Top 10 Best Airline-Approved Pet Carriers in 2019

Best Airline-Approved Pet Carriers

Are you planning to fly with your pooch? If you are taking your furry buddy with you on your next getaway, you will need the best airline-approved pet carrier!

Thankfully, airlines nowadays permit commuters to board with their pets if they use the appropriate cage.

Since you will have to confine your canine companion for a while, you must get only the best airline-approved pet carrier.

The enclosure will serve as a temporary home while your dog is in transit. Besides, this type of transport is the only acceptable mode of transportation for your pet via air travel.

Airlines have strict animal safety guidelines imposed by the IATA and the USDA.

Regular travel enclosures do not meet these standards in terms of size, design, and security. For instance, regular carriers do not fit appropriately underneath an airplane seat.

Torn mesh and faulty zippers are unforgivable design flaws a majority of containers share. Imagine what could happen if a neurotic dog moves about inside a plane full of passengers!

Therefore, do not book a ticket yet. Get the best airline-approved pet carrier to ensure you enjoy a safe and pleasant journey with your furry buddy!

Take a Quick Peek of Our Best Picks

Best Airline-Approved Pet Carriers Review


17.91 x 6 x 2 in
With Tunnel
With Wheels
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18 x 11 x 11 in
Oxford Melange Grey
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17 x 11 x 10.5 in
Black Lattice
Original Black
Original Brown
Original Plum
Delta Black
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18 x 10.5 x 11 in
Sunset Gray
Twilight Gray
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17.5 x 10 x 11 in
Navy Blue
Blush Tan
Slate Grey
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19 x 10 x 13 in
Sky Blue
Sapphire Blue
Charcoal Gray
Medium Large
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17 x 10.2 x 11.2 in
Dark Gray
Light Blue
Light Gray
Royal Blue
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18 x 10.5 x 11 in
Platinum Gray
Rosa Red
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16.5 x 11.5 x 10 in
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17.7 x 11.8 x 11.8 in/div>
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10 Best Airline-Approved Pet Carriers Reviewed

Pet Peppy Premium Airline-Approved Expandable Pet Carrier with 2-Side Expansion


As the name suggests, this premium pet carrier by Pet Peppy abides by the standards set forth by the IATA.

You can use it in many major airlines. It measures 18 x 13 x 10 inches and weighs about 3.7 pounds (1.67 kg).

The manufacturer has thoughtfully designed its product for the best interest of your furry buddy.

It expands up to 10 inches on each side, creating a cozier sleeping space. This enclosure is also perfect for a pair of small dogs.

Your pooches can stand up, stretch a little, and turn around with care. Just make sure their weight will not exceed 14 pounds. Anyway, fourteen pounds does not sound like much to carry.

The package includes a shoulder strap, but you will not have to take your pet’s weight on your shoulder while you plod through the long airport terminal.

The carrier has a band in which you slip over the handle of your rolling luggage.

Did I mention that this product is the best airline-approved pet carrier with wheels? Yes, this carrier has detachable wheels to boot.

Moreover, there is a mesh window across the top, front, and back area of the enclosure to give your pet adequate ventilation. The expandable sections or “wings” are mesh, too.

The carrier will not sag even when you expand it because it has a robust wireframe to support it.

I also like the quality of the free items. Any dog would love to sleep on the velvety smooth fleece! There is also a pocket to tuck in food packs, treats, toys, leashes, etc.

All that versatility, however, means there are plenty of zippers to close and open. The zippers could get jammed if you close them too fast.

