How Strict Are Airlines About Pet Carriers?

So How strict are airlines about pet carriers? and how to choose a nice and compatible airlines approved pet carrier for your little one?

Some Airlines are just strict about pet carriers and they allow only to bring official approved pet carriers that can fit under the seat in front of you, however, carriers requirements vary depending on airlines.

From our experience, most Airlines are strict about taking Pet Carriers on board the airplanes, pets must fit in a travel carrier underneath the seat in front of you.

we suggest you always double check your specific airline carry-on dimensions with any carrier you consider ordering.

in this post we will go through If your pet carrier airline approved some airlines pet carriers policy and just How strict are airlines about pet carriers?

How strict are airlines about pet carriers-1

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Choose a nice compatible airlines approved pet carrier for your little one

traveling with a cat or dogs have several restrictions and factors to take by consideration in order to pick the right and approved pet carrier:

  • Dimensions: dimension or size is critical when choosing your pet carrier, most airlines allows travelers to put their pet carrier under the seat in front of them, so you will need to make sure that your pet carrier is compatible with the standard size of any airline.
  • Wheels: The biggest benefit of wheels is how easy and effortless it is to move them in any direction especially in the airport, however, airline friendly carriers function more as standard dog backpack carriers or pet purse carriers, with handles and shoulder straps.
  • Zipper or Velcro: some pet carriers have zippers and some others have Velcro, and Velcro can be opened by active and pets with more energy. however Velcro are easy to open and provide easy access to your pet carrier.
  • Ventilation: your pet needs to breath, but you will have to make sure that the airline you are traveling with allowed pet carriers with more ventilation.
  • Pockets: i always buy a pet carrier with large pockets, However, i take by consideration the size of the carrier in case my airline are so strict about the pet carriers; pockets will give more storage for the item to have toys in hands or other supplies.

HOW STRICT ARE AIRLINES ABOUT PET CARRIERS?

closeup photo of brown and black dog face
Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com

for the safety of your pet, almost all airlines are applying the same and a general Pet Carriers policies, bellow we will be listing some of the major airlines pet carriers, and how they will threat your lovely pet in addition of the fees that these airline apply so when you decide to travel with your lovely cute one you already know how to be prepared.

How Strict Are United Airlines About Pet Carriers?

According to United Airlines pets traveling in cabin must be carried in an approved hard-sided or soft-sided pet carrier.

The Pet Carrier / the kennel must fit completely under the seat in front of you and remain there at all times.

The maximum dimensions for hard-sided kennels are 17.5 inches long x 12 inches wide x 7.5 inches high (44 cm x 30 cm x 19 cm). The recommended maximum dimensions for soft-sided kennels are 18 inches long x 11 inches wide x 11 inches high (46 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm).

Soft-sided pet carriers can exceed these dimensions slightly because they are collapsible and able to fit underneath a seat without blocking the aisle. Only one pet is allowed in a kennel, and the animal must be able to stand up and turn around comfortably.

  • Your pet must stay in their pet carrier with the door closed at all times while in the airport, at the boarding area and while on board the plane.
  • Your pet’s kennel must stay at your feet, underneath the seat in front of you.

Restrictions for in-cabin pets carriers

  • Puppies and kittens must be at least four months (16 weeks) old.
  • Pets can’t travel with unaccompanied minors.
  • If you want to bring aboard an additional pet, you’ll need to buy an extra ticket for that pet and pay an additional $125 each way. Your pet must also always remain in the floor space under the seat.
  • If your pet doesn’t fit in a kennel, then they’ll need to travel with United  PetSafe® program.
  • Pets must travel on the same flights as the traveler responsible for them.
  • If there’s an emergency, oxygen service won’t be available for pets.

For more info, see the United pets travel page.

How Strict Are American Airlines About Pet Carriers?

American Airlines Pet Carriers restrictions is as follows:

you can bring 1 kennel as your carry-on bag if:

  • You pay the carry-on pet charge
  • Your pet stays in the kennel and under the seat in front of you the entire flight

You can travel with your pet carrier and one personal item, but you won’t be permitted to bring a carry-on bag in addition to a pet carrier and personal item. Instead, the kennel will replace your carry-on bag.

Suggested: How Strict is American Airlines Pet Policy?

Restrictions for in-cabin pets carriers

Carry-on pets and service animals may fly in the cabin if they meet the requirements. If your pet is too large to fit in the cabin, please contact American Airlines Cargo.

  • Pets must be able to stand and sit erect, turn around normally and lie down in a natural position in their kennel (without touching any side or the top of the container)
  • Non-collapsible kennels can’t exceed the under seat dimensions of any aircraft included in your journey. Please contact reservations to verify maximum dimensions for your journey.
  • Soft-sided collapsible kennels can be slightly larger but still need to fit under the seat without having to excessively collapse the kennel, have to be secure, padded, made of water-repellant material and have nylon mesh ventilation on 2 or more sides.

