Best Airline-Approved Pet Carriers

Traveling with your pet can be a great way to bond with your furry friend and create lasting memories. And if you’re a pet owner who travels by plane frequently, you know how important it is to choose the right pet carrier for your furry friend to accompany you on your journey.

There are many factors to consider when choosing an airline-approved pet carrier, such as size, comfort, and durability. Whether you’re looking for a well-ventilated carrier that’s small and lightweight or one that offers more space and comfort, we’ve got you covered.

Not all carriers are created equal, and some airlines have specific requirements for what type of carrier is allowed on board. To help make this selection process easier, we’ve put together a list of the best pet carriers for traveling. So before your next trip, be sure to check out our list.

#1 Mr. Peanut’s Monterey Series Approved Pet Carrier

Mr. Peanut's Monterey Series Convertible Backpack Airline Approved Pet Carrier for Small Pets,...
  • Perfect for travels such as biking, hikes or whenever your hands are not available to carry a tote. Also can be used as...
  • Plush Faux Fleece Padding with Plywood Base Insert For Pet Comfort and Stability
  • Airline Capable 17" Length X 10" Width X 10" Height, Best Fit For Pets Approximately Up to 14" In Length While Laying...

Built from enhanced Nylon 600D composite material, the soft-sided Mr. Peanut’s Monterey carrier is one of the more durable pet carrier products out there, with locking zippers and a strong resin mesh to keep pets locked in.

Next, the Peanut’s Monterey carrier boasts a plush fleece padding over a plywood base insert, which helps ensure that your pet remains comfortable and stable for the entirety of the trip.

The carrier is lightweight, coming in only at a mere 2.8 lbs. Its dimensions are 18 inches long by 10.5 inches wide by 12.5 inches tall. It fits well for pets up to 15 inches long and has a weight limit of up to 18 lbs.

This Peanut’s Monterey product is built for maximum comfort and stability, and your pet can have no complaints about being transported in this carrier. And as a bonus, this carrier’s premium style and design make it worth showing off in public.

Pros


  • The soft-sided design of Mr. Peanut’s carrier is comfortable for pets to stay in, and it also ensures that this product will fit with varying under-seat configurations of modern aircraft.
  • The carrier features a 600D Nylon Composite bottom with PVC coating material that is comfortable for pets to lay on and which can be easily cleaned with a wipe down.
  • This carrier has large open-air mesh windows on all four sides to ensure proper ventilation for pets.
  • This carrier comes with a zippered mesh pocket and an additional zippered storage pouch, which are both ideal for storing pet treats and medication.
  • This product has self-locking zippers that provide added security by ensuring that the tote can’t be pushed open from the inside by the pet.

Cons


  • Customers have reported that this carrier’s shoulder strap doesn’t stay well in place as it tends to twist and turn, which provides a less pleasant carrying experience for pet parents.
  • The carrier’s bedding doesn’t get fastened in place, and this ends up making pets uncomfortable if the bedding gets displaced during a trip.

This product is our top pick because of its self-locking zipper feature for added security and its durable nylon material that is often used in making military grade parachutes.

#2 EliteField Deluxe Soft Pet Carrier

EliteField Deluxe Soft Pet Carrier (3 Year Warranty, Airline Approved), Multiple Sizes and Colors...
  • Size: 18"L x 10"W x 11"H. Airline approved pet carrier with comfortable padding inside for cats, small dogs, and other...
  • Made from durable, lightweight, waterproof material. Easy to clean. The front and sides are made of mesh netting for...
  • A pocket for accessory storage. Carrying handle and adjustable padded shoulder strap allow for more carrying options....

For buyers who are on a tight budget, the EliteField Deluxe Soft Pet Carrier is the ideal product for you. The soft-sided pet carrier is approved by many major airlines and can be used for other small pets too.

Measuring 18 inches long by 10 inches wide by 11 inches in depth, it is neither too big nor too small. Weighing only a mere 3 lbs, it is definitely one of the lightweight pet carriers on the market.

