9 Best Airline Approved Pet Carriers Reviewed

What’s better than a vacation to an exotic beach, a mountainside resort, or a fancy city break? Bringing your dog along with you of course!

For that, you’re going to need an airline approved pet carrier.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reported in 2017 over 500,000 pets flew with US carriers; Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines flying over 300,000 of these pets combined.

There are 17 air carriers in the US who are licensed to transport pets, however, each airline has their own in-cabin pet carrier requirements with size, breed and weight restrictions as well as design requirements (e.g. ventilation and leak proof).

In this article our team of dog experts review the best nine dog carriers and give a compatibility rating for every major US airline to help you find the best airline approved pet carrier for your dog.

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Our Picks

Airline Approved Pet Carrier Our Rating Price Range
Premium Snoozer Wheel Around Pet Travel Carrier 4.5 star $$$
All-rounder Sturdi Products Pet Carrier 5 star $$
Budget Pet Peppy Expandable Pet Carrier
5 star $

Airline Approved Pet Carrier Feature

Premium Airline-Approved Pet Carriers

1. Pet Carrier on Wheels Airline Approved

Our Verdict: The best premium airline approved pet carrier
4.5 star

Snoozer Wheel Around Pet Carrier

Snoozer Wheel Around Pet Travel Carrier
Snoozer Wheel Around Pet Travel Carrier

This Pet Travel Carrier features a spacious area for your dog, moderate access size and four possible layout configurations. These four layouts make fitting your dog beneath the seat infront easy giving dog plenty of space.

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The carrier works best for toy or small sized dogs weighing no more than 15lb. The interior dimensions would make it difficult for a dog any larger to fit comfortably.

Offering comfort for your dog, and versatility with its design (which makes transport stress free and easy) this stroller inspired pet carrier is a great choice.

There is a larger variant of the Snoozer Wheel, which has much more room, more storage pockets, and even stronger durable microfiber.

Although extremely useful for long-haul flights, most airliners will not accept the carrier being under the seat unless it is forcibly persuaded to slot in – which is not recommended.

Pros:
  • Four possible layouts in both a horizontal and vertical position
  • Spacious interior with a mesh door for easy access and viewing
  • Lightweight and collapsible / folding design for easy transport
Cons:
  • More expensive than other equivalent carriers

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Key Features
  Medium Size Large Size
Dimensions 20″ (Height) x 14″ (Width) x 11″ (Length) 23″ (Height) x 15.5″ (Width) x 12.25″ (Length)
Expandable Yes Yes
Maximum Pet Size 15lb 30lb

Airline Compatibility

Airline (Medium Size) Approved for Travel (Large Size) Approved for Travel
United Airlines Yes Yes
American Airlines Yes No
Southwest Yes Yes
Delta Yes No

2. In-Cabin Approved Durable Pet Carrier

Our Verdict: A great premium airline approved pet carrier
4 star

Sleepypod In-Cabin Dog Carrier Feature

Sleepypod In-Cabin Dog Carrier
Sleepypod In-Cabin Dog Carrier

At the higher-end of the price range is the SleepyPod dog carrier; made with extremely high-quality material, it comes with a folding design and a padded shoulder-strap for easy transport. The carrier also has an open-top zipper for your pet and a premium washable bedding.

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Made from a very durable double-lined nylon exterior, the Sleepypod is the perfect mobile pet bed for long-haul flights with dogs upto 18lb.

Its folding design means the carrier can reduce in size from 22″ in length to 16″ to it will easily wedge in beneath a seat to fit.

Pros:
  • Large zip-pockets at either side of the carrier are ideal for additional storage
  • The carrier is compact, durable and has a folding design
  • Extremely comfortable interior for your dog
Cons:
  • Faint smell from new nylon material, howver, once thoroughly washed, the scent does go away
  • Compressing the SleepyPod may leave your dog cramped

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Key Features
Dimensions 10.5″ (Height) x 10.5″ (Width) x 22″ (Length)
Expandable No
Maximum Pet Size 18lb

Airline Compatibility

Airline Approved for Travel
United Airlines Yes
American Airlines Yes
Southwest Yes
Delta Yes

All-rounder Airline-Approved Pet Carriers

1. Extra Large Adjustable Height Airline Dog Carrier

Our Verdict: The best mid-tier durable carrier
5 star

Sturdi Products Pet Carrier

Sturdi Products Pet Carrier
Sturdi Products Pet Carrier

If you want a reliable, escape-proof and sturdy airline approved pet carrier, then the Sturdi Bag is an ideal choice. Featuring the most durable material, this bag is perfect your furry friend.

