In this post from last week I outlined a few of the steps needed to fly with your dog and one of those steps was to purchase and use an airline approved carrier. So today I wanted to tell you about my absolute favorite out of all the airline pet carriers I have tried. This is the SturdiBag Pet Carrier:

airline pet carrier
There are now several options available for those who want to travel with their pets but the SturdiBag stood out for me from the very first time I used it. And it’s not just me that has liked it – I’ve found that the animals I’ve transported with this bag are more comfortable and tend to stay calmer throughout the flying process.

Basic Features

The bag pictured above is a size large but the company sells several other sizes. The large has fit perfectly for me under the seat in front of me on American, Delta, and United flights. Even if the seat is a bit low to the ground, the fantastic thing about this bag is that it can be compressed to fit and your dog doesn’t really lose the space – it just translates to more space at the sides than the top.

  • Dimensions: 12″ x 12″ x 18″
  • Durable 600 Denier Polyester and Feather Light Construction
  • Adjustable 4-point padded shoulder strap and leather hand grip
  • Retractable privacy flaps on all mesh windows
  • Interior fleece pad secured by Velcro
  • Zipper security clips and a tether for safety and security is included
  • Best place to buy: Amazon

Why I Chose the SturdiBag Pet Carrier


airline pet carrier end

I like this bag because it gives me the option to leave the ventilation mesh open or close them all for privacy. This has been a huge help with dogs that are really nervous about being in the airport – when I close all the vents and they can’t see the surrounding activity they tend to calm down. On the other hand, when I get on the plane and get the carrier situated under the seat in front of me I can lower the flaps over the mesh sides so that enough airflow makes it through and the dog doesn’t get too hot.

Multiple Openings

airline pet carrier top

This carrier offers two entry options for your dog – one at the tops and one on the end of the carrier. This is helpful in two ways. It is often much easier to take a dog out of the top of the carrier at the security checkpoint rather than having to open the end of the carrier, reach in for your dog, and then drag them out.

The top opening also makes it easy to reach in and pet your dog or give them a treat while you are on the plane. Though the dogs aren’t allowed out of the carriers in the plane, I usually leave the top opening partially unzipped so I can monitor how my dog is doing and pet them or reassure them if needed. This carrier makes that super easy.


Basically this carrier is a pet-sized tent with straps. I love that. The dome shape is achieved by inserting flexible tension rods along the top of the carrier. This actually makes the carrier squishable – that’s the only way I can think of to describe it. Pushing on the top of the carrier does not crush it – it just redistributes the space inside the carrier. This is perfect when the carrier is under a plane seat that might be a bit low.

Extra Features

airline pet carrier

Three additional features make this a very convenient travel carrier. First, there is an interior tether that can be attached to a collar. I absolutely attach this before getting to the security line (or anywhere you might have to open the carrier) just in case my dog decides to try and bolt once the carrier is open.

The bed included with the carrier is also top-notch. It is a thick, egg crate foam covered in very soft, thin fleece. It is very comfortable and actually easy to clean if necessary.

Last, there is a small storage pocket located at one end of the carrier. This is an invaluable addition. I use it to hold treats, a collapsible bowl, poo bags, and extra pee pads just in case. This carrier really allows you to keep all of your pet needs and your pet in one place.


Really the only potentially negative thing I might say about this product is that it can be tricky to assemble. Everything is relatively self-explanatory until you get to the support rods. This is basically a tent for your pet and to set it up you have to insert flexible rods into the correct slots and, on the first try, this isn’t terribly intuitive.

Customer Reviews

Final Thoughts

There are many things about flying with your dog that can be stressful so why make the carrier one of them? I picked this carrier after trying several other options with both cats and dogs and I’ve been loyal for years. I’ve recommended it to all of my clients and gotten great feedback from them as well.

I think perhaps one of the things that makes me truly love this carrier is that it gives me the opportunity to include my dog in whatever aspects of the trip I want – they don’t feel like extra baggage. It really feels like their little home that travels around and I’ve appreciated that my dogs are comfortable and happy in this carrier while we travel.

Have you tried a product from this company? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, if you have any questions or comments be sure to leave them below. Enjoy!