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Airplane Carrier

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if anyone has recommendations for a good cat carrier to bring on an airplane. It has to fit under the seat in front of me, but my cat, Snickerdoodle, is not exactly a small kitty (she's about 12 lbs.) and I don't want her to be too cramped.

Also, I've never taken a pet on a plane before, so if anyone has ideas of what I should expect, I'd appreciate it!

post #2 of 12
I don't know if there's a whole lot of choices. But you do have to get one that's the correct size, and it's usually smaller than normal carriers. Check with the airline for exact specifications. My pet store has one that's labeled as being the right size for under the seats on airplanes. It's tiny.

Most of the hard plastic, metal door carriers are "approved for airlines" but that doesn't mean they're allowed to be carried on and put under the seat. It just means that they can be used for animals traveling in the cargo area. So make sure you check with the airline first.
post #3 of 12
Your kitty might be too big to fit under the seat. Get a soft sided carrier and see if she fits in there with a little room. I had rexes (6-7 lbs max) and they didn't have a problem fitting under the seat. They have to have enough room to turn around inside the carrier.

Also remember that at the scanner you have to take the cat out, let the carrier be scanned and then put the cat back in.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. I was wondering how airport security works when kitties are involved. Don't they know how hard it is to get cats in and out of their carriers! This will be an experience, but I have no choice because I'm moving and don't think Snickers could handle the long drive.

I ended up getting the Samsonite Travellete. I hope it fits under the seat. The package says that it's in-flight airline approved and bends to fit under the seat and then pops back up to give maximum room. I'm a little worried though because the airline said the allowed carrier height is 9". The Samsonite carrier is 10.5" high. So I guess I'm really counting on the carrier bending slightly as it claims. I did A LOT of research on carriers since yesterday and it seems like pretty much all of them are 10.5" high or more, so it seems like that must work on the airlines. We shall see...

Anyone have experience with the Samsonite carrier on airplanes?
post #5 of 12
I would suggest putting a halter on the cat also. That way you have something to hold onto when you pull the cat out.
post #6 of 12
Since my cats were show cats, they were used to noise/commotion but I still got a good hold of them taking them in/out. They are more willing to dive back into the carrier

But a halter/leash is also a good idea if your cat is not used to crowds. I just held the cat tight to me and had one hand on the scruff and rest of arm around to my body, squishing the cat against me.
post #7 of 12
I have used a soft-sided Samsonite carrier on airplanes. It is the recommended size, but sometimes I have trouble getting it to fit completely under the seat. I just put it as far under as I can get it without scrunching it up. Also, most airlines only require that the carrier is under the seat for take-off and landing, so after we're up in the air I take the carrier out and put it on my lap. Some flight attendants will try to tell you that you can't do this, so make sure you're familiar with the rules of that particular airline before flying.
post #8 of 12
I just flew in from Seattle on American Airlines and noticed a woman with a frisky poodle puppy in a red, softsided carrier that popped up and down when needed. I think this was the Samsonite? Anyway, she said that the little dog who probably weighed around ten pounds, was easy to 'book' on the flight. He also seemed to be comfortable inside the carrier.

Cats like to squish themselves into small spaces, so I would not worry about the turnaround room inside the carrier. Another poster also had the great idea that old woolen sweaters be put inside the carrier. This absorbs urine and wicks it away from the cat at the same time (in case of accidents.)
post #9 of 12
I have traveled quite a bit with my cat, going home for holidays, and I have never had a problem with an airline telling me my carrier was too big or that the cat was too big for the carrier. Sometimes the checking attendant will request that you put the cat in carrier on the counter for them to see, sometimes they don't. Generally I tried to stay within an inch of the max size by the airline - the carriers I've used do smush that much.

I had a Samsonite carrier (don't remember the exact name), and it worked quite well but after a couple years started looking quite beat up and abused. The soft-sided carriers don't seem to have that long of a life span, but mine did see a fair bit of use. I never had a problem with the cat escaping though, which was my main concern.

Also, taking the cat out at security was surprisingly easy the first few times I did it, though it depends on the cat. I would recommend having the cat in a harness and clipping a leash to it as you take them out just in case. That way even if the cat entirely freaks out and gets away, they won't be able to run off.

I would also highly recommend taking away kitty's food 4 or so hours before you leave, and doing everything you can to encourage him to use the restroom before the trip. My worst trip experiences have been when my cat couldn't hold it and went #2 in his carrier. Then the cat's miserable because he can't get away from it, you're miserable because it smells and other passengers start complaining, and there's really nothing you can do about it on an airplane.

Good luck!
post #10 of 12
Some other important things

1. Do not feed/water your cat before flying (at least 4-5 hrs before).

2. Do NOT sedate your cat - its not necessary and your cat may have a bad reaction to it anyway.
post #11 of 12
IF you or someone is a seamstress there are patterns available to make small soft sided dog and cat carriers.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
I WISH I could sew it! That would be disastrous of I attempted. The only person I know who sews is my mom, and I doubt I could ever convince her to sew for my kitty. I really like the idea of a homemade carrier though. I bet it would make a great gift for someone. If only I had some sewing skills!
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