Whether you travel near or far, the best underseat luggage for carry on can take the stress out of your trip.
There are many reasons to travel with underseat luggage. It is small enough to use as carry on, but can still hold everything you need for business or pleasure. They come in a wide variety of styles and colors, making it easy to match your taste and other accessories.
If you are considering purchasing an underseat carry on bag for your next trip, check out our reviews below. And to make things easier, we’ve even added airline carry on sizes for the most popular companies to help you make your choice.
The bottom line is that the best underseat luggage make traveling a breeze!
Best Underseat Luggage 2018
- Best Underseat Luggage 2018
- Underseat Carry On Luggage Reviews
- Travelon Wheeled Underseat Carry-On with Back-Up Bag
- Samsonite Wheeled Underseater Large
- Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 Softside Spinner Boarding Bag
- LUCAS Wheeled Under the Seat Cabin Bag
- Delsey Quilted Rolling UnderSeat Tote
- Nicole Miller Under Seat Bag (15″ Kristina Collection)
- Travelpro Luggage Maxlite3 Rolling Tote
- Travelpro Maxlite 4 Rolling Tote
- American Tourister Ilite Max Softside Wheeled Boarding Bag
- ZEGUR Quilted Rolling Underseat Carry-On Luggage
- Lily Bloom Under the Seat Bag With Wheels
- Travelpro Maxlite 4 Tote
- Baggallini Carry-On Rolling Travel Tote
- Solo Bryant 17.3 Inch Rolling Laptop Case
- Guide to Finding the Right Underseat Luggage
- Why Use an Underseat Bag?
- Types of Underseat Carry On Luggage
- Underseat Carry On Bag Rules for Each Airline
- Advantages of Using a Underseat Carry On Bag
- Things to Consider When Choosing Underseat Carry On Luggage
- Tips for Traveling with a Underseat Carry On Bag
- What Seats Offer the Most Underseat Space?
- TSA Carry On Rules: What to Pack, What Not to Pack
- The Bottom Line: What’s the Best Underseat Luggage?
Underseat Carry On Luggage Reviews
At 7 lbs empty, this Travelon underseat carry on bag may not be the best underseat luggage in terms of weight. But its great style and features may make up for the extra bit of weight.
First, it is made of quilted microfiber material that looks amazing but is also durable enough to withstand the rigors of travel. And these bags come in 5 different colors, making it easy to match them with your other luggage.
When you open the zipper to the large main compartment, you’ll see an open space to pack a change of clothing and other larger items. But there are also two large mesh pockets and two slip pockets for your medication, cosmetics, toiletries, and other small items.
On the outside of the bag, there is another zippered compartment for larger items you want close at hand.
There is even enough space to fit a tablet or some notebooks. On the side of this Travelon wheeled underseat bag is a Velcro pocket for a water bottle.
To make it easier to travel with this bag, there are two carry handles, plus the extendable handle for pulling it behind you. There is also an add-a-bag strap on the back of the bag for attaching it to another piece of wheeled luggage.
One unique feature this Travelon rolling underseat bag has to offer is the extra backup bag that is included.
This is a full-size tote that you can fold up and carry with you until you need it. For those who like to buy some souvenirs while they travel, this will definitely come in handy.
Material: Quilted Microfiber
Weight: 7 lbs (3.17 kg)
Dimensions: 14 x 13.5 x 8.5 inches
Additional Features: Extendable handle, rugged wheels, add-a-bag strap, water bottle pocket, multiple storage pockets, full-size backup bag
Having the right type of storage is important in the best underseat luggage. This large Samsonite carry on bag has taken this into account. There is a large main compartment with a wide zipper for easy access.
Inside are 5 large storage pockets. These come in mesh, clear, and opaque, so you can put everything you carry in its proper place. Some of these pockets are also WetPak pockets, so anything wet or soiled can be kept separate from the rest of your gear.
The front compartment also has a few zippered pockets and a larger slip one for a tablet or book to keep you entertained on your travels.
