7 Best Airline Approved Dog Carriers With Our 2024 Budget-Friendly Pick

Flying on an airplane with your dog can sound like a stressful idea, but it’s actually tons of fun if you’re prepared! The most crucial part of creating an enjoyable flying experience with your pup is purchasing the right airline approved dog carrier. Your pet’s safety and comfort is priority when you are traveling with them, so it’s imperative that you use a carrier that puts emphasis on keeping them cozy and secure.

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If you’ve never flown on an airplane with your dog, we have the guide to get you started! We share tips for flying on an airplane with your dog to ease your nerves. And if you are in the market for a new airline approved dog carrier, we have you covered with 7 excellent recommendations.

3 Benefits of Using an Airline Approved Dog Carrier

The most essential item for traveling with your dog via airplane is a comfortable carrier. Benefits to using an airline approved dog carrier include:

  1. It will fit under the seat in front of you: When a dog carrier is approved by the airlines, you know it is sure to fit underneath the seat in front of you. Knowing your dog carrier will fit in the cabin with you will minimize stress.
  2. Your dog will be comfortable: Airlines require carriers to have plenty of ventilation and room for your pooch to lay down without being squished. Using an airline approved carrier means that it meets the safety and comfort standards of the airlines.
  3. They often double as a car safety device: Most airline approved dog carriers also come with the ability to be strapped into a car via a seat belt. This is a beneficial feature because it saves money, you don’t have to lug around two carriers and your dog will be safe in any vehicle!

Tips for Flying on an Airplane With Your Dog

If you’re new to flying on an airplane with your dog, the thought of the entire process can be nerve-wracking. However, if you show up to the airport prepared, it will be fun and enjoyable! Use these tips to prepare yourself for the adventure:

  1. Research your airline’s policies: While a majority of airlines have similar pet policies, it’s important to check those of whom you’re flying with. Some airlines do not allow specific breeds to fly, such as brachycephalic dogs like Pugs and Bulldogs due to the breathing risk at high altitudes.
  2. Be ready to go through security: At the TSA security checkpoint you will need to take your dog out of the carrier and hold them while you walk through the X-ray machine. Make sure your dog has a collar and leash on.
  3. Potty your dog before flying: Make sure you give your dog the opportunity to do their business before flying on the airplane. Bring potty pads if necessary. Many major airports have indoor dog relief stations, which is always helpful!
  4. Bring your dog’s favorite items: If your dog has a special blanket, toy or chew they like, put it in their carrier so they have a familiar smell with them. If you think your dog may get anxiety on the airplane, consider putting one of your used t-shirts in the carrier with them. The smell will help your pup relax.
  5. Use positive reinforcement: If your dog is being quiet and well-behaved in their carrier, reward them! Bring some high-value treats on the airplane so you can treat your dog to show them that flying is fun. But don’t feed them too much – you don’t want to cause an upset tummy.
  6. Ask to board the plane early: Often times you can ask the agent at your terminal gate to board early if you have a dog. Typically airline personnel is gracious about letting pet parents board the airplane with priority status so you can get comfortable before the plane fills up.
  7. Pack for the journey: Make sure you pack all of the necessary items that you will need for your dog while traveling. It’s a good idea to have a veterinary health certificate for your dog or an up-to-date copy of their vaccinations. Be sure that your dog’s ID tag and microchip is updated with your latest information.

6 Components to Look for in an Airline Approved Dog Carrier

Whether you want a simple carrier or one with fancy features, here are some basic components to consider when choosing an airline approved dog carrier:

  1. Maneuverability: Think about your upcoming travels for a moment; you’re walking through the airport with your dog. Do you feel comfortable carrying your pup on your shoulders throughout the airport? Maybe a backpack carrier would be better? Perhaps you have a free hand to roll a carrier on wheels? You need to decide which type of dog carrier maneuverability is going to be best for you personally.
  2. Ventilation: It’s crucial that your dog has plenty of ventilation on their carrier. The more, the better. However, some carriers may have too much visibility in which case your pup could become anxious. One of our airline approved dog carrier recommendations has a ton of visibility but it comes with retractable privacy flaps to offer your pup security when necessary.
  3. Dimensions: Even though a dog carrier may be “airline approved,” it’s important to double check the dimensions and compare them to your airline’s pet policy. Airplane size differs, and so does the space under the seat, so it’s okay if your carry is too big by an inch or so.
  4. Storage pockets: Some airline approved dog carriers have more storage pockets than others. If you love pockets, choose a carrier that has multiple! The choice is yours.
  5. Interior comfort: Of course it’s imperative that your dog is comfortable during your flight. You will absolutely want to choose a dog carrier with a cozy interior. Many carriers come with removable, washable padding which is a nice feature.
  6. Versatility: Like we stated above, some dog carriers double as car seats. Others even expand to offer more space, fold down for simple storage or turn into a dog bed! You may pay a little more money for snazzy “upgrades” but it’s also nice when your carrier can be used for other ventures.

Overall Best Airline Approved Dog Carrier

Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Dog Carrier

Key Benefits:

  • Fits dogs up to 15lbs
  • Can be expanded under an airplane seat for more room
  • Ability to strap to your luggage
  • Doubles as a car seat

The Sleeypod Air is an extremely versatile TSA approved dog carrier. Not only will it fit seamlessly beneath the seat in front of you on an airplane, but it doubles as a car seat for when you make the final route to your destination! It can be stressful to haul luggage around the airport but Sleepypod makes it easy for your dog to tag along. You can place the Sleepypod Air on top of your roller suitcase and slip the handle through a trolley pocket. This feature makes bringing your dog through the airport a much easier task.

The Sleepypod Air is made from luggage-grade material. It boasts mesh paneling for great air circulation and visibility. This airline approved dog carrier is washable and water-repellent. We like that you can expand the Sleepypod Air undernearth an airline seat so your dog has more space. It’s also crash-tested so you know that your pup will be safe when they travel in it. The Sleepypod Air fits dogs (and cats) up to 15lbs, and it’s by far our favorite dog carrier for the plane and car.


  • Doubles as a car seat
  • Securely attach to your luggage for easy carrying
  • TSA approved and crash-tested
  • Turns into a bed and folds down for convenient storage
  • Made from luggage-grade material with a water-repellent cover


  • The Sleepypod Air is more expensive than other options, but pet parents will agree that it’s worth the cost to ensure your dog’s safety!

Sturdi Products SturdiBag Flex-Height Pet Carrier

Key Benefits:

  • Compresses under an airplane seat to fit snugly
  • Fits pets up to 30lbs
  • Roll up front door and windows for privacy and security
  • Removable, washable fleece pad

Runner-Up Best Airline Approved Dog Carrier: The SturdiBag comes in a couple of different sizes but we chose the large for our runner-up best airline approved dog carrier. It can comfortable hold dogs up to 30lbs. For resting at the airport, the SturdiBag has a top zipper window so your pup can sit in the carrier and peek their head out to observe their surroundings. When it’s time to board the plan, the carrier will lightly compress under the seat in front of you so it fits without any fuss.

The TSA-compliant SturdiBag has a mesh front door and windows. The top flap, side windows and front door all have retractable privacy flaps. This way your dog can feel safe in their own quiet place, or they can look out the windows. You can strap SturdiBag into your car via safety straps, and it also has a detachable tether and zipper security clips. This airline approved carrier has an adjustable shoulder strap and a washable fleece padded to ensure your pet’s comfort when traveling.


  • Available in sizes large and small
  • Will compress to fit underneath an airplane seat
  • Retractable privacy flaps on the windows of the carrier
  • Securely straps into a car for additional safety
  • Top zipper window for your dog to stick their head out


  • Does not have wheels or luggage attachment, so it may become heavy if you’re carrying your dog on your shoulder.

Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier

Key Benefits:

  • Extremely cost effective
  • Available in 3 sizes to hold dogs up to 22lbs
  • Top and side entry points
  • Large rear storage pocket

Best Budget-Friendly Airline Approved Dog Carrier: The original Sherpa dog carrier is fashionable and safe for your pet. Available in three different sizes, this airline approved dog carrier holds pups up to 22lbs. Notable features on the Sherpa dog carrier include large mesh windows, a rear storage pocket, a seatbelt strap for car safety and soft, fluffy inner liner so your dog is cozy during your travels.

While the Sherpa Original Deluxe pet carrier is fairly simple, it will surely keep your dog safe and comfortable on the airplane. This dog carrier is approved on most airlines, as the dimensions fit perfectly underneath most airplane seats. We like that the Sherpa carrier is a straightforward design that is cost-effective and high-quality.


  • Available in a variety of sizes and colors
  • Mesh windows around the carrier for visibility and breathability
  • Cost-effective for any budget
  • Approved by all major airlines


  • Doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that the other top dog carriers have.

More Top Airline Approved Dog Carriers

Gen7Pets Geometric Roller Pet Carrier

The Gen7Pets roller carrier is an excellent choice for dog parents who would love the convenience of not having to lug a carrier on your shoulder. This versatile carrier is wonderful because you can wheel your dog around the airport with zero stress, then easily slide it under the airplane seat in front of you. All interior sides of this Gen7Pets carrier are padded so your dog is always cozy, no matter if they are sitting up or laying down. Versatile mesh windows ensure your pup can see and breathe easily at all times. The Gen7Pets roller carrier has straps, enabling you to carry it on your back or secure it into a car seat. This airline approved dog carrier comes in two sizes to accommodate pets up to 20lbs.

Mr. Peanut’s Platinum Series Double-Expandable Airline Approved Soft-Sided Dog Carrier

This dog carrier is an extraordinary option for dogs who want to sprawl out when they can. Both sides of this innovative carrier expand so your pup will have plenty of room to relax and enjoy their views. The faux-fleece bedding also expands to the sides, ensuring that your dog will always be cozy. This airline approved dog carrier from Mr. Peanut’s is made from durable, waterproof nylon. It’s lightweight and easy to clean, which are two excellent benefits when it comes to traveling! This dog carrier can attach to your luggage and it also has a shoulder strap. We love this carrier expands to become larger, and it comes at a fantastic price.

Bergan Voyager Carrier

The Bergan Voyager is highly rated among fellow dog parents. This colorful, stylish airline approved carrier is great for dogs up to 22lbs. The design is functional, with a built-in waste bag holder and dispenser, as well as pockets for your pup’s necessities. The zippers lock so your dog always stays secure in the carrier, and a seat belt look allows you to safely travel in the car. The Bergan Voyager Carrier is functional and comfortable option for those dog owners who enjoy a more colorful parenting style.

Gen7Pets Carry-Me Sleeper Pet Carrier

Another Gen7Pets dog carrier makes our list because it’s hard to top the quality, innovation and reliability! This sleeper dog carrier offers a modern design. While it will comfortably carry your pampered pooch, it also doubles as a cozy dog bed! Once you reach your destination and it’s time for a snooze, simply zip down the side of the carrier and your dog has their very own bed. The Gen7Pets Carry-Me dog carrier has mesh windows for the airplane ride, as well as pockets for all of your dog’s essentials. A shoulder strap and handle make this carrier convenient to bring along on all of your adventures.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does a dog carrier count as a carry-on? – On major airlines you can carry a pet and a personal item, or a pet and a standard carry-on. Your dog does count as a carry-on for the sake of traveling.
  • What size dog carrier can I take on a plane? – While airline policies are similar, you will want to check your specific airline to view the approved dimensions that are allowed for an in-cabin pet carrier.
  • How much does it cost to fly with my dog? – When flying in the cabin with your dog, the cost is generally anywhere from $95-$125. Every airline is different, so you will want to check your airline’s policies.


We hope your mind is at ease after reading our article about airline approved dog carriers. Remember to research your airline’s pet policies before traveling, and arrive at the airport prepared with all of your essentials. Safe travels!

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