Last Updated: June 2, 2021

The Best Airline Approved Pet Carriers (Updated 2021)

All pet parents out there know how hard it is to part with them when you have to go away for a while. Luckily you don’t have to do that anymore; instead, you can bring your pet along with you on your next flight, as long as they are in an airline-approved carrier.


At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Airline Approved Pet Carriers


And, while some strange cats might be perfectly happy traveling in a box or in your suitcase (no way), most airlines have certain standards when it comes to pet carriers. And you probably do too!

Pets need to have enough room and comfort, especially if you are taking them with you on long flights. So, I have taken the liberty to filter through hundreds of different pet carriers, to find the ones that are both airline approved, as well as roomy enough for your pets.

Here are the top airline-approved pet carriers!

Top Product Overview

Siivton Airline Approved Pet Carrier, Soft Sided Pet Travel Carrier 4 Sides Expandable Cat Carrier with Fleece Pad for Cats, Puppy and Small Dogs
  • Expandable
  • Roomy
SEE ON AMAZON →
Pet Carrier for Cats and Dogs - Pet Travel Carrier Airline Approved - Under Seat Pet Crate - Puppy and Kitten Friendly - Soft Sided, Portable and with 2 Fleece Pads and Storage Case
  • Expandable
  • Comes with 2 removable pads
SEE ON AMAZON →
Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier Small, Brown
  • Available in different sizes and colors
  • Sturdy construction
SEE ON AMAZON →
Pawfect Pets Pet Carrier Backpack for Cats and Toy Breed/Extra Small Dogs- Airline-Approved, Soft-Sided, Designed for Travel, Hiking, Walking & Outdoor Use
  • Very practical due to backpack style
  • 2 removable fleece mats included
SEE ON AMAZON →
SunShack Soft Sided Pet Carrier - Onboard Airline Approved Under Seat Travel Tote Bag for Cats Dogs and Pets. Includes a Removable Cushioned Fleece Pad and Collapsible Silicon Bowl. Small, Maroon
  • Silicone bowl included
  • Removable fleece pad included
SEE ON AMAZON →
Jet Sitter Airline Approved Expandable Pet Dog Cat Carrier - Soft Sided Carriers Cats Dogs Travel Crate (Medium)
  • Expandable
  • Fleece pad included
SEE ON AMAZON →
Katziela Pet Carrier with Removable Wheels - Soft Sided, Airline Approved Small Dog and Cat Carrying Bag with Telescopic Walking Handle, Mesh Ventilation Windows and Safety Leash Hook (Black) (Black)
  • It can be wheeled around
  • Pet bed included
SEE ON AMAZON →
Expandable Pet Carrier with Tunnel by Pet Peppy - Patent Pending
  • Expandable
  • Integrated tunnel
SEE ON AMAZON →
Texsens Cat Backpack Carrier, Super Breathable Carrier Backpack, Airline-Approved Bubble Cats and Puppies Backpacks, Designed for Hiking, Travel& Walking (Switchable Ash Black)
  • Innovative, futuristic design and color variety
  • Window for your pet to look out from
SEE ON AMAZON →
Mr. Peanut's Expandable Airline Approved Soft Sided Pet Carrier, Low Profile Gold Series Tote, Premium Brand Self Locking Zippers, Plush Faux Fleece Bedding with a Sturdy Plywood Base (Deja Blue)
    SEE ON AMAZON →

    Best Airline Approved Pet Carriers


    Value for Money

    Siivton Airline Approved Pet Carrier

    Siivton Airline Approved Pet Carrier, Soft Sided Pet Travel Carrier 4 Sides Expandable Cat Carrier with Fleece Pad for Cats, Puppy and Small Dogs

    This pet carrier is suitable for cats, small dogs, and all other small animals that weigh up to 18 lbs. The non-expanded dimensions of this carrier are 18” x 11” x 11”. However, all 4 sides of this bag can be expanded, so that your furry friend can have plenty of space to move around.

