Before going on a trip with your beloved pet, you should thoroughly prepare so that there are no problems at the airport. One of the most important stages of such preparation is the choice of pet carriers for an airplane. It should be not only comfortable for the animal but also meet specific criteria of the chosen airline. As a rule, these requirements don`t differ much from different airlines.

Pet and Carrier Size

Firstly, the carrier and pet must have certain dimensions. Most companies allow passengers to take an animal up to 6-8 kg (13-18 pounds) with them to the cabin. If your pet weighs more, then it will have to travel in the luggage compartment. Therefore, cat owners can safely take their pets with them. But if you have a dog, the way of transportation depends on its breed.

If your pet can travel in the cabin, then its carrier should fit under the seat. As for the dimensions for the luggage compartment, here, each airline sets its own requirements. In general, the average dimensions are about 18 x 12 x 8 inches. However, be sure to check the information on the maximum allowable size in advance.

Also, if you are traveling with more than one animal, then keep in mind that each of them should have its own container. However, if the weight of the animals doesn`t exceed 14 kg (30 pounds), they can be put together in one carriage. If you carry puppies, you can have three of them in one cage.

Carrier Material

Extra attention should be paid to the material of the carrier. Some companies allow pets to be transported in the cabin in soft carrying bags, but hard bags are preferred. For the luggage compartment, they are generally required. Thus, we eliminate all the possibilities that your friend can be hurt during the trip. First of all, the material must be hypoallergenic and shockproof. Better choose rigid plastics, fiberglass, weld metal mesh. Metal, solid wood, and plywood are permissible but less preferable.

Ventilation and Comfort

The pet container for airline transportation must be well ventilated. During the flight, the animal should in no way suffer from stuffiness or lack of air. Therefore, the airlines clearly prescribed the number of vents and their location on the carrier surface. An airline-approved carrier should have at least two ventilation holes on two sides or four holes on four sides. The total ventilated area must take a minimum of 16% of the total surface of the four sides.

Also, the carrier should fit the dog. Pay special attention to ensure that your friend is comfortable inside the container. First of all, the animal should calmly stand up, sit down, lie down, and turn around 360 degrees. According to the rules, at least 10 cm of free space should remain above the head of the dog. So, the pet should feel free to move inside. Therefore, we don`t advise you to take the carriage from acquaintances and friends. Even if you travel very rarely, it`s better to spend some money and buy your container, which will be perfect for your pet. If airport employees decide that there is little room for your friend in the carrier, you may not even be allowed to board the plane.

Before buying a carrier, pay attention to its bottom too. It must be robust, stable, and leakproof. Thus, the container won`t roll over during the flight, and your friend will be able to adopt a stable and comfortable position inside. Put a soft, absorbent rag, mat, or cushion on the bottom.

Wheels, Handles, and Locks

The right container or cage should have good locks. During the flight, in no case should the animal get out of the carrier. Otherwise, it can harm itself and other animals in the luggage compartment. Therefore, make sure that you have a reliable and durable lock system that cannot be broken, opened, or bent from the inside. In addition to the strength of the locks and doors material, it must be safe. Make sure the paws, nose, tail, and other parts of your friend’s body can`t get stuck in the holes or damaged.

Each carrier is also equipped with handles. They should be large, comfortable, and solid enough to transport the animal and fix the container on the plane.

Many pet owners prefer carriers on wheels, as it`s not so hard to take the pet to the airport. However, keep in mind that such carrying items are only permissible if their wheels can be firmly fixed. Otherwise, the container will move around the compartment, harming your animal and its neighbors. Airlines are reluctant to allow such carriers, and carriers without wheel locks are not acceptable at all.


Depending on the duration of the flight, you should provide food and water bowls inside the carrier. If the trip is not long, you can do without food, but the pet should always have water. Water and food will help the animal not only quench thirst and hunger but also reduce the stress level provoked by the trip and unfamiliar environment. So try to choose a carrier with built-in bowls that are securely fixed and prevent food and water from spilling out during the flight.

Pet ID Card

Nowadays, almost all carriers are equipped with special badges and plates with information about the transported animal. However, be sure to check whether there is one on your chosen carrier. It will help you, other passengers, and airport staff find and identify your pet in case of escape or loss. After all, sometimes, several identical carriers may fly on the same plane. Write the name of the pet and your contact information on the card, and no one will mix your carrier with his or hers.

Following these simple rules for selecting a carrier, you can easily find the perfect option that suits you, your pet, and the airline. Don`t forget to clarify the details and additional requirements for carriers, as they may vary slightly for different aircraft, countries, and companies. You can also see the top best pet carriers in our other articles. Love animals and traveling!

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