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The most durable pet carrier available, the Sturdibag is a spacious and well fitting dog carrier. Strong and basic design, this carrier shines best for shorter flights, and remains very efficient for long haul (even if it lacks some of extra storage areas).

Pros:
  • Basic and incredibly durable design (made from 600 denier polyester)
  • Dual mesh windows with privacy flaps for your dog to keep them comfortable
  • Durable and secure zipper and tether clips for additional safety
Cons:
  • No additional features such as expandable design or interior storage
  • Flexible height design can sometimes require forcing down

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Key Features
Dimensions 10″ (Height) x 10″ (Width) x 18″ (Length)
Expandable No
Maximum Pet Size 18lb

Airline Compatibility

Airline Approved for Travel
United Airlines Yes
American Airlines Yes
Southwest Yes
Delta Yes

2. Airline Approved Aero Pet Carrier

Our Verdict: A great mid-tier lightweight carrier, however, it’s only suitable for toy/small dogs
4.5 star

Argo Shoulder Strap Pet Carrier Feature

Argo Shoulder Strap Pet Carrier
Argo Shoulder Strap Pet Carrier

The Argo Pet Carrier is not only light, and easy to carry for the owner, but, is also surprisingly large and very comfy with padded walls and a base coated in luxurious fur. The carrier also features a number of compact extra features for easy cleaning, changing and feeding.

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Fitting easily under most airline’s seats, thanks to its sleek outer design, and with an easily accessible top zipper and a comfortable shoulder strap to carry, this airline approved pet carrier will have you and your pet travelling in style.

Pros:
  • Quick easy-to-access top zipper which makes checking on your dog easy
  • Compact side-zipper pockets for convenient additional space
  • Trendy, fashionable and durable design with dual mesh windows
Cons:
  • Very small interior floor-plan, due to additional interior storage pockets taking up too much space

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Key Features
Dimensions 10″ (Height) x 9.2″ (Width) x 20″ (Length)
Expandable No
Maximum Pet Size 18lb

Airline Compatibility

Airline Approved for Travel
United Airlines Yes
American Airlines Yes
Southwest Yes
Delta Yes

3. Airline-Approved Pet Carrier with Wheels

Our Verdict: A good 2-in-1 lightweight dog carrier
3 star

Bergan Wheeled Comfort Carrier Feature

Bergan Wheeled Comfort Carrier
Bergan Wheeled Comfort Carrier

This large, yet easily transportable, pet carrier is a very affordable way to transport your dog when flying. Offering detachable wheels, and a fleece travel bed, this comfy carrier can hold pets upto 22lb.

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The size of the carrier is best designed for pets weighing around 17lb, however, it can accommodate pets up-to 22lb.

This dog carrier is airline-approved and comes with ventilating mesh, and a 2-in-1 practical design (pull-strap or shoulder-strap) so you can pull or carry your dog through the airport.

Pros:
  • Easily removable fleece bed for cleaning
  • Practical 2-in-1 design making it easily carried via wheels or strap
  • Great for short journeys on planes or in cars
Cons:
  • Lightweight design which isn’t durable
  • The sleeping space is smaller than advertised due to the sloping exterior

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Key Features
Dimensions 19″ (Height) x 10″ (Width) x 13″ (Length)
Expandable No
Maximum Pet Size 22lb (ideally less than 17 lb)

Airline Compatibility

Airline Approved for Travel
United Airlines Yes
American Airlines Yes
Southwest Yes
Delta Yes

Budget Airline-Approved Pet Carriers

1. Airline Approved Expandable Budget Pet Carrier

Our Verdict: The best budget carrier (Affordable & Durable)
5 star

Pet Peppy Expandable Pet Carrier Feature

Pet Peppy Expandable Pet Carrier
Pet Peppy Expandable Pet Carrier

With two expandable side-portions for drinks, food, or sleeping, the PetPeppy is an incredibly affordable alternative which includes most, if not all, of the desired features from the more expensive items on the list.

