Are Pet Backpacks Allowed on Airlines?

Yes, if your pet backpack meets the airline’s pet policy for size (standard max height allows up to 11″ for pet carrier height).  Soft-sided is best for compressibility.  Most Pet Backpacks will fit under the seat in front of your for flying with Dogs on Planes.

What is the Standard Size for Airline Pet Carriers In-Cabin?

The Standard Size for Pet Carriers is 22”Lx14”Wx 9” and for Pets In-Cabin the average weight for your Pet is 8kg or 17lbs. Soft-Sided Carriers are best for Airlines. The top compresses 1 or 2 inches, giving you more options than a Hard-Sided carrier. The carrier must be stowed under the seat at least for take-off and landing.

Can I use a Regular Backpack as a Pet Carrier on Airplanes?

Most traditional backpacks are designed to be as lightweight and flexible as possible and that’s great for hiking. When you backpack is on the floor of an airplane, it often does not have enough structure to stand up and give your Pet breathing space.

The pack I use for hiking is designed to stow a variety of things in many sizes: tents, bedding, tools, food, water. All these separate storage spaces take away the room necessary for your Pet to turn around comfortably.

The pockets and straps on standard backpacks are not always flush with the bag and cause snags and ripping taking the precious little space away from your Dog or Cat on a plane.

Regular backpacks often have a number of easy-to-reach pockets on the outside that when used as a Pet Carrier make it difficult to safely store under the seat in front of you.

The most significant reason traditional backpacks are not best for pet airline travel is the lack of ventilation.

Airlines require significant available ventilation for your Pet’s safety and comfort. Ventilation should be on at least 3 sides. Pet carriers usually have 3 or 4 sided ventilation.

So, if you’re considering using a Pet Backpack for Travel with your Dog or Cat, here are the best options and a rundown of their best features:


Sherpa 2 in 1 Backpack Pet Carrier

Sherpa 2 in 1 Backpack Pet Carrier
Sherpa 2 in 1 Backpack Pet Carrier

  • With this Sherpa Carrier you get the best of a traditional pet carrier and a backpack.
  • 17” x 10.5” x 11”. At 10.5″ height and compressible, it will fit under most airline seats.
  • Weighs only 2.86lbs.
  • Airline Approved and IATA compliant for most airlines
  • Machine Washable
  • Proper Ventilation with Mesh Windows
  • Safety Locks
  • The Spring Frame allows enough support not to collapse but compressible enough for under seats.

PETCIOUS Pet Carrier Backpack

Petcious Pet Carrier Backpack
Petcious Pet Carrier Backpack

  • Weighs only 3.5lbs giving more allowance for your Pet.
  • Dimensions LxWxH 17” x 11” x 10.5”. Compressible to 9″ Height
  • 4-ways to carry: on your front, as a backpack, with a shoulder strap
  • 2-Way Expandable Space for outings and hotel use
  • Airline and IATA compliant

AIPERRO Pet Backpack Carrier


Aiperro Pet Backpack Carrier
Aiperro Pet Backpack Carrier


  • Expandable alcove for Hotels and Airports doubling the space to provide more room for movement.
  • 4 Sided Entry and plenty of Ventilation
  • This is the smallest and will easily fit into the standard Airline seat at: 12.6″ L x 9.5″ W x 16.9″ H.
  • 3-side breathable mesh ensure excellent ventilation and view.
  • Multipurpose—can be used for Airlines, Hiking, Walking, Cycling and Visiting vets

PetAmi Pet Carrier Backpack

PetAmi Pet Carrier Backpack for IATA Compliant Travel


  • IATA Compliant for Airline In Cabin Travel
  • Compressible for the varied Airline Size Requirements
  • Size: 12.5″ x 10.2″ x 16.3″ (L x W x H). The BackPack will be on its side, so the 10.2 inches will become the height when under an airline seat and is compressible to fit.
  • 7 Colors, 1 Size
  • There are side pouches and a front pocket but they are flush so when stored under the airline seat it is less likely to snag or take up room.

