Pet owners, rejoice! Traveling with your four-legged companions on American Airlines is a breeze when armed with the right information about pet carriers. From dimensions to guidelines and everything in between, let’s embark on a journey to understand the ins and outs of American Airlines approved pet carriers.

American Airlines allows both soft-sided and hard-sided kennels for carry-on pets. You have to ensure that your dogs or cats can freely move around inside the crate. Soft-sided carrier dimensions are 18 inches, 11 inches, and 11 inches (length, width, height) and hard-sided dimensions are 19 inches, 13 inches, and 9 inches (length, width, height).

Traveling with pets can be a joyous experience, but it requires meticulous planning, especially when it comes to choosing the right pet carrier. American Airlines, like many other carriers, has specific regulations in place to ensure the safety and comfort of both pets and passengers during flights.

What are Approved Pet Kennels?

Approved pet kennels are carriers or crates designed and constructed to meet the stringent requirements established by airlines and, in some cases, international organizations like the International Air Transport Association (IATA). These kennels are specifically engineered to provide a secure and comfortable space for pets while complying with the regulations imposed by the airlines.

TSA-Approved Dog Crate

If you’re flying within the United States, considering Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines for dog crates is essential. This ensures a hassle-free security screening process.

Why are Approved Pet Kennels Important for Pets?

Safety First

The primary purpose of approved pet kennels is to prioritize the safety of pets during transportation. These kennels are designed with sturdy materials and secure closures to prevent any accidental openings or escapes.

Compliance with Airline Regulations

Airlines have specific guidelines regarding the dimensions, construction, and features of pet carriers allowed on board. Using an approved pet kennel ensures compliance with these regulations, preventing last-minute complications during check-in and boarding.

Comfort and Security

Approved pet kennels are designed with the well-being of pets in mind. They provide adequate ventilation, allowing pets to breathe comfortably, and often have features to secure water bowls. The familiar environment of a kennel also offers a sense of security to pets during the journey.

Smooth Security Screening

When passing through security checkpoints, an approved pet kennel can facilitate a smoother process. Security personnel are familiar with these standardized kennels, reducing the likelihood of delays or issues during screening.

International Travel Requirements

For those embarking on international journeys, adhering to IATA standards for pet carriers becomes crucial. Approved pet kennels meeting these global standards ensure a seamless transition through different countries and airports.

Preventing Stress and Anxiety

Travel can be stressful for pets, and having a secure and familiar space within an approved kennel can help alleviate anxiety. The pet can feel more at ease in a confined, comfortable environment.

Avoiding Breed-Specific Issues

Some breeds may have specific requirements or restrictions during air travel. Using an approved pet kennel ensures that the carrier meets the specific needs of the pet, reducing the likelihood of any issues related to breed-specific regulations.

American Airlines Pet Carrier Size

The first hurdle to clear is understanding the size requirements set by American Airlines. This involves not only the overall dimensions but also the crucial under-seat space where the carrier must snugly fit. Ensuring that the pet carrier fits under the seat is a crucial aspect of compliance. American Airlines provides specific guidelines for these dimensions, and it’s essential to measure your carrier against these standards.

In-Cabin Pet Carrier Dimensions

American Airlines specifies that an in-cabin pet carrier should generally not exceed 19 inches in length, 13 inches in width, and 9 inches in height for hard-sided kennels and 18 inches, 11 inches, and 11 inches for soft-sided crates. This ensures that the carrier can be comfortably stowed under the seat during the flight.

In addition to dimensions, they have weight limitations for both the pet and the carrier. They will allow up to 20 lbs for carry-on pets and up to 100 lbs/ 45kg for checked baggage. Being aware of these limits ensures a smooth boarding process and avoids any last-minute surprises.

N.B. please note that checked baggage service is only for active duty U.S. military personnel and state department.

Pet Carrier Requirements

Meeting the airline’s requirements goes beyond just size. Your pet’s carrier should be well-ventilated, leak-proof, and escape-proof. A secure closure is a must to prevent any unexpected incidents during the journey.

Beyond the basic requirements, American Airlines has additional guidelines to guarantee the well-being of your pet during the flight. Proper ventilation, visibility, and comfort are key factors to consider.

Pet Carrier Restrictions

It’s important to be aware of any breed-specific or pet-specific restrictions imposed by the airline. Some breeds may have special considerations or may not be allowed in the cabin.

Best American Airlines Approved Pet Carriers

AA allows two types of dog carriers soft-sided and hard-sided. American Airlines recommended soft-sided kennels for carry-on pets. You have to decide what type of crate is best for your furry friends.

What makes a dog crate suitable for airline travel? Factors such as sturdiness, ease of assembly, and additional features play a role in choosing the right crate for your pet.

PetsFit Dog Carrier: Your Pup’s Cozy Travel Companion

Traveling with your furry friend just got comfier with the PetsFit Dog Carrier. Let’s explore the pros, cons, key features, and recommendations to help you decide if this airline-approved pet carrier is the perfect fit for your small dog.


