Airline Dog Carriers – Before You Go


Are you planning a trip? Taking your dog with you? Airline travel is stressful enough for you alone, so, adding your dog to your travel plans shouldn’t add to your stress. There are very important things you need to know before you and your jet-setting pooch fly anywhere.

You can ensure that in-cabin travel with your dog is safe and comfortable by being informed on certain rules and restrictions. Airline dog carries are made for this very purpose. These carriers will keep them comfortable and most importantly safe.

What are the things you need to know about airline carriers?.

You’re in luck because that is exactly what I’m going to cover here. I’ll touch on the important rules, regulations and restrictions that you need to know about before you take your fur baby along on your trip. So, let’s get to it….

The Basics – During Your Planning

The choice of carrier you select is very important. Anxiety in your dog will be high because of the unfamiliar environment and situation. This carrier will be their main source of protection and comfort for the duration of traveling. Take your time when decided on which will be best for your dog.

Be sure that while in your planning process you find out your airlines policy of in-cabin pet travel. Confirm that your airline will allow a dog traveling in-cabin on your specific route. Rules for traveling with your dog varies among airlines. Most U.S. airlines, flying domestic routes will allow the in-cabin travel of a small dog (or pet) with an adult passenger.

Your airline, generally will allow one dog in each carrier per adult passenger. Some airlines restrict the amount of dogs (or pets) allowed flying in-cabin on each flight. Most airlines will accept two (2) to three (3) in-cabin pets per flight. Checking to confirm this with your particular airline should be done.

You should also be aware of the space you have to work with. Be sure that your dogs size and weight complies with your airlines regulations. Typically, a dog that measures 18 inches long from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail and are 11 to 12 pounds, should meet those regulations. This however, this does vary from airline to airline so, check to confirm with your airline.

Be aware that there are fees associated with the travel of your pet. These prices vary from one airline to the next. Check with your airline or use the specific airline links below for more information and prepare yourself for some added cost to your plans.

Carrier Basics

You have an option between an airline approved soft or hard sided carrier. Most travelers, myself included, choose to use a soft sided carrier. They are not as rigid and will give you the ability to fit it into small spaces and it’s easier to carry. Find a soft sided carrier that comes with a strong padded shoulder strap that attaches securely by metal clips.

You can also find carriers that have privacy screens that hide your dogs view. This can help with a dog that is easily agitated or to keep them calm. Airport activity, noise and sounds can be a scary situation for your dog.

There are also carriers that have wheels and can be carried like back packs. I have personal traveled with this type of airline carrier. It was comfortable for our babies on a long Hawaii to Portland flight. The back pack straps and wheels was very convenient and time saving for me.

Some basic requirements for your dog carrier are:

  • Approved in-cabin hard-sided of soft sided carrier
  • Must fit completely under seat in front of the passenger
  • Waterproof – the bottom must be completely leak resistant
  • Ventilation – at least 2 sides must have mesh (soft sided) or holes (hard sided) for adequate access to airflow.
  • Enclosed – your pet must be entirely enclosed within and it’s head should not stick out of the carrier.

Get Their Measurements

It is very important that you measure your dog correctly and accurately before you buy your carrier.

MeasurementsYou will need to measure your dog from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail (A from picture). The next measurement you will need is from the top of your dogs head when standing erect to the ground (D from picture). A good tip is to use a piece of string and then measure the string. These measurements should be slightly smaller than the measurements of the carrier you will use.

The airline requires that your dog can easily stand and turn around in the carrier, they will ask to see that this is possible. If your dog can’t easily do this your dogs safety and comfort is compromised and you’ll be at risk of being turned away at check in or at the gate.

Of course when traveling the last thing we want is to be turned away from our flight, this is why it is important that your dog is measured well and that it fits comfortably in its carrier. The airline links below will give you specifics about their respective regulations, policies and carrier specifics.

Click the airline below for their pet policies:

Sherpa, Recommended

Now, you’re ready to start shopping for your airline carrier. Sherpa makes some of the best airline dog carriers. These are of the soft sided variety and they meet the basic requirements listed above. They are made in sizes small, medium and large. The Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Pet Carrier (Sherpa) is perfect for your pooch.

It’s mesh windows on three sides are perfect for proper ventilation. The top and side entries both have zippers that lock, this is great for your dogs safety. The shoulder strap is non-slip, adjustable and padded. It can also be used as a luggage strap and a seat belt strap when in the car. An inner liner is included, it’s made of a faux lamb skin and is machine washable for easy care.

A pocket is attached to the rear of this carrier which serves as a convenient storage pouch. You can use it for your leash, disposable bags, extra liner pads, or anything your pup may need while traveling. Sherpa is approved to be used for dog travel on most airlines. Purchasing the Sherpa you acquire a carrier that is included in Sherpa’s Guaranteed on Board Program.

An important thing to remember is not to select a carrier based on weight only. Measurements should be considered first then make sure your dogs weight does not exceed the weight limit of the carrier.

Here are the sizes and measurements:

      • Size small is for pets up to 13″ L x 7.5″ H and up to 8 lbs
      • Small carrier measures 15” L x 10” W x 8.5” H
      • Size medium is for pets up to 16″ L x 10″ H and up to 16 lbs
      • Medium carrier measures 17” L x 11” W x 10.5” H
      • Size large is for pets up to 18″ L x 11″ H and up to 22 lbs
      • Large carrier measures 19” L x 11.75” W x 11.5” H

Bon Voyage!!

Traveling with your dog shouldn’t be stressful, it should be exciting and fun for both you and your fur baby. There is a lot to know before you go anywhere on a plane but this information should help make things a bit easier. You now know the basic information. You have access to some great links to specific airlines that will answer any other questions you may have.

Lastly, you have a great recommendation for a carrier. A carrier that I actually own and have used on a domestic commercial flight. Our Sherpa carrier, the purple one in the pictures above, is used all the time for car trips (long or short). The babies get so excited when they see their Sherpa bag because they know they’re going somewhere. They LOVE their Sherpa Bag. It’s a purchase that is useful every day and doesn’t spend much time in the closet.

My hope is that the information above helps you with the planning of your next adventure with your furry friend. I wish you happy and safe travels. Take them along!!

Please leave your comments or questions below and please share us with your friends using the share buttons below.

Deepest Regards,

Barking Dog Accessories


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