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.
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.
- The container must be leak proof
- The container must be ventilated from atleast two sides
- 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)
might be more roomy
may allow for the top to be taken off
easy to clean
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
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).