A dog carrier that is soft to fit a dog without difficulty is something that’s even comfortable when in transit.

The carrier has an adjustable and padded shoulder strap with handles to make movement easier. The product is best for budget-conscious people. It comes with a washable and removable bed for the comfort of your pooch.

Pros


  • The front and sides of this carrier are made from a breathable mesh material that provides pets with access to sunlight and fresh air.
  • This carrier structures itself around a zipper mechanism that unzips all the way around until it becomes completely flat, which is great for storage and makes the process of loading and unloading pets easier.
  • Both the hand-carrying handle and shoulder strap of this carrier are well-padded to ensure comfort for pet parents while carrying.
  • The carrier has a plush black fleece padding with an insertable board base that is comfortable for pets to lay on and that is easily removed for cleaning.
  • The carrier design includes a pocket for storing accessories and pet treats.

Cons


  • The carrier is only vented on three sides, of which its design fails to comply with United Airlines’ requirements – pet carriers must be vented on all sides.
  • Several customer feedbacks suggest that the material used to construct this pet carrier is flimsy, and its structure does not hold up well after frequent usage.

#3 Snoozer Roll Around 4-In-1 Pet Travel Carrier

Snoozer Roll Around 4-in-1 Pet Carrier, Red & Black, Medium
  • FOR THE GO-EVERYWHERE PET. It’s a backpack. It’s a rolling carrier. It’s a carry-on. It’s a car seat. It’s the...
  • FOR DAILY LIFE, TOO. Besides being perfect for travel, the Roll Around is also great for keeping pets safe on the way to...
  • MORE TRAVEL, LESS STRESS. Travel can be stressful for our cats and dogs, but our Roll Around carrier can help reduce...

Thinking of a rolling carrier or backpack carrier for your canine companion, Snoozer Roll Around pet carrier is perfect for you. It is ideal for animals weighing up to 15 lbs. It is many things combined in one- a backpack, rolling carrier, and bed for your pets.

The size of the carrier fits under the economy seat. The carrier is also spacious to provide your dog comfort. The wheels will give you the speed you need if you are in a hurry without hurting your pet when you step out of an airplane.

This pet carrier from Snoozer is easy to move around and unique in its appearance. You will enjoy the way the wheels are created to make your movement faster outside the plane.

Pros


  • This carrier’s versatile design ensures that it can be used in a number of ways, such as a wheeled carrier, a pet bed, or a backpack.
  • The carrier has mesh on three sides that provide adequate ventilation for pets.
  • This pet travel carrier has large pockets on both sides for holding food, treats, leashes, water bowls, and other useful pet accessories.
  • The small and medium-sized versions of this pet travel carrier fit easily under most, if not all, plane seats.
  • The carrier comes with wheels that make it more convenient to move pets from one place to another.

Cons


  • Unlike its medium-sized variant, the large-sized variant of this pet travel carrier doesn’t fit well under the seat of most airline planes.
  • Customers have reported that the base of this pet travel carrier, along with its wheel attachment, tends to fall off easily.

#4 Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier

Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier, Jet Black
  • Mobile pet bed, in-cabin airplaine carrier and car seat, fits pets up to 17-1/2-pound
  • Includes padded shoulder strap, machine washable Ultra Plush bedding and an instruction card
  • Top and ends open for easy access to the pet, large zipper pockets on both sides

Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier has redefined the way we travel with our dogs. The carrier offers dog owners an innovative way of ending the airline size limitations that are placed on pets. The flexibility and versatility of the carrier are awesome.

The carrier measures 22 inches long by 10.5 inches wide by 10.5 inches high. Make sure to take measurements of your pooch before buying this pet carrier to avoid disappointment.

Sleepypod is an innovative dog carrier that is expandable and compressible when the need arrives. You can pick from any of the five other fantastic color designs, besides Jet Black.