  • An airline-approved carrier that you can also use for car travel and indoor purposes
  • Suitable for a pair of toy dogs or a small dog that weighs not more than 14 lbs.
  • A sturdy metal frame stabilizes the enclosure
  • The expandable wings give extra 20 inches of space
  • There is a tunnel option
  • Includes shoulder straps and detachable wheels with Velcro attachment for convenient transport
  • Has multiple mesh windows for optimum ventilation
  • Comes with a good-quality fleece mat and a food/water bowl
  • You will be dealing with plenty of zippers
  • The mesh is plastic

PETYELLA Airline-Approved Pet Carrier with Free Bowl & Fleece Blanket


Pet carriers for air travel are usually small and confining, but not this one from PETYELLA. Similar to Pet Peppy’s, this enclosure has two expandable sections. The “wings” will give your pet some space to move as he pleases.

The product measures 18 x 11 x 16 inches and 31 x 11 x 18 inches when you unzip the side extensions. The dimensions remain compliant to airline regulations. It weighs about 4.06 (1.84 kg) and has a weight capacity of 11 pounds (5.89 kg).

Another feature that deserves special praise is its durability.

This product may belong to the category of soft-sided crates, but it boasts of a 600-Denier polyester exterior, a solid wireframe, and a reinforced bottom panel. We guarantee this model will not collapse on your beloved pet.

Other things worth mentioning are the rubber studs and the carabiner clip for attaching the D-ring on the shoulder strap.

Also, this model includes fantastic bonus items. You will receive a soft fleece blanket with black paw prints and a collapsible food/water bowl made with non-toxic silicone. Upkeep is a breeze. You can wipe away stains with a wet tissue or a damp cloth. The mat is removable and machine-washable to boot. The bowl is also dishwasher-safe.

This carrier, however, has its share of downsides. It would have been great if you could have a way to lock the zipper in place. And if you will not use the extensions, the carrier will only have two ventilated sides.
  • An airline-approved carrier that has more wriggle room than its competitors
  • Features a 600-Denier polyester exterior, a solid wireframe, and a reinforced bottom panel
  • Has a free fleece blanket and a collapsible food/water bowl
  • Both the carrier and its accessories are easy to clean
  • There are rubber studs at the bottom for longevity
  • Uses sturdy metal hooks and a security clip
  • Available in black, brown, grey, and Oxford Melange Grey
  • Zippers work smoothly, but a smart, naughty pooch can open the door
  • You need to open the “wings” to increase ventilation and visibility

Sherpa Original Deluxe Airline-Approved Pet Carrier


The Deluxe Pet Carrier by Sherpa is among the most popular pet products in the market.

This product has received praise from several notable organizations, including the Humane Society and the ASPCA.

This product comes in three sizes. The small bag measures 15 x 10 x 8.5 inches and has a weight capacity of 8 pounds (3.62 kg).

The large bag measures 17 x 11 x 10.5 inches and can hold a dog weighing up to 16 pounds (7.25 kg).

This carrier may look simple, but its basic features are on point. The comfort level it offers is exemplary.

It has a silky smooth faux lambskin liner that will cradle your pooch to sleep.

The mat is leak-proof, removable, and machine-washable. You do not have to worry that your pet might make puddles inside the plane.

Also, it has wide ventilated sides to keep your pet fresh. The mesh sides will also grant your pooch a good view of its surroundings.

While we do not want our pets to miss the exciting things going around, we do not want them to get out of their carriers, either.

So, hats off to the manufacturer for including locking zippers!

Initially, I do not intend to use this carrier other than transporting my pooch via air travel. But later I found out that I can use it when going on a road trip with my furry buddy.

The bag has a nylon strap that I can attach to a seatbelt. I also appreciate that it has a reinforced handle and bottom. Zippers run smoothly, and they surely zip tight.

  • An airline-approved soft-sided crate
  • Features locking zippers that do not jam
  • Has wide ventilated sides and two entry points
  • The bottom features a rigid board lined with a soft fleecy sheepskin
  • There are two small pockets for tucking in treats, food packs, folded paper towels, etc.
  • The bag has a collapsible design
  • Available in multiple sizes and colors
  • Emits a strong plastic smell after unboxing

Mr. Peanut’s Airline-Approved Soft-Sided Pet Carrier (Platinum Series Tote)


This airline-approved soft-sided crate by Mr. Peanut has to be the chicest way to transport your pooch. If you use this carrier, I bet no one would suspect that you are carrying an animal!

