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IATA Airline Dog Crates - The Facts

It's understandable to assume your new dog crate is "IATA certified and approved" if that's what you were told when you bought it. Airlines and IATA do not "certify" "approve" or "endorse" dog crates. Using this terminology is not only misleading but according to the IATA and airline websites, making this claim is considered fraudulent. The truth is that IATA and airlines only set the standards and determine the rules regarding dog crate design and construction.

East Coast Crates wants to help you to be fully prepared when you fly with your dog. An educated consumer is a smart consumer. The information covered in this article comes directly from the websites of the regulating bodies and can be easily fact checked. I encourage you to learn as much as you can before you buy and before you fly.

The airlines and regulatory bodies top priority is the safety of your dog and therefore have strict guidelines that must be adhered to. The airlines will check your dog crate thoroughly to make sure it is compliant so your dog is safe. If the crate doesn't meet their requirements they will not permit your dog to fly in it. These rules are strictly enforced and non negotiable. They are not recommendations.

It is possible that the airlines might not notice your crate doesn't meet all the standards and slip through but why take a chance? Can you imagine the nightmare of being at the airport ready to fly only to learn that your crate does not fulfill their requirements and you will not be permitted to take your dog with you? This is an entirely preventable scenario if you do your research and purchase an appropriate crate that fulfills all requirements.

So now that you see how crucial it is to purchase the correct airline compliant dog crate lets get down to business and talk about the facts. There are several agencies involved in the process of flying and shipping live animals and it is important to understand which one is responsible for what.

IATA (International Air Transportation Association) is the agency responsible for determining and defining the minimal crate construction and specifications.

USDA/APHIS (US Department of Agriculture & Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service) Regulates health requirements, documentation and crate specifications.

TSA (Transportation Security Administration) Responsible for airport security for passengers and freight. TSA does not regulate crate specifications but may check for exposives and/or drugs

Individual Airlines will add additional rules and regs and make the final determination before flight of crate compliance

Now that you know who is making the rules lets talk about the rules. I have compiled a list from the agencies and airline websites. The 4 categories are crate size, crate specifications, additional airline requirements and additional IATA-82 requirements for restricted breeds.

  • Crate size

  • ​stand, turn around and lie down comfortably

  • 2" clearance over top of head when standing in natural position for US domestic travel

  • 3" clearance over top of head when standing in natural position for international travel

  • measure dog height, length, and width to determine appropriate size

  • Crate specifications (IATA minimal requirements for all kennels)

  • constructed out of rigid plastic, metal or wood

  • 2 preferably 3 secure door fasteners mounted on the outside in case ion emergency

  • metal nuts and bolts only (no plastic or twist locks)

  • inside of crate must have nothing sharp or protrusions including recessed parts that could injure dog

  • ventilation the whole of one end (door) and upper portion sides and back of crate - minimal 16% surface area

  • 1' side rails/ spacer bars both sides and back to prevent blocking ventilation holes​

  • leakproof solid floor

  • solid roof

  • easily accessible handles

  • 2 accessible bowls

  • absorbant bedding

  • live animal stickers and name of dog

  • Airline restrictions (in addition to above IATA requirements)

  • metal nuts and bolts only (no plastic or twist locks)

  • no wheels unless they are rendered inoperable

  • no wire or mesh crates

  • no toys, collars or leashes

  • no straw or hay

  • no folding or collapsable crates unless you drill additional holes and add metal nuts and bolts to render the crate unfoldable. Please note that metal nuts and bolts require a wrench. Twist locks, butterfly locks, link locks, dzus fasteners, wing nuts and plastic attachments are not acceptable to secure the crate open.

  • IATA-82 regulation (kennel requirements for restricted breeds in addition to above minimal IATA and airline requirements)

  • solid side with required reinforcements

  • constructed entirely out of metal or wood

  • no plastic or plastic parts anywhere on the crate

The list of breeds required to use IATA-82 crates are American Bully, American Staffordshire Terriers,Ca de Bou (or Perro de Presa Mallorquin), Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff), Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Perro de Presa Canario, Pit Bull Terriers, Tosa (or Tosa Ken). Also note that any mix of the above breeds also requires the reinforced kennel.

For over 40 years East Coast Crates has been proudly building handcrafted aluminum dog crates that exceed IATA and airline requirements. Let our share our experience and expertise to help guide you and make your travel a positive experience. We are always happy to help. We sincerely hope you have found the information in this article useful and informative. Please visit our page on shipping dogs for even more helpful information.

Happy and safe travel to all from East Coast Crates!

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