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.

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

  • 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.

  • Martin

    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

  • 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: 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.

  • Sarah

    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?

  • Dave – if your Wolf Hound will not fit into a Series 700 crate (, you will need to have one made. Check with your airline as some specify the materials they will accept. You can find IATA regulations for crates here:

  • Dave McKechnie

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

  • 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…

  • C N

    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?

  • 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.

  • Leigh Chauvin

    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 ?

  • 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. ( Hope this helps.

  • B Mulcahy

    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???

  • 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.

  • 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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