Best Pet Carriers for Air Travel UK 

By  Enda

Thanks for taking your time to read our reviews on the best pet carriers for air travel, that are currently available on the UK marketplace. If 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, we 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.

My Top Picks

Amazon Basics 23-Inch (58 cm) Two-Door Top-Load Pet Kennel

Amazon Basics 23-Inch (58 cm) Two-Door Top-Load Pet Cat, Dog Kennel, Blue

As you can see from the number of reviews this is a very popular choice for many UK buyers

Overall it gets a high rating of 94% which is an excellent rating.

This carrier probably has the best ventilation of any of the carriers on our list

It measures 58 x 15 x 33 centimetres.

What is also pretty unique is that it has two doors, one in the front and one on the top which can be very useful. The top door can be opened to the left or right.

Check Amazon UK for Availability. Average UK Price £31 - 92% buyer satisfaction based on 53,000 online buyer reviews

Morpilot Pet Carrier Bag

morpilot Cat Carrier Backpack, Foldable Pet Carrier Backpack for Cats and Small Dogs, Dog Backpack Carrier with Ventilated Design Inner Safety Strap, Puppy Carrier Bag for Travel Camping Hiking blue

This portable pet bag is made of durable polyester and has a support board.

It has mesh on top and sides to ensure the circulation of air inside the box and also allow your little friend to look around

There is a small pocket on the outside of the bag to store treats

It measures 17.3*12.2*13.4 inches and suitable for pets up to 15 lbs

It has carrying handles and can also be used as a tote bag or shoulder bag with the top handle and adjustable strap.

Available in grey, blue or purple and can be cleaned with a soft brush. 

Check Amazon UK for Availability. Average UK Price £44 - 92% buyer satisfaction based on 6,000 online buyer reviews

The soft cushion inside the bag is removable and can be washed by hand or in your washing machine. This carrier gives your pet good protection. It is a lightweight bag, where you can take your pet anywhere, and let your pets have a wonderful and happy trip.

We like

  • Very well made and very sturdy
  • Most buyer's cats loved the carrier
  • Good quality mesh
  • Good view out the front

We don't like

  • Slight issue closing the flap

Vailge Airline Approved Pet Carrier

Cat Carrier Dog Carrier Airline Approved Pet Carriers for Small Cats Dogs Puppies Bunny, Small Dog Soft Sided Carrier Collapsible Puppy Carrier (Grey)

This is a good choice for small medium cats or dogs up to 15 lbs. You should always measure your pet's height, length, width and weight to be sure it will be comfortable.

This carrier measures 17" long, 11 " wide and 11" tall. It does have removable inserts that make it much easier to clean.

This pet carrier has been designed to fit under the seat in most airplanes, and comfortable in the seat next to you in a car or bus. 

It is available in grey, black, blue, pink and violet colours.

Check Amazon UK for Availability. Average UK Price £17  - 92% buyer satisfaction based on 3,000 online buyer reviews

We like

  • Very good for air travel and for use when going to the vet
  • Has strong handles and a good shoulder strap
  • Good ventilation
  • Zip top quick entrance

We don't like

  • Slight gap in the zip closure

Karlie Transport Box Pet Carrier

Karlie Transport Box - In Accordance with IATA Requirements for Transportation of Live Animals, M, 68 x 51 x 47 cm

This particular carrier meets the IATA requirements for the transportation of live animals

This carrier measures 68.6 x 47.6 x 29 cms and weighs around 10lbs

This is a roomy plastic box with a metal door and also comes with a water bowl

It also comes with the all important safety screws for travel in trains or planes

It has a single carrying handle.

Check Amazon UK for Availability. Average UK Price £95 - 90% buyer satisfaction based on 3,500 online buyer reviews

Pet Carrier Buying Guide

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Checked Baggage (In the Hold or Cargo) Pets which are not permitted in the cabin can be checked into the cargo hold
  3. 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.

Pet Comfort

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.

Airline Rules

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

Pet Carrier Conclusion

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.


Hi, my name is Enda McLarnon and I love to travel. I travelled for many years with business, but these days it is thankfully all about holidays and enjoyment. Here I share everything I have learned about travel.

Enda McLarnon

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  1. Unfortunately, I have not found a single pet carrier on the market that fits underneath the seat at the front. The dimensions should be 18x14x8 inches (45x36x20 cm) or at least have a (semi)soft frame instead of a hard metal one. I managed to squash my old carrier (H 30cm) under the seat, but my cat wasn't that pleased!
    Not having found anything suitable on the market, I will modify the one I have got, but I wished manufacturers think about it.

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