    Once expanded, the wireframe will hold the shape of the carrier in place. Additionally, a comfortable pad for your pet to rest on is included in the purchase.

    In terms of the practicality of this carrier, there are both padded shoulder straps and carry handles for your comfort. There is also a luggage slit on its back so that you can prop it on your suitcase, pulling the handles of the suitcase through the slit.

    The carrier fits under most airline seats, and once it is fully folded, it takes up very little space. In addition to all that, the 4 expanded sides of the carrier are all closed off with mesh lining, which provides superb airflow. And, your furry little buddy will always stay in your sight.

    Pros

    • Expandable
    • Roomy
    • Comfortable pad included

    Cons

    • Available in only one size
    • Available in only one color

    Product Information

    • Dimensions: 18” x 11” x 11”
    • Expanded dimensions: 38 x 30 x 11"
    • Expandable: Yes
    • For pets up to14 lbs
    SEE ON AMAZON

    Sleeko Soft Sided Portable Airplane Travel Tote Bag

    Pet Carrier for Cats and Dogs - Pet Travel Carrier Airline Approved - Under Seat Pet Crate - Puppy and Kitten Friendly - Soft Sided, Portable and with 2 Fleece Pads and Storage Case

    This is a particularly stylish pet carrier. You can get it in 3 different colors, and all of them gorgeous. With the Sleeko pet travel tote, you also get 2 removable pads for your pet, as well as a carry pouch for the bag.

    The carrier is made from tear-resistant mesh and polyester, and its structure is further reinforced with inserts on various sides so that it doesn’t fall flat. The mesh allows for excellent airflow, so your pets will stay comfortable. It is also expandable, so they can have enough room to move around.

    The Sleeko pet travel tote also has clip-on shoulder straps and padded carry handles, for your comfort. In addition to that, there are also 2 seatbelt buckles so that you can secure the carrier to a car seat, or an airplane seat.

    And, with a safety buckle zipper, built-in leash ring, and night visibility reflective straps, your pet will always stay safe and comfortable, even during the night.

    Pros

    • Expandable
    • Comes with 2 removable pads
    • Many added safety features

    Cons

    • Available in only one size
    • Can’t be secured to the handles of your suitcase

    Product Information

    • Dimensions: 17.5” x 10” x 11.9”
    • Expandable: Yes
    • For pets up to 17.5” long, 10” wide & 11” tall
    SEE ON AMAZON

    Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carrier

    Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier Small, Brown

    The Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carrier is suitable for most small pets, and you can choose the best size for your furry friend. The small and medium sizes of this carrier are definitely approved in the cabin, but for the largest size, you will have to check with the airline.

    It can comfortably fit under airline seats, and the spring-wire frame allows the rear of the carrier to be pushed down a few inches so that it can conform to any under-seat requirements.

    A downside of this Sherpa carrier is that it is not expandable, and your pet will not really have much moving room. On the other hand, there are 2 openings with zippers that can be locked, so you can be assured that your pet will be safe.

    This particular carrier also has a rear pocket for a leash or any treats that your furry friend might need during the flight. It also has mesh windows for ventilation, and a faux lambskin liner so that your pets can travel in style.

    For your comfort, there is a non-slip shoulder strap, as well as padded carry handles. Additionally, this carrier can be secured to the airplane or car seat, as well as the handles of your suitcase with the seat belt/luggage strap.

