|Capacity:||7 (1 pilot, 7 passengers)|
A Federation travel pod was a small shuttlecraft in use by the United Federation of Planets in the late 23rd century. The vessel, which measured about four meters in length, could hold up to eight people, including a pilot and passengers.
Travel pods featured a hatch at the rear of a vessel with a docking ring that allowed the pod to dock with a facility or vessel without needing to enter the shuttle bay; facilities and vessels were equipped with ports capable of docking such vessels at several different points on the ship. On a refit Constitution-class ship, there was a port on Deck 1, the port and starboard sides of the photon torpedo bay, and on the port and starboard sides of the secondary hull.
The travel pod was originally designed to allow for the rapid movement of personnel to and from a drydock or other facility to a starship without needing the vessel to enter the shuttlebay, which would require the depressurization and repressurization of the bay. After it was built, because of the large window at the front the travel pod also became a popular inspection car in drydock facilities for engineers. Starships such as the USS Enterprise carried two travel pods on a regular basis. (TOS reference: Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise)
In 2273, a travel pod ferried Admiral James T. Kirk from the orbital office complex to the recently refitted Enterprise as the transporter systems on the ship were not functional. In 2285, a travel pod was used to ferry Admiral Kirk and Commanders Hikaru Sulu, Leonard McCoy, and Nyota Uhura to the Enterprise prior to the ship's departure on a training voyage. One year later, a travel pod ferried the recently demoted Captain James T. Kirk and his senior staff to the USS Enterprise-A. (TOS movies: Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
Travel pods were still in use in 2300 when Captain Sulu, Commander Darius Miller, and Lieutenant Elias Vaughn used a travel pod to travel to the Excelsior from spacedock prior to the vessel departing to investigate the Da'Kel bombing. (TOS novel: Cast No Shadow)