Taking a road trip with your dog is one thing, but traveling by airplane with a pup in tow is a whole other experience. Even if the flight is short and sweet, airlines have particular rules and regulations when it comes to boarding pets. Your number one concern is to ensure your dog follows these rules, but remains safe and comfortable throughout the flight. Luckily, instead of stressing over a checklist on compliance, you can rely on the Sherpa on Wheels Dog Carrier. 

     Backed by the Guaranteed On-Board Program, the Sherpa on Wheels Dog Carrier is expertly designed to follow the rules and regulations of major United States airlines. No more measuring or checking pet carrier features! Sherpa has already done that for you. Additionally, the carrier is very comfortable for puppies and small dogs; making your dog’s on-board flight a positive experience. We are thrilled to bring you and in-depth review of this excellent dog carrier because we truly believe it will make your traveling easier and more efficient.

Table of Contents

Main Benefits

  • Approved by major U.S. airlines
  • Back by the Guaranteed On-Board Program
  • Uses wheels for easy transportation
  • Durable nylon-made
  • Springwire frame
  • Two zipper entry ways
  • “Pet on Board” flag included
  • Highly functional, yet affordable

Design Features

Wheels for hassle-free transport

     Most pet carriers, even ones that follow airline regulations for on-board pets, are designed to be manually carried by the owner. While pet carriers tend to be light, when adding a dog inside they can get pretty heavy. This means clumsy lugging around your precious pup and dealing with sore arms and shoulders. Plus, if you have other bags and luggage in tow, you are bound to get into a struggle. 

   However, with the Sherpa on Wheel Dog Carrier, you can get rid of that hassle; not only keeping your dog comfortable, but remaining comfortable yourself. We are in love with the fact that this specific airline-approved pet carrier has the ability to roll smoothly on the ground as you pull it along. It features four 360 degree rotating wheels on the bottom, which are made from a thick and durable plastic. When laid down in a horizontal fashion, it glides easily and quietly. In fact, even if your dog is sound asleep in it, they have a great chance of remaining asleep. Its back wheels jut out from the carrier at a specific angle. It was designed like this to keep everything stable, even when the weight of you dog is added on.

     If you do need to pick up the carrier from the ground, its pull handle converts to an adjustable shoulder strap with padding. This pulling strap handle is made from weaved nylon; which is very durable for its use. However, if your dog is on the heavier side, make sure to inspect the handle from time to time for wear or tear.

Comfortable and Functional Siding

     The Sherpa on Wheels Dog Carrier is primarily nylon-made and comes in a rectangular shape. It has four mesh ventilation panels that create little windows for your dog to see out. The mesh fabric allows fresh air to sweep through the carrier; keeping everything ventilated and reducing the risk of overheating. Many dogs prefer to see their surroundings and this visibility helps them feel included in the adventure; ultimately allowing them to become more comfortable. However, some dogs like to stay covered and out of view. There are little roll-down privacy panels for this case. Plus, it allows you to cover your dog up during sleep time or if you do not want strangers eyeing them up.

     The Sherpa on Wheels Dog Carrier comes with an included lambswool bottom liner. It acts as a comfy dog bed for your pup and provides a great, snuggly resting spot. This saves you the hassle of trying to stuff in a blanket or measure out a separate dog bed to fit inside. Even better, we found that the lambswool liner is machine washable. Which means you can easily get rid of any pet odors that build up during travel.

Spring wire Frame

     One of the most functional features you will find with this pet carrier is its spring wire frame. Whereas many carriers have completely stiff sides that do not have the ability to change form, the spring wire frame on this one allows the carrier to compress without losing shape. We have found that this really comes in handy when sliding your dog and the carrier underneath the plane seat in front of you. Therefore, even if the carrier is a bit taller than the seat allows, you can stuff a portion of it underneath without your furbaby feeling cramped.

Two Ways to Enter

     This pet carrier has two ways for your dog to enter and exit, each using a heavy-duty zipper. The first is located on the top of the carrier. In fact, the whole top portion of the carrier can be unzipped. This allows you to pick your dog up and manually place them in the carrier. Plus, you can leave it unzipped to create a wagon-like design to transport your pup! The second entrance is located on one of its ends. The entire end unzipped, allowing your dog to smoothly walk in and out of the carrier without having to hop over any obstacles. Each zipper can be locked in place, which is often a requirement from airlines.

“Pet on Board” Flag

     This carrier comes with a small flag that reads “Pet on Board.” It is removable, so you can take it off when fitting the carrier in smaller spaces. However, this feature is a great idea to have around during transport. It notifies bystanders that you have a dog in tow, that way they can take precautions if they are allergy prone. Even more so, they will know not to accidentally bump into or move the carrier. For airline attendants and airport employees specifically, this will help prevent any incidents.


     The Sherpa on Wheels Dog Carrier comes in one standard size through Amazon and this is the size that follows major airline rules and regulations. The carrier itself measures 20 x 12.2 x 10.5” and weighs about 5 lbs. The weight is primarily due to its heavy duty wheels and zippers. It is designed to give your dog enough room to change laying or sitting positions, but not enough room to allow slipping and sliding.

     Dogs need to be on the smaller side in order to fit in the carrier and be allowed to board with you on the airplane. Specifically, the carrier will hold dogs up to 19” in length, up to 9.5” in height, and weighing up to 22lbs. For example, this may include puppies, Bichons, Chihuahuas, Malteses and more. You will need to measure your dog before ordering the carrier because weight alone is not a good indicator of actual size.


     Standard dog carriers are not that expensive. However, a dog carrier that is airline approved for on-board travel and sturdy enough to endure that travel is a different story! Those bad boys can often run $100 or more because a lot of design thought is required. In comparison, the Sherpa on Wheels Dog Carrier has all those needed features, durability, and airline approvals; plus, it comes on easy-to-use gliding wheels. Yet, it will cost you much less: coming it at under $80 on Amazon. Functionality and great price point? Yes, please!

How is it Airline Compliant?

     The Sherpa on Wheels Dog Carrier is back by the Guaranteed On-Board Program. This specific program was introduced by Worldwise and helps pet parents buy carriers that follow airline rules and regulations. They work with major airlines to get correct information and details, then create a partnership where the airline decides what carriers they will recognize as compliant or not. Ultimately, buying a dog carrier backed by the Guaranteed On-Board Program ensures that your pet will be allowed on-board with you for travel. Plus, if you happen to be denied pet travel with one of these carriers, the program will refund you the flight cost and pet travel fee. 

     After purchasing the Sherpa on Wheels Dog Carrier, you can head over to the Program’s website to receive a form. They state, “After providing flight, carrier, and pet information at our website, pet parents are given a Guaranteed On-Board form to be presented to the gate agent at the airport.” Therefore, upon arrival at your flight’s gate, you will present this form to the attendant to ensure boarding. 

     The Guaranteed On-Board Program and Sherpa company specifically state this pet carrier is accepted by American Airlines and United. However, they also state that most major US airlines accept it.

Tips on Flying with a Dog

     The Sherpa on Wheels Dog Carrier will make your flight with Fido a heck of a lot easier, plus it comes at an affordable price. But, you may be left wondering: what else do I need? After all, a pet carrier is not the only thing to bring with you. Depending on which airline you choose and if your dog is flying on-board or under the cabin, your packing list requires different things. We want your dog to have the best experience possible and for you to feel confident about their boarding. Which is why we highly suggest checking out this all-encompassing article on Flying with Fido. There you will learn specific airline requirements, how a pet health passport works, and how to manage pet stress or anxiety during flights.