Pros


  • The top part and sides of this pet carrier can be opened up for easy access to the pet, while its fleece padding can be unzipped and removed for washing.
  • The Sleepypod carrier can contract in size to fit into the space below the seats of most airline planes, especially useful during takeoff and landing.
  • This product is designed with straps on both sides that any seat belt of a car or vehicle can go through and around the carrier to better secure it in place during the journey; It is also crash tested and certified safe-to-use, with a 5-star rating, by the Center for Pet Safety (CPS).
  • The carrier features an adjustable shoulder strap and a carry handle, both with pads, to ensure pet parents’ comfort while carrying their furry friends.
  • The Sleepypod pet carrier comes in several color choices, including Jet Black, a design in full black color that is resistant to color fading, which causes the carrier to maintain its aesthetic appeal for a longer period.

Cons


  • The Sleepypod carrier doesn’t feature enough mesh material in its design, and when combined with a double-layer design, heat doesn’t dissipate easily and can cause the carrier to warm up fairly quickly.
  • Due to the lack of mesh material around its sides, the insides of this carrier can be very dark at times, causing pets to potentially feel uncomfortable.

#5 Sherpa Original Deluxe Airline-Approved Pet Carrier

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Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier, Large, Black
9,741 Reviews
Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier, Large, Black
  • Perfect for traveling in style and comfort by plane or car, for an adventure or just a trip to the vet
  • Patented spring wire frame allows the rear end of the carrier to be pushed down several inches to conform to under-seat...
  • Rear pocket for convenient storage of treats, leash, bags, or anything else your furry friend might need on the go

What sets the Sherpa Original Deluxe Carrier apart from other pet carriers out there is a special patented spring wire frame that makes it possible for this product to be pressed to fit under vehicle seats.

Mesh windows ensure proper ventilation for the pet, while both its top and side entry points make it highly convenient to fit pets in this carrier.

Additionally, the Sherpa Original Deluxe Carrier features a rear pocket for storing toys, treats, and anything else your furry friend may need during the trip. Locking zippers help keep your pet secured, and the Sherpa carrier also comes with a non-slip strap to provide a different carrying option.

What is also amazing is that this carrier comes in three sizes to choose from; Small – 13 inches long and 7.5 inches tall for dogs up to 8 lbs; Medium – 16 inches long and 10 inches tall for dogs up to 16 lbs; Large – 18 inches long and 11 inches tall for dogs up to 22 lbs.

The Sherpa original pet carrier’s versatility in several circumstances makes this a product worth purchasing to transport your furry friend. Additionally, this carrier is approved for use on most airlines, which means you can travel around without issues.

Pros


  • The Sherpa carriers are available in small, medium, and large size options to cater to pets of different sizes.
  • This carrier has collapsible soft sides, and it folds flat to provide convenient storage and portability.
  • The carrier features a spring-wire frame that can be pushed down by several inches to fit under most airline seats to comply with air transport requirements.
  • The Sherpa deluxe carrier features top and side entries that make it easier to comfortably load and remove pets from the carrier.
  • The carrier has a convenient rear pocket that is useful for storing food and water bowls, treats, and toys.

Cons


  • Customer feedback suggests that this pet carrier has a poor support frame and that it easily sags through the middle or on open ends, which can be uncomfortable for pets.
  • The carrier’s mesh windows can be easily chewed through by cats who are bent on escaping.

#6 Jet Sitter Luxury Soft-Sided Pet Carrier

Jet Sitter Airline Approved Expandable Pet Dog Cat Carrier - Soft Sided Carriers Cats Dogs Travel...
  • TSA COMPLIANT CARRIERS - For In Cabin Under Seat conforms precisely to United Airlines. Can also fit Southwest, JetBlue,...
  • LUXURY TRAVEL CRATES - For puppy, kitten, rabbit, guinea pig, hamsters! Super plush fleece mat padding with stiff board...
  • TOP LOAD AND COLLAPSIBLE - Open roof for easier access. Fold flat to store under your bed, closet, or suit case when not...

