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Pet travel: Flight approved pet carriers

It's not easy to figure out how to travel with your dog or cat, especially if you're going overseas. Read on to find out what makes a pet carrier IATA approved to make it a little easier.

Dog in the cabin - Flight approved pet carriers

How can I tell if my pet carrier is airline approved?

These are the requirements for a pet carrier being carried in airline cargo:

  • At least 3 sides of the carrier need ventilation
  • Food must be fixed inside or attached to the crate
  • The crate must open at the front (it cannot be collapsible)
  • Doors must have the ability to be cable-tied shut
  • Marked with ‘live animal’ stickers
  • Crates need to be lined with shredded paper, or pet pads
  • Your pet’s travel docs must be attached to the crate too

Read the full requirements for IATA-compliant pet carriers here.

We recommend that you contact your airline beforehand to check that your pet carrier is appropriate.

Dog in a bag - Flight approved pet carriers

How big does the pet carrier need to be?

Dimensions of the crate depend on the size of the animal and the species. Dogs require the most space, and you can find the calculator for finding their ‘right size crate’ on this website.

What do you need to include with your pet in the pet carrier?

  • IATA approved crate
  • Water bottle
  • Pet pads
  • Food bowl
  • Food that’s easy to transport – make sure it fits the destination country’s regulations regarding animal and agricultural produce.

Which crates/pet carriers are appropriate for airline travel (IATA approved)?

Cat in a bag - Flight approved pet carriers

Pet carriers are very different for cargo and cabin travel. In cargo, your pet carrier will need to meet all the requirements above. In the cabin, the carrier should be smaller, and it won’t need to meet the requirements above. The following carriers are all either appropriate for cargo or cabin air travel.

1. Trixie Large Vari Ultra Fashion Dog Kennel

Dimensions: 91.4×63.5×68.6 cm

Cargo or cabin? Cargo

This is a carrier and kennel that’s a favourite with travellers, and you can keep it as a home for your pet too. The heavy duty hardware and plastic is ideal for keeping your dog safe too. The Trixie is most well suited to larger dogs like Labradors, and can hold up to 25kg.

2. Transport Box Gulliver Mega

Dimensions: 81x61x60cm

Cargo or cabin? Cargo

This airline approved carrier is suitable for cats and dogs. This is ideal if your pet is on the heavier side, as you can order wheels to attach to the bottom of the case. The long handle makes it ideal to carry your furry friends through the airport!

3. Dogit Cargo Carrier

Dimensions: 104.1×74.9×76.2 cm

Cargo or cabin? Cargo

This is a pricier model, but it’s tough – ideal for long journeys. There’s a gutter built into the bottom of the crate, handles on top, and plenty of ventilation on top to keep your pal happy. The largest model can take a Labrador, but smaller sizes are also available.

4. Small Petmate Vari Kennel for Dogs/Cats

Dimensions: 61.2×42.4×36.8 cm

Cargo or cabin? Cargo

This fully IATA approved carrier is ideal for smaller dogs and cats. The sides are reinforced with metal bolts, wire doors and strong plastic sides. Reviewers have attested to the ‘sturdiness’ of this one, having taken cats and dogs on multiple transatlantic and European routes.

5. Trixie Wings AirlinDog Carrier

Dimensions: 46x28x23 cm

Cargo or cabin? Cabin

This bag is not permitted in cargo, but it’s ideal for taking small pets (cats and smaller breeds of dogs) on planes in the cabin, or on car rides. The over-the-shoulder strap makes it easy for you to carry them, and can be opened at the side, top and front.

So long as the crate/carrier fits the requirements on the IATA website, you’ll be fine to fly with your pet.

*Revised July 2019. Information correct at the time of publication and is subject to change and/or availability.

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