This product measures 18 x 10.4 x 11 inches and has a weight capacity of 15 pounds (6.8 kg).

The bag uses 300-Denier Nylon with PVC coating, which is the same material that the military uses to create parachutes. It will not wrinkle. It also has excellent resistance against water. Likewise, a thin yet robust wire runs along the edges and sides of the bag to give it structure.

What I admire most about this carrier is that it uses the Teslin mesh, which is the most durable and most resilient mesh available. This feature is a godsend for pet parents whose fur-babies are tad spoiled.

As expected of a premium carrier, the zippers are high-quality with self-locking features to boot.

This feature is a breath of fresh air, considering how a majority of fantastic carriers become worthless as soon as a zipper gets broken. Undoubtedly, your pet cannot open the door from the inside!

Moreover, this tote includes a plush fleece pad, a padded shoulder strap, a storage compartment, and an ID tag.

You can order this bag in Twilight Grey and Sunset Grey. Both variations have Vegan leatherette handles and highlights.

  • One of the most stylish airline-approved carriers
  • Doubles as a car travel carrier (equipped with a seat belt buckle attachment)
  • Uses rugged Teslin mesh
  • Designed with a ventilated top and breathable mesh windows on four sides
  • Uses high-quality zippers with a self-locking feature to prevent pets from opening the bag from the inside
  • Includes a removable faux fleece bedding enclosed in a 3.5-centimeter plywood base
  • Has a zippered pocket and a storage pouch
  • Made of eco-friendly materials
  • Backed with a 2-year warranty
  • An expensive choice

Pawfect Pets Airline-Approved Soft-Sided Pet Carrier with 2 Fleece Mats


The Pawfect Pets Airline-Approved Pet Carrier boasts of reinforced polyester construction. It measures 17.5 x 11 x 10 inches, but disappointingly, it only has one size.

The manufacturer claims that the mesh has “claw defense,” but they fail to state what material they use to make it so. Nevertheless, the carrier has two access points.

You can find one in the front and the other on the top. Top loading is beneficial if you have an uncooperative pup.

This compact carrier is well thought out. I like how I can keep my pet securely contained, but at the same time, he can poke his head out. There is a tiny zippered window at the center.

The zippers have mini buckles to ensure your canine companion cannot escape. There is also a leash inside that you clip onto your dog’s collar.

Moreover, the interior of the bag is plush and cozy.

There are two fleece mats included in the package. You may choose to use both altogether or use them alternately. The bag has reflective strips and storage pockets, too.

Pawfect would have been perfect if this model could hold its shape longer. If you use it too frequently, the sides will slightly collapse within a few weeks. When the seams broke, I realized that it has a plastic frame rather than wire.
  • A compact and airline-approved pet carrier
  • Has a small zippered window at the center, so your pup can have a look-see
  • Provides double entries
  • The zippers have mini buckles for added security
  • There is a leash to help contain an excited pet
  • Includes reflective strips for increased visibility in low light
  • Comes with two fleece mats
  • May lose its shape within a few months
  • A destructive pet may still rip the mesh with

EliteField Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Pet Carrier


The EliteField Pet Carrier is ideal for pet parents on a tight budget. There are two sizes available for this model.

The medium size measures 19 x 10 x 13 inches, while the large size measures 19 x 10 x 13 inches.

What makes this product shine is its affordable durability. The bag consists of sturdy and lightweight materials. The mesh of the carrier is thicker compared to other products within the same price range. Stitching is on point, too.

The bag opens on both ends. At one end, the zipper opens down to provide entrance/exit to your pet. But the zipper only opens halfway on one end, giving your pooch just enough space to bob its head.

Moreover, the bag has a removable fleece bed with an insertable board. This feature will keep the bottom of the carrier strong enough to support your pet’s weight for many years to come.

