One of the best things about owning a small dog is that you can take them pretty much anywhere. My pomeranian Luna prefers to be carried everywhere in her tote bag and I can easily travel with her in the airplane cabin instead of leaving her at home or having to ship her in cargo.
Of course, airlines have strict rules when you’re flying with a dog in cabin, which you need to abide by.
First of you’ll need to purchase an airline dog carrier, which must fit the airline’s maximum dimensions. Your dog must be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier and you’re supposed to keep them in the bag under the seat in front of you at all times (more on that later).
Since U.S airlines no longer accept Emotional Support Animals on flights, you’ll also need to book your dog on the flight and pay a pet fee to fly with them. The fee varies by airline but it’s usually around $125 each way. This can get pricey if you travel a lot, so you’ll want to weigh up whether it’s cheaper to just leave your dog at home and get a sitter.
There are lots of airline pet carriers available online, some better quality than others. I started out with a cheap bag from Amazon, before realizing that I wanted something a little more sturdy and comfortable for longer flights.
I’m one of those people that always has to do tons of research before making a purchase and came across several dog brands making some nice, good quality pet carriers.
Here are the best airline dog carriers (that are also super stylish):
Away “The Pet Carrier”
The Away Pet Carrier is the carrier I use for Luna when flying and I’m totally in love with it. The carrier is made from thick, sturdy fabric
Wild One Travel Carrier
Wild One’s Travel Carrier comes in three colors – black, tan and spruce. It features breathable mesh walls, a shoulder strap that doubles as a leash and a neoprene travel mat that folds out to become a comfy dog bed. It also has a low-profile and a flexible frame so you can easily squeeze the carrier under the seat in front of you. There’s a roomy front pocket for storing your dog’s accessories plus a pocket on the back for holding your iPhone.
Dimensions: L – 17.5” (45 cm) / W – 11” (28 cm) / H – 10” (25 cm)
Maxbone Global Citizen Pet Carrier
I’m a big fan of Maxbone – they make some really stylish dog products including bags, beds, and clothes. The Global Citizen Pet Carrier comes in a beige color which is a bit different to your bog-standard black. I love the fact that the mesh panels are made of a light fabric instead of black, which will surely create a lighter, brighter environment for your dog.
The carrier has a cotton canvas body with gunmetal hardware details, plus genuine leather trimming and handles. Other features include a luggage sleeve, a washable faux sherpa-lined bed, detachable shoulder strap, privacy roll-up flap, and an interior safety hook that attaches to your dog’s harness.
On the outside of the bag you’ll find extra D-rings so you can easily clip a water bowl or your keys to the bag. There’s also an exterior pocket with card slots that can easily fit a standard-sized iPhone, your dog’s leash and some treats.
Dimensions: 10.5″ height – 12″ width – 17″ length
Diggs Passenger Travel Carrier
Diggs Passenger Travel Carrier comes in two colors; light gray and navy blue.
What’s unique about this carrier is that it comes with an innovative waste management solution for quick and easy clean up on the go. Simply attach a Diggs Pee Pad to the included bed, then open the side panel to swap it out without disturbing your dog. Let’s face it, if you’re on a long flight there’s a chance that accidents can happen so this is a nice feature.
Other features of the carrier include a detachable cross-body strap, D-ring clip for your keys, and collar tether clip to secure your dog when the carrier is open. Diggs says the carrier has undergone intensive crash testing and has a 5-star rating from the Center for Pet Safety.
Dimensions: 20″ x 10.8″ x 11.5″
Arlo Skye Pet Carrier
The Pet Carrier by Arlo Skye is a super stylish dog carrier with 360-degree ventilation and plenty of mesh so your dog can see what’s going on outside. There’s a sleeve on the back so you can place it over your carry-on luggage, plus a memory foam mattress so your dog can lay down in comfort. The carrier’s foldable design means you can easily store it away when not in use.
