My Very Important Pet (according to AirTran) had a chance to use his new carrier on our latest weekend trip. After two years worth of use, our cheap carrier from the local pet store was completely worn out and we decided to buy the small Sturdibag in blue, since that seems to be Rugby's preferred color. We broke it in on a long trip from Baltimore to Ft. Worth with a stop in Atlanta both ways. We took the pictures while we were waiting in Atlanta the first time. Here is what I think of the bag after being in 4 airplanes and 3 different airports with it.
- The Privacy Flaps
- You can cover the two separate mesh pieces on the top, and the two side mesh pieces individually. It didn't take me long to figure out that I could cover up the back half of the carrier and leave the front half of the carrier open. That way Rugby could move around in the bag for more or less privacy as he pleased.
- The Velcro straps that keep the flaps rolled up and out of the way are too long and when not being used get stuck to the floor/clothing/seats. Sometimes the extra gets stuck even when it IS being used.
- Access to the Bag
- The bag has an opening on top and an opening on one of the sides for easy access to the bag. Our previous bad had a opening only big enough to fit your hand through for petting. It is very nice to me able to reach down and get a hold of your dog, or anything else in the bag if you need to and it is nice that he can sit up and stick his head out when we are waiting around the airport.
- Rugby is 6.5 lbs, 9.5" tall and 12" long. The bag is perfect width and height wise for him, and long enough that he can move back and forth and take advantage of the two 'sections' I created with the privacy flaps.
- The bag is 2-3" longer than it needs to be (at 18" long). It was SUCH a pain trying to maneuver the bag underneath the seat on the plane. Poor Rugby went for quite a ride while I twisted and turned the bag to make it fit. Good thing for that collapsible quality to it since I did have to squish it down quite a bit to get it under the seat. There was room to spare height and width wise, it was just too long.
- Since the bag was so LONG, at least I was able to put my wallet, a small book and dog treats (we were flying during Rugby's dinner time) in the bag with Rugby and he still had plenty of room. The easy access opening at the top of the bag made it easy for me to reach in and pull out things when I needed them in the airport.
- There is only ONE pocket at the back end of the bag, and It is not big enough for anything useful. I was able to slip a couple copies of Rugby's rabies certificate in there after folding it in quarters and not much else.
I still have mixed feelings about the bag. I do like that when closed up, it doesn't really look like a dog carrier as well as the good qualities listed above. A friend told me she can only get her bag under the seat if she slides it, starting from the aisle. We tried this on the way back and it was easier, but still took some effort to get under there. Hopefully the bag will grow on us as we get a chance to use it more.