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Large, but still workable, in-cabin pet carrier: Teafco Argo Petagon

Those of you who follow Dog Jaunt’s Facebook page will know that I first saw this carrier in a celebrity shot in the Daily Mail: Julianne Hough was carrying it through an airport, and my eyes lit up because in it was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel just like Chloe.

Photo from the Daily Mail

Photo from the Daily Mail

Workable in-cabin carriers for larger small dogs are rare. I figured out the bag’s brand and model, bought one, and took it on a flight — and then my life got very complicated indeed, and I forgot everything I’d learned about the Teafco Argo Petagon. I have these pictures to show you, to prove that it fit acceptably on our Virgin America A-319 plane, but all my thoughts about it just melted away:

The large Teafco Argo Petagon, with Chloe, under a Virgin America A-319 seat

The large Teafco Argo Petagon, with Chloe, under a Virgin America A-319 seat

And a close-up of it, showing that it ended right where the seat support ended.

And a close-up of it, showing that it ended just about where the seat support ended.

But there’s always the next trip, and my forgetfulness just means that now I can report on the Petagon’s performance on two different airlines. Here it is in the window seat of a Southwest 737-700 plane (the emergency card has two options, but I happened to notice that it was in fact a -700 series plane):

My seat mates hadn't yet arrived, so I could get this shot showing how the end of the carrier is just parallel with the seat support.

The large Petagon under a window seat on a Southwest 737-700 series plane. My seat mates hadn’t yet arrived, so I could get this shot showing how the end of the carrier is just parallel with the seat support.

I call that a darned good fit for a pet carrier (better, in fact, than its fit on the Virgin America flights we first used it on), so I was surprised when a Southwest flight attendant questioned its length. This fit would normally go unremarked, and I say that after years of flying with various bags, and seeing readers’ pictures of their carriers in action. I believe that it was just a quirk of this particular flight attendant (every now and then I’m reminded forcibly that airlines are a collection of individuals). He backed off, in any event, and no other flight attendant on the following three Southwest flights I took looked twice at it. I wouldn’t anticipate that it’d normally raise serious objections.

The large Petagon (with Chloe inside but, dangit, invisible) under a window seat on a Southwest 737-800 series plane. No problem at all with the carrier on this flight or the two preceding ones.

The large Petagon (with Chloe inside but, dangit, invisible) under a window seat on a Southwest 737-800 series plane. No problem at all with the carrier on this flight or the two preceding ones.

It’s worth taking that bit of risk with the bag, because it’s large enough to accommodate a pet larger than Chloe, and that’s rare in an in-cabin carrier. The manufacturer states that the large Petagon (please note that it also comes in a medium size)  measures 21″ L x 12″ W x 13″ H; measuring tape in hand, the bag I have clocks in at 21″ L x 12″ W x 12″ H. With regard to its width, please note that its long sides slope inwards, so the bag is 12″ wide at the bottom, and 9″ wide at the top. In practice, under an airplane seat, the top of the bag squashes down a bit, and the sides bell out, providing more actual width than the 12″ bottom width suggests.

The first picture in this post, of Julianne Hough carrying the bag, makes the Petagon look enormous, but recall that she’s not much over five feet tall. I’m just shy of six feet tall, and here’s how it looks over my shoulder:

That's not an unreasonable-looking bag.

That’s not an unreasonable-looking bag.

My recent trip with the Petagon refreshed my memory about its pros and cons. Here’s what I liked: The bag has plenty of mesh panels (including one across its top); they’re double-thickness, and the inside mesh layer is woven finely enough that I believe it would resist even a cat’s claws; there are two very substantial side pockets, and a useful end pocket; a zipped hatch opening at the other end provides easy patting and treat dispensing access even when the bag is stowed under a plane seat; and there is a strap along the non-pocketed long side through which a suitcase handle (or a car’s seat belt) can pass. There is an internal tether, which is, generally speaking, a plus; I just wish that this one weren’t sewn in, and could be detached or tucked away. There is a padded bottom tray that can easily be removed and cleaned. Its surface is slick and shiny; I recommend that you add a soft pad of your own to it.