    Pros

    • Available in different sizes and colors
    • Sturdy construction

    Cons

    • Not expandable
    • Kind of small

    Product Information

    • Small
    • Dimensions: 15” L x 10” W x 8.5” H
    • Expandable: No
    • For pets up to 8 lbs and 13" L x 7.5" H
    • Medium
    • Dimensions: 17” L x 11” W x 10.5” H
    • Expandable: No
    • For pets up to 16 lbs and 16" L x 10" H
    • Large
    • Dimensions: 19” L x 11.75” W x 11.5” H
    • Expandable: No
    • For pets up to 22 lbs and 18" L x 11"
    SEE ON AMAZON

    Pawfect Pets Soft-Sided Pet Carrier Backpack

    Pawfect Pets Pet Carrier Backpack for Cats and Toy Breed/Extra Small Dogs- Airline-Approved, Soft-Sided, Designed for Travel, Hiking, Walking & Outdoor Use

    The Pawfect carrier stands out because it is actually a backpack. The straps of the backpack are padded and adjustable, so you should stay comfortable while carrying your pet.

    Additionally, there is extra-thick padding on the back of this carrier, for your shoulders and lower back.

    This carrier comes with 2 removable soft fleece mats, so you will have an extra one, in case your pet decides to treat the first one like a toilet. There are also 2 side pockets, so you can store everything you might need to have handy for your furry friend.

    The downsides of this carrier are that it is not expandable, and is not really suitable for anything larger than a pug. My cat wouldn’t really fit into this carrier, as she weighs more than 10 lbs. But, if your cat or dog is small enough to fit into this backpack, then it is a really cool choice.

    The cool thing about this is because it is a backpack, you can also use it when you want to go on hikes or walks. It features 2 mesh windows so that your pet can have enough air, and the zippers of the windows have mini buckles that ensure that the tiny rascal can’t escape.

    Additionally, the top window of the carrier can roll up, and your pet can stick out its head and have a pretty good view of what is going on around them. And, there is a leash tether on the inside, so even if you open up the window, they still can’t escape.

    Pros

    • Very practical due to backpack style
    • 2 removable fleece mats included
    • Ultra-soft

    Cons

    • Suitable only for very small pets
    • Not expandable
    • Cannot be buckled to a seat

    Product Information

    • Dimensions: 11” x 11” x 17”
    • Expandable: No
    • For pets up to 10 lbs
    SEE ON AMAZON

    SunShack Soft Sided Travel Pet Carrier

    SunShack Soft Sided Pet Carrier - Onboard Airline Approved Under Seat Travel Tote Bag for Cats Dogs and Pets. Includes a Removable Cushioned Fleece Pad and Collapsible Silicon Bowl. Small, Maroon

    The SunShack pet carrier can comfortably fit under an airline seat, and it has 4 mesh vents so that your pet can have plenty of air. It also has a pocket for any treats and accessories your pet might need during transport. When it is not in use, it can be folded for easy storage.

    This carrier comes with a foldable silicone pet bowl, which is really cool! Additionally, you will also get a removable hard base fleece pad, so that your furry friend will be sufficiently comfortable.

    The carrier can be secured to a seat, and the high-capacity steel carabiners will ensure that it doesn’t budge an inch. There is also padded carry handles on the carrier, as well as a non-slip shoulder strap.

    The shoulder strap is not padded, unfortunately, so it carrying this bag on your shoulders might make you uncomfortable.

    Pros

    • Silicone bowl included
    • Removable fleece pad included

    Cons

    • Not expandable
    • Shoulder strap not padded

    Product Information

    • Dimensions: 17.5"L x 14"W x 11"H
    • Expandable: No
    • For pets up to 15 lbs
    SEE ON AMAZON

    Jet Sitter Luxury Soft Sided Pet Carrier

    Jet Sitter Airline Approved Expandable Pet Dog Cat Carrier - Soft Sided Carriers Cats Dogs Travel Crate (Medium)

    The Jet Sitter Luxury carrier is available in 2 sizes, the smaller of which is definitely airline approved.

    The larger version of the carrier exceeds airline requirements, but some people have gotten away with bringing it into the cabin! It really looks like a luxurious little condo for your pet, but the best part of it is that its price doesn’t reflect that.

