This is our review of the best pet carriers for air travel in the UK. If like me, you love your pets, then when they have to travel owning an airline approved pet carrier is an absolute must for getting your precious cargo from one place to another in both comfort and safety.
Like many other things in life, there are a whole multitude of different choices to consider. Sometimes these are referred to as pet transportation systems.
With so much choice available, I think it is important to select one that meets the country standards of air travel regulations for animals. Now in addition to that, you will also have to be aware that airlines may also have individual requirements.
These can vary from carrier to carrier. Generally speaking though, you can select a carrier that meets both the key regulations and also those of the airlines that fly in and out of the United Kingdom.
If in doubt though always check with the actual airline that you are flying with. It is better to be safe than sorry. There is nothing worse than turning up at an airport and being turned away.
Before we look at what is available though we need to answer an important question.
Can Pets Travel On Airlines?
If you are going on holiday, visiting, going on business most people will chose to fly because it is just faster and more convenient. What happens though if you want to take your pet with you? What are the rules regarding that? Below we take a look.
There are three ways in which pets can travel on flights and these are:
- Checked Baggage (In Cabin) – Your pet must fly with an adult passenger and travel in an airline compliant carrier, which can be stowed under the seat.
- Checked Baggage (In the Hold or Cargo) Pets which are not permitted in the cabin can be checked into the cargo hold
- Manifest Cargo – Any pet not travelling with a passenger or very large pets will travel as manifest cargo in the hold
Footnote: In some circumstances service or emotional pets can travel in the cabin with disabled passengers.
Airline Compliant Pet Carriers
There are some features of a pet carrier that airlines insist that your carrier MUST have. These are:
- Adequate ventilation
- The pet must be securely fastened in the carrier (zips)
- It must fit underneath the seat in front of you
- Your pet must be able to fit in the carrier and be able to both stand up and turn around
- It must have a waterproof bottom
The golden rule is that if your pet weighs more than 15 pounds, and is more than 19″ long, then it will not be allowed to travel in the cabin with you. It will then have to go into the hold. If in doubt call your airline though to be 100% certain.
Sleepypod Air – Airline Approved Pet Carrier for Dogs & Cats
This is a good example of a pet carrier for smaller cats and dogs. This one is from Sleepypod and gets great reviews from many online buyers. Overall it gets a very high rating of 98% which is an excellent rating.
Safety is important, along with comfort for your pet and also to meet the varying requirements of airline operators.
This carrier allows you to shrink this to fit in the space below the airline seat in front of you. Once the plane has taken off, it can then be expanded to allow your pet a lot more room.
It measures 22″ long, 10.5 ” wide and 10″ tall. This carrier has been designed for dogs of up to 15 lbs and cats of up to 18 lbs.
It is available in dark chocolate, silver, black, orange and strawberry red.
One buyer said this:
“This Rolls Royce of pet carriers meets major airline carry-on pet regulations by being able to compress in length from 22″ to 16″
Comfort Is Key for All Pets
Pet lovers will always want their pet to travel in comfort. However the actual size is a crucial factor as many airlines have strict rules on these. It is always advisable to check with the airline you will be travelling with. The ideal animal transporter needs first of all to meet their guidelines and also have adequate space for your pet to travel comfortably.
These vary from airline to airline so always check. Generally speaking though, here are some basic guidelines. Many of the airlines have approved pet carriers that can be checked in as carry-on items. This is the ideal situation for most animal lovers. However please be aware that these are typically designed for the smaller dogs and cats.
The standard pet shipper that can be used as a carry on item will be able to fit comfortably under the seat right in front of you. Of course, sizes will vary according to the size of the dog and the size of airline approved pet carriers for carry on travel. Check out the details before packing.
This one is the best seller over at Amazon.
- Recommended for pets up to 7kgs/17.5Ibs
- Product dimensions:42*26*32cm
- EVA Pet Carrier suitable for all types of small pets, dogs, cats, puppies, kittens etc.
- Collapsible design allows product to be stored flat.
- All round ventilation holes to keep pet cool and aware of surroundings
- Comfy cushion included Carry Handle,Foldable and washable
This one gets good reviews but please note that this one is for really small pets so please be aware of that.
Style & Design
Style and design is another factor to consider in portable carriers for pets. There are a number of different looks that you may want to consider for your furry travel companion. The ideal unit is designed to keep the animal comfortable and safe while on the move. It should suit the airline requirements for carry on pet transporters. It should suit the size of the animal and it should suit your taste.
Cargo Pet Carriers
There are quite a few options for these and it will come down mainly to the size of your pet. Here is one such example.
- This is a multi-functional Carrier System for cats and toy breed dogs
- Top opening hatch which allows you to place and remove your pet from the carrier
- Can be secured in your vehicle with a conventional seatbelt
- It has been designed for ease of use of the owner also with a integrated moulded handle and a shoulder strap
- Your pet will also find travel easier with the skid resistant textured floor
The types of airlines approved pet carriers include everything from totes to kennel-style designs. It will mainly come down to your own personal preference. The bottom line is if they are approved for flight travel then they are probably safe and well-tested.