Traveling is a stressful business. For humans, we have to worry about whether our checked luggage meets the weight requirement, whether we have all our documents handy, and hope that we make it through security on time.
When traveling with a furry best friend, the last thing we want to worry about is discovering that the pet crates not airline approved and that poor Fido has been re-accommodated.
To alleviate some of the stress of air travel with a pooch, I’ve gone ahead and found the best airline approved dog travel crate.
Petmate Sky Kennel – Suitable for Checked in Pets
Every airline has its own set of guidelines about what pet crates must have to be approved. The Petmate Sky Kennel meets domestic airline requirements and more for checked pets (not suitable for carry-on). Its heavy-duty, high plastic construction means Fido won’t be biting his way out while cruising at 39,000 feet.
As a responsible pet parent, you’ll be happy to know that the Petmate Sky Kennel has your furry friend’s comfort in mind. It has 360-degree ventilation for plenty of fresh air and comes with food and water cups that are attachable to the inside of the door. Some models also come with an absorbent pad where your pooch can rest.
To make sure all airline employees realize just how precious your cargo is, “Live Animals” is either directly imprinted on the exterior of the dog crate or provided as stickers, so Fido doesn’t get mixed up with the golf clubs or other assorted luggage.
If domestic flights are a test of your four-legged friend’s patience, can you imagine the stress they’re under during International flights? Thankfully, the Sky Kennel meets most of the requirements of International dog travel crates as well.
- Some Airlines require metal fasteners instead of plastic ones. So you might need to replace the heavy duty plastic fasteners with the metal ones. You can find Metal Fasteners here!
- You might also be required to secure the dog crate further, using plastic cable ties. You can find Cable Ties here! (Some airlines use their own cable ties, but it is better to be prepared if they don’t)
What Are The Air Travel Requirements For Dogs?
Every airline has its own set of rules for dogs when it comes to air travel. Taking a look at two of the largest airlines in the US, American Airlines and Delta, I compared travel requirements for pet crates, and they seemed pretty uniform, with only a few minor differences.
For carry-on, American Airlines’ guidelines include the following:
• Size restrictions limiting the dog travel crate to a maximum of 19in x 13in x 9in
• Allows for soft-sided or collapsible dog travel crates
For checked in pets, AA has the following guidelines for kennels, including:
• A maximum size of 40in x 27in x 30in
• Be made of durable material such as wood, metal, or plastic
• Have a solid construction door, not collapsible
• Have ventilation on the door at two sides
• Have separate food and watering dishes attached securely inside the kennel that are accessible to airline personnel
• Be secured at the top and bottom with bolts and screws
Delta’s requirements are very similar with only a few more specific things to add to the lit.
For carrying-on pets in the cabin, they required:
• Pets to be in a leak-proof crate, either hard-sided or soft-shelled
• It must have ventilation on at least two sides
• When it comes to size, airlines request that passengers check the under seat diameter for their particular flight
For checked in pet travelers, Delta has the following guidelines:
• Constructed of rigid plastic, wood, metal or a similar strength material
• Ventilation openings on three sides, including the door
• Display labels indicating “Live Animal” in 1-inch letters, both on top and on the sides, with arrows indicating the correct position of the kennel
• Have functional handles on the crate’s exterior
Does the Petmate Sky Kennel Fit These Requirements for Checked in Pets?
Absolutely! It’s available in a variety of sizes, has ventilation on all four sides and is made of a durable high-quality material. The Sky Kennel has the single-piece metal door and dishes that attach securely on the inside of the door. Whether it’s carry-on or checked in, you and your furry family member will be all set to fly the friendly skies.
What About Other Pet Crates?
Other pet crates claim to be “airline approved,” but they don’t meet all of the minimum standards that are actually required by the airlines or, by responsible pet parents.
For example, the soft-shelled varieties have zippers that can easily break and are not as durable as the hard-plastic Sky Kennel. Other kennels have wire doors. These do not meet the requirement for a welded or cast metal door to make sure Fido can’t escape when you’re flying somewhere over St. Louis.
Another way other dog crates claim they’re airline approved but aren’t is by having holes that are out of alignment.
This may not sound like a big deal, but when you’re trying to get a rambunctious dog secured inside a crate that is being inspected by airline personnel and you can’t get it to close securely, it’s a big deal.
Of course, all responsible pet parents should double check with their airline to make sure that there are no other restrictions before they arrive to check-in for their flight. Flying is stressful enough for everyone, not to mention our furry family members.
We should do everything we can to make sure they are comfortable, secure, and not traumatized while we are in the main cabin, sipping from that little black straw and hoping that neighbor on the window side stays put throughout the entire flight.