All that said, I won’t be swapping my large SturdiBag for the Petagon. I worry that the double-thickness mesh panels don’t let as much air through to Chloe as the coarser-grained SturdiProducts mesh, and I disliked how the Petagon panels caught and reflected light back at me, preventing me from seeing through them. Chloe was essentially invisible to me throughout our trips, except when I zipped open the end hatch to pat her or give her treats or ice cubes.

The two handles were long enough that they pretty much stayed on my shoulder — but the outer handle of any two-handled shoulder bag is always going to be a bit slippy, and the Petagon is no exception. I prefer a bag that also has a long strap that can be adjusted to go over a shoulder or across your torso. Unfortunately, there is no way to add your own shoulder strap to the Petagon, if you had an extra one lying around — there are no loops on the bag to clip it to.

My main objection to the Petagon is the silvery sheen of its mesh panels, but right behind it is the construction of its top. On the bright side, it has three different fastenings, making it unlikely that your pet can pull a Houdini escape on you. Zippers along each of the long sides are tugged closed with a joined handle; there’s a line of Velcro on the short end of the top flap; and a substantial plastic clip can be snapped closed, to give the Velcro solid reinforcement.

The top of the Petagon — I'm holding the red joined zipper handle, and turning back with my thumb the top flap to show you the zippers' path, the Velcro strip on the short end, and the plastic clip.

The top of the Petagon — I’m holding the red joined zipper handle with my ring finger, and turning back with my thumb the bag’s top flap to show you one of the zippers’ paths, the Velcro strip on the short end, and the plastic clip.

That’s good thinking, but the parallel zippers made me crazy. Chloe has long hair, and there is no mechanism (e.g., a shielding layer of fabric) to keep it from getting caught up in the zippers. That meant that I had to slowly zip each side closed with one hand, sliding my other hand under the bag’s top between the zipper and Chloe’s fur. Because the zippers are joined with a pull handle, you can’t close one at a time, but rather have to switch back and forth between them. That was annoying and slow. It wasn’t a disaster, because Chloe’s not an escape artist, but I can imagine it being a problem with an agitated dog, or a cat.

Please note that the only way to load a pet into the Petagon is through the big top opening. For some of you, that’ll be a plus (I sometimes hear from readers who don’t like the SturdiBag’s side “door”).

Despite those drawbacks, I will be recommending that folks with larger small dogs consider the large Teafco Argo Petagon. Overall, it’s a well-made bag, and offers useful additional length while still fitting plausibly under an airplane seat. Please note that the large Petagon is currently out of stock, both on Teafco’s site and on Amazon. I spoke with a Teafco customer service rep who told me that they expect the bag to be back in stock at the end of June or the beginning of July 2015. It is by no means discontinued; he described it as “one of our favorite carriers.”

Amazon link: Teafco Argo Petagon, Large, Black


  • Meredith

    great review! I wonder if you have updated Chloe’s car safety regime at all and if you would consider doing a review of the Pup Saver. It looks like a very cozy option for a small dog and has been safety tested. I would value your opinion before purchasing!

  • Laura

    I wanted to thank you for your extensive review. I originally bought the large Sturdibag. After training and letting Sheldon, my Wire Fox Terrier get comfortable with it. I realized, alas it is not big enough. Sheldon is super tall for his size. He varies between 18 and 20 pounds depending on how much exercise he gets. I have been trying to find a good pet carrier that will allow me to travel relatively stress free. eek. 🙂 I found a pet store that sells Teafco Argo Petagon and have ordered it. I am hoping this is the answer to my prayers. Sheldon will be flying for the first time in May and time is rapidly running out. ahhhh. 🙂 I will take pictures and report back to you our experiences. FYI we are traveling via Southwest.

