That’s it ! You have made all the necessary arrangements with your airline and your pet will travel with you. This is only the first step. You still have a lot to prepare to make sure that this trip will be as comfortable for you as for your companion. First, the first step is to get a transport cage. But how to choose a good box to offer comfort to your pet?
The first choice will be based on the fact that your cat or dog will travel with you in the cabin of the plane or in the cargo hold. If he is allowed to fly in the cabin with you, then it is best to get a flexible carrying bag. In certain circumstances and with some companies, your pet will have to travel in the cargo hold … and you will need a rigid cage. In both cases, the carrier or cage must meet the requirements of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the airline concerned.
Material and Design
The carry bag for dog or cat must be made of strong but lightweight fabric. Materials should be of good quality and should not tear easily if your cat scratches or bites him for example. Check that the seams are sewn cleanly. Make sure that zippers or other closures are of superior quality. In short, the bag must be strong and sturdy.
The sides of the bag must be hard enough for the bag to keep its original shape, to stand alone but at the same time soft enough to be flexible. This allows the user to be able to compress the bag if necessary and therefore to place it below the seat of the aircraft.
In terms of design, the ideal bag should have openings on both ends and on the top. This feature is particularly useful when entering and leaving the cat or dog if necessary, such as during security checks at airports. If you can not find one with three openings, get one that has at least one end to the top.
A good flow of air is very important, mainly because the bag will be placed under the seat for the duration of the flight. The bag should have enough vents for proper ventilation, especially if you have a cat, and your cat is one of the entrenched types, eg. Persian, Burmese, Himalayan, Shorthair.
It is also an advantage if you can find a bag with several outside pockets. This gives more convenience, you can place in these pockets tools for cleaning such as small garbage bags, paper towels and gloves in case your pet relieves itself during the flight.
Some airlines allow small rigid cages in the cabin, but the majority do not. This is due to the fact that hard boxes can become obstacles in case of emergency. In addition, these rigid cages are difficult to install under the seat.
The ideal support should be large enough so that your pet can sit, stand, lie down and turn inside, but not too big because in case of turbulence, your pet may bump around the bag.
The maximum size is determined by the dimensions of the space under the seat of the aircraft. You must obtain this information from your airline before purchasing a bag, whether rigid or flexible.
In general, the maximum dimensions allowed in the cabin for soft-sided bags are 46 cm long x 28 cm wide x 28 cm high. Some carriers agree to slightly exceed these figures if the bag is flexible and allows overall compression of the bag to store under the seat.
For hard cages, the maximum permitted dimensions are 44 cm long x 30 cm wide x 19 cm high. These figures are fixed because the hard boxes can not compress, so it must be in advance to the size of the space under the seat. Take note that the height of the crate is considerably reduced by 1 cm, one centimetre has been theoretically added to the width to allow the circulation of air.
When traveling in the cabin, it is therefore more beneficial for the welfare of your pet to acquire the soft-sided bag.