The Jet Sitter Luxury Carrier can fit both small and medium-sized pets weighing up to 14 lbs. The carrier measures 18 inches long by 11 inches wide by 11 inches high for the medium size option. It is expandable from the sides if the need be.

Make sure that you measure your pet before paying for this carrier.

The pet carrier has expandable sides and a large mesh window pocket that can store toys, accessories, food containers, and water bowls.

Pros


  • The carrier’s collapsible design can be easily folded flat to store under the bed, in a suitcase, or in a closet when not in use.
  • The Jeff carrier can be extended on one or both sides to create additional room for pets to stretch and play.
  • The soft-sided design of the Jeff Sitter pet carrier can be adjusted to fit under most airplane seats, thereby conforming with airline requirements.
  • This carrier features a plush fleece pad bottom that is comfortable for pets to lie on; This fleece pad also has a removable cover that makes spot cleaning or gentle machine washing possible.
  • The Jeff Sitter carrier has a top-loading door that can be opened to provide additional room and ventilation, making it easier to place and remove the pet from the carrier.

Cons


  • The Jeff Sitter carrier tends to cave in, as there aren’t enough structural supports to ensure it stands upright when fully open or used.
  • Several customers have claimed that the seams of the carrier can be ripped apart easily due to poor workmanship, giving an opportunity for pets to chew through and escape.

#7 PetAmi Premium Airline Pet Travel Carrier

PetAmi Premium Airline Approved Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier | Ventilated, Comfortable Design with...
  • Designed for the best and most convenient travel experience for you and your cat, dog, and pet! Measures approximately -...
  • YOUR PET WILL TRAVEL IN COMFORT Well ventilated design for optimal airflow and checking on pet, soft cozy sherpa lining...
  • DESIGNED WITH SAFETY IN MIND The bag comes with safety buckle zippers and safety strap to prevent escape. Furthermore,...

The PetAmi premium pet carrier boasts a comfortable and durable high-grade polyester build with a well-ventilated design that guarantees optimal airflow for your pet throughout the trip.

With a weight limit of up to 18 lbs, this PetAmi carrier should fit most small and medium-sized pets. And it comes with a soft, cozy lining, making it possible for pets to relax.

The additional but equally important features of this premium PetAmi carrier include a safety strap and the safety buckle zippers to prevent the pet dog, or try-hard escape artists, from breaking loose.

The carrier also features a stylish, handy name tag that makes it possible to identify pets. Furthermore, it is available in 14 different colors of your choosing to match your style.

The PetAmi premium pet carrier emphasizes comfort, both for the pet and handler, which makes it worth spending the cash on. At any point during the trip, if you’re separated from your pet, the name identification tag feature makes it easier to locate the pet in question.

Pros


  • The PetAmi carrier has multiple mesh windows that provide better ventilation and a view of the surroundings for pets.
  • The carrier features adjustable shoulder straps and comfortable padded handles that make transportation easier.
  • This pet travel carrier has a roomy side mesh pocket and a front pocket that can conveniently hold treats, toys, and other accessories needed to ensure a comfortable journey.
  • Dual zippers located at the sides of the carrier make it possible for pets to travel with their heads out of the carrier.
  • This product features dual side access points that make it more comfortable for pet parents to place and remove their fur babies from the carrier.

Cons


  • The carrier’s mesh material can be chewed through by pets with chewing tendencies, in turn, giving them the opportunity to escape.
  • Surprisingly, this pet carrier tends to cave in after taking it out of storage due to the lack of adequately rigid structural support.

#8 Prodigen Pet Carrier Airline-Approved Pet Carrier

Prodigen Pet Carrier Airline Approved Pet Carrier Dog Carriers for Small Dogs, Cat Carriers for...
  • AIRLINE APPROVED PET CARRIER- ACCEPTED as a SOUTHWEST Airlines Pet Carrier, JETBLUE Pet Carrier, DELTA Pet Carrier Plus...
  • ULTRA-SAFE, EXTRA DURABLE- UPGRADED to REINFORCED Polyester & CLAW-DEFENSE MESH on top & 4 sides ensures your pet has...
  • EASY ACCESS & VENTILATED: Mesh windows on top and all 4 sides provide optimal airflow. Some have zippers to quickly...

