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Home » All About Dogs » Flying with Dogs » Best Dogs Kennels for Flying
Ensure that your dog's kennel meets the airlines guidelines, otherwise they may not let you fly with your dog.

Best Dogs Kennels for Flying

When flying with your dog, it’s important to find a kennel that is sturdy, well designed and manufactured, and fits your dog. Kennels can be expensive, notoriously difficult to source, and overwhelming to find the right one, so we put together our list for the best dog kennels for flying. We highly recommend buying one online as it’s considerably cheaper and if you purchase in advance, you can test it out with your dog prior to flying.

Always measure your dog before purchasing a kennel. Like clothes from various brands, there is no one common standard size among different companies. You can find the size needed by using the Guidance for Dimensions of Container at IATA.

Which Are the Best Dog Kennels for Flying?

Small Dogs (< 20 lbs)
Medium/Large Dogs (20 lbs to 70 lbs)
Extra Large Dogs (> 70 lbs)

Small Dogs (< 20 lbs):

Small dog kennels are designed to be used for flying with a dog under a seat in cabin. These soft carriers are less sturdy and firm, but do offer plenty of ventilation to your traveling furry friend.

Our favorites:

AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier

Inexpensive and highly reviewed by Amazon Basics. This no frills carrier gets the job done and goes light on the wallet. It’s machine washable and includes a shoulder strap. If you’re only going to fly a few times and your dog isn’t an escape artist, this kennels works well.

SLEEKO Pet Carrier Under Seat for Dogs and Cats

Fantastic under seat kennel for dogs and cats. It has a side section that zips open to create more space for your pet and has a hard case to protect the animal as well. Includes seat buckles for car travel, and has night visibility reflective straps. Slightly more pricey at just under $40.

The Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carriers

Nearly 4.5/5 stars an Amazon and people seem to love them. We have used this brand for our cats when flying or for a trip to the vet. They have loads of ventilation and the shoulder strap adds versatility to this kennel. It comes in different colors, slightly bigger sizes, and includes a rear pocket where treats, a leash, or any other items can be transported. It also has a spring wire frame that is flexible and can be slightly bent to accommodate under-seat requirements.

PETS GO2 Pet Carrier for Dogs & Cats

Highly rated and fully collapsible for storage. The kennel also has a removable comfort pad, and is expandable on the sides for extra space. 100% money back if you’re not satisfied.

Petpeppy.com – The Original Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier By Pet Peppy- TWO SIDE Expansion

Thick wire framing helps prevent the carrier from sagging on the sides. Expandable side doors so your pet has more room. Comes with a random colored bowl, shoulder strap, and bottom fleece.

Our recommendation:

The Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carriers

We’ve used this carrier with our cats in the past and it’s worked incredibly well. It’s around the same price as the other carriers, and spring wire frame allows enough flexibility when needing to find a place to locate the kennel. The extra pocket comes in handy as a place to put a leash. Lastly, the Amazon reviews back the quality of the product and durability.

Our Picks: Best Small Dog Kennels for FlyingAvg. RatingPrice
AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier★★★☆☆$
SLEEKO Pet Carrier Under Seat for Dogs and Cats★★★★☆$$
The Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carriers★★★★★$$
PETS GO2 Pet Carrier for Dogs & Cats★★★★☆$$
Petpeppy.com – The Original Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier★★★★☆$$

Medium/Large Dogs (20 lbs to 70 lbs):

These dog kennels are designed to be used for flying with a dog in cargo. They’re hard and firm and collapsible. Each kennel includes a metal door, breathing holes, and safety latches. When selecting a kennel, it must meet specific rules to ensure the dog’s safety. We found IATA to be the best place for helpful information on kennels and country-specific rules.

Our favorites:

Petmate Sky Kennel

People love this kennel. The easy-to-use color coding system makes sure you have the right size kennel for your dog. Plus, Petmate is well known for designing high quality kennels. Includes wing nuts and strong steel wire frame. Also has a live animal sticker included on the box.

Petmate ULTRA VARI 50-70LB

Basically the same kennel as the Sky Kennel, but the Ultra Vari has a slightly different door. The kennel has the zip tie wholes along with open ventilation. Comes with a live animal sticker and pet ID sticker.

SportPet Designs Plastic Kennel

This is what we use because of the wheels on the bottom, which make airport navigation easier. This is helpful for when it’s impossible to carry the kennel yourself. Also includes a handle on the top, four live animal stickers, and metal bolts and nuts (an IATA requirement, plastic will not work as dogs can chew through the plastic). They also sell waterproof beds that fit in the kennel.

