Should I get a hard sided or a soft sided carrier to bring a cat on an international US to Europe direct flight (on Delta airlines)? The carrier will be under the seat in front of me during the flight.

2 Answers 2


I read through the guidelines of Delta Airlines and they do not have a rule for it. But there are some things to keep in mind.

  1. The container must be leak proof
  2. The container must be ventilated from atleast two sides
  3. It must be big enough for the animal to stand and turn around in.

What I would do is use the container the cat knows (if it does) as long as the container fits the rules. Since this might calm the cat.

If your cat does not have a container yet I personally would take a hard sided carrier. It is more stable when queuing, when boarding and when being on the plane. It does not allow the cat to get squished.

This Website (Animal Hospital of North Ashville) discusses the pros and cons of different carriers with the result: Soft Carrier

  • not as bulky

  • more than one opening

  • harder to clean

  • easier to escape if the cat really wants to (scratching/ opening the zipper)

Hard carrier

  • might be more roomy

  • may allow for the top to be taken off

  • easy to clean

  • more durable

At any rate the decision is up to you I will link some websites that might help: The AHNA Website has a paragraph on how to decide

6 Best Airline Approved Carriers

Airline Approved Carriers (For Cabin)

  • 4
    I'd strongly suggest a soft carrier for under seat travel, as they will be lighter, and easier to get under the seat due to their flex. As a note: Do not allow the airline to force you into placing the carrier anywhere but under the seat (overhead compartments are air-tight, which some pet owners have found out the hard way).
    – Stig Tore
    Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 7:02

Your flight will be at the very least 6.5h long (e.g. from NY to Lisbon), so I suggest you take into consideration faeces (the cat may want to pee, and the soft carrier must be leak-proof), and stress (one of my vets recommended a mild sedative many years ago, which was supposed to help him "cope" with the stress). This site lists airline-friendly carriers, including the Petmate Airline Travel Kit, several Pet Ego brand carriers (e.g. Pet Ego Boby Bag Forma Frame, Pet Gear I-GO2 Escort Pet Carrier, Pet Ego Universal Sport Bag Plus and many others), and the Pet Peppy Expandable Pet Carrier With Tunnel.

As everyone suggests, I would check with the airline if you're able to (in case you're willing to) book space for him, and for any special requirements they may have (they all vary from airline to airline).

  • 1
    I disagree, @SerenaT. I provided a curated list of airline friendly carriers (a direct answer to the question), and noted that if the OP chooses a soft carrier, it must be leak-proof. By the way, I checked the link you provided, but I didn't see a single vet in their team, rather a lot of sales consultants, coordinators and other office personnel. Not a single animal expert. I'd trust my vet over a private firm with no veterinarians on staff with regards to sedatives.
    – FrK
    Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 8:33
  • 2
    Answering with a link is generally a bad idea; you have no guarantee that link will stay active, and once that page disappears, your answer is no longer useful. While it's not necessary to copy everything, summarizing the main points is a way to help an answer stay evergreen, instead of suffering from link rot.
    – Allison C
    Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 13:01
  • 2
    Hey @FerK, as AllisonC says, you might want to summaries what your link contains for future readers. For more tips on writing a great answer, you might want to check out How to Answer or if you've got a few minutes have a look at our tour.
    – Henders
    Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 13:26
  • 1
    Thank you both, @AllisonC and Henders. I read the "How to Answer" post, and edited my post to convey some specific examples from the link.
    – FrK
    Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 14:20

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