To make things even easier, there are even a removable hanging pouch and a removable 3-1-1 pouch. This allows you to carry your toiletries or cosmetics with you without worrying about losing any on the way to the bathroom.
To keep you well hydrated on your trip, there is a water bottle pocket on each side of this handy Samsonite wheeled bag.
Speaking of wheels, there are two inline skate wheels on the bottom of the bag. These are made of polyurethane and are filled with ball bearings to reduce friction while adding strength.
There is a retractable handle for easy pulling, which locks in both the extended and retracted position to keep it in place at all times.
The combination of polyester and nylon materials add durability and strength to the bag. There are a few colors to choose from, making it easier to pick your favorite.
Material: 900D Poly/Nylon
Weight: 5.51 lbs (2.5 kg)
Dimensions: 16.5 x 13 x 9.25 inches
Additional Features: Locking retractable handle, 2 inline skate wheels, multiple pockets, removable pouches
The Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 Boarding Bag has some interesting wheels on it that make traveling even easier.
Each of the four spheres is cut in half, with each side moving independently. This allows each of these pieces to move on its own in either the same or the opposite direction of the other half.
When traveling over more rugged surfaces, this lets these wheels move more easily while still maintaining their smoothness on unbroken surfaces.
For those times when you’re in a crowded area and bumping into things is more than likely, there are protective bumpers on the bottom corners surrounding the wheels. These help keep those areas safe and damage-free.
The retractable handle has textured TPR coating to reduce rust. It is also gel-infused for smoother movement. This handle locks in place with the push of a button, so it won’t be sliding around while you’re rushing to catch your flight.
There is also a sturdy carry handle on the side and grab handles on the top and bottom to make it easier to lift this bag into an overhead bin.
The outer material is made of rugged tri-core nylon, which resists damage and tears. For extra protection, the Samsonite Silhouette carry on also has a water-resistant coating, which also resists stains from dirt and oil for a cleaner bag.
There are two zippered compartments on the front of the bag, the inner one being large enough to hold a laptop.
When you open up the main compartment, there is plenty of space for a change of clothes and a few extras. Plus, there are multiple pockets, both mesh and opaque to keep your belongings organized as needed. There are also large mesh compression straps to hold you larger items in place.
Weight: 7.5 lbs (3.4 kg)
Dimensions: 22 x 14.5 x 9 inches
Additional Features: Four multi-directional split spherical spinner wheels, locking handle, multiple carry handles, multiple pockets, internal compression straps
The best underseat luggage doesn’t need to have a bunch of extras, but they definitely make it more worthwhile when you find them.
The Lucas underseat cabin bag comes with a few handy accessories for extra convenience when traveling. There is a pair of travel slippers for cleaner feet when going through security checks.
An included ticket and document holder also comes with this rolling flight bag. This holder has a Velcro compartment on top and a zippered pocket on the side for easy access to all your items.
There is also a strap for easy carrying. A separate cosmetic satchel also comes with this bag. This satchel has a hook to hang it wherever you are, giving you full access to everything inside.
The LUCAS Wheeled Under the Seat Cabin Bag itself also has some great features, or it wouldn’t be worth the extras. The material is Doby polyester, which is durable and resistant to tears.
The main compartment has a large storage area, with a front zippered clear partition pocket to help hold everything in place when you open it up.
There are also a couple of clear zippered pockets on the inside of the main flap to help organize all your small items. On the exterior of the bag, there are a few more zippered pockets on the front and the sides, giving you ample room for all your belongings.
Two inline skate wheels located at the back bottom part of the bag make rolling to your destination a breeze.
A push button located at the top of the telescopic handle lets you slide it out with one hand, keeping the other one free to carry another bag or hand your documents to airport security.
Material: Doby Polyester
Weight: 6.3 lbs (2.85 kg)
Dimensions: 15.7 x 15.7 x 9.8 inches
Additional Features: Inline skate wheels, locking telescopic handle, multiple pockets, hanging cosmetic satchel, travel slippers, ticket/document holder, multiple carry handles
As its name suggests, this Delsey wheeled carry on toteDelsey wheeled carry on tote uses quilted 1800 denier polyester for a sturdy bag that will last for years.