    This carrier is made of the same material which laptop bags are made of – 600D polyester, so you know that it is durableThe expanded sides feature durable, scratch-resistant mesh, which also provides excellent ventilation.

    Additionally, on the inside of the carrier, there is a plush fleece pad that is removable and machine washable. The bottom of the carrier is reinforced with plywood so that it can support even the heavier pets.

    As for the straps and handles, there are padded carry handles, as well as a padded shoulder strap. In addition to those, there are also buckles that allow you to secure this carrier to a seatbelt, for the ultimate safety of your furry friend. Another awesome feature of this bag is the luggage strap, which allows you to secure it on top of your suitcase.

    Honestly, this is my favorite carrier out of the bunch, but there is one thing I’m not a big fan of – the color. It is available in 2 colors, both of which are really light, which means that they will get dirty really easily.

    Pros

    • Expandable
    • Fleece pad included
    • Stylish and comfortable for pets

    Cons

    • Available only in light colors
    • Large version exceeds most airline carry-on requirements

    Product Information

    • Small
    • Dimensions: 18"x11"x11"
    • For pets up to 12 lbs
    • Expandable: Yes
    • Large
    • Dimensions: 19” x 12” x 12”
    • For pets up to 20 lbs
    • Expandable: Yes
    SEE ON AMAZON

    WPS Airline Approved Pet Carrier with Wheels

    Katziela Pet Carrier with Removable Wheels - Soft Sided, Airline Approved Small Dog and Cat Carrying Bag with Telescopic Walking Handle, Mesh Ventilation Windows and Safety Leash Hook (Black) (Black)

    If you want your pet to feel like the royal they are (particularly your cat), then look no further. This awesome pet carrier comes with 6 removable wheels and a sturdy metal rod, so that you can when your pet around.

    Color me impressed! Once the wheels are removed, the bag itself complies with airline carry-on requirements, and it can easily fit under most airplane seats.

    The carrier comes with a comfortable bed for your pet, and the mesh windows provide great ventilation, as well as let your pet see what is going on around them. Unfortunately, this bag can’t be expanded, so it might get a bit tight on the inside.

    carry case is included with the WPS carrier. There are also several pockets on this carrier, as well as padded carry handles and a non-slip shoulder strap.

    And finally, the zipper lock is escape-proof, so you have some peace of mind knowing that your pet won’t be able to get out of the bag, no matter how hard they try.

    Pros

    • It can be wheeled around
    • Pet bed included

    Cons

    • Not expandable
    • Some airlines might deem the bag too big (most, however won’t)

    Product Information

    • Dimensions: 11”x22”x16”
    • Expandable: No
    SEE ON AMAZON

    Best Under-Seat

    Pet Peppy Expandable Pet Carrier With Tunnel

    Expandable Pet Carrier with Tunnel by Pet Peppy - Patent Pending

    This particular carrier is impressive because one side of it can be expanded into a tunnel. This will not only help your pet feel more comfortable on an airplane (particularly your cat!), but it is also a great carrier for trips to the vet.

    The tunnel will make them playful, and they’ll forget all about the fact that they are going somewhere. When the carrier is fully zipped up, it can comfortably fit under airline seats.

    Two other sides can be expanded as well, and they have scratch-resistant mesh fabric. This allows for excellent ventilation, but it also gives your pet the opportunity to see what is going on around them. And, there is also a pocket on the carrier, in which you can store treats, toys, or anything you might need handy for your pet.

    Additionally, the carrier comes with a machine-washable mat on the inside, as well as a random color food bowl!

    In terms of the transportability of the carrier, it has a padded shoulder strapand carry handles (not padded, unfortunately). Additionally, there is also a slit strap through which you can pull the handle of your luggage so that the carrier can safely rest on the top of your suitcase.

