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Reader’s report: Using a large SturdiBag carrier on three Delta planes (MD-90, 767-300, and 737-800)

Reader Tahoe, a Vizsla of undisclosed age, sent me a message with useful information about his people’s recent (well, frankly, not that recent) trips on three different Delta planes with his new sister Moxie (then an 11 lb. Vizsla puppy).

Moxie, fitting just fine in her large SturdiBag (11 lbs. at 8 weeks old)

She traveled in a large SturdiBag carrier, the same size that Chloe uses. Here is Tahoe’s report about how the bag worked on those flights, along with a picture of the carrier under their seat.

On all three aircraft, it worked best for them to “sit in the aisle seat since you have to slide the SturdiBag from aisle floor into position. The seats in front are so close to your seat (back). The SturdiBag is too wide to fit through the space from the top (unless you turn it sideways and flatten — dog probably will not appreciate it).”

They sat in Seat 34E on the Delta MD-90 and found “No bar between seats for under seat storage. If you are traveling with someone, the SturdiBag will fit under 2 seats horizontally and allow for more foot room.” The situation was the same (“No bar also”) on the 767-300 they flew on (Seat 45F). No particular report from their last flight, on a 737-800, other than that they sat in Seat 31C, and it apparently worked fine for them.

Moxie's carrier in place on one of their Delta flights

And one last picture, to show you how beautiful Moxie is — and to demonstrate that although this is officially forbidden, some flight crews will turn a blind eye to a head poke.

Thank you so much, Tahoe and team, for sharing the information and pictures! It helps so much to see other dogs besides Chloe traveling, and I hardly ever fly on Delta, so that’s info I can’t collect myself. I’m tagging this post to add it to Dog Jaunt’s growing collection of pictures of carriers under plane seats, which will help people prepare for travel — and address gate- or ticketing agents’ concerns about the workability of a carrier. I’m also adding it to Dog Jaunt’s ongoing series recording under-seat plane measurements.


  • Jennifer

    This is adorable, and what a trip! I love vizsla’s. We currently have 2 Weimeraner’s and they are much like vizsla’s. I have only taken a trip with a puppy once and it was a very short flight, but I used a soft carrier as well. It worked out great. I had no idea that they wouldn’t let you take the dog out at all, is this standard on all flights?

  • Hi, Jennifer — It is indeed standard that your pet has to remain entirely enclosed in her carrier during flight. You’ll see some fudging — some legitimate, of course, since service animals are not required to be in carriers, and some because a flight crew may choose to look the other way — but zipped is the rule. And I have to agree with it — Chloe was so rattled once by a wheels-down that she might well have bolted out of a partially open bag, and wouldn’t THAT be a scene; and keeping your pet zipped in will keep her dander enclosed, so allergy sufferers won’t suffer (and then complain about pets being allowed in cabin).

  • lauren

    Hello! I’m going to be flying on a delta 737-800 with a 12 week old corgi at the end of the month. Im having a hard time finding a carrier that meets the seat dimensions. Any tips?

  • Hi, Lauren — Ack! I clearly wrote my last response before having coffee. What I should have said is that this post should give you confidence in the large SturdiBag. They traveled on the same kind of plane, and with a larger puppy than yours will be. A 12-week old Corgi should fit comfortably in a large SturdiBag — do a search on DJ and you’ll see that it’s a favorite bag of mine and many readers because it flexes to fit in, well, every space I’ve encountered so far.

  • Sara Kraus

    I love your blog, I’m so glad I found you! I think your Chloe is similar to my Chasca perhaps, is she a Tibetan Spaniel? I have a question because I am going to schedule a flight from St. Maarten to ATL on Delta and it says the planes are either Boeing 737 or 757 series. Can the ‘Delta Deluxe’ carrier be used on both these planes? I hope so. My dog is as tall at the shoulders as yours, so the heighth thing is a bit tricky. She is big boned, but not wide, at 22 pounds total. She can fit in the bag, not stand up totally, but she has plenty of space to lay down.
    Finally, my question is if you have experience flying from these small Carribean islands, if they are nice when it comes time to boarding with the pets?

  • Hi, Sara! Thanks so much for the kind praise. Chloe is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (but you’re right, they look a lot like Tibetan Spaniels — a little bigger, though). Delta shouldn’t have any problem at all with a Delta Deluxe bag (it’s its own branded bag, after all) on either of those planes. The main thing is for her height at the shoulders to be the same as the height of the bag. Chloe, at 12″ tall at the shoulders, typically travels in the 12″ tall large SturdiBag (the Delta Deluxe also works). She has traveled in the 10″ tall Sleepypod Air happily, but only on shorter flights up and down the West Coast. From your description, it sounds like your Chasca fits fine in her DD bag. Re traveling to the Caribbean — I haven’t, but I have a couple of readers who do, frequently, and they’ve seemed very comfortable with the process. Here’s one post that might reassure you: I know the Bahamas are way north of you, but I’m assuming they share a similar small island feel?

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