The bag also has a handle that holds both its carrying straps together while toting. It has a padded shoulder option, too.

But other than the base, there is no wire or plastic frame that supports this carrier.

  • An affordable airline-approved carrier with a buckle belt loop for car travel
  • Offers the best value within its price range
  • Uses a thick, coated mesh
  • Equipped with a padded shoulder strap and a handle that holds the carrying straps when toting
  • Has two storage pockets
  • Features a petting panel
  • Backed with a 3-year warranty
  • Available in multiple sizes and vibrant color options
  • There is no frame to support the carrier

PetAmi Premium Airline-Approved Soft-Sided Pet Carrier


The PetAmi Premium Airline-Approved Soft-Sided Carrier caters to a small dog weighing not more than 12 pounds (5.44 kg).

This model measures 19.5 x 10.2 x 12 inches and weighs only 2.12 pounds (0.96 kg). The manufacturer also offers a smaller size. There are eight shades to choose from as well.

Comfort makes things easier amidst the stress of traveling, so I am thrilled how cozy the Sherpa lining is for my canine passenger!

At the same time, the ventilated design of the carrier provides optimal airflow. Not to mention, there are padded handles and an adjustable shoulder strap and to give you comfort.

Moreover, durability is also one of its selling points. The bag boasts of a high-grade polyester construction. It also includes a safety buckle and leash for added security.

  • An airline-approved made with high-grade polyester
  • Comes with a Sherpa-lined bed
  • Features a ventilated design for better airflow and increased visibility
  • Has dual side access points for easy entry/exit
  • Equipped with padded handles and an adjustable shoulder strap
  • Zippers have safety buckles to prevent pets from escaping
  • Includes an ID tag and a collapsible water/food bowl
  • The D-ring and shoulder strap buckle is plastic, which might eventually break

Mr. Peanut’s Airline-Approved Soft-Sided Pet Carrier (Gold Series Tote)


This luxury tote from Mr. Peanut’s Gold Series is the love child of style and functionality. It boasts of a military-grade nylon exterior.

Thus, it is waterproof, lightweight, and easy to clean. Most importantly, the carrier is secure and resilient enough to protect your precious cargo.

Security is the biggest attraction of this carrier. Self-locking zippers are there to eliminate the need for unreliable clasps. Rest assured your pooch cannot push the tote from the inside.

The enclosure also includes a short leash to tether your pet inside. This carrier also doubles as a car travel carrier because it has seat belt attachments in it.

Moreover, there is a large mesh window on top of the bag to provide your pet with ample ventilation.

There is also a smaller mesh window at one side for visibility.

You will also find a tiny zippered window on the opposite side so that you can pat your pet anytime.

Similar to the Platinum Series tote under the same brand, this product uses the Teslin mesh as well.

Furthermore, this bag caters to pets that weigh up to 15 pounds (6.80 kg). As for color, you can choose among Platinum Grey, Deja Blue, Rosa Red, and Purple.

  • Comes with a thick and plush faux fleece bedding
  • A classy and versatile airline-approved pet carrier made of military-grade nylon with PVC coating for enhanced water resistance and durability
  • Uses Teslin mesh for maximum abrasion resistance
  • Equipped with a seat belt buckle attachments, luggage straps, and padded shoulder straps with sturdy metal connectors
  • Windows have privacy covers
  • Uses high-quality zippers with a self-locking mechanism to prevent pets from opening the bag from the inside
  • Has a plywood base insert for added support enclosed by a thick and luxurious faux fleece bedding
  • Has zippered mesh pockets for storing accessories
  • Made of eco-friendly materials
  • More expensive compared to other carriers from the Platinum Series

Ytonet Dog Backpack Carrier


Not everyone fancies carrying a soft-sided carrier like a purse or a shoulder bag. Do you think it is too feminine for your Doberhuahua?