When it comes to purchasing a durable and feature-rich pet carrier, you can’t go wrong with the Prodigen airline-approved pet carrier.

The Prodigen carrier’s strong and comfortable design is emphasized by a reinforced polyester build complete with wire meshes on all sides and zippers for easy access to the pet. For easy transportation, the pet carrier has an adjustable padded shoulder strap and carrying handles.

The Prodigen carrier also has a fleece travel bed that keeps the pet comfortable, and to ensure easy maintenance, this travel bed is designed to be removable.

All in all, the Prodigen pet carrier also has a storage compartment which makes it possible to easily keep and access your pet’s treats and toys as needed.

The Prodigen carrier’s sturdy design, no thanks to its 3-layer fabric design, is sure to provide you and, by extension, your pet the maximum value for money. Several features for comfort embedded in the Prodigen carrier also help ensure that your pet has a blissful travel experience.

Pros


  • This Prodigen carrier is designed with a ventilated top and wire mesh on all four sides to ensure that pets enjoy ample airflow.
  • The carrier has a removable waterproof pocket that comes in handy for storing pet supplies; The detachable nature of this pocket also makes it easier to clean.
  • This pet carrier has a padded adjustable strap and carrying handles that make it convenient to carry a pet around.
  • For maximum comfort, the carrier employs a 4-layer pet bed consisting of a woolen mat, foam layer, wooden board, and polyester taffeta, all of which can be easily removed for washing.
  • The Prodigen carrier has multiple openings, which makes it convenient for getting pets in and out.

Cons


  • Customers have reported that the carrier isn’t sturdy enough and that its sides tend to collapse when the door is left open.
  • There has also been feedback from customers that the medium-sized variant of this carrier cannot comfortably hold their small and medium-sized pets.

Airline-Approved Pet Carriers Buyer’s Guide


Before you read about how to buy the best airline dog carrier, there are airplane policies you need to know. Some of the policies include:

What Kind Of Pet Carrier Is Airline-Approved?

  • Adequate size: The dog carrier you may want to use should have sufficient space for your pet. The size should make it easier for the pet to turn around or even lie down.
  • Leakproof: The dog carrier should be leakproof from the floor.
  • Bite-proof: Your carrier should be bite-proof. This is very important for in-cabin travel.
  • Breathable: Every carrier should be breathable if you are placing it under the seat.

The following are the features you should look out for when selecting a pet carrier.

The Lockable Zippers

There are amazing pets that want to explore when they are placed inside a carrier. A carrier with a lockable zipper should be used to keep the pet in check. Some dog carriers even come with clasps or clips to keep the zippers secured.

Durability And Mesh

Scratching, biting, and clawing are some of the attributes of cooped-up pooches. Before you buy that pet carrier, you should consider the mesh. Mesh windows are essential to ensure that your furry friend has lots of ventilation during the flight. 

Floorboard

Pet carrier floorboards have to be sturdy to prevent them from being a hammock. With a floorboard that is washable, taking care of pets is simple. You can clean the floorboard when the pet has messed up the carrier. You can add a blanket to the carrier, too.

The Location Of Doors

Pet carriers’ doors are designed to be either full zip or either half on both ends or one end. Some come with zippers placed on top as well. The use of a zipper is for pets that may find it hard to enter through the carrier door. One of the advantages of a door or zipper is that it is easier to pick up your pets from the carrier.

Expandable

For you to have a great pet carrier, it should be expandable. The expandable areas of a carrier are spacious during flight and have legroom. However, the expandable areas can add weight to the carrier. If you do not mind the extra weight, this feature will be great for you.

There are curious dogs that want to see what is happening around them. Mesh areas can be the best thing that would happen to these pets in the cabin when they are placed in carriers.

