What is the Best Airline-Approved Cat Carrier?

What Size Cat Carrier is Airline Approved?

In order to fly with your cat in an airplane, you need a carrier that should fall within the dimensions that are allowed by the airline. These dimensions vary between various major airlines.

For example, United Airlines approves pet carriers that are 18-inches long, 11-inches wide, and 9-inches tall, while Southwest Airlines allows pet carriers 18.5-inches long, 8.5-inches wide, and 13.5-inches tall.

It is crucial that the carrier is in accordance with these parameters and gives your cat enough room to stand up, lie down, turn around, and still be comfortable during air travel. Plus, there should be at least 2 to 3 inches of clearance from the top of the cat’s ears to the carrier’s roof.

There are many brands such as Mr. Peanut, Petmate, and Sherpa that make airline-approved pet carriers for your furry friends.

The Best Airline Approved Cat Carriers Reviewed

There are dozens of airline-approved pet carriers on the market. To help owners find the right one for their pets we have reviewed some of the best airline-friendly cat carriers.

Prodigen Airline Approved Durable Mesh Pet Travel Carrier

Prodigen Airline Approved Durable Mesh Pet Travel Carrier

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Summary: This airline-approved cat carrier is composed of a woolen mat, foam layer, wooden board, and polyester taffet. As a result, your pet feels more comfortable and safer during their airline journey. This pet carrier provides two connecting loop handles for balanced carrying as a dual seat belt or luggage strap to secure transport. It also has silver reflective strips on the three sides for added security and safety for your cat, especially at night.

Dimensions: 17.2 x 10 x 11 inches

Material: Nylon

Weight Limit: 14 lbs

Pros

  • Durable 60D oxford cloth with water-resistant coating
  • High-quality EPE FOAM layer for support and temperature comfort
  • Features upgraded self-lock zippers for safety
  • Cannot be opened from inside
  • Silver reflective strips on the three sides

Cons

  • The base can be scratched by your cat’s claws

Review: This airline-approved cat carrier is easy to carry and has a padded adjustable shoulder strap along with carrying handles. When going to vets, the check-ups can be done from the top opening.

Refrze TSA Airline Approved Pet Carrier with Bowl

Refrze TSA Airline Approved Pet Carrier with Bowl

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Summary: This airline-approved cat carrier is not only airline-approved but also has a hard bottom along with a cushioned soft mat that will make your pet stable and comfortable. You can get your pet in and out easily from the top and both side openings. Additionally, when not in use, the carrier can be folded and put away easily. It also has a safety hook that can be attached to your cat’s harness to prevent it from getting away if it escapes.

Dimensions: 17 x 12 x 11 inches

Material: Polyester

Weight Limit: 25 Lbs

Pros

  • Composed of a woolen mat, foam layer, and wooden board
  • Has a hard-bottomed but cushioned soft mat
  • Can also be unzipped to wash easily
  • Easy to carry your pet with the strong and padded shoulder strap
  • The zippers are very sturdy and will hold in place

Cons

  • Might not fit under some airline seats

Review: This airline-approved cat carrier has a bottom mat that is machine washable. You can wash on a gentle cycle in cold water with a suitable detergent. Pet owners love the easy maintenance of the carrier. 

COVONO Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier Backpack

COVONO Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier Backpack

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Summary: This airline-approved cat carrier features a rear expansion design, a large transparent acrylic window, and a super ventilated system for added benefits. It is specially designed to keep your pet protected, secure, and comfortable during long transits, mainly on flights. It can also be used for trips to the vet, travel, hiking, or camping. With the expandable design, the space inside the backpack can be doubled. The expandable part uses a stable steel frame and can bear load without deformation.

Dimensions: 13.6 x 10 x 16.8 inches

Material: Acrylic

Weight Limit: 18 lbs

Pros

  • Reinforced structure
  • High-quality Oxford cloth
  • Top & side entry
  • Rear expandable
  • Large transparent window

Cons

  • The zippers might get stuck periodically

Review: The backpack features a front, rear, and side openings, which allow for effortless entry and stress-free loading. It is highly durable and made with strong materials.

petisfam Airline Approved Top Load Cat Carrier Bag

petisfam Airline Approved Top Load Cat Carrier Bag

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Summary: This airline-approved cat carrier has zippers that are made with an anti-escape construction. It also has a leash hook inside so that your cat cannot run away if it manages to escape from the bag. Additionally, it is easier to load your pets into this carrier as compared to most other carriers, thanks to one top opening and two side doors. Finally, it also features a luggage attachment and car seat belt straps that are included with this product.

Dimensions: 17 x 11 x 11 inches

Material: Nylon

Weight Limit: 16 lbs

Pros

  • The frame on the carrier is very sturdy
  • The removable pad has a zipper on the end
  • It collapses easy and is pretty flat
  • Made with an aesthetic design
  • No installation needed

Cons

  • The smell is strong and might not suit some cats

Review: The airline-approved cat carrier is easy to store away as it can be easily collapsed and folded into a flat package. It is lightweight and highly durable.

