Airline Pet Travel: What Cargo Crate is Best for My Pet?

Airline pet travel - what cargo crate is best for my pet?When it comes time to fly with a pet that is too large to fit in the cabin, no one likes the option of transporting a pet in the cargo hold. As a pet owner, you can help minimize those risks. The most important consideration is choosing your pet’s crate. This will be your pet’s home on their journey, their safe place. You want to be sure that the crate is the right size and that it is constructed securely. This is not the time to cut corners; get the best crate you can afford for your own piece of mind and for the safety of your pet.

Then there is airline compliance. What features must the crate have to make it airline compliant? How do I choose which size to get so my pet will be comfortable? Are there accessories I need so that my pet has hydration and is easily identifiable?

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has specific regulations regarding airline cargo crates that have been adopted by airlines worldwide. If you meet these regulations, then there should be no surprises at check-in. Read more to find out IATA regulations on airline pet cargo crates.


Comments

Airline Pet Travel: What Cargo Crate is Best for My Pet? — 37 Comments

  1. Christina – if United Airlines is flying a portion of Lufthansa’s route, then they will operate it on their aircraft and you should contact United to see what size cargo door they have on the specific aircraft that flies the route. Both airlines offer aircraft that will accommodate a Series #700 crate, but it depends on the routing.
    Susan

  2. Christina – have forwarded your inquiry to our transport division for response. Will get back to you soon.
    Susan

  3. Hi, I have a 64 pound labradoodle named Rafa who is from paw to head ~35 inches. He would need the 700 series crate to travel internationally from WI to Germany. On the lufthansa site it says their max crate dimension is 125cm x 75 x 85 which is smaller (by width and height) than the 700 series crate… If I would book lufthansa operated by United Airlines — do they go by United specifications or Lufthansa? Do you have any advice for how I get him over there? Thank you!

  4. Hi Jen – first, you must make sure you are aware of all regulations to import your Lab to Japan. You can find them here if you need them: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Japan.cfm. Get your pet’s crate as early as possible and work to acclimate it to the crate. Get it out of its environment often in the crate and always return home. Health and grooming is important. Many good tips here: http://www.pettravel.com/passports_airlinetrtips.cfm.

    Find an airline that flies the most direct route to Japan. Be careful about layovers if you must have them and try to avoid high-rabies countries. Book your flight on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday if you can to avoid high traffic times.

    Susan

  5. Hi Ben – according to airline regulations, your pet must be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier. There are also weight limitations if you are traveling internationally. The carrier that has the most interior room that we have ever seen is the SturdiBag. You can find details here: http://www.pettravelstore.com/pet-carrier-sturdibag/. Be sure and measure your pet before deciding the size your Cocker will need.
    Phil

  6. Hi. Cocker is 19lbs and looking for a pet carrier so he can be in the cabin with us. Any suggestions on a brand?

  7. Trying to fly my lab who is 90 lbs from Virginia to Japan. Any suggestions on making it easier? Or do’s and dont’s!!!!

  8. Fran – we are not aware of an airline that will fly more than one pet per passenger outside of US Airways. Also, if you are flying before mid to late September, you may have temperature issues in Phoenix if your cats travel as checked baggage in cargo.
    Susan

  9. I am flying from Hawaii to Phoneix,Az. I have 4 cats. Is there any airline that would allow all four to fly in the cabin. We are even willing to buy each one a ticket. My husband will be with me and we were able to fly 2 cats in cabin from Pa. To Ca. One cat per person was the ruling of American Airlines

  10. Pam – many airlines will not allow Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in the cargo hold. What cities is your pet traveling from and to?
    Susan

  11. Can a cavalier king charles fly in the cargo hold to doha, qatar?
    They dont accept pets in the cabin

  12. You may want to contact the cargo department of your airline. Considering the size of your pet, it will most likely need to fly as air cargo. It is the agent at the counter that will make that decision. If you can’t find the requirement on the web, then contact them and ask about the 6″ rule. Be sure and get the agent’s name that you speak with.
    Jason

  13. Travelling from Cyprus to Portugal with my dog who measures 30″ high and 40″ long. Would the 700 crate be big enough to comply with IATA standards. I read that the length should be 6″ longer than the actual dog and the internal measurement of the crate is only 43″.

  14. Louisa – the biggest manufactured crate is a series 700 and it only accommodates pets up to 34″ tall. You are going to have to have a crate custom made. IATA, the organization to which the airlines bases their rules, has specifications for custom crates here: http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/cargo/live-animals/Documents/pet-container-requirements.pdf Obviously, you will need to contact Iceland Air to make sure that their aircraft will accommodate this size crate.
    Susan

  15. Hi, I’m moving my Great Dane from Minneapolis to Copenhagen, Denmark, next month. Where can I find a crate that is airline approved (I’m flying Iceland Air) and big enough for her? She stands 40 inches tall from paws to top of head when standing erect and she weighs about 110lbs.
    Thanks!

