Domestic Travel With Dog - Of Crates And Airlines

Travel, last updated 24th, Jul 2016, Adnan Khan

“I am travelling to another city and am very worried about travelling with my dog. Please help.” Many anxious dog owners either cancel their plans to travel or abandon their dogs with a heavy heart. Neither of these decisions are favourable in any form. What is necessary is the right kind of education and awareness without any doubt.

Let us explore the options of flying with your pets within the country. There are many myths which people live by when it comes to air travel and they share their advice with others in such  a complex manner that it puts off many dog owners.

Here is a very informative article about how to fly your pet within India.

There are a limited number of airlines that endorse pet relocation as part of their operations. Jet Airways agrees to transport your pet, both via Baggage Check-In and Cargo, whereas Spice Jet and Air India only permit Cargo transportation for dogs.

Please consult the respective airline to confirm whether your dog’s breed is permitted to travel as many dog breeds are not entertained by these airlines because of past mishappenings. Almost all brachycephalic breeds like the Pug, Bullmastiff, Boxer, Bulldog are not suitable to fly due to the decreasing air pressure in the cabin. The flat-nosed breeds will have difficulty breathing at times and a few cases have resulted in fatal accidents. Hence, the airlines have a list of breeds who they will not allow on their flight to avoid any accidents.

The most essential question that stands now is how fly your dog in the airplane. A crate is mandatory to transport your dog, but not all types and brands would best suit the guidelines for sizing and material.

This is how an ideal crate for flights should look like.


Material Rigid Plastic(Preferable):
Ideal for majority of breeds and acceptable by most of air carriers
Size Enough size so that pet can turn about normally, stand, sit erect and to lie in natural position
  • All hardware must be present and properly installed.
  • Solid side walls with Sufficient ventilation
  • Smooth inner walls
  • Whole one end of crate must be open covered with bars, welded mesh or smooth expanded metal so that animal cannot dislodge it.
  • Handling space bars/Handles must be present on both longer sides.

**Many airlines requires steel crate hardware instead of plastic fasteners.
Cable ties may also be required.

  • Must form one end of crate.
  • Either sliding or hinged.
  • Adequate means of fastening and sealing.
  • Material: plastic, welded or cast metal of sufficient gauge so that cannot be bended or distorted by animals.
  • Ideal Thickness>=12 gauge
  • Mesh must be nose and paw proof.(Opening size >= 1inch x 1inch)
  • Plastic door is allowed provided that hinges and pins are made of metal with sufficient thickness.
  • the door hinge and locking pins must engage the container by at least 1.6 cm (5/8 in) beyond the horizontal extrusions above and below the door opening where the pins are fitted
  • Must have ventilations over upper 2/3rd of the opposite end of door and remaining two sides.
  • Opening Dimension: Min 2.5 cm(1 inch)
  • Gap: 10cm(inch) between centers of each opening.
  • Total ventilation area must be at least 16% of total surface area.
  • Mesh must be nose and paw proof.(Opening size >= 1inch x 1inch)
  • All openings must be nose and paw proof
  • Specially constructed large dog containers the open end must be covered by closely spaced metal bars or double welded mesh with 1cm (1/2 inch) spacing between the meshes.
  • Provision of extra hole on roof and sides are permitted.
  • A green "Live Animal" label/tag or a red "laboratory animal" label/tag
  • This Way Up labels must be there on all four sides
Feed and Water Containers
  • Water containers must be present within the crate with outside access.
  • Food containers could be within the containers or attached to it.
Forklift Spacer(optional) Must be provided for all containers where total weight with animal exceeds 60 kg(132lb)
Floor Must be solid and Leak-proof
Roof Must be solid but ventilations are allowed provided the strength is not compromised.
Wheels(optional) Must be detachable easily.

Many crate companies use the tagline 'IATA approved' for marketing their products. In truth, IATA does not provide any documented approval to any brands but the ones that comply with the above listed guidelines choose to promote their product with this strategy. 

Following brands are said to be IATA 'compliant' : 

  • Petmate

  • Stefanplast

  • Petgear

  • Varikennel

  • Skycrate

Another commonly asked question is how to find the ideal size of the crate. Here is the image below for measuring your dog, where it is essential to measure the dog at their maximum height which is either when they are sitting or in alert mode when their neck is stretched out the most. 

Crate sizing


  Refer to the sizing guide below according to your dog's breed. 

Size Dimensions(Inch)
Small 21" L x 15" W x 16" H
Medium 28" L x 20.5" W x 21.5" H
Intermediate 32" L x 22.5" W x 24" H
Large 36"L x 25" W x 27" H
Xlarge 39" L x 26" W x 30" H
Giant 48" L x 32" W x 35" H 

We would love to hear your experiences on travelling with dogs and reviews on various airlines and service providers in this aspect.