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This budget airline approved pet carrier is made from eco-friendly materials, which are both comfy and protective, and it has a huge folding design with extra storage.

The dog carrier also has a fastenable lock to ensure a safe and secure flight and has an easy-to-access top zipper.

Pros:
  • Very affordable price and easily transportable
  • Unique design with two folding side expansion mesh-segments for more space
  • Additional interior storage for pet accessories
Cons:
  • The size within the PetPeppy is very small when not extended so is not exactly entertaining for long periods of time

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Key Features
Dimensions 11″ (Height) x 11″ (Width) x 18″ (Length)
Expandable Yes
Maximum Pet Size 20lb

Airline Compatibility

Airline Approved for Travel
United Airlines Yes
American Airlines Yes
Southwest Yes
Delta Yes

2. Airline-Approved Expandable Soft Dog Carrier

Our Verdict: A great budget carrier (Affordable & Durable)
4.5 star

Airline-Approved Expandable Soft Dog Carrier

PETS GO2 Pet Carrier
PETS GO2 Pet Carrier

Comfort comes first with this carrier as it uses reinforced wires along with premium oxford cloth and a safety leash to ensure any dogs will be both extremely comfortable and safe during transit. The carrier’s materials are all hand-washable.

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The PETS GO2 Pet Carrier excels with durability, design and affordability. Being compatible with all major airlines and featuring a smart expandable design to increase the floor plan of the carrier, it’s the go to budget carrier.

Pros:
  • Very affordable and durable carrier
  • Unique expandable design with folding mesh-segments for additional space
  • Reinforced ventilated mesh assures good airflow and pet visibility
Cons:
  • The zippers used to close/open the carrier, due to their small size, are a little hard to operate

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Key Features
Dimensions 12″ (Height) x 12″ (Width) x 18″ (Length)
Expandable Yes
Maximum Pet Size 20lb

Airline Compatibility

Airline Approved for Travel
United Airlines Yes
American Airlines Yes
Southwest Yes
Delta Yes

3. Foldable Airline Pet Carrier for Dogs

Our Verdict: A good budget carrier, but, isn’t compatible with every airline
3 star

Petsfit Soft-Sided Pet Carrier Feature

Petsfit Soft-Sided Pet Carrier
Petsfit Soft-Sided Pet Carrier

Petsfit is a good, affordable pet carrier. Pets and owners will both enjoy this easily cleanable, spacious, and compact, but, comfortable pet carrier. Perhaps a jack of all trades, and yet a master of none, the PetsFit carrier has a little bit of everything for your dog.

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If you are looking for a large versatile carrier, with a nice open-mesh viewing space for your dog to observe the cabin, and an added extra extension for space then this is a good choice.

However, it isn’t compatible with every airline and the folding design doesn’t work with most airline seat configurations.

Pros:
  • Breathable mesh doors which allow good ventilation and visibility
  • Safety buckle which attaches to airline seat to prevent carrier from moving
Cons:
  • The folding extension isn’t useful on a plane due to restrictions
  • Isn’t compatible with Delta airlines due to size

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Key Features
Dimensions 12″ (Height) x 11.5″ (Width) x 20″ (Length)
Expandable Yes
Maximum Pet Size 15lb

Airline Compatibility

Airline Approved for Travel
United Airlines Yes
American Airlines Yes
Southwest Yes
Delta No

Summary

Remember the best airline approved pet carrier for your dog might be based on different criteria. Our experts reviewed nine different carriers based on price, quality and size.

While all these dog carriers may work in their own small areas, the main priority is ensuring your dog feels safe and secure throughout the duration of their flight, and is never uncomfortable or pressed for space.

John Woods Autho Bio Picture
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.

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