Things I Love: Sleepypod Air (A Review)

by Gigi Griffis

Luna in her Sleepypod Air after one year of travel.

As you know, it’s been over a year since Luna and I packed our bags and took off around the world. Since then, we’ve visited 10 countries, stayed in 20 different apartments, hotels, and guest houses, and taken five international flights, two ferries, and over 20 train rides.

That’s a whole lot of travel.

Which is why I was really delighted to find that Luna’s carrier—a Sleepypod Air—has held up magnificently through it all (and is still going strong).

So, after one year of travel, what’s the scoop?
The exterior is still flawless. The shoulder strap has held up perfectly. It’s still the perfect mix between soft- and hard-sided (soft enough to give a little when the seat measurements are off by a quarter inch; hard enough to retain its shape).

In fact, the only flaw after a year of full-time travel is that when Luna and I recently got detained in the London airport (aka. Luna was forced to remain in her carrier for 20 hours – substantially longer than I’ve ever subjected her to such a confined space), she dug a hole in the cushy plush pad at the bottom. (And can you blame her?)

Luckily, said pad is designed to be removable, washable, and replaceable, so I didn’t have to replace the whole carrier. (And the fact that I didn’t have to replace the whole carrier makes both my sense of ecological responsibility and my wallet very happy indeed).

Luna snuggled up in her sleepypod air
Luna and her Sleepypod Air before we took off around the world.

Luna in her sleepypod
Luna in her Sleepypod Air after one year of travel
(the only difference being a slight lilt to the right and a new plush pad in the bottom).

I’m still amazed at how well it’s held up to the constant use that our lifestyle demands and how much Luna still loves to retreat into it (seriously, she won’t even come out half the time). And, though I haven’t tried these features yet, I’m also really impressed that it can buckle into the car seatbelt and onto the back of a bike.

In summary, Luna and I totally love this carrier. It’s held up to every challenge and offered Luna a comfortable, safe space to call home no matter where we are in the world. And if I ever do have to replace it? You can bet I’ll be buying another just like it.

If you’re thinking about doing some major puppy-in-tow travel yourself, you should totally go buy one.

Luna on a train in her sleepypod airLuna refuses to come out on the train.

[Fun aside: after I wrote this review, I put the carrier on a side table in the apartment. Luna didn’t like not having access to it, so she walked over, gave me a look, and took a perfect, acrobatic flying leap into the open carrier (which was about a foot/foot and a half off the floor). I found this totally hilarious and also think it is a testament to how much she likes the thing.]

A big thanks to Sleepypod, who sent me a free replacement pad/plush to replace the one Luna dug through this March. All of the opinions here are my own and, in fact, I approached Sleepypod about doing a review in exchange for a replacement plush, not the other way around. I believe my exact words were “It will be so easy to write a rave because I’m in love with this carrier.”

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Kate July 8, 2013 - 1:21 pm

This is the exact carrier we use too. I love it!

Lucy July 20, 2013 - 3:43 am

How did you get on with the height of the sleepypod on flights? I have one but have not yet used it. The length is fine but the height is my main concern. I am only allowed a height of 20cm on my flight, sleepypod state the carrier height compresses to this but i can’t see how? Do you just squash it under the seat? Is this safe with your pet inside!? Any tips you have will be gratefully received!

gigigriffis July 20, 2013 - 8:53 am

Good question. Because the case is flexible, I usually just gently push down on the top and slowly slide it under the seat. It usually touches the bottom of the seat above it, but doesn’t compromise Luna’s space inside.

Lucy August 9, 2013 - 3:09 pm

That’s great, thanks!

Sally December 2, 2013 - 8:34 pm

Thanks for this review! I just ordered the carrier for my own snorkie’s journey from Korea to the USA this Christmas. I was pretty worried about what to buy, but you’ve eased my mind.

Sadly, though, Amazon wouldn’t ship to Korea, so I couldn’t pass on any affiliate money to you. :( Stupid shipping policies!

gigigriffis December 3, 2013 - 1:10 pm

Haha. No worries! :) So glad you found it useful. We’re still going strong with ours, which is almost two years old (1.5 of those years on the road).

Tammy January 18, 2014 - 9:56 am

Do they measure the carrier at the gate- or do they just accept the case ? I have an option of two, one is the sleepy pod and the other looks more like a handbag, but both are flexible in construction. The flight I just booked is the same, 20 cm max (KLM) -and we are flying from Vancouver to southern Italy. A little nervous as this is my first flight with my dog!


gigigriffis January 18, 2014 - 11:02 am

Hi Tammy,

They have never measured or weighed my carrier on any airline. Technically they can (and maybe sometimes they do), but I think they don’t really bother about it unless it looks like it’s too big or heavy.

Tammy January 21, 2014 - 8:17 am

great! Thank you!

Looking forward to many adventures with my pup.. Love reading your blog- confirms in my brain that I am doing the right thing for my soul (no matter what others think)!!

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[…] All this to say I still love this carrier over four years in. It’s one of a very very few items that have made it that long. You can read my original rave review here. […]

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Sonia February 5, 2017 - 9:39 am

I am not a regular follower of your site. BUT, I came across this review and it convinced my buying decision a little more. I will use your amazon link. I like giving credit where credit is due. Thanks for your review. BTW, I subscribed to your blog.

gigigriffis February 5, 2017 - 9:53 am


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Jade May 23, 2018 - 6:56 pm

Wondering Luna’s weight and height? I have a chihuahua I’d love to travel with but he’s rather tall for a little guy. Only 10 lbs but kind of tall and all the airlines say the carriers need to have enough head space for them to stand up and turn around without touching top of carrier but my guess is they wouldn’t physically check that if the dog is already laying comfortably in the carrier – thoughts? Oh one more question, when you go through security do you have to take the dog out of the carrier? Maybe you have another article regarding clearing security with your dog?

gigigriffis May 23, 2018 - 8:11 pm

Luna is about 5.5 kg (12ish pounds, I think) and she’s rather tall as well. I worried about that rule too, but no one has ever checked if she can stand in the carrier (she can’t). She can absolutely turn around and readjust, which I think is really what they’re after.

Re: security – yes! You take the dog out and put the carrier (and I put the collar and leash too) through the xray while carrying the dog through the metal detector. Then they swab your hands and do a quick test on the swab for chemicals.

Laney August 22, 2019 - 12:22 pm

Were you able to take Luna and carrier in the cabin with you on your London trip?

gigigriffis August 22, 2019 - 10:25 pm

When I went to London, I took the ferry from mainland Europe. When I flew from the US to the UK for our Scotland month, I took her in cabin. But that was only allowed because she’s a papered ESA and it cost a LOT of money because you have to pay a big fee for the animal receiving org at the airport to review her papers.


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