  • Airline-Approved style: The PetsFit Dog Carrier is thoughtfully designed to meet airline regulations, making it a reliable choice for pet owners who love to travel.
  • Versatile Carrying Options: Enjoy flexibility in how you carry your pet with the top handle for hand carrying or the detachable shoulder strap for over-the-shoulder convenience.
  • Multifunctional Features: This carrier goes beyond travel; it can serve as a soft-sided crate for regular outings and vet visits. The extendable cozy fleece pet mat adds an extra layer of comfort for your pet.
  • Convenient Access: The carrier is structured with a single opening at the top and two additional side entrances, facilitating convenient access for both placing your pet inside and taking them out effortlessly. Perfect for pets who may be a bit hesitant about entering carriers.
  • Ventilation and Visibility: With 4 mesh panels, the carrier ensures proper ventilation for your pet while allowing you to keep an eye on them during the journey. The mesh design also contributes to your pet’s comfort.
  • Safety Features: Escape-proof locking zippers and a safety hook provide additional security, ensuring your pet stays safely contained throughout the trip.
  • Portable and Collapsible: When not in use, the carrier can be easily folded down into a flat package for convenient storage. Ideal for those with limited space.
  • Pet-Friendly Dimensions: The carrier is tailored for small dogs, measuring 17.5″ L x 10.5″ W x 10.6″ H, with a recommended maximum load of 12 lbs. It emphasizes choosing the carrier based on your pet’s length and height rather than just their weight.
  • Machine-Washable Cozy Mat and Storage Pocket: Included with the carrier is a cozy mat that can be easily removed and machine-washed, simplifying the cleaning process. Furthermore, a spacious pocket enhances practicality, providing convenient storage for essential items while traveling.


Limited Size Capacity: While suitable for small dogs, the carrier may not be spacious enough for larger breeds.

Soft-Sided Structure

The soft-sided design, while offering flexibility, might not provide as much protection as hard-sided carriers for pets who prefer a more enclosed space.


The PetsFit Dog Carrier is an excellent choice for pet owners seeking a versatile and comfortable travel solution for their small dogs. Ideal for those who prioritize airline compliance, convenience, and the well-being of their furry companions. Ensure your pet’s comfort aligns with the carrier’s dimensions and consider the soft-sided structure for pets who prefer a more open and flexible space.

The PetsFit Dog Carrier stands out as a well-rounded travel companion, offering a blend of convenience, safety, and comfort for your small dog. Traveling with your pet has never been this cozy!

SHERPA American Airlines Travel Pet Carrier

When it comes to pet travel, the SHERPA American Airlines Travel Pet Carrier stands out as a reliable and airline-approved choice. Let’s explore the pros, cons, key features, and recommendations for this versatile pet carrier.


  • Airline Approved: The carrier is approved by American Airlines and ensures compliance with airline regulations. This provides peace of mind to both pet owners and their furry companions during air, bus, car, or train travel.
  • In-Cabin Friendly: The patented spring wire frame allows the carrier to be compressed, making it in-cabin friendly and easily fitting under airplane seats. This design adheres to most major airline requirements and FAA regulations.
  • Versatile Design: The carrier can be carried by hand with the padded top handle or over the shoulder using the detachable carrying strap. Integrated metal D-rings add to the versatility, allowing pet owners to choose the most comfortable carrying method.
  • Ventilation and Accessibility: Mesh panels provide excellent ventilation for pets, ensuring their comfort during travel. The carrier features top and side entries, allowing for easy and comfortable loading and unloading.
  • Secure and Comfortable: Escape-proof locking zippers and a waterproof interior base enhance the security of the carrier. The removable machine washable cozy base liner adds to the comfort, making it a cozy space for pets.
  • Multifunctional Use: Beyond air travel, this carrier serves as a soft-sided crate for regular outings and vet visits. The large storage pocket is a practical addition to keeping treats, leashes, poop bags, and other accessories handy.
  • Stylish Design: Available in Charcoal Gray, the carrier combines style with functionality, allowing pets to travel in both comfort and fashion.


Size Limitations: The carrier is suitable for pets up to 16 pounds, which may limit its use for larger breeds.

Key Features

  • Adjustable and Detachable Components: The padded, adjustable, no-slip carrying strap can be detached as needed, providing flexibility in carrying the pet.
  • Reflective Trim: Enhancing safety during low-light conditions, the carrier features reflective trim for added visibility.
  • Convenient Storage: A large side pocket offers convenient storage for treats, leashes, and other essentials, making it a practical solution for on-the-go pet owners.
  • Easy Maintenance: The carrier folds flat for easy storage when not in use, and the machine-washable faux lambskin liner simplifies cleaning.


Select the carrier size based on your pet’s measurements, ensuring they have enough space to change positions inside. Be mindful not to exceed the maximum weight limit specified.

Given its multifunctional use, consider utilizing the carrier for regular outings and vet visits to provide a familiar and comfortable space for your pet.
Take advantage of the carrier’s inclusion in Sherpa’s Guaranteed On Board program, ensuring a smoother boarding process when traveling with American Airlines.

The SHERPA airlines travel pet carrier offers a blend of functionality, style, and compliance with airline regulations. Pet owners seeking a versatile and comfortable solution for their furry companions during travel can confidently consider this carrier. Just ensure that the size limitations align with your pet’s needs for a stress-free journey.

Can I bring any pet carrier on board?

American Airlines has specific guidelines for approved pet carriers. It’s crucial to adhere to these guidelines to ensure a smooth travel experience.

Are there breed-specific restrictions for in-cabin pet travel on American Airlines?

Yes, some breeds may have specific restrictions or considerations. It’s essential to check with the airline in advance.

Can I use a soft-sided pet carrier for my dog on American Airlines?

Yes, Soft-sided carriers are generally allowed and also recommended for carry-on, but they must meet the airline’s size and ventilation requirements.

What documents do I need to bring for my pet when traveling on American Airlines?

Documentation requirements may vary, but typically, you’ll need proof of vaccinations and a health certificate issued by a veterinarian

Are there additional considerations for international pet travel on American Airlines?

Yes, international travel may have additional requirements. Check with the airline and destination country for specific regulations.


Traveling with your pet on American Airlines is a delightful experience when armed with the right knowledge. From adhering to size limits to understanding guidelines and restrictions, a well-prepared pet owner ensures a stress-free journey for both themselves and their furry companions.

Remember, the key to a successful pet-friendly journey is preparation and adherence to airline guidelines. Happy travels with your furry friends!

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