Traveling with a dog can mean traveling with a lot of dog accessories. But, if you’re planning to travel via airplane with your dog, then it can also mean a lot of research into airline restrictions, rules, and guidelines – which can vary from airliner to airliner. My guide of the best airline-approved pet carriers should help you to decide on the method of transportation for your dog that suits you the most.
In this guide, I have featured airline-approved pet carriers of various materials and price points, and all of those listed I would be happy to use for my own dog. Some pet carriers have some great features, and some are even multi-use, which means they can be used on the subway, for trips to the vets, or to allow your dog to join you on a hike.
Unfortunately, although we love our big breeds at Canine Weekly, this guide is more directed to small and medium breeds – for obvious reasons! I will explain how to travel via airplane with a large breed further on. But first, let’s have a peek at the 10 best airline-approved pet carriers I have chosen.
At a Glance: 10 Best Airline Approved Pet Carrier Reviews
- Coopeter Airline Approved Dog Carrier – Our #1 Top Pick
- Henkelion Pet Carrier – Our Top Budget Pick
- morpilot Pet Travel Carrier Bag
- UG Airline Approved Pet Carrier
- PetsHome Pet Carrier – Small
- X-ZONE PET Pet Carrier for Dog and Cats
- PetAmi Airline Approved Dog Purse Carrier
- YKB Fashion Pet Carrier
- Johomviin Foldable Pet Carrier
- Petpeppy.com, The Original Airline, Approved Expandable Pet Carrier
What About Larger Dogs?
Traveling on airplanes with larger breeds is a different ball game. They cannot travel with their owner for a start, so for dogs with anxiety, this can be a real issue. There are anxiety supplements that may benefit a dog during this stressful time, but for severely anxious dogs traveling in cargo could just be too distressing.
If you have a trained or certified support or service dog – with legitimate documentation, they may be permitted to travel in-cabin with their owner. If this is not the case, then there are a few things to consider, and these are as follows:
Larger breeds will need a large portable kennel, a water dispenser and could benefit from a kennel travel kit. Because of the larger crate, the cargo fee (which is based on weight and size), as well as possible ground transportation fees, this will mean that it is considerably more expensive to travel via airplane with a larger breed.
Not every aircraft will be able to transport a large pet crate, so you would need to check before booking that the airplane can accommodate your large breed. This may mean your St.Bernard or Great Dane may be unable to travel out of smaller airports where smaller planes are the standard.
Certain states have bans or restrictions on certain breeds, so if you have a larger breed subject to state limitations, it is better to know sooner rather than later. It could be that your dog could be seized, incurring much expense and extreme distress.
As well as breed restrictions, there will also be differing documentation and immunizations required by different states. Find out what this could mean for you here.
Now, back to what we’re here for.
10 Best Airline Approved Pet Carriers[sc name=”pet-carriers”]
1. Coopeter Airline Approved Dog Carrier – Our #Top Pick
The #1 Pick is the Coopeter Airline Approved Dog Carrier, and there is so much I love about this carrier. It is easy to carry and feels extremely stable when doing so due to the strong metal and durable materials used in construction. There are hand-carry straps, an adjustable shoulder strap, and the carrier can also go on wheels for easy push or pull transport.
The carrier folds flat for convenient storage, and the four-wheeled platform is entirely detachable. The included pet fleece bed is fully removable and machine-washable, which is a great feature. Because of the four-sided mesh, owners and dogs can interact during travel, and this also provides great ventilation too.
The Coopeter dog carrier is airline approved, and the dimensions are 22.6-in x 12.6-in x 3.39-in, with a weight of 7.45 lb.
Coopeter offers a 100% refund if you are not happy with this purchase.
2. Henkelion Pet Carrier – Our Top Budget Buy!
With 5 color options, the Henkelion Pet Carrier is sure to have a design to suit any preference. There are two size options too, medium and large. The medium Pet Carrier is suitable for pets up to 15 lbs and has dimensions of 15-in x 9-in x 9-in, which are airline approved.
The large Pet Carrier can accommodate pets that weigh up to 25 lbs, but with dimensions of 18-in x 12-in x 12-in, this size carrier is not airline approved.
The adjustable shoulder strap means that you can carry your dog through the airport hands-free, making transporting your own luggage in addition more simple. The carrier is made from durable and lightweight polyester but feels safe and secure in transit. Pets are comfortable too and have excellent ventilation and visibility due to the four-side anti-scratch mesh design.