There are two wheels on the back, both of which are surrounded by protective bumpers to reduce wear on these areas. On the front are two rubber stoppers, which allow you to stand the bag in an upright position without it slanting forward or touching wet or dirty surfaces.
The interior of the main compartment is roomy enough to store a change of clothing and an extra pair of shoes if needed.
There are two slip pockets on the interior sides, and two zippered pockets on the interior flap. Another mesh pocket doubles as a makeshift compression strap, snapping in place on the sides if needed.
There are also multiple storage areas on the outside of the bag. The front compartment has a padded slip pocket to store a tablet, plus there is a phone pocket, credit card slots, and a few other small pockets for other documents and items you want quick access to.
A mesh pocket on one side holds a couple water bottles, and the other side has a zippered compartment with an additional mesh pocket that can keep your lotions or other wet items away from the rest of your gear.
The telescopic handle can be hidden inside its own zippered compartment until you need it. This also gives you easy access to the carry handles.
On the back of the Delsey Wheeled UnderSeat Tote is a strap for attaching it to the handle of another wheeled bag’s handle. These small bags on wheels come in black, blue or teal. The interior of the black is a stylish purple, and the other two have a more discreet gray color inside.
Material: 1800D Polyester
Weight: 5.5 lbs (2.49 kg)
Dimensions: 14.5 x 14 x 9 inches
Additional Features: Hidden telescopic handle, add-a-bag strap, multiple pockets, protective bumpers over wheeled corners
Even if you’re traveling on a budget, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on your style. Nicole Miller carry on luggage has decent prices and looks great on any trip.
This 15″ underseat carry on bag15″ underseat carry on bag comes in 3 colors, black, brown, and silver with black accents. All three are fully lined with stylish leopard-print fabric, so even open, this bag will draw the eye.
But this Nicole Miller luggage is also functional. The main compartment has a large zippered opening, revealing more than enough space to carry extra clothing and other larger accessories.
There is a large clear pocket positioned to help hold the larger items inside while the bag is open, plus allows you to see everything in there for easy location of any item. There are also two smaller clear pockets on the inside of the flap.
The exterior fabric on the Nicole Miller Under Seat Bag is high-density polyester, which is not only durable enough to handle a bit of turbulence but is also easy to clean.
Three front pockets, two side pockets, and a back pocket all hold the extra gear you’d like to keep as accessible as possible, like wallets, documents, or books.
On the bottom of the bag are two inline skate wheels for easy rolling, and two little feet at the front to support the bag and keep it off the ground.
The telescopic handle locks in both the extended and the down positions, so you won’t have to worry about it shifting when you’re in a rush.
For a stylish bag that works as well as the more expensive models, this Nicole Miller carry on may be the best underseat luggage for you.
Material: High Density Polyester
Weight: 6.35 lbs (2.9 kg)
Dimensions: 15 x 8 x 16.5 inches
Additional Features: Telescopic push button handle, multiple pockets, fully lined interior, inline skate wheels
If you do a lot of traveling, the best underseat luggage needs to last as long as possible, without breaking the bank or your back.
The Travelpro Luggage Maxlite3 Rolling Tote is a lightweight underseat bag that has a decent price tag. Plus is has numerous features that add to its strength.
The first is the polyester fabric that makes up this bag. It is durable, resisting abrasion and normal wear. But it also repels dirt and moisture, so you won’t have to worry about carrying a soiled bag with you on your next trip. This bag also uses a Honeycomb Framing System and EVA foam to add to its strength.
There are protective corner guards on the front of the bag and around the back inline skate wheels to reduce damage on these often bumped areas.
Rubber stops on the bottom keep your bag upright and off the ground while keeping it exactly where you leave it.
Other handy features are the retractable handle with multiple stopping points. This makes it easier to raise it to the proper level, no matter the height of the person using it.
The carry handle on top is padded for extra comfort if you need to carry it this way for longer periods. There is also