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5 New Airline-Approved Pet Bag – All Time Best Pet Carrier

Flying with your pet is a furry luxury that requires its share of homework. Regulations on bringing your pooch or feline aboard an airplane include providing updated paperwork as well as adhering to baggage requirements. What type of pet bag or carrier you need depends on if your animal companion is traveling with you in the cabin of the plane or in the cargo hold – unfortunately, only dogs that can fit under the seat in front of you are allowed in the plane cabin. This policy excludes service animals.

Other safety rules dictate that your pet must be able to fully stand up in the carrier and fit comfortably inside. The size of your pet carrier is ultimately dependent on your airline, so check the dimension requirements with your specific airline prior to purchasing.

Depending on which airline you fly with, the pet policy may vary. Use the links below to find more information on the specific pet policies for the following U.S.-based airlines:

Bringing your cat or dog with you on your next flight, but not sure which pet carrier is best – or allowed? Start with this list of the top airline-approved pet carriers for your jet-setting four-legged friends.

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5 New Airline-Approved Pet Bag

1. Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier


This Sherpa carrier is renowned for its reliable functionality and amazing value. Beyond a patented, crash-tested flexible wire frame that keeps your little buddy safe, Sherpa provides a money-back guarantee for getting your pet onto the plane. The program, called Guaranteed on Board, works with a number of airlines to ensure its line of pet travel carriers meets the strictest standards.

This 17 x 10.5 x 11-inch mesh-and-polyester bag is an industry standard. Recent travelers say the medium carrier fits well under the seat and keeps their pets comfortable while traveling.

2. Petmate 2-Door Kennel

pet bag


This hard-plastic and steel wire carrier is tough enough to protect your cargo-contained cat but small enough to make them feel safe and secure. Two doors assist with entering and exiting, and color options like hot pink with black will make them easy to spot. The dimensions of the larger size are 24.05 x 16.75 x 14.5 inches, and assembly is straightforward.

This pet carrier is best suited for an animal 5 to 15 pounds. As with most hard-plastic crates, you will have to purchase a plush bed separately. Recent travelers express that they are happy with the quality of the kennel and find it easy to assemble.

3. SportPet Rolling Plastic Kennel

pet bag


Any furry friends larger than about 20 pounds will likely have to travel in cargo if they do not service animals. You’ll want a very sturdy dog crate for the journey that meets every regulation, and SportPet’s kennel passes the test. From durable plastic with metal nuts and bolts to removable wheels and tie holes for bungees, this pet carrier will protect your doggo on its journey.

This carrier approved by IATA comes with two snap-on dishes and four stickers that indicate it has a live animal inside; a “floor gutter” contains messes for easy cleanup. The extra-large size measures 35.5 x 23.75 x 26.75 inches. A cushioned bed is not included and costs extra. Owners of this kennel appreciate the sturdy construction, the fact that it meets airline regulations, and the easy-to-install wheels.

4. Snoozer 4-in-1 Roll Around Pet Carrier


Wheels just make life easier, especially for lugging bags − and animals − through the airport. Protect your back with this pet-carrying roller bag from Snoozer Pet Products. This dog or cat carrier is not a one-trick pony: It also converts into a backpack, car seat, carrier, and bed.

A bit on the large side, the full dimensions of the medium size are 20 x 14 x 11 inches, which accommodates pets up to 15 pounds. Choose from sleek black or a more visible red. Pet owners say the carrier rolls smoothly, it’s well constructed and their pets love it. Snoozer offers a 30-day return policy and a one-year warranty.

5. PetAmi Backpack Pet Carrier


Go hands-free with this PetAmi backpack-style carrier. A sturdy frame maintains its shape while you traipse through airport terminals, with chest and waist straps for extra support. Four-sided access makes loading easy, and a rollaway mesh top means your furry friend can stick their head out the top for some air.