Inside this carrier, there is a cozy fleece pet bed, which is removable and can be machine washed. You can use the shoulder handle to secure the carrier in a vehicle, by placing this over a headrest provides safety on the road. The carrier can fit snugly under your airplane seat, and the safety leash inside means that dogs will remain secure in the air.
3. morpilot Pet Travel Carrier Bag
Included with the morpilot Pet Travel Carrier Bag is a folding water bowl (in blue) and a soft interior cushion. The carrier is made from durable polyester and retains its shape due to a support board. A great feature is the addition of a storage pocket on the outside, great to keep treats in as encouragements or rewards during travel.
Three sides of the carrier have breathable mesh netting to provide good ventilation and the ability to interact with your dog during travel. The outer fabric can be brushed or wiped clean, and the interior bed is hand-wash recommended. Owners can use it as a shoulder bag or tote bag.
I like the two-entry system; pets can walk in or out of the side entrance or be lifted in or out of the opening on the top of the carrier. For this affordable price point, the features and the sturdiness are exceptional, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use this for road or air travel with my smaller dogs.
The carrier is airline-approved in this size and fits comfortably under an airplane seat. It is suitable for dogs and other pets up to 15lbs, and the dimensions are 17.3-in x 12.2-in x 13.4-in. The brand retails two different-sized carriers that are not airline approved, so ensure that you check the measurements before adding to the basket.
4. UG Airline Approved Pet Carrier
The convenience of the UG Airline Approved Pet Carrier for airline travel is what drew me to it; it looks every bit like a small suitcase on wheels you would regularly travel via plane with, except it can comfortably and safely accommodate your dog. The trolley is also removable, and with padded shoulder and back straps, as well as waist and chest buckles, there are many ways to use this carrier.
The firm bottom of the carrier can be removed to collapse it flat when not in use, and it comes with a comfy sherpa-lined sleeping pad that can also be removed to wash. This carrier feels exceptionally sturdy due to its reinforced structure and widened design – the space inside is highly generous for an airline-approved carrier, and the price is more than reasonable.
There are two entry/exit points; up/down and left/right, a zip-up mesh window, and the design is well ventilated so that pets have good airflow and owners can keep an eye on them during travel. When using as a trolley, the telescoping handle (which is industrial grade aluminum) and high-quality polyurethane easy-motion wheels provide simple maneuvering.
The UG Carrier is suitable for dogs and small pets that weigh up to 20 lb and has dimensions of 17-in x 13.4-in x 15.7-in. There is also a collapsible pet bowl included with the purchase, and the brand offers a 60 days free return.
5. PetsHome Pet Carrier – Small
The PetsHome Pet Carrier – Small has 10 different color options for the fashion-conscious owner and pampered pooch and looks like a very stylish handbag. Think Paris Hilton and a Chihuahua! Made of premium PU leather with a gold studded finish, this is a durable, waterproof, sturdy, and fashionable carrier.
The roof has a full zip opening with a fixed inside leash, which means that you can safely stroke your dog throughout the journey. I find this feature extremely useful for owners with nervous or anxious dogs. Inside the bag, dogs can rest comfortably on the soft pad (included). Ventilation is good due to the breathable mesh on the carrier’s front, back, and sides.
The carrier arrives in three pieces to assemble at home; this takes around a minute and couldn’t be simpler. When the carrier is not in use, it is completely collapsible, and the interior sleeping pad can be removed to wash. This is suitable for toy, miniature, and small breeds under 13 lb and has dimensions of 15.7-in x 7.9-in x 9.5-in, making it airline approved.
6. X-ZONE PET Pet Carrier for Dog and Cats
With a highly affordable price tag, the X-ZONE PET Pet Carrier for Dogs and Cats is packed with features you really wouldn’t expect at this price point. I was impressed with the metal frame, and how much stability this provides when carrying. Often with lower-priced products, they can feel flimsy or in danger of collapse, and this just isn’t the case with this carrier.
The X-ZONE carrier is suitable for pets up to 15 lb and has dimensions of 17-in x 11.5-in x 11-in. It is easy to set up, simply done in a matter of seconds and folds down flat to store conveniently at home. There are three entrances, making it easy for dogs to access, and the unzip top entry means that dogs can have their heads out for total visibility.
Even when the dog is inside the carrier, and it is zipped up, due to the full mesh design, visibility is excellent for the owner and dog. It can be easily secured in a vehicle and fit comfortably under an airplane seat too. There are two ways to carry this carrier, either by the comfortable carrying handles or the adjustable shoulder strap. This carrier comes with a cozy fleece pad.