The bag comes in two sizes, medium and small. Materials are high-quality and the gold hardware gives the carrier a premium feel.
Weight: 4.6 lbs (Medium), 4.0 lbs (Small)
Dimensions: 17.5″ x 11″ x 11″ (M), 15″ x 10″ x 8.5″ (S)
Sleepypod Atom Pet Carrier
The Sleepypod Atom Pet Carrier is made of polyester rip-stop mesh and luggage grade ballistic nylon that is tear and stain resistant. It features mesh on three sides for better ventilation and top and side entries for easy access.
This bag has plenty of room for storing your pet’s belongings, including large pockets on the front and back and two gusseted side pockets. There’s also a trolley pocket that can be secured onto the telescopic handle of your luggage for convenient carrying.
Additional features include a safety tether, adjustable shoulder strap, padded carry handle, removable privacy panel and luxurious, machine washable bedding.
The Sleepypod also doubles as a car seat, with buckles on two sides so you can secure it to a seatbelt. When you’re done with the bag, simply fold it down for convenient storage.
Exterior dimensions (in inches): 10.5”H x 8.5”W x 17”L
Interior dimensions (in inches): 9.5”H x 8”W x 16”L
Carrier weight: 3.4 pounds
Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier
If you’re on a budget and don’t want to fork out hundreds on an airline dog carrier, I’d highly recommend the Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier. I’ve used this bag and it’s the best affordable bag around the $40 mark. The materials are decent quality and the carrier comes in three sizes – small, medium and large – so you can choose whichever size that will fit on your preferred airline.
The spring wire frame allows the rear end of the carrier to be pushed down several inches so you can easily squeeze it under the seat in front. I’ve found that on some planes the space in front is extremely low, so this is a convenient feature.
Other features of the bag include a padded no-slip carrying strap, seat belt/luggage strap, machine-washable faux lambskin liner and a rear pocket for storage of treats, leash and poop bags.
Sherpa’s pet carrier is a best seller and for good reason; their soft-sided carriers are included in the company’s Guaranteed On Board ® program. Simply go to www.flygob.com, select the participating airline, enter the carrier info, pet info and flight info and print the GOB form. If you’re denied boarding due to your Sherpa carrier, Worldwise will reimburse you for the cost of your flight and pet fee.
Medium carrier measures: 17” L x 11” W x 10.5” H
Small carrier measures: 15 inches long, 8.5 inches high, and 10 inches wide
Large carrier measures: 19” L x 11.75” W x 11.5” H.
X-Zone Pet Carrier
The X-Zone Pet Carrier is a good budget airline dog carrier that you can purchase from Amazon. This is the first carrier I purchased when I got my dog Luna. The bag is made from black Oxford fabric and mesh which is resistant to tears from claws. When Luna was a puppy she liked to scratch the fabric and chew on the bag but it held up pretty well.
There are two entrances to this bag; one on the top and one at the side. It has a durable steel frame so the top doesn’t collapse on your pet, but it’s also flexible enough so you can squish it a bit under the seat in front.
The travel bed is essentially a piece of firm board with a layer of foam and then a fleece cover that can be unzipped and thrown in the wash. It’s not the most plush bed but it does the job and can be washed if your pet has an accident.
The bag also features a tether that you can attach to your dog’s harness to prevent them from escaping, as well as a belt loop on the side panel that can function as a seatbelt or luggage strap.
In addition you’ll find a zip pocket on one end of the bag and a detachable strap so you can wear it cross body.
Medium Carrier Measures: 17.5″ L x 11″W x 11″H, Recommended max load of 16 lbs (7 kg)
Large Carrier Measures: 19.5″ L x 12″W x 12″H, Recommended max load of 20 lbs (9 kg)
A final word…
Each airline has different rules, so always check the maximum dimensions for the airline you’re flying with. When choosing
If there’s a particular airline that you fly with regularly, make sure you look at their requirements and dimensions.