Thanks for your advice so far guys. I won't be travelling for a few months yet. But I will keep you guys up to date. The thing is the regulations differ from one airline to the next. Moreless. More so between Canadian airlines and American. So far I've noticed UA, AA and Delta are pretty much the same regarding carrying pets in the cabin. Just not sure yet on how many "carry-on" items you can take.
But if one carry-on is a small pet. One that can be placed under the seat in front then you'd think you could put a second carry-on in the overhead compartment. So two should be reasonable. Need to check on that.
As for chevking in my gear...if I have to...I guess I should take TCav's recommendation. Bundle them up and put them in with the clothings. Last thing any of us would want is for our gear to "grow legs".
Has any one flown with UA or AA internationally? (e.g. from the US to Canada or visa-versa) How many carry-ons were you allowed?
Save my money and not get a hardcase. Unless it's a carry-on. There seems to be a growing demand for carry-on camera bags or hard cases.