[1/31/13 Phooey!! It looks like this product has been discontinued.]
Last August I reported that I’d bought a rolling pet carrier that looked really good — Creature Leisure’s Pet Pilot XL. For one reason and another I only tried it out a couple of trips ago. Here’s what we thought.
Things we liked: This is, indeed, a very well-made carrier. The zippers and mesh are sturdy, and the carrier rolls solidly — not a wobble to be seen. It cleverly expands with a zipped gusset, and the interior structure and padding unfold to create a supported larger space for your dog. In the picture to the right, I’ve unzipped the gusset during a layover, and Chloe’s poked her nose into the gusset corner. That huge mesh panel near my left leg is on top when the bag is under an airplane seat, so I had good access to Chloe, and she could see me easily.
Things we didn’t like: The downside of solid construction is weight, and this is a heavy carrier. Chloe and her bag were weighed for the first time on our most recent trip (we were using a different carrier), so although it’s rare, it does happen, and a 10 lb. carrier may cause you trouble. The gusset is brilliant, but once you’ve unzipped it, you have to unzip the main opening to the carrier, reach your hand in, and pull the interior structure and padding away from their normal position to support the newly-expanded space. An antsy dog will try to wiggle out of the carrier during this maneuver. The Pet Pilot XL is also, generally speaking, oversized. In use, however, it squeaks under plane seats — and it looks so trim that ticket and gate agents didn’t give it a second glance.
On balance, it’s a great carrier. I don’t anticipate using it much in the future because it’s just a bit too small for Chloe. On a trip that lasted over a couple of weeks in different locations, we gave it several test runs, and by the end she really resisted getting back in. I recommend it wholeheartedly for dogs 10 lbs. and under.