Kidding aside, check out this cool doggie backpack by Ytonet! This sturdy rucksack highlights an eco-friendly polyester construction to withstand the brunt of your canine companion.

The bag fits any dog weighing up to 18 pounds (8.16 kg).

Fur-papas and fur-mamas who love cycling, hiking, or camping will also enjoy the versatility of this bag! It has thickly cushioned shoulder straps. This feature will help take away some weight off your shoulder as you carry your pooch.

Moreover, it has a generously-sized top opening where your dog can stick its head out. Do not worry that your dog might jump. There is a leash inside to attach your dog’s collar.

Likewise, the bottom zipper has a locking function. This feature will prevent your dog from chasing a stray squirrel and whatnot.

  • Made with eco-friendly and scratch-resistant polyester
  • Has a front mesh entrance and a wide top entrance that lets your dog stick its head out
  • Has four breathable mesh windows
  • You can attach your dog’s collar to the interior leash
  • The bottom zipper is lockable
  • Has a zippered pocket on both sides for storing accessories
  • Folds flat for easy storage
  • Equipped with adjustable shoulder straps that have extra-thick padding
  • Also perfect for cycling, hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities
  • Some airlines may not approve this type of carrier



Now, let us make way for the sturdiest product on this list, the STURDI Products Pet Carrier! As the name suggests, this bag is downright sturdy. Unsurprisingly, it is also the most expensive one.

Durably built with 600-Denier polyester, this bag is perfect for pet owners with itchy feet! You can trot the entire world and still end up with a carrier that looks as good as new.

Your canine companion will find comfort on the fleece pad inside. The fuzzy mat, by the way, has fasteners, so it will not scrunch or crumple. The bag has multiple mesh windows and doors for optimum airflow. Likewise, there are privacy flaps on all mesh areas that you can roll down should your pooch needs some “me time.”

This product is so robust that it has got to be the best airline-approved pet carrier for a 25 lb. dog!

It also works for a 30-pound dog if your shoulders can take it, of course. Additionally, this carrier comes with a four-point padded shoulder strap, a detachable safety harness, and zipper security clips. There are also back storage pockets to tuck in some pet essentials.

Furthermore, the carrier’s best feature is its award-winning “flex-height design.” The tension rods of the bag compresses conveniently to fit the required space of a plane’s seat. Then you can pop the carrier back again to its original size.
  • A TSA-compliant carrier that compresses conveniently to fit underneath any plane seat
  • Built with 600-Denier polyester
  • The bottom is robust enough to support pets up to 30 lbs. (13.6 kg)
  • Doubles as a pet carrier for car travel
  • Complete with a detachable harness and zipper clips for security
  • Equipped with a four-point padded shoulder strap for pet parents that are on the go
  • Has a well-ventilated design that keeps your furry buddy cool
  • The luxurious fleece pad has fasteners to keep it in place
  • Very expensive

Best Airline-Approved Pet Carrier Buying Guide

All products in the above list have met the broad standards set by the IATA (International Air Transport Association). But because each airline has its own rules, you need to check in with your airline beforehand.

How to Choose an Airline-Friendly Carrier

Relevant Guidelines

Carrier regulations vary on your seating arrangement and your flight destination.

Generally, airlines prohibit pets in first class and business class. Some airlines will only transport dogs only as cargo.

If your airline does not allow your pooch as a ticketed passenger, you need to look through airline-approved pet carriers for cargo, instead.


The carrier should fit underneath an airplane seat. But some airlines have specific measurements for the length, width, and height of a carrier.

Pet carriers 8.5 inches high are often preferable. Nevertheless, that does not mean you should compromise your dog’s comfort. Your canine companion should be able to stand, turn around, and lie comfortably in a natural position.

Otherwise, you need to transport your dog as checked-in baggage. This option is much better than getting cooped up in a torturous enclosure.

