5 Best Pet Carriers and Tips for Safer Airline Cargo Flights

Planning an airline trip with your dog or cat and don’t know where to begin? In recent years, traveling has changed on all fronts – for humans as well as their furry friends. Gone are the days when we quickly and easily packed for a trip with no regard for how many ounces were in our liquid containers. The same is true for the four-legged counterparts. They too now fly with many new concerns and limitations.

If a pet is too large to fit in-cabin, the only option becomes flying in back of the plane with the cargo. Be prepared to meet a host of limitations and hurdles in this process. Policies will range anywhere along a spectrum from no longer allowing pets to be transported with checked baggage, limitation of how many pet carriers are allowed during any given flight, types and breeds of dogs that are no longer accepted to fly at all and even regulations and limitations on the length of time pets will be allowed to fly. Before beginning your quest to find the best pet carrier, take care to do your homework on the airline you’re traveling with. Each airline has its own policies and restrictions. An owner is well advised to become acquainted with them.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) endorses the following five pet carriers for pets flying back in cargo. Designs are referred to as a sky kennels when they are created to comply with airline criteria. Be certain to check airline requirements. No pet carrier exactly fits requirements for all the airline companies.

1. Petmate Sky Kennel Airline Cargo Crate

This carrier comes in a variety of sizes and is USDA & IATA approved. It meets most airline requirements. It’s constructed of heavy-duty plastic; however, the nuts and bolts may have to be switched out with metal components. The crate comes with “Live Animal” stickers and clip on bowls as an added convenience.

2. Midwest Skudo Plastic Pet Carriers

This Skudo carrier has additional features that pet owners enjoy and claims to be as compliant as the other top pet carriers. Skudo has snap-lock buckles which make for easy assembly and casters can be added for convenience. This carrier is particularly compliant with Delta Airlines. It doesn’t rank as high in durability, but the ability to pull it on rollers may outweigh durability for some.

3. FavoriteR Airline Approved Pet Carrier

The FavoriteR Carrier meets U.S. and international standards and come with an IATA certification. It’s promoted as having easy assembly and wheels for convenience – but has no handles on top. It comes in several colors and sizes. It’s likely the most affordable carrier among this list.

4. Grreat Choice Dog Carrier

The Grreat Choice pet carrier is compliant with USDA and IATA requirements and is made specifically for PetSMart. It has durable construction, promises an assembly time of mere minutes and guarantees no tools required. It offers safety door locks and a carrying handle with ventilation on four sides.

5. Aspenpet Pet Porter Kennel

The Aspenpet Cargo Kennel is much like the first carrier in this list as its plastic wing nuts may need to be replaced by metal ones if necessary. It is vented on three sides, and is made of a light-weight durable plastic should additional holes need to be drilled on the back. It comes with “Live Animal” stickers and is available in a large size to accommodate bigger dogs.