IATA regulations may be slightly given a cold shoulder when it comes to domestic air transport. Some airline companies are not that strict with domestic flights as there is, with international flights.
That is the reason you can find a dog in the cabin compared to international transport where dogs are strictly held in the holding bay with an IATA compliant dog crate.
Another case you may find a little bit different is the use of a dog carrier. For domestic transport, you may be allowed to carry your dog using a soft-sided crate and board with it in the cabin, but for international air transport that is never possible.
But, as you’ll notice, soft-sided dog crates are often built for small breed of dogs, meaning if you have large-sized dogs, it’s advisable to have a larger dog crate.
However, when it comes to Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB), despite that they are Labs which are often standard size of a dog, there is usually a trade-off. The dogs are allowed to board with their owners in the cabin.
First, it’s because they are highly trained to observe discipline and are excellent with socialization. And second and most important, they are the only guide to their owners.
Top IATA Compliant Features to Observe in a Plastic Dog Crate for Air Travel
The crate should be larger than the size of the dog
First thing you should know, the crate space should be big and comfortable enough for your dog.
The specification states that the crate height should not be smaller than the height of your dog. In simple words, your dog’s ears should not touch the crate roof.
Also, the width and the length should have an allowance of space to allow the dog to turn inside the crate comfortably.
Metallic bolts and nuts for assembling the crate
It’s more than obvious, the bolts and nuts used to assemble the crate should be made of metal.
They make sure the crate is tightly assembled to avoid a collapse in case of turbulence. What’s more, the crate will be durable to serve you in the long hauls.
However, if your plastic crate is built with bolts but sealed with plastic caps, don’t fret. The bedrock of compliance is that they are still metallic.
The crate's door should be strong with good and working latches
Not all doors can keep a dog locked.
Some are poorly made is such a way that it cannot stop even the meekest dog from getting out by a mere pounce on the door.
To prevent your dog from knocking over the crate door and potentially getting inside that cabin, which may cause havoc and panic, your dog’s crate should feature a strong build door; one built by wire is great.
The latches should of high standard such that the dog cannot twist it open or force herself out.
Accessible stainless-steel water and food bowl.
Of cause, any bowl can serve your dog water and food well. However, a stainless-steel bowl will be less messy and easy to clean.
But what it’s important, the bowl should be attached to the door on the inside so that the airline attendance can tend to your dog without letting it out.
The crate should have ample ventilation
At the cargo holding, different types of luggage are held and they come in different sizes, shapes, and take different forms.
While the crew is careful at handling your luggage, they hold them in such a way that there is little to no space lost.
Another thing, there are no windows to let in light. Needless to say, it’s rather stuffy.
A pet here without proper ventilation is not only against animal rights, but it’s like sending her to a death bed.
So, the IATA dictates that the crate should have ample ventilation. Meaning, for maximum ventilation, the crate should at least have two sides with vents excluding the door.
But to be safe, have a crate that has vents in all four sides including the door.
The crate should have absorbent and cushion pads and lining
Air transport is not smooth; it can be bumpy and rough as it can get.
But what matters when it comes to transporting your dog by plane, is how you prepare your dog’s crate.
Going by the guidelines, you’ll need to have a well-cushioned pad for your dog’s crate. It will make the journey less bumpy thus she will be comfortable and calm throughout the flight.
The absorbent lining will help devoid the crate from any mess in case the dog pees, poops, or in the event of water and food spillage.
Have a feeding instruction and ready dog food
To keep your dog on her diet even on air, you should have a note of instructions to allow the attendance to make necessary decisions regarding the feeding habits of your dog.
You should also not forget the leave a bag of dry dog food attached to the crate. As you know, wet food may cause regular peeing leading to an undesirable mess.
Have a well thought Pet Documentation (Tags and labels)
Ever lost your bag or your luggage mistakenly loaded in a different plane? Pet documentation is your insurance policy.
So, for easy identification of your dog, you should have a name tag attached to your dog’s collar with all your contact details.
On the crate, you should attach all the details regarding your dog.
The documents should indicate, the name of your dog, your name, your address, the flight number, and the contact details of the person to be contacted in the final destination.
With the document in place, in case anything happens, you’ll have an easy time recovering your dog.
Besides, you should be on watch out for the following when it comes to air transport:
- Live animal stickers
- They’ll love it if your dog crate has tie-down holes (bungees)
Features to Steer Away From in an Air Travel Dog Crate.
When you travel by air, there are features in the dog crates that you should steer away from.
While the features might be great for other types of dog crates, they are not recommended when it comes to airline compliant dog crates.
Here are a few features you should watch out for:
Crates with top doors
While the top door is great for dog training or when traveling by car especially for a dog at the boot, it can be dangerous in the flight.
Thus, not many airline companies accept this type of crate, especially when it comes to international airlines.
Here is why.
Take for the case, that the flight becomes bumpy and the dog becomes restless, she is likely to panic and possibly try to find an escape route. The consequences may be fatal if the top door opens.
If it has a plastic door, don’t buy it
Like we said earlier, if you are going to use the crate for air transport, the door should be strong and well built in such a way the dog can’t force its way out.
If it has wheels, still it’s dangerous.
While big and heavy-duty crates have wheels to allow ease of pulling or pushing, this feature is probably one of the most dangerous features to have on the air travel dog crate.
No wonder, when the wheels are there in any dog crate, they are not permanent. You can easily, attach and remove them as you wish.
But here is the case.
To prevent accidents from happening due to unstable crates, just make sure the crate does not have wheels. And if they are the detachable type, remove them before the inspection.
Nevertheless, this is a rare feature found in Plastic Portable Dog Carriers.