Charges

ServiceRoutesFees
Checked petNot AvailableNot Available
Carry-on petWithin and between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (based on specific country’s entry policy)$125 per kennel
Service animalsAll destinationsFree

Due to the lack of under-seat storage space, carry-on pets are not permitted in First or Business on:

Boeing

  • 777-200
  • 777-300
  • 787-8
  • 787-9

For more info, see the American Airlines pets travel page.

How Strict Are Alaska Airlines About Pet Carriers?

Alaska airlines are so strict about the transportation of Pet Carriers on it airplanes:

  • your pet carrier must Be of solid construction and composed of plastic, wood, metal or material of comparable strength and able to withstand rigors of normal transportation.
  • Be secured with nut- and bolt-type fasteners if the kennel is not constructed as one piece.
  • Alaska airlines will not accept a pet carrier with a plastic door,Use zip ties, duct tape or rubber bands to construct the frame.

For more info, see the Alaska Airlines pet travel page

Restrictions for in-cabin pets carriers

SizePet Carrier Size Average Dimensions (height x width x depth)
Extra small10015″ x 16″ x 21″
Small20019″ x 20″ x 27″
Medium30023″ x 22″ x 32″
Large40026″ X 24″ x 36″
Extra large50030″ x 27″ x 40″

How Strict Are Delta Airlines About Pet Carriers?

Delta airline impose some restrictions when you want to travel with a pet carrier:

Your pet counts as your personal item. Pets must be 10 weeks old for domestic travel, 16 weeks old if traveling to other countries.

Make sure to meet these requirements if you’re flying with a small pet as a carry-on:

  • Your pet must be small enough to fit comfortably in a pet carrier without touching or protruding from the sides of the kennel and with the ability to move around.
  • The kennel must fit under the seat directly in front of you.
  • The soft- or hard-sided kennels must be leak-proof and have ventilation openings on three sides (four sides for international travel).
  • Maximum carry-on kennel dimensions are determined by your flight. You must contact Delta Reservations to determine the appropriate kennel size.
  • Your pet must remain inside the kennel (with door secured) while in a Delta boarding area (during boarding and deplaning), a Delta airport lounge and while onboard the aircraft.
  • Your pet must be at least 10 weeks old for Domestic travel.
  • Your pet must be 16 weeks old if traveling to the U.S. from other countries and must be at least 15 weeks old for European Union travel.
  • Pets in cabin kennels will count as your one carry-on item.  In addition to the kennel, you are permitted to bring one personal item onboard the aircraft.
  • One pet is permitted per kennel with the following exceptions:
    • One female cat/dog may travel with her un-weaned litter if the litter is a minimum of 10 weeks old to 6 months of age.
    • There is no limit on the number of animals in the litter.
  • Exception: 2 pets of the same breed and size between the age of 10 weeks and 6 months may be allowed to travel in 1 kennel, providing they are small enough to fit into one kennel and are compatible. They will be charged as 1 pet.

If you are traveling with a cat ,Small dogs, or household birds they can travel in the cabin for a one-way fee, collected at check-in. They must be able to fit in a small, ventilated pet carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. Pets in cabin kennels will count as your one carry-on item.  In addition to the kennel, you are permitted to bring one personal item onboard the aircraft. The following fees apply to/from the following destinations.

To/ fromChecked pet fee each way
U.S./Canada/Puerto Rico$125 USD
U.S. Virgin Islands/International$200/USD/CAD/EUR
Brazil$75 USD

Carry on Pets are not permitted in the following:

  • Bulkhead, emergency exit rows
  • Seats designated as “no stowage”
  • Flat-bed seats
  • Rows 30-35 on the A330-200 aircraft
  • Rows 30-43 on the A330 -300 aircraft
  • Center seats on the B757-200 aircraft

For more info, see the Delta pets travel page.

Airlines pet carriers FAQ

do airlines measure pet carriers?

Just like your under seat baggage airlines will measure your Pet carrier,so Your pet’s measurements should be slightly smaller and fit properly your airlines pet carrier measurements. The airlines will require that your pet can stand up and turn around comfortably in the carrier.

What size pet carrier will fit under an airline seat?

The maximum dimensions for hard-sided carriers are 17.5 inches long x 12 inches wide x 7.5 inches high (44 cm x 30 cm x 19 cm). A pet traveling in cabin must be carried in an approved hard-sided or soft-sided kennel. The kennel must fit completely under the seat in front of you and remain there at all times.

What if my pet carrier is too big?

If your pet weighs more than the allowed weight or exceeds the size and is too big to be placed under the seat in front of you; mostly your pet carrier will be subject for Cargo transportation.
please not that Your pet must be the proper size for the carrier. It must be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier.
so your pet carrier won’t be squashed or played by force under the seat.