  16. Hi, I’m flying my dig from Tunisia to France then by road and euro shuttle to u.k. do you know what if any facilities for animals there are at Tunis airport ?
    Thank you

  17. Hallo! I am moving from Lithuania to Australia. How it could be possible to bring my Irish Wolfhound?

  18. Ann – the airlines’ refusal to transport your pet during the summer is because the risk to your pet increases significantly when the temperature on the ground exceeds 85 degrees. Our suggestion would be to find an airline that flies either very early in the morning or late at night. It is challenging for owners of large pets to find airlines that fly aircraft large enough for a series 700 crate, especially from Vietnam and Cambodia. Several pet owners have indicated that they get to Bangkok, then take Bangkok Airways. If you have exhausted all possibilities for airlines flying out of Saigon, then you may need to consider flying with a cargo company.
    Susan

  19. I have a 75 pound Standard poodle that requires a 700 series crate. He has traveled in it before and likes his crate. I am trying to find out what plane types can fit this size kennel into the fore-cargo hold. I ma told that the plane is not large enough for the crate to get through the cargo door. I am flying from Saigon to Paris in early August. I am also running into heat issues with some airlines refusing to transport from May – Oct1. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  20. Martin – Try Thai Airways as they do fly the route non-stop. Sri Lankan Airlines has an overnight flight from Dubai to Colombo, but the connecting flight arrives in Bangkok at 11:55AM and the temperatures will be a problem. Korean Air also flies the route through Seoul. If the temperature anywhere along the route exceeds 85 degrees, the risk to your pet greatly increases.
    Jason

  21. We need to take our 1 year old pug from Dubai, UAE to Bangkok, Thailand in the summer. We are concerned about him being a short nosed breed left in a cargo hold we think he’s just a little too big for in-cabin). Any advice on best routes/carriers greatly appreciated

  22. Sarah – get your carrier as soon as possible so you can get your pup used to being in it. This is crucial for your pet. You will need an IATA compliant pet crate like one of these (which are the one of the best non-metal crates on the market: http://www.pettravelstore.com/categories/Pet-Crates-%26-Accessories/Pet-Crates/ If your pet has any aggressive tendencies, you will need a metal crate or custom made wood crate. Temperature wise, SFO is not your problem. Study the temperatures in Manila and choose a time when temperatures are moderate. Fly during the mid part of the week when demand is lower and avoid holiday times.

    We normally recommend airlines for their routes. US-based airlines’ pet incident records are tracked by the US Department of Transportation while foreign flagged carriers are not, and we have had experience with many carriers in our transport company. In your case, Philippine Airlines has a non-stop flight between SFO and MNL. Direct flights are better for obvious reasons. Korean Air flies the route with a short layover in Seoul. Cathay Pacific flies through Hong Kong (transit permit needed). Try to avoid transit in Taiwan as they have a habit of re-routing pets to their quarantine station after long legs.
    Susan

  23. We are moving to the Phillipines in a few months and have never flown or crated our 70 lb Pit/Rhodesian mix. If you can recommend a crate that you would recommend? Also, is there a better time of year and better airline to fly SFO to Manila with a good track record with dogs?

  24. Looking to take a cocker spaniel and an Irish wolf hound to Singapore, are there crates big enough for the wolf hound?

  25. C N – you should start with Royal Brunei. We are finding that the airlines fly through London Heathrow and the layover is over 7 hours and that is a concern if the airline does not have facilities to care for your pet. Not an easy route…
    Susan

  26. We are travelling from Calgary to Brunei with our dog (18 Kg wheaten terrier). I’m trying to find what is the best route to go there, and what is the best airline with safest record on pet traveling in cargo. Can you comment?

  27. Leigh – only two airlines offer programs that address summer heat: United and Delta. Your breeder should check to be sure that unvaccinated puppies are eligible for export as regulations differ by EU country. Eight weeks is very young to travel that distance, especially in the cargo hold. Both United and Delta have age restrictions for unaccompanied manifest cargo travel. Both airlines specify 10 weeks old as minimum age for transport.
    Jason

  28. Looking for information – purchased a puppy (online) in Stockholm, Sweden. I live near New Orleans, Louisiana. The puppy is 8 weeks old, Cavalier King Charles spaniel – How can I get her here in Louisiana from Stockholm in July ?

  29. You can try United through Newark as they have a summer pet program in effect. As for the crate, you will either have to make your own or find extensions for a series 700 crate to accommodate the height. Lee Atwood of Atwood’s Pet Transport makes them. (lee@animalsanywhere.com) Hope this helps.
    Susan

  30. I am transferring to Houston last week of July from Newfoundland. Air Canada will not fly dog into Houston because of temperature. Is there any carrier that will from Toronto, Canada. As well she is a great dane and no crates here are big enough for her. Is there anywhere I can get a crate as she is 41 inches at the top of her head???

  31. You can use the same crate on your trip home, but you may find an airline that will permit your cat to fly in the cabin if that is your preference. (check Finnair or Delta if they are not flying a 767 on the route.) Both have direct flights to Orlando.
    Susan

  32. Our cat travels each year there and back to fl. USA
    Need to fly from Orlando, to Gatwick, we will be on same flight, I know she will be on cargo, can we use the same crate going home, will be March 14 ??

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