    Pros

    • Expandable
    • Integrated tunnel
    • Food bowl included

    Cons

    • Carry handles not padded
    • Pocket can’t be zipped shut

    Product Information

    • Dimensions when folded: 18"L X 11"W X 1.5" H
    • Expandable: Yes
    SEE ON AMAZON

    Best All-Rounder

    Texsens Innovative Traveler Bubble Backpack Pet Carrier

    Texsens Cat Backpack Carrier, Super Breathable Carrier Backpack, Airline-Approved Bubble Cats and Puppies Backpacks, Designed for Hiking, Travel& Walking (Switchable Ash Black)

    This cool, futuristic carrier is made of PU leather and durable mesh. It is available in at least 8 different colors, so there is plenty of variety to choose from.

    The design of the window is really what makes it stand out and look so futuristic. The bubble allows your pet to peak outside the carrier, and see what is going on outside.

    On the other hand, you can also remove the bubble and just secure the mesh lining, for extra ventilation. Although, you probably won’t need the extra ventilation, as there are several small holes and another mesh window for excellent airflow.

    This backpack opens up from the sides, for easy access. On the inside, there is a removable soft pad for your pet, as well as a built-in security leash. In addition to that, the shoulder straps are padded and adjustable, for your comfort.

    This backpack is really plain on the inside; it can’t be expanded, and what you see is what you get. However, its overall design is really innovative, and it will definitely make you stand out.

    Because this is a backpack, there is the added benefit of it being suitable for hikes, walks, and trips to the vet, and just superior overall practicality, in comparison to a traditional carrier.

    Pros

    • Innovative, futuristic design and color variety
    • Window for your pet to look out from
    • Soft pad

    Cons

    • Kind of plain on the inside
    • Not expandable

    Product Information

    • Dimensions when folded: 12.99"L x 9.05"W x 15.74"H
    • Bubble diameter: 6.06"
    • Expandable: No
    • For pets up to 12 lbs cat and 10 lbs dog
    SEE ON AMAZON

    Mr. Peanut's Expandable Airline Approved Soft Sided Pet Carrier

    Mr. Peanut's Expandable Airline Approved Soft Sided Pet Carrier, Low Profile Gold Series Tote, Premium Brand Self Locking Zippers, Plush Faux Fleece Bedding with a Sturdy Plywood Base (Deja Blue)

    This pet carrier is made from Cationic linen, which a highly durable material. This is combined with a durable mesh top, as well as mesh lining on all 4 sides of the carrier, which allows for superb airflow.

    Your furry friend will have plenty of air, and will also be able to look out and see what’s happening on the outside. This is important because carriers that are fully closed of can cause anxiety in your pets, and you definitely want to avoid that.

    This is an expandable bag, and your pet will have plenty of room to play around in it. The expanded compartment can also be unzipped and act as a door, but don’t worry; the carrier features YKK zippers with locking metal clasps, so your furry friends won’t be able to escape from it.

    Additionally, a detachable fleece pad is included in the purchase, as well as a bottom waterproof board.

    There is also a luggage strap, as well as a side pocket for any accessories or treats you might want to keep close. And, for your carrying comfort, there is a padded shoulder strap, as well as padded carry handles.

    What is the downside of this carrier, you might be asking yourself? Well, it doesn’t have clasps that allow you to securely attach it to a seatbelt. This means that you will have to pay extra attention to your pet during the flight, if you choose to place them on a seat, rather than under it.

    Product Information

    • Dimensions : 18.1" x 10.5" x 11"
    • Expandable: Yes
    • For pets up to 14 lbs
    SEE ON AMAZON

    Which Airline Approved Pet Carrier Is Best For Your Furry Friend?

    All of these carriers are suitable for most cats (maybe not 20+lb Maine Coons) and most small dogs. Unfortunately, larger dogs will still have to get their own seat on an airplane (with select airlines). But, it’s better to have your dog as your neighbor on a long flight, than an annoying stranger, am I right?

    Personally, the Jet Sitter Luxury Soft-Sided Pet Carrier is the winner out of the bunch, for me. And, I’m not just saying that because I own one, but because it appears to give the best value for money.