Some carriers come with shoulder straps and handlers. Some have attachments for relaxing on top of suitcases that are rolling, while others come with wheels. Personally, a carrier with shoulder straps is the recommended option. This allows you to sling your pet safely over your back. 

You can make use of carriers that are designed as backpacks.

Image from Pet Plate

Airline Sizing Requirements And Pricing Details

United Airlines

​For Hard-Sided Crates: Maximum dimensions are 17.5 inches long by 12 inches wide by 7.5 inches high.

For Soft-Sided Crates: Maximum dimensions are 18 inches long by 11 inches wide by 11 inches high.

Pricing: $125 service charge each way. Additional $125 service charge for stopovers over four hours within the U.S. or 24 hours outside the U.S.

To get more information, visit the United Airlines’ pets travel page.​

American Airlines

​For Hard-Sided Crates: Maximum dimensions are 19 inches long by 13 inches wide by 9 inches high.

For Soft-Sided Crates: Maximum dimensions are 19 inches long by 13 inches wide by 9 inches high.

Pricing: $125 service charge each way.

To get more information, do visit American Airline’s pets travel page.​

Alaskan Airlines

For Hard-Sided Crates: Maximum dimensions are 17 inches long by 11 inches wide by 7.5 inches high.

For Soft-Sided Crates: Maximum dimensions are 17 inches long by 11 inches wide by 9.5 inches high.

Pricing: $100 service charge each way.

To get more information, visit Alaskan Airlines’ pets travel page.​

Delta Airlines

Sizing Info: Maximum dimensions are dependent on your flight and vary from trip to trip. You have to contact Delta’s reservations to determine the exact size.

Pricing: $95 service charge each way.

To get more information, visit Delta Airlines’ pets travel page.

Jet Blue

For Hard- and Soft-Sided Crates: Maximum dimensions are 17 inches long by 12.5 inches wide by 8.5 inches high. The combined weight of both your carrier and your dog cannot exceed 20 lbs.

Pricing: $125 service charge each way.

To get more information, make sure to visit Jet Blue’s pets travel page.

Image from Pet Plate

Southwest Airlines

For Hard- And Soft-Sided Crates: Maximum dimensions are 18.5 inches long by 13.5 inches wide by 8.5 inches high.

Pricing: $95 service charge each way.

To get more information, make sure to visit Southwest Airlines’ pets travel page.

Additional Information To Consider

  • Many airlines recommend that your pet should have a spacious area to stand or lie during travel.
  • The kennels must be in good condition without tears, cracks, or breaks.
  • The number of pets allowed per flight is limited to one or two for business and first-class seating, while four to five are allowed for cabin seating.
  • Your pet is expected to be kept in its carrier throughout the flight duration.
  • Pet owners are not allowed to sit in any row where the under-seat space is not reserved for them.
  • Most airlines prevent snub-nosed dogs from traveling with them.
  • Pets that are not up to eight weeks are not allowed to travel in cabins.
  • Minors are not allowed to fly with pets alone.
  • Your pets should be immunized against rabies before they can enter the U.S.

These are some of the factors you should consider before you fly with your pet. Some carriers have wheels that make your pet carrier easy to move. Do not forget that if your shoulder is weak, you may avoid dog carriers that come in the form of backpacks.

One of the most important things to consider is ventilation. Every airline-approved dog carrier should have proper air circulation to keep the pet in comfort. Often, the cost may not be a decisive factor in choosing the right airline-approved carriers. All of the carriers we have listed can be your choice because they are carefully selected for you.


Final Thoughts


Each of the carriers is amazing and approved by major airlines. However, our top pick fares so much better because of its enhanced durability, thereby increasing the safety of your pet.

The comfort level is also one you should not neglect when it comes to pet carriers. Neglecting a pet’s comfort may lead to restlessness and unwanted movement within the carrier itself. At a reasonable price and the comfort feature it offers, this airline-approved top pick is a complete package and a good value for money.

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Pete Decker