Henkelion TSA Airline Approved Soft-Sided Collapsible Cat Carrier

Henkelion TSA Airline Approved Soft-Sided Collapsible Cat Carrier

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Summary: With an airline-approved design, you can take your pet to go to everywhere with this highly portable pet carrier. It also provides two connecting loop handles for balanced carrying. These loops can be used as a dual seat belt or luggage strap to secure transport. It also features an adjustable shoulder strap that helps you with hands-free carrying. The four-side mesh will not only lead to a safe and comfortable journey but also make it easy for you to keep an eye out for your pet.

Dimensions: 15 x 9 x 9 inches

Material: Polyester

Weight Limit: 15 Lbs

Pros

  • Composed of a woolen mat, foam layer, and wooden board
  • Features side pocket to store treats, toys, food, and other accessories
  • Carrier is easy to carry and store
  • Offers loop handles for balanced carrying
  • Has adjustable shoulder strap for hands-free carry

Cons

  • Not machine washable model and materials

Review: This medium airline-approved cat carrier is designed for small and medium pets and features a padded shoulder strap and handles. It cannot be washed in a machine.

Siivton 4 Sides Expandable Airline Approved Pet Carrier

Siivton 4 Sides Expandable Airline Approved Pet Carrier

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Summary: This airline-approved cat carrier is designed with a 4-way expansion to make it easy for your pet cat to travel around. It also provides pets with a large moving space, better vision, more airflow, comfort, and safety, and even reduces confinement anxiety for a comfortable journey. This carrier is designed to comply with TSA and IATA requirements and will easily fit under the front cabin seat of most airline carriers.

Dimensions: 17.99 x 11.02 x 11.02 inches

Material: Polyester

Weight Limit: 14 lbs

Pros

  • Designed with 4-way expansion for added comfort
  • Provides large moving space, better vision, and more airflow
  • Equipped with durable oxford and oxford PP board
  • Features an anti-claw net for ventilation
  • Made of durable materials

Cons

  • Not suitable for car travels

Review: This large airline-approved cat carrier is the perfect gift for pet lovers on birthdays, anniversaries, New Year, Christmas, and other holidays. It is durable and made with premium materials.

Meowant 3 Sides Expandable Airline Approved Pet Carrier

Meowant 3 Sides Expandable Airline Approved Pet Carrier

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Summary: This airline-approved cat carrier is best for airline travel because they’re flexible enough to crumple down slightly to accommodate the seat height ahead of you. It has three entries from the side and the top, allowing your cat to enter through the side door or drop into the carrier through the roof. With a combination of air vents and multiple mesh windows and doors, the soft carrier has good visibility and ventilation.

Dimensions: 17.7 x 11.8 x 11.8 inches

Material: Rubberized mesh, Oxford

Weight Limit: 16 lbs

Pros

  • Side storage pockets allow you to oxfordssentials
  • Four-foot pads provide wear protection
  • Reflective strips for easy visibility at night
  • Folds down flat for easy storage
  • Made with comfortable materials and tough construction

Cons

  • On the more expensive end of the price range

Review: This airline-approved cat carrier has hand carry handles, a padded shoulder strap, and a side strap, allowing you to sling the carrier over your arm or slide it onto your rolling suitcase handle.

What Should I Look for in an Airline Approved Cat Carrier?

When looking for an airline-approved cat carrier there are several things to consider. Here are the most important features:

  • Ventilation. At least three sides of the carrier need ventilation to make the journey more comfortable for your cat. This can prevent claustrophobia and make them less anxious during travel.
  • Food and Water. The crate can have a removable food bowl and water bottle that must be fixed inside or attached. This can keep your pet more occupied during the travel.
  • Non-Collapsible Design. The crate must open at the front (it cannot be collapsible or have folds). Furthermore, it must be machine washable and feature locking zippers so that your pet cannot escape. It should also easily fix itself to a car seat and its seat belt.
  • Tags and Stickers. The cat carrier should be marked with ‘live animal’ stickers and have an ID tag fixed to its latch. This makes everyone on board aware that you are carrying your pet with you.
  • Anxiety-Reducing Blinds. The pet crate needs to be lined with shredded paper or pet pads. This helps reduce your pet’s anxiety overall.
  • Comfort. Overall, the pet carrier should be comfortable for cats and small dogs. A padded shoulder strap, fleece bed, and easy storage for your pet’s accessories can help a long way. It should also easily attach itself to a stroller and can have a tote design.
Prodigen Airline Approved Durable Mesh Pet Travel Carrier
  • AIRLINE APPROVED PET CARRIER- ACCEPTED as a SOUTHWEST Airlines Pet Carrier, JETBLUE Pet Carrier, DELTA Pet Carrier Plus VIRGIN, ALASKA, FRONTIER, ALLEGIANT, UNITED & MORE. Carrier measures 17.2"L x 10"W x 11"H. DESIGNED with a Ventilated Top to meet all airline regulations of under forward seat.
  • ULTRA-SAFE, EXTRA DURABLE- UPGRADED to REINFORCED Polyester & CLAW-DEFENSE MESH on top & 4 sides ensures your pet has ample VENTILATION and AIRFLOW & it WON’T TEAR like flimsy, cheap carriers while MINI ZIPPER BUCKLES ensure your pet stays tucked safely inside.
  • EASY ACCESS & VENTILATED: Mesh windows on top and all 4 sides provide optimal airflow. Some have zippers to quickly reach your pet to comfort, touch, or take in or out.