    It is a sturdy, expandable carrier, with plenty of ventilation and room for your pet. Another bonus of this bag is that it looks very luxurious, but is not at all expensive.

    Jet Sitter Airline Approved Expandable Pet Dog Cat Carrier - Soft Sided Carriers Cats Dogs Travel Crate (Medium)
    1,123 Reviews
    Jet Sitter Airline Approved Expandable Pet Dog Cat Carrier - Soft Sided Carriers Cats Dogs Travel Crate (Medium)
    • TSA COMPLIANT CARRIERS - For In Cabin Under Seat conforms precisely to United Airlines. Can also fit Southwest, JetBlue, American, Delta, Alaska, Frontier, Spirit, Allegiant (soften the top). Fits Small to Medium Dogs and up to Medium Cats. Holds pets up to 12-14 pounds. Use MEASUREMENTS not weight.
    • LUXURY TRAVEL CRATES - For puppy, kitten, rabbit, guinea pig, hamsters! Super plush fleece mat padding with stiff board to support heavier pets, upgraded fabrics and hardware. Large Mesh Pocket and Expandable Sides can store treats, food containers, water bowls, toys, accessories, disposable poop waste bags.

    The next carrier that really stood out is the Pet Peppy Expandable Pet Carrier With Tunnel. It is the perfect size for an under-seat carry-on, but it can also be expanded. This carrier is particularly suitable for cat owners, as we all know how much cats love tunnels, and basically anything that they can hide in. Another cool thing about this bag is that you will get a pet food bowl as a bonus.

    Expandable Pet Carrier with Tunnel by Pet Peppy - Patent Pending
    214 Reviews
    Expandable Pet Carrier with Tunnel by Pet Peppy - Patent Pending
    • AIRLINE APPROVED PET CARRIER: Dont you think your pet deserves the same kind of love and care in an airplane that it gets from you at home. With the PetPeppy Double Expandable Pet Carrier your pet can now travel safely while lying down with utmost comfort and safety throughout the journey. Expertly crafted roof ventilation design allows for air circulation, keeping your pet from overheating and providing fresh supply of oxygen at all times. Easily stow away under the cabin seat.
    • SUPERIOR QUALITY: This masterfully crafted airline pet carrier tote is made from high quality safe, eco friendly and durable materials. The result, you can now easily travel with your furry little one with utmost peace of mind. Features removable plush faux fleece bedding, padded shoulder strap and spacious extra storage compartments. The pristine grade nylon material is lightweight, durable and sturdy, ensuring no hassle reliance day after day, use after use, air mile after air mile.

    Last, but definitely not the least, is the Texsens Innovative Traveler Bubble Backpack Pet Carrier. Its design really makes it unique, and I’m sure your pet will really appreciate the window bubble.

    Plus, it is a backpack, so you will be much more comfortable carrying your pet around. Additionally, I’m quite sure that you will get more use out of this carrier since it is also suitable for hikes, walks, and similar outdoor activities.

    Texsens Innovative Traveler Bubble Backpack Pet Carriers for Cats and Dogs
    1,989 Reviews
    Texsens Innovative Traveler Bubble Backpack Pet Carriers for Cats and Dogs
    • ★ Pet Backpack Dimensions:13.1" L x 12.6" W x 16.7" H. Perfect pet carrier backpack for dogs or cats up to 17-pounds. Before purchasing please measure your pet - LENGTH: neck to base of tail; HEIGHT: floor to top of shoulder
    • ★ Breathable & Perspective: Three side was made of PVC mesh for the carriers. Well ventilated design for optimal airflow and checking on pet

    Whichever carrier you decide to get for your pet, I’m sure neither of you will be disappointed. Head on over to Amazon to get a great deal on any of these airline-approved pet carriers so that you and your furry friend can have a great and comfortable flight!