What is the best airline approved dog carrier?

Yes, it is unfair of us to answer our Shaya Carrier is the best airline approved dog carrier out there, but that’s how we feel. So instead of telling you why our pet carriers are the best, we’ll share what makes any pet carrier “the best airline approved dog carrier.”  

The requirements for pet carriers that can be carried with you onto the flight are mostly standard across airlines. We’ll write them out for you here and you can also find them as a checklist below. Please note that airline requirements outside of the U.S. can be very different. If traveling internationally or are based outside of the U.S. it’s best to do your research and make a list of the requirements.

The rules: pets must be placed in a soft- or hard-sided pet carrier that is leak-proof and ventilated on a minimum of two sides. The zippers used to open and close the carrier must be automatic locking zippers. This just means that if you put your finger against the zipper and between the zipper opening and try to pull up, the zipper won’t move. It can only be opened by pulling on the zipper tab. The carrier must fit the same size dimensions listed for personal items. This is different from dimensions given for carry-on bags so make sure to check. Some airlines require that your pet be able to stand up and turn around while enclosed in the carrier.



Bag is leak-proof


Locking Zippers


Soft – or hard-sided carrier


Ventilated on at least two sides


Fits dimensions of personal item listed by airline


Pet can stand up and turn around while enclosed (only some airlines)


Beyond what’s required, we suggest really thinking about what will make it comfortable and safe for your pet to fly when in their carrier. Is there a pocket in the carrier for your pet’s necessities (think water-bowl, bag of treats, one meal portion, health records, etc.)? Some openings are hard to reach once the carrier is placed below the seat in front of you. Check to make sure you can easily reach into the carrier and comfort your pet if necessary or drop a treat inside to keep them occupied. While in the airport, you can allow your dog to stick their head out of the carrier and enjoy looking around. It’s important that there is an internal harness attachment so you can secure your dog. There are too many stories out there about dogs running loose in airports… don’t be that person.

We also have a few tips for when flying - beyond the actual setup of the carrier. Place your pet’s favorite blanket or a t-shirt you have recently worn at the bottom of the carrier for them to lay on and sniff. You might also include a bone that they love to chew on. It’ll keep them busy. If your flight is longer than an hour or two, we recommend not feeding your pet water or food less than two hours before the flight. If you feed them too close to your flight, they may need to use the bathroom while onboard and become uncomfortable.

The Best Dog Bag For Flying

Now we’re back to us. Our Shaya Carrier covers all the necessities and the pluses we added on. The carrier is soft sided so even if it’s bigger than the airline’s size dimensions it will be allowed on board. With two pockets – one for your human necessities, and one for your pet you can carry on a lot. And while most other carrier have one opening, we have two – making it easier to quickly reach your pet. So, you might ask what is the best airline approved carrier? And we have to answer honestly: the Shaya Carrier is the best for humans and pets alike.

Safe Travels!

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