Five safety buckles will thwart even great escape artists, and a sherpa-lined bed will entice your fur baby to relax. Dimensions are 12.5 x 10.2 x 16.3 inches, and the backpack carrier’s variety of color options includes red and purple. Store this bag on its side in the plane cabin. Travelers with pets appreciate the soft fleece lining and the way the backpack retains its shape.

Buying Guide

Start by Choosing the Best Size for Your Pet

Your main objective is to find the perfect carrier that is large enough to give your pet room, yet small enough to meet airline requirements and fit in your plane, bus, or train’s storage areas. “[You need] to make sure your pet is not squashed,”

Dr. Hohenhaus says. “The carrier should be big enough to let your pet move around a bit — but isn’t so big you can’t carry it. It’s good to have a carrier big enough for a mat, blanket, or something comfy to fit in as well.”

It’s worth keeping in mind that airlines limit pet carry-ons to 17.5 x 12 x 7.5 inches. If you’re planning to check your pet carrier as cargo, the carrier must be compliant with International Air Transport Association regulations and meet a host of other requirements.

Choose a Carrier That Works for Your Mode of Transportation

In addition to the requirements above, most airlines also require pet carriers to fit comfortably under plane seats. That said, we suggest a soft side carrier if you plan to keep your pet in the cabin with you — it’s much easier to fold and bend a soft carrier down to fit under a seat than it is with a hard side carrier.

Taking your pet on a train? Amtrak requires pet carriers to be under 20 pounds and dimensions of 19 inches long by 14 inches wide by 10.5 inches high. Keep in mind carriers must also be stowed under the seats for train travel.

Check Airline and FAA Requirements Ahead of Travel

Because certain airlines don’t allow pets to travel in the cabin with their owners at all, the FAA suggests calling the airline you’re traveling with prior to your trip.

The FAA and most airlines require pet carriers to be stowed securely throughout the duration of the trip and for pets to fit comfortably in their carrier (they can turn around and stand without touching the sides or top of the carrier).

Look for Features Specific to You, Your Pet, and Your Trip

While there are exceptions, soft side carriers tend to work best for plane and train travel, especially if you plan on keeping your pet in the cabin with you. Soft carriers are easier to fit under seats and keep properly stowed, and they generally take up less space. If you’ll be checking your pet carrier as cargo, make sure to have a hard carrier and follow these guidelines.

When it comes to carrier doors and openings, Dr. Hohenhaus recommends going for convenience rather than style. “I like carriers that open on the top,” she says. “The opening is bigger than those with a front door, and I can examine… the pet in the carrier through the open top door.” She adds that, when it comes down to it, it’s totally up to the owner and the pet.


How long can a pet stay in a carrier?

According to Dr. Meg Summers of Heart of Chelsea Veterinary Group in New York City, the number of times pets can stay in carriers depends on their age. “Ideally, any pet six months and older should be in a carrier or crate for no longer than eight to nine hours at a time,” she says. “If the pet is under six months, it’s recommended [they stay in their carrier] no longer than four to five hours.”

How can I make my pet comfortable and at ease in a carrier?

An easy way to keep pets happy in their carriers is to drop in a few treats and toys. It’s also wise to spend a few weeks getting your pet used to their carrier before you travel. “Leave the pet carrier out in your home or apartment with the door open and make sure there is a comfy blanket inside,” Dr. Hohenhaus says. “Every day put a few treats in there and it will be much easier to load your pet in the carrier.”

What should I put in a carrier?

As mentioned above, you can’t go wrong with small treats and toys. Consider also throwing in a blanket your pet is familiar with, a shirt that carries your scent, and extra padding if the bottom of the carrier is thin or hard. As far as bowls of food and water go, Dr. Summers suggests keeping those out of the carrier.

“There already is not a lot of space, and often, it can create more of a mess inside the carrier that the pet has to be in,” she says. “If [water] is in the form of a water bottle, like for a hamster, and the pet is acclimated to using it, that is okay, but typically I find it is best to just let them drink a little right before the flight, then offer them food and water as soon as the flight is over.”

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