  • Linda

    I so love your product reviews and have purchased a number of recommended items. Like Meredith, I saw the Pup Saver and would appreciate your thoughts. I recall for safety purposes you traded the Snoozer booster plus harness/tether for the PetEgo Pet Tube for Chloe. I’m still struggling with the right combination of comfort and safety for my 14 pound Cavalier/Bichon mix, Jazzie. In my perfect world, someone would design a solid (not hanging bag) dog car booster seat that would also keep her safe. Maybe a cross between a Martha Steward Booster Seat and 4Pets Dog Box. The MS Booster Seat is attractive, easy to clean and easy to secure (similar to the Snoozer). The Dog Box is highly rated for safety but looks industrial and is really expensive. Or maybe we could glue the Pup Saver to a Booster! Definitely need the help of an Industrial Engineer……… Look forward to your review!

  • Ozum

    Thank you for your review and all the work that you do to inform us how to travel with out pet. I am planning a Europe trip with my dog and have been reading your blog extensively. We already got a SturdiBag based on your review and waiting for the trip date to be clear. My question is what did you say to the flight attendant who commented on the size of the bag? Or what do you recommend saying to flight attendant or ticketing agent who comments on the size of the bag. Thank you again!

  • Hi, Ozum — To be honest, I didn’t say much. I was so surprised (I’d just finished mentally applauding how well the carrier fit) that I just looked completely baffled, for a really long time — like, 3 seconds — and then stammered a bunch. By then he’d figured out it was a pet carrier, and I pulled myself together enough to confirm that, and he walked off. I never formed, much less articulated, a persuasive argument. Maybe dumbfounded surprise was the most effective thing I could have come up with, right? I think the best thing is to say, as I could have (and you can, because I can assure you it’s true), that I’ve flown with this size carrier numberless times, and it’s always worked just fine, and I’m so surprised and concerned that it’s worrisome to that flight attendant — and then given them the furrowed, worried eyebrows and the big baffled eyes.

  • Connie

    Wonderful reviews! Your reviews were very helpful as I prepare for my first trip with Mocha, a larger than expected shihpoo. I was very excited for this review on the Argo Petagon, but unfortunately (like you’ve noted) it is still out of stock on their website, amazon, and almost every other retailer I googled. I recently contacted Teafco and was told that the large petagon will not be available until the end of October. Until then, I am going to take my chances with the XL Sturdibag. Although Mocha fits tightly into the large, he is a rather long pup.
    Thank you for all your great tips & tricks!

  • Robin Smith

    We have for 25 years traveling internationally and domestically with our Cavaliers , often two, in cabin in Sherps bags. We were noticing that the room under the seat was shrinking and changing shape as space was taken up by extra seats and electronics. Your review of the Sturdibag some years ago led to our purchasing it and using it for domestic and international travel ever since for our current Cavalier, Tam, who by the way got to know Puccini while in Italy. The Sturdibag is very flexible, LIGHTWEIGHT(important because our Cav wavers between 17 and 18 lbs.), BLACK (less likely to be noticed if protruding from under the seat), and well designed for air movement, carrying and access.
    One general comment is that while pet travel is in some ways improving and easier because of blogs like Dog Jaunt dogs. Encouraging, too, is that more and more dogs are seen as a plus even by some of the airports as calming agents rather than pesks. There are those hoping and working to bar them from in cabin flight. I hope there will be ways for those who support the presence of dogs on planes to build equally vociferous support from dog owners and dog lovers who want them to be more accepted in travel and in many other venues. As most of us know we get off airplanes having picked up far more health issues from our fellow travelers than from the pets on board.

  • Brandy

    Hi Dog Jaunt community! If anyone is interested in this carrier in particular (large, black, Teafco Argo Petagon), it’s on sale right now at for $55.99 ($89 on amazon). Don’t know how long the sale will last. Just ordered mine today! :^) Happy travels!

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