MAJOR AIRLINES IN-CABIN PET CARRIER SIZES:


AIRLINE, IN CABINMaximum Pet Carrier Size
LxWxH
DELTA
Small Dogs, Cats,
Domestic Birds
Carrier Counts as
your Carry-On

22″/56cmX14″
SOUTHWEST
Dog and Cats
1 Carrier per passenger.
Carrier may hold 2 animals:
Same Size/Same Breed.
Allows carrier and carry-on
18.5″x13.5″x10″
UNITED
Dogs and Cats
Pit-Bull Breeds prohibited
Allows carrier and a carry-on.
1 pet per carrier
Hard-Sided=
17.5″x12″x7.5″
Soft-Sided=
18″x11″x11″
AMERICAN
Dogs and Cats
Carrier counts as your carry-on.
1 carrier per parent
19″x13″x9″
FRONTIER
DOMESTIC FLIGHTS: Dogs,
Cats, Birds,
Rabbits, Guinea Pigs,
Hamsters
INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS:
Dogs and Cats.
18″x14″x8″
JET BLUE
Dogs and Cats
1 Pet per carrier. 1 carrier
per parent.
Counts as 1 personal item
17″x12.5″x8.5″
TURKISH Airlines
Dogs, Cats, Singing Birds.
Total Weight 18lb (carrier +pet).
Carrier is not counted
as your carry on
15.7″x11.8×9″
KLM Airlines
Dogs and Cats
Total Weight 18lbs
(carrier +pet).
Carrier is not counted
as your carry on
18″x11″x9.4″
LUFTHANSA
Dogs and Cats
Total Weight 18lbs
(carrier +pet).
Soft-sided carriers only
Carrier not counted
as carry on
22″x16″x9″x
VOLARIS
Dogs and Cats
Total Weight: 22lbs/10kg (carrier+pet)
17.5×12″x7.5″
ALASKA AIRLINES

Hard-Sided=
17″x11″x7.5″
Soft-Sided=
17″x11″x9.5″
CANADA AIR
Dog or Cat
1 pet per passenger
Hard-Sided=
22″x16″x9″
Soft-Sided=
21.5×16″x10.5
AEROMEXICO
Soft carriers only
12″x16″x8″
KOREAN AIR
Total lineal dimensions=45″/115cm
Hard=8″ Height
Soft=10″ Height
Chart of 14 Airlines for Pet Carrier Sizes for Pets In Cabin

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Documents Needed for Moving or Flying with Pets Internationally

  • Microchip Certificate
  • Rabies Vaccination Certificate
  • Health Certificate. For International Pet Travel, you may need more than 1 Health Certificate–Some transit countries require their own Certificates.
  • Rabies Titer Test results
  • Parasite Treatment certificate—Often Deworming
  • This is just a guide on what is required, please check the requirements for your specific airline and destination country at our page: Pet Passports and Pet Health Certificates.

Can I DIY my Backpack for Airline Use for my Dog?

Yes,. If you have a favorite backpack and maybe one you spent a lot of money on and want to use it for airline travel, here’s a guide I found for how to DIY your backpack for your Pet on a Plane in 6 Steps.

DIY Dog Carrier Backpack (How To Do It In 6 Easy Steps) By Ken Davies


I travel full time and sometimes with my 2 Cats, Sophie and Chihiro. A backpack is indispensable for travel and a Pet backpack carrier is convenient for its versatility!


What Size Pet Carrier will Fit Under a Seat?

The Standard Size for Pet Carriers and Dogs In-Cabin on Airlines averages 22”Lx14”Wx 9” and 8kg or 17lbs for your Pet. Soft-Sided Carriers are best for Airlines. The top compresses 1 or 2 inches, giving you more options than a Hard-Sided carrier. The carrier must be stowed under the seat at least for take-off and landing.


Documents Needed for Moving or Flying with Pets Internationally

  • Microchip Certificate
  • Rabies Vaccination Certificate
  • Health Certificate. For International Pet Travel, you may need more than 1 Health Certificate–Some transit countries require their own Certificates.
  • Rabies Titer Test results
  • Parasite Treatment certificate—Often Deworming
  • This is just a guide on what is required, please check the requirements for your specific airline and destination country at our page: Pet Passports and Pet Health Certificates.

Why Choose a Pet Backpack for Airline Travel?

  1. The benefits of a Pet Backpack vs. traditional pet travel carrier include:
  2. Carriers can be expensive and having a multi-purpose carrier saves money and space for travel because it is multi-functional
  3. They give hands-free use in airports and sight seeing days.
  4. A Pet Backpack is easier with for Hiking, Running and cycling
  5. When you walk further than your Pup can long walks or sight-seeing events make having a hands-free carrier enjoyable.
  6. Less strain on my body using my back to carry my Pets than using my arms to hold a pet carrier.
  7. You Pet will be close to you and feel safer, especially in foreign environments like airports.
  8. And you can use it when you’re not carrying your pet you can still use it carry shopping just as a regular backpack

If you’re traveling with Pets you may be interested in:

Pet Travel: How to Book Your Pet to Fly In Cabin

Flying a Large Dog In Cabin 2022