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Reader’s report: Under-seat space on a Delta A320 (SR) and a Delta MD-88

Reader Ahmé kindly sent me a report about her trip from Grand Rapids, MI to Naples, FL, via Atlanta. She and Thomas, her 17 lb. Miniature Schnauzer, took two flights on Delta, and sat in an aisle seat on both.

Thomas the Miniature Schnauzer, not yet in traveling mode

Thomas “has excellent manners and is quiet and easy going. He shakes a little when we are getting on the plane but settles down once we get situated. The first few flights he would scratch and turn when there was a lot of noise (take off & landing) but now after doing it a few times he is pretty settled.”

Ahmé bought a large SturdiBag for Thomas, and likes how it works for him. She “trained him to go in, turn around, and sit down on command. The ‘squishiness’ of this carrier is good for him because it gets him more space and he pushes it out a bit when he turns around. It is also good for the planes because it can squish down as needed and around obstacles under the seats etc. I also like that the carrier itself is fairly light (I can’t spare any more weight with the weight of my dog) and yet sturdy and strong.”

And now inside his large SturdiBag

Their first plane was a Delta A320 (SR), and they were in an aisle seat on the right side of the plane. “He fit well under the seat, put in front to back with an extra 1-2 inches of width available. Middle seat would have also worked.”

Ahmé sent a couple of pictures of Thomas’s carrier in place under the aisle seat — one view from the aisle, and one from above, past her knees. While the carrier looks a little long in the first shot, you can see in the second that it really doesn’t extend more than an inch or so past the plane of the magazine holder on the back of the seat, so it works.

Remember to disregard the “awning” over the entrance of the SturdiBag when you’re looking at its length — it’s just a flexible piece of fabric.

“Looking down, those are my momma’s knees”

Their second plane was a Delta MD-88, and once again they sat in an aisle seat on the right side of the plane. “He also fit under the seat, I put him front to back but he could have gone side to side too because there is no partition under the seats on the two-seat side of the plane (the other side of the plane had three seats and I think he would have fit in any of the three but I would choose middle or aisle again).”

Here again, Ahmé sent a couple of pictures of Thomas’s large SturdiBag in place under their MD-88 seat:

A side view, from the aisle

And the view from above — I might have chosen to orient the bag left to right if this much of it was showing, but it clearly didn’t perturb Ahmé’s flight crew

Thank you so much, Ahmé, for the wonderful photos and the report about your trip! I’m adding your info and pictures to Dog Jaunt’s ongoing series of posts recording airplane under-seat measurements, and to Dog Jaunt’s ever-growing collection of pictures of carriers deployed under plane seats.


  • lauren

    What were the actual dimensions of the seat?did the crew say anything to you about the carrier sticking out?

  • Hey, Lauren! I don’t believe Ahmé had a measuring tape with her (it’s only odd birds like me who do), but that’s a large-sized SturdiBag she was using, and that gives you a pretty good idea of the available space. Apparently she did not have any problems with the crew being concerned about the carrier.

  • Oz

    How big is your mini schnauzer (height specifically)? I have a schnoodle who weighs 16 lbs and in a couple days we are making a trip with him in cabin, I’m a little nervous about him being comfortable and the airline agents allowing us through, but his last (and only!) experience flying in cargo was absolutely traumatic for him. Btw, I am traveling with him in a large Sturdibag also. How was your dog after the flight? How long were your flights too?

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