Rolling in-cabin airplane carrier for a small dog: Creature Leisure’s Pet Pilot XL
[1/31/13 Phooey!! It looks like this product has been discontinued.]
I have long wanted a rolling airplane carrier for Chloe, and I think Creature Leisure’s Pet Pilot XL is the answer. Ours just arrived yesterday, and as usual I’m very happy with how it’s made and designed (I believe that we now own one of every product Creature Leisure offers!).
In its normal configuration (9Hx19Lx14W), the carrier exceeds the airlines’ maximum sizes, but it’s just barely workable nevertheless (please note that it lies horizontally in the under-seat space). The 19″ dimension is rigid, so the under-seat space must be at least 19″ wide. The sides and top do flex a bit, so I’m not worried about those dimensions.
The carrier has a gusset that can be unzipped to give your dog several more inches of breathing room during flight, if you choose to move the carrier out a bit from under the seat in front of you. The sheepskin pad liner flips down to occupy the newly-expanded space, adding comfort and structural support to the gusset.
It has three small but useful external pockets, plenty of mesh ventilation panels (each with a privacy panel, so you can configure things to your dog’s satisfaction), and an internal lanyard that clips to your dog’s collar or harness. There are two straps on the back of the carrier, through which a car’s seatbelt can be fastened. The faux sheepskin liner is, for once in the history of such things, actually thick and soft; when the carrier is lying on its back under an airplane seat, your dog will still be comfortable even though she’s resting on the two uprights of the collapsed handle.
Gripes? A couple of the zippers stick — run a finger underneath to keep fabric from interfering with their operation. And the carrier is heavy (10 lbs.), so you’ll likely be over some airlines’ maximum weights. On the other hand, no one at the airport has ever weighed Chloe or her carrier, so you’ll probably be okay.
We finally gave this carrier a workout over the holidays, and I posted my review in February 2010.