Creature Leisure “Pet Pilot XL”

photo-7Best suited for: In-cabin airplane carrier
Also works for: Car carrier
Quality: ★★★★
Price: $$$$
Overall rating: ★★★★

Our Pet Pilot XL arrived yesterday, and I think we may have found the rolling airplane carrier we’ve been looking for. 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 external pockets, three mesh ventilation panels (each with a privacy panel), 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 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.

We finally used the Pet Pilot XL on several flights over a December vacation, and I posted a review on my other blog, Dog Jaunt.

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