Purchasing a pet carrier for travel involves some decisions. Hard-sided carriers are pretty much out of use for airline travel as there are some definite size restrictions in play.
With that in mind, here are some common characteristics of pet carriers that might meet your needs:
Airline capable: Look for carriers that are explicitly labeled as "airline approved" or "meets airline regulations." These carriers are typically designed to fit under the seat in the cabin or meet other size and construction requirements for air travel.
Top and end loading: Many carriers have both top and end loading options, allowing you to choose the most convenient way to place your pet inside or remove them from the carrier.
Faux fleece bedding pad: Some carriers come with a soft bedding pad or mat to provide comfort for your pet during the journey. Faux fleece is a common material used for this purpose.
Dual side expansion: This feature allows the carrier to expand in width, giving your pet more space to move around comfortably when not in transit.
Open air large mesh windows: Look for carriers with large mesh windows on the top and sides. These windows provide ventilation and visibility for your pet, ensuring they have sufficient airflow and can see their surroundings.
Zippered mesh pocket: Many carriers include a zippered mesh pocket on the exterior. This pocket can be used to store treats, medications, paperwork, or other small items you may need during travel.
Soft-sided wipe-down composite nylon: Soft-sided carriers made from durable and easy-to-clean materials like composite nylon can be convenient for travel. They offer flexibility while still providing some structure and protection for your pet.
Safety seat belt attachments: Some carriers have built-in attachments or loops that allow you to secure the carrier using the seat belt in a vehicle. This adds an extra layer of safety during transportation.
Leash tether: Look for carriers that have an internal leash tether or attachment point. This can help keep your pet secure and prevent them from escaping when the carrier is open.
Auto self-locking zippers: Carriers with self-locking zippers can be helpful in ensuring that the carrier stays securely closed during transit.
Pet weight: Consider carriers that are designed specifically for pets of the size and weight range for the specific animal, ensuring they have enough space to be comfortable but still meet airline requirements.
Remember to always verify the specific requirements of the airline you're traveling with, as well as any additional regulations for bringing pets on board. It's also a good idea to acclimate your pet to the carrier before traveling, making it a familiar and comfortable space for them.