choice for airline approved dog carriers for in cabin travel.
- Shoulder Strap. Optional shoulder strap included is padded and adjustable.
- Multiple Zipper Openings. Several zippered mesh panels allow for maximum viewing and ventilation.
- Multiple Safety Features. This airplane pet carrier has locking zippers, seatbelt loops, and reflective strips.
- Lead & Phthalate Safe. There are no harmful chemicals for you or your pet.
- Comes in 3 Size Options. Small (perfect for kittens, puppies, and teacup breeds up to 7 lbs), Large (external measurements – 16x8x10in for pets up to 22 lbs) and Large with Wheels (features patented pull strap that instantly converts to shoulder strap, wheels are detachable).
- Multiple Colors. This airplane friendly dog carrier comes in Black, Mineral Blue, Rose Wine, and Spinach Green.
- Available on Amazon for purchase
- Flexible Size. The Sleepypod airline approved pet carrier fits pets up to 17 ½ lbs, but is also compressible to fit under different size seats on airlines or fold up when not in use.
- Sleek Design. Very well designed, giving pets maximum room without sacrificing sturdiness or style.
- Luggage Grade Fabric. High quality nylon outside with super comfy plush inside for a class A airline approved dog carrier.
- Easy Access. Both the top and ends open, making it easy to access pets.
- Multiple Colors. Comes in Dark Chocolate, Glacier Silver, Jet Black, Orange Dream, Strawberry Red, and Robin Egg Blue.
- Size. Available in size Medium which measures 22×10.5×10.5in.
- Available from Amazon for purchase.
- Guaranteed Airline Approved Cabin Pet Carrier. Suitable for travel on most major domestic airlines.
- Flexible Frame. Springy wire frame flexes to fit under various seat dimensions.
- Straps. Includes both seatbelt and luggage strap for easy carrying and safe travel.
- Easy Entry. Contains both top and side entry panels as well as full mesh panels for ventilation.
- Sizes. Small (for pets up to 8 lbs), Medium (for pets up to 16 lbs), and Large (for pets up to 22 lbs).
- Multiple Colors. Available in Paisley, Plum, Black, Brown, Gray, Red.
- Available for purchase on Amazon
- Large Mesh Panels. 3 sides of mesh panels for viewing and ventilation with easy zipper access.
- Folds Flat. Folds down for easy storage or transport when not in use.
- Multiple Options. Can be worn as a backpack, rolled on the ground, lain flat, or stands on its own with pet inside.
- Telescoping Handle. Provides multi-stage telescoping handle and wheels for easy maneuvering.
- Pockets. 2 side storage pockets for leash, treats, bowls, or food.
- Sizes. Medium (for pets up to 9 lbs) or Large (for pets up to 10 lbs).
- 2 Color Choices. This airline approved pet carrier comes in two color options – Red/Black or Khaki/Navy.
- Available for purchase on Amazon
- Lightweight. Made of very lightweight durable 600 denier polyester with flexible rods that help maintain arch shape.
- Comfortable Straps. Easy to carry with an adjustable 4-point padded shoulder strap and leather hand grips.
- Multiple Mesh Panels. Several mesh windows for viewing and ventilation that can be covered as well for privacy or comfort for your pet.
- Safety Straps. Perfect to strap in airline seats or for car seat belts.
- Huge Color/Pattern Selection. This dog carry on bag comes in 23 color and pattern options.
- Available on Amazon for purchase.
- Rugged Construction. Made from quality 840 denier nylon fabric.
- Mesh Windows. Dual mesh panels on all sides for ventilation, viewing, and pet comfort.
- Convenient Size. Ideal for small dogs and cats.
- Water resistant. Sturdy construction and fabric protects your pet and repels water.
- Adjustable Straps. Shoulder strap is adjustable and removable for easy access to top zipper.
- Multiple Colors. This airline approved dog carrier comes in black, kiwi green, berry blue, tango orange, and petal pink.
- Two Sizes. The small is suitable for puppies, kittens, or toy breeds. The large is better for small pets.
- Available for purchase on Amazon.
- Designer Look. Carrier is made from recycled denim jeans, giving it a unique style compared to other dog carriers for air travel.
- Sturdy Frame. Soft and comfortable fabric with sturdy frame for protecting your pet.
- Mesh Panels. Two mesh panels on the ends allow for breathability and comfort for your pet as well as easy access and viewing.
- Strap Options. Removable shoulder strap plus handles for many ways to carry.
- Available for purchase on Amazon.
Do you have any experiences with airline pet carriers you’d like to share? Tell us about your favorites and review your top picks in the comments section!
Want more ways to travel with your pooch? Check out our guide to dog bike baskets!