7. PetAmi Airline Approved Dog Purse Carrier
With a unique head hole on the side of the carrier, the PetAmi Airline Approved Dog Purse Carrier is perfectly suited to the more nosey dog! It measures 17-in x 8-in x 11-in and has a weight capacity of 12 lb. The ventilation is perfect; the design allows for airflow throughout travel plus the top of the bag opens up fully for a convenient entry and for owners to calm a dog.
Many of these carriers come with interior beds, but this one is exceptionally comfortable and fully sherpa – not sherpa-lined. There is also a water/snack bowl included which is collapsable. Owners can carry the bag by hand or over the shoulder for a hands-free experience.
The carrier is made from 600D high-grade polyester and feels more expensive than it is. There are no price increases for different color options, too – of which there are five.
Inside the carrier, there is a safety hook and zipper buckle to ensure that dogs are secure, and the frame positioned at the top of the bag prevents it from sliding inwards or collapsing during travel. There are two storage pockets, front and back, where you could store some calming treats to give when needed.
8. YKB Fashion Pet Carrier
Another option for the pampered pooch and stylish owner is the YKB Fashion Pet Carrier. This is a sturdy, hard-sided construction made from smooth PU leather with a striking bone and key design. The fixed leash inside prevents escape, and the inside is also soft-padded, though without an actual bed.
This is for the smallest of the small, with dimensions of 16.5-in x 11.4-in x 7-inch and a weight capacity of just 8lbs, breeds who can use this are very limited. But, those who can will enjoy a comfortable and secure journey, and the fact that dogs can fully have their heads out of the bag during travel is a great feature.
The bag is waterproof and foldable, with a mesh design; it is a convenient, safe, and stylish solution for those with tiny dogs who want to travel via airplane. There isn’t a shoulder strap, but the carry handles are thick and comfortable to hold, and I found the two storage pockets to be larger and more durable than in some other carriers. The metal zips are of high quality.
9. Johomviin Foldable Pet Carrier
The Johomviin Foldable Pet Carrier is an excellent choice for those who often travel with their dog, whether it be on the subway, walking, via a car, or on an airplane. It is incredibly durable due to the high-quality PU leather and waterproof Oxford Cloth materials. It has so many storage pockets that the convenience of this carrier is just super.
With dimensions of 16.5-in x 7.9-in x 11.8-in, it is airline-approved and suitable for dogs under 12 lb. As a dog owner with children and my own paraphernalia to travel with, I cannot fault the five inner and outer pockets of varying sizes to house different items such as keys, cell phones, poop bags, and treats – to name, but a few.
There is a safety hook inside the bag and a cushioned pad to keep pets comfortable. This isn’t fleece-lined, but comfortable and soft never-the-less. The umbrella design at the rear is entirely unique and means that the carrier can cope well with harsh and wet conditions. The shoulder strap is comfortable too and allows for hands-free travel.
10. Petpeppy.com The Original Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier
There is so much to appreciate with the Petpeppy.com, The Original Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier. My favorite feature is how the carrier expands to allow dogs to sprawl out fully for optimum comfort during travel. The ventilation is immense and throughout the entirety of the carrier, which has been designed with safe, eco-friendly, and durable materials.
The interior bed is possibly the plushest of those featured in this post and made of a plush faux fleece. The outer material is nylon, offering excellent breathability and durability; it is also a waterproof fabric. There are double zippers on the top and sides of the bag, and the dual expansion feature means that you can instantly create more room for your dog if needed.
The interior houses a washable liner, in addition to the bed, and a leash ring to hook the leash to and guarantee security for your dog during travel, and the interior storage pockets are generous too. The carrier also arrives with a complimentary pet bowl. Consumers are offered a 100% refund if they’re not satisfied with this carrier.
My Verdict: Best Airline Approved Pet Carrier
Although the carriers that I have featured in this post all state that they’re airline approved, this will mean for most major airlines. I strongly recommend confirming the measurements with your chosen airline to avoid disappointment.
Every carrier listed has its own unique qualities, but I prefer the Coopeter Airline Approved Dog Carrier as a multi-use, convenient and stable transport device for my dogs.
This is based on personal preferences only. I appreciate there are more features with other carriers, such as complimentary beds and liners (as is the case with Petpeppy.com, The Original Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier), and more fashionable designs like the PetsHome Pet Carrier – Small, and the YKB Fashion Pet Carrier.