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Airline-approved soft-sided pet carriers are water-resistant and well-padded on at least two sides. The padding will most likely be nylon and should have mesh ventilation.
If you plan to keep your pet carry-on with you in the cabin, it needs to fit under the seat in front of you. Check the airline's website or call to be sure. If your pet will be traveling in the cargo hold, try not to schedule your trip in very hot or very cold temperatures.