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Montage Monday: An XL SturdiBag in position under an airplane seat

This is a new low. Previously, I hung my head in shame over “Snapshot Saturday,” but even that sounds good next to “Montage Monday.” Everything’s all ahoo right now — brace yourself for a Chloe’s Clicks tomorrow (two days after its usual Sunday slot).

I wanted to make sure that you all see this photo that reader Adam sent. He read the post about pushing back when your pet’s carrier is “too big,” and took it to heart (read the comments and you’ll see what I mean). He posted a photo on Dog Jaunt’s Facebook page of his Cocker Spaniel’s XL SturdiBag in position under his seat on a United 767-300, and kindly agreed that I could re-post it here:

XL SturdiBag under a United 767-300 seat

As you can see, it’s a risky proposition. While Adam and other Dog Jaunt readers have succeeded in traveling with an XL SturdiBag, it occupies a substantial amount of real estate, and a flight attendant could well object. Given how long the bag is (20″), turning it sideways isn’t an option unless you shorten the floor stiffener by 2-3″ — which is doable, though it will make your bag sag a bit on the ends (I’d center the shortened stiffener under the body of the carrier).

Please note that we’re only discussing making the carrier fit plausibly under an airplane seat. The other, crucial question is whether your pup fits under an airplane seat. When she’s in the carrier, there has to be enough room around her that the carrier can flex (and when we’re talking about the XL SturdiBag, it needs to flex a great deal to fit under an airplane seat) — if your dog fills an XL SturdiBag to capacity, then she and the bag are simply too large to travel in-cabin.


  • Lisa T.

    Hello! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this blog. We just adopted our first dog about 3 weeks ago. A 19 lb pug, who will *hopefully* be travelling with us from Los Angeles to Boston in August on a United flight. We have purchased a large Sturdi Bag as well as an XL Sturdi Bag (the XL has yet to arrive. Dewey, the one-eyed wonder pug, does seem a bit cramped in the large, and we want him to be comfortable as possible, which is why we are going to try using the XL and bringing the L along if we run into trouble with United agents. Very nervous, but we started training him to go in the L…hopefully it goes better once we have the XL. Any other advice you’d have would be wonderful…We’re brand new to being dog owners, and very nervous about what will happen at the airport if his carrier doesn’t pass. Thinking about taking the XL to LAX and showing it to a United ticket agent to see their reaction well before the actual flight…does that seem plausible, or should we just go for it in August? Thanks Dog Jaunt!

  • Hello, Lisa! Please forgive the delay in responding…. A 19-lb. pug is indeed likely to be happier in the XL, but if he can fit in the L, you’ll be less anxious. If he’s 12″ tall at the shoulders, and can manage to turn around, the L should work. Of course, you’ll know best, and if the XL is the answer, I’d cross your fingers and just arrive at the airport. You could ask a ticketing agent, but there’s no guarantee that the one you get on the day of your flight will have the same reaction as the one you talk to ahead of time — and the fact is, the XL is just too large (officially speaking), so if they’re following the rules they simply can’t say “it’s okay” to you. I’d take some deep Zen breaths and arrive at the airport with the XL. I’d keep it out of sight as much as possible (you will have to produce it when you pay for your pup and they put a tag on it), and I’d demonstrate how much it flexes, if I were challenged. I would certainly not mention my concerns — I’d treat the situation as though it was something I went through frequently and successfully (without being arrogant, of course). People do manage to get on with an XL SturdiBag. It’s just more than my nerves can handle. Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

  • Shivani

    Hi there, I was also planning on taking the XL SturdiBag. I cut the inside board to allow for even more flexibility and it is pretty flexible in height. How did your experience go? or Does anyone have their experience they could share. I am flying on United.

    Thank You!

  • Rachel

    Oh boo- we never heard what happened. Lisa T, let us know! I too have a pug that’s between 19-20 pounds and will soon be flying from Florida to Cali, so I would like to know how it worked out.

  • Alicia

    I’m making an international flight with my dog soon. She’ll be flying as an ESA so she technically doesn’t need a carrier, but she can get anxious in new places so I want one to keep her relaxed. When measuring for a soft carrier, like the sturdibag, do you measure nose to the base of the tail or collar to the base of the tail? She’s a smallish Cocker Spaniel so I’m finding my options severely limited. Thanks!

  • Hello, Alicia — Forgive this horribly late reply! The measurements you care about are floor to top of shoulder (not top of head), and nape, or back, of neck to base of tail. Hope that’s still timely, and hope it helps!

  • Ali

    It’s okay! I ended up just buying the XL and hoping for the best. Thankfully she fits! Thanks for such a helpful site! 🙂

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