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Airplane Pet Carrier Requirement

Traveling in an airport and on airplanes can be particularly challenging. Many dogs get anxious in large groups of people, or excited to play with potential new friends. Without a good way to handle your pet while maneuvering through large crowds at the airport, you may find you and your dog a bit overwhelmed by the surrounding excitement. As a way to ensure your sanity and your pup’s safety, airport pet carriers help keep them calm and by your side as you make your way to your plane.

Many airlines allow you to bring small dogs in the plane cabin with you, so long as you use airline-approved dog carriers. These hard-side or soft-side carriers fit under the seat in front of you, and your dog stays tucked inside for the duration of the trip. Remember, each airline has its own rules, so be sure to check with your airline for specifics. Larger dogs need to travel in the luggage compartment in a specially designed airline-approved dog carrier for large dogs. 

What are the rules for flying in an airplane with my dog? Traveling with your pet on an airplane has certain restrictions. Airline regulations and policies require your small dog or cat to be in a carrier sized to fit under the seat in front of you on your flight. 

 Pet dog carry handbags and pet purses

Airline Pet Policies and Dog Carrier Dimensions

If you're planning to travel with your dog on an airplane, and carry them in the cabin with you, read your airline's pet policies to be sure you comply with their current requirements regarding pet carriers(you can click the links below).

This information is what's available on each airline's website as of 10-1-2016, and is subject to change without notice by any airline.  Click a link below to access the airline's most current requirements.

Common Requirements:

  • Must be big enough for dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down naturally and comfortably in the kennel/carrier. Dog cannot protrude out from the carrier.
  • Must fit under the seat directly in front of you.
  • Must be leak-proof, escape-proof and ventilated on at least 2 sides.
  • Must not exceed specific dimensions, listed below for each airline.
  • Airlines require pre-notification of pets boarding and you will likely pay a fee.
  • Certain breeds may be dis-allowed

 Air Tran

Air Tran Regulations

17”W x 12”D x 8.5”H

 Alaska

Alaska Air Regulations

Hard-sided kennel: 17”W x 12”D x 7.5”H

Soft-sided carrier: 17”W x 12”D x 9.5”H

Any pet in a kennel too small or in obvious distress due to illness or injury will be refused travel.

 Allegiant

Allegiant Air Regulations

19"W x 16"D x 9"H

Soft-sided carriers are strongly recommended since pets must be comfortable while remaining in the carrier, under the seat, at all times.

 American

American Airlines Regulations

19"W x 13"D x 9"H  Hard sided non collapsible

Soft-sided pet carriers such as Sherpa bags may exceed these dimensions slightly because they are collapsible.

 Continental (merged with United)

 Delta

Delta Airlines Regulations

Maximum carry-on kennel dimensions are determined by your flight. You must contact Delta reservations to determine the appropriate kennel size.

 Frontier

Frontier Airlines Regulations

Aircraft Specifications:

Airbus A318/A319/A320:  24"W x 15.5"D x 9.5"H

Embraer E170/E175/E190:  18"W x 13.5"D x 10"H

Embraer E135/E140/E145:  17"W x 12"D x 10"H

There may be certain seats which cannot accommodate your pet container, but we'll work with you to get a seat assignment that works. Maximum dimensions are based on aircraft type (see above).

 JetBlue

Jet Blue Airlines Regulations

17”W x 12.5”D x 8.5”H

Combined weight of your pet and carrier may not exceed 20 pounds.

 Southwest

Southwest Airlines Regulations

The under-seat dimensions are as follows:

Window Seat: 19"L x 14"W x 8.25"H

Middle Seat: 19"L x 19"W x 8.25"H

Aisle Seat: 19"L x 14"W x 8.25"H

Soft-sided and hard-sided carriers specifically designed as pet carriers are acceptable.

 Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines Regulations

18"W x 14"D x 9"H

 United

United Airlines Regulations (search on pets)

Hard-sided kennels: 17.5"L x 12"W x 7.5"H

Soft-sided carriers: 18"L x 11"W x 11"H

Your pet carrier may be either hard- or soft-sided.

Soft-sided pet carriers may exceed these dimensions slightly.