Review: My Favorite Airline-Approved Cat Carrier
The best onboard pet carrier for air travel
If you must drag us cats on the airplane, we insist that you carry us in a sturdy airline-approved cat carrier like my Sherpa Deluxe Bag. A good under-the-seat soft-sided cat carrier lets us travel close to our owner's feet in the main cabin, where we can voice our displeasure and plot vengeance.
My name is Samhain the Cat, and I flew on planes for twelve years. I'd like to share my experience so that you can make air travel as painless as possible for your pet. On this page I'll review my favorite soft-sided airline pet carrier and recommend a few others suggested to me by other cat owners. My feeder-person has also written a guide to airline pet travel, including pet policies for most major airlines.
My Favorite Airline-Approved Pet Carrier
Here's the soft-sided carrier I used for the last seven years before I got too old for air travel. (It's still my ride to the vet.) Click the picture to jump to Amazon's current listings and read other customer reviews, or read on for my own in-depth review.
Dimensions: 18 x 10.5 x 11 inches ; 4.1 pounds.
In-Depth Review of Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carrier - Why I Like This Cat Carrier
- Since it's soft-sided, it can scrunch down to fit the insanely small 17x12x8.5 inch size restrictions on some airlines.
- It's roomy enough for me to turn around in but not too big. Most pets like snug carriers.
- The zipper top makes it easy to get me in and out at security, and one end unzips drawbridge-style for easy access and exit at home.
- The mesh sides give me fresh air, and don't rub my nose raw like the airholes on my old hard-sided Petmate Cabin Kennel. Flexible plastic frame and bottom insert provide structure.
- The tote-style carry straps distribute my weight, and the shoulder strap attaches with a dog leash clip so it can be used as a spare leash.
- Both ends are covered with velcro-fastened outer flaps that can be rolled up to make windows. When down, most people don't realize there's a cat in here!
- Zipper pockets on both sides are useful for holding travel documents -- mine and hers.
- The washable synthetic fleece liner is cozy, although I tend to scrunch it up like a pillow. Owner puts a disposable liner underneath for extra security.
- Metal O-ring inside lets dog owners clip their pet's collar so pooch can't bolt.
- Velcro strap along the non-mesh side (opposite the zipper pocket) fits securely over luggage handle or mini pull-cart.
- Note: My owner's read two reviews from owners whose cats managed to chew through the mesh and escape. Click the Amazon link above this list to read their reviews.
- For reviews of other pet carriers, visit the Featured Pet Travel Lenses at the bottom of this page or click product listings in my "What's Your Favorite Pet Carrier?" Poll for Amazon customer reviews.
- Stiff, flat plastic floor insert under liner can be removed in a pinch if size restrictions are unusually tight. Floor insert and semi-flexible reinforcing struts along edges of carrier maintain its shape.
Bamboo Silicon Pop-Up Travel Bowl
After having to beg an airport fast food joint for a bowl of water when my 1.5-hour flight to Utah was delayed several hours, I realized that one should always carry food and water, even on short trips. I noticed that many of the pet owners who have bought carriers on this page were buying these collapsible travel bowls for their pets. They look like a good solution.
(Tip: they're okay for occasional travel, but don't use plastic bowls at home. Use metal, glass or ceramic. Plastic bowls can pick up germs and are a frequent cause of chin acne in cats.)