Aspenpet Pet Porter Kennel

Easy to assemble and standard kennel. Comes in three colors and can be fastened by metal nuts. Has side ventilation and tie down holes in all four corners.

Our recommendation:

SportPet Designs Plastic Kennel

The right price, sturdy, includes a top handle, and comes with metal bolts. Best of all, it has wheels! This is crucial when having to haul your dog through an airport. Carrying your bags, dog, bikes (in our case), and kennel.

Our Picks: Best Medium/Large Dog Kennels for FlyingAvg. RatingPrice
Petmate Sky Kennel★★★★☆$$
Petmate ULTRA VARI 50-70LB★★★★☆$$$
SportPet Designs Plastic Kennel★★★★☆$$
Aspenpet Pet Porter Kennel★★★☆☆$$
Sora's kennel all packed for flying with our Best Dogs Kennels for Flying list.
Sora’s kennel all packed with puppy pads on top of her dog bed.

Extra Large Dogs (> 70 lbs):

Like the medium/large kennels, the extra large dog kennels are designed to be used for flying with a dog in cargo. They’re hard and firm and collapsible. The bigger the dog, the stronger the supports and system needs to be. Each kennel includes a metal door, breathing holes, and safety latches. When selecting a kennel, it must meet specific rules to ensure the dog’s safety. We found IATA to be the best place for helpful information on kennels and country-specific rules.

Petmate Sky Kennel

People love this kennel. The easy-to-use color coding system to makes sure you have the right size kennel for your dog. Plus, Petmate is well known for designing high quality kennels. Includes wing nuts and strong steel wire frame. Also has a live animal sticker included on the box.

Collapsible, Durable Aluminum Dog Crate from Grain Valley

This is the kennel to use if your dog likes to chew, is anxious, nervous, or destructive. It’s made from aluminium in the USA, folds down easily, and is as secure as it gets. It’s not cheap, but is worth it if your dog has a history of difficult travel.  This kennel is for the destructive and escape artists, but will definitely put a dent in your wallet.

SportPet Designs Plastic Kennel

This is what we use because it has wheels on the bottom which are fantastic for pushing the kennel through the airport. This is helpful for when it’s impossible to carry the kennel yourself. Also includes a handle on the top, four live animal stickers, and metal bolts and nuts (an IATA requirement, plastic will not work as dogs can chew through the plastic). They also sell waterproof beds as well that fit in the kennel.

Aspenpet Pet Porter Kennel

Easy to assemble and standard kennel. Comes in three colors and can be fastened by metal nuts. Has side ventilation and tie down holes in all four corners.

Our recommendation:

SportPet Designs Plastic Kennel

Just like for medium/large dogs, we really like the SportsPet kennel. It’s sturdy, includes a top handle, and comes with metal bolts. Best of all, it has wheels! This is crucial when having to haul your dog through an airport. Carrying your bags, dog, bikes (in our case), and kennel all at up. If price weren’t an option, we would consider the Grain Valley crate as it’s fair superior, and also many times more expensive.

Our Picks: Best Extra Large Dog Kennels for FlyingAvg. RatingPrice
Petmate Sky Kennel★★★★☆$$
Collapsible, Durable Aluminum Dog Crate from Grain Valley★★★★★$$$$
SportPet Designs Plastic Kennel★★★★☆$$
Aspenpet Pet Porter Kennel★★★☆☆$$

Don’t forget!

  1. Water bowls: most airlines require water and feeding bowls attached to the inside of the kennel. We like the MidWest Homes for Pets Snap’y Fit Stainless Steel Food Bowl / Pet Bowl mounted to the inside with wing nuts. This ensures the bowls will stay attached.
  2. Puppy pads: we like the basic no-frills puppy pads (no need to spend a lot of money as they’re all the same).
  3. A Dog bed: we highly recommend the Kurgo Loft Wander bed or Ruffwear Highlands Bed as they fit well inside the kennel.
  4. Cable ties: the IATA requires these to be used on the corners of the kennel. We use the Helping Hand FQ50214 Cable Ties 8′ Quick Release 15.
  5. Live animal stickers: if your kennel doesn’t come with stickers, make sure to get some. We use Live Animal Label Set of 5 w/ Pet Passport Pouch.
Dave Hoch

Dave finds joy in supporting a vegan, intentional, and spiritual lifestyle. When he’s not jamming out to Phish and reggae, he’s running, volunteering at animal rescues, playing in nature, and being alive.

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