The 7 Best Dog Carriers For Airline Travel So You Can Keep Calm And Carry On (Your Dog)


No matter where you plan to travel, flying with your dog is a decision that requires some prep work ahead of time, including purchasing a carrier for your pup to stay inside of while onboard. The best dog carriers for airline travel are ones that will help ensure that your pet stays as comfortable and safe as possible while under your seat or traveling in the plane's cargo area.

However, picking one isn’t as simple as you might think. On Amazon alone, there are over 5,000 results for "dog carrier." Because the best airline carriers for small dogs aren't the same as the best ones for slightly larger dogs, your pup's measurements and weight will likely have the most impact on which carrier you end up choosing. But you may also want to consider carriers with specific features that address any issues your dog has.

For example, if your pup is prone to clawing or is a master escape artist, you might want to search for a carrier made of durable and long-lasting materials. Depending on your travel style, a dog carrier with wheels might be better for you than a dog carrier that you have to carry, or vice versa.

So where do you begin your shopping quest for the best dog carrier? Check out my picks below for the best dog carriers for the airline travel below.

The Overall Best, But At A Price

For dogs up to 15 pounds, the Sleepypod air dog carrier offers the most durability and comfort on the market. Available in six fun colors, this carrier is made of scratch-resistant luggage grade material. Its ends fold up to meet the airline’s requirements for take-offs and landings but when rotated, the bag expands so your dog can enjoy more space while in-flight. While many other dog carriers merely offer a lining for the bottom of the bag, this carrier comes with a foam padding as well as machine-washable bedding. It also features two large zipper pockets on each side to store your dog’s treats or food, and when you’re done using it, the bag folds flat, making it simple to store in a suitcase or closet.

  • Available In One Size Only
A More Affordable Carrier For Dogs Under 7 Pounds

If you have a petite pup that weighs less than 7 pounds, this airline-approved dog carrier features a ton of storage and space at a great price. Available in seven fun colors, it comes with a removable vinyl-wrapped board to give the bottom of the bag structure as well as mesh windows on all sides for ventilation, a removable fleece insert for comfort, and locking zippers for safety.

  • Available In One Size Only
A More Affordable Carrier For Dogs Under 15 Pounds

If you don’t travel very often with your dog, a low-cost but still quality airline carrier might be exactly what you’re looking for. For dogs up to 16 pounds, this dog carrier is a practical choice and is priced under $30 for even the largest size. Similarly designed to the much more expensive Sherpa brand, this carrier features a luggage strap that allows you to carry it on top of your rolling suitcase, as well as mesh ventilation on all sides to allow your pup maximum air flow. The bag is also easy to wipe down and comes with a fleece lining to keep your dog comfy on the inside.

  • Available Sizes: XS, M, and L
A More Affordable Carrier For Dogs Up To 50 Pounds

While most in-cabin carriers are aimed at the smallest of dogs and cats, this extra-large carrier is built for canines up to 50 pounds and is available in 10 different colors. Despite the measurements being larger than what most airlines will technically allow, many Amazon reviewers have noted that they’ve been able to safely fit it under a plane seat without issue. The bag's flexible height makes room for a dog to stand up while smooshing down when the dog is laying flat to fit underneath the seat without compromising the bag’s structural integrity. Owners of reactive dogs will also appreciate the retractable privacy flaps on all of the mesh windows to keep your pup calm while boarding.

  • Available In One Size Only
Best Rolling Carrier With Wheels

If you’re a fan of rolling luggage or know that you will need to make a quick sprint across the airport to catch a connecting plane, you may want to consider a dog carrier with wheels. For dogs up to 21 pounds, this rolling dog carrier allows you to roll your dog around in a carry-on style upright position and then store your dogs sideways underneath the seat to meet most airlines’ requirements. It also has a leash clip to keep your dog in place, in case he's the type that might jump out if given the chance.

  • Available Sizes: S-L
Best Expandable Dog Carrier

For dogs up to 14 pounds, this expandable carrier lets your pup have the most room possible while still meeting airline requirements for being under the seat. When expanded, the side deploys to allow your pet more room to spread out or have a drink water. (The bag even comes with its own travel water bowl.) And the top zipper opening allows you to better access your dog when placed underneath the seat. Overall, the bag is well-constructed with claw-proof mesh that keeps your dog from damaging the sides. It also won't collapse when you pick it up like other less well-made bags might.

  • Available In One Size Only
Best Dog Carrier For Cargo Holds

Unlike in-cabin carriers, if you’re planning to transport your dog via the cargo area of your plane, you will need a hardshell dog carrier that provides more protection. For dogs up to 125 pounds, this well-made and durable one is constructed of heavy-duty, US-manufactured plastic with extra-strong steel wire vents and a reinforced steel door to keep your dog safe and secure during the flight. It also comes with a “live animal” sticker and clip-on water bowls, so you won't need to buy those separately.

  • Available Sizes: XS-XL

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