Maximum Airline Sizing Requirements and Service Fee for Soft-Sided Carriers
Maximum sizing requirements
Service fee
United Airlines
18 x 11 x 11 inches
$125 each way +
$125 for stopovers over 4 hours
American Airlines

19 x 13 x 9 inches
$125 each way
Alaskan Airlines
17 x 11 x 7.5
$100 each way
Delta Airlines
Varies from trip to trip
$125 each way
Jet Blue
17 x 12.5 x 8.5 inches
$125 each way
Southwest Airlines
18.5 x 13.5 x 8.5
$95 each way


Most airlines permit dogs as carry-ons if they weigh no more than 15 pounds. Whereas others allow dogs up to 30 pounds.

Again, each airline has its own rules.


Ventilation is a crucial element that makes an airline-approved carrier. The enclosure should have at least two mesh panels to promote airflow.

This feature will also give your little pal with excellent visibility of his surroundings.


You do not want your pet to make a massive hole out of the carrier or escape through the mesh. Bored or anxious pets are prone to mindless chewing and scratching.

So, consider the materials used to make the product. A sturdy product may cost more upfront, but it will save you money in the long run. Most importantly, it will give you peace of mind while you are traveling with your canine passenger.

Safety Measures

Of course, your beloved pet’s safety is a primary concern. A carrier supported by a robust metal framework has more stability and strength.

It will hold its shape. Your pet stays safe inside in case there is minor turbulence. The doors of the carrier should have locking mechanisms, too.

Sturdy Floorboard

Choose a carrier with a rugged bottom. Otherwise, it will turn into a hammock in no time. The floorboard should also have a cozy and waterproof lining.

Convenient Features

You will be walking the airport terminal with a few extra pounds on your shoulders. So, you will want a carrier with well-padded shoulder straps or an ergonomic handle. Detachable wheels are also convenient to have in a carrier.

However, you need to remove them once you are boarding the plane. As always, pockets are great to have, especially when they have zippers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size carrier will fit under the seat?

You would do well to verify size policies before you decide which product to purchase. Airlines will specify the dimensions on their websites. A few will mention weight capacity, while others will notify their passengers their preferred length, width, and height.

What does it an IATA/TSA/FAA-approved carrier mean?

A carrier with IATA/TSA/FAA compliance means it has a design suitable for short and long-haul flights. Whether it is a three-hour domestic flight or a 12-hour transcontinental journey, the airline crew should be able to monitor and care for their canine passengers throughout the trip. Such a carrier has the required features imposed by the organizations, as mentioned earlier. These features include a sturdy and leakproof bottom, multiple ventilation panels, and locking mechanisms, among others.

How do I know which is the right-sized carrier for my pet?

You will have to measure your pet using a string. Let your dog stand erect. Using the rope, measure your pet from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail. Then measure the string. The result will be the length of your pet. Next, measure your pet from the top of its head to the floor. Your dog’s measurements should be a few centimeters shorter than the carrier.


Our pets are incredibly smart and curious, but you do not want them exploring the aisles during a flight. That is why you need the best airline-approved pet carrier that will serve as a temporary retreat for your pooch.

All of the products on the list, as mentioned earlier, are amazing choices complete with safety measures and well-thought designs, among others. After all, they are not airline-approved carriers without good reason.

Inarguably, STURDI PRODUCTS Pet Carrier is the best option among the soft-sided carriers in the list. This product has all the right elements that make up an exemplary carrier for air travel. Because airlines have varying size requirements, you can collapse the container into a lower height when need be.

Unfortunately, many pet parents cannot afford it. So, that leads us to the Pet Peppy Premium Airline-Approved with expandable features. This carrier is still durable. Your pooch will love the extra room and ventilation offered by the side extensions. Likewise, it makes for a convenient option for you, thanks to its detachable wheels and shoulder straps.

Nevertheless, this article review aims only to provide you with pointers. In the end, you will need to tailor things for your pet’s benefit as well as your own.

Hopefully, we have made the decision making less stressful so you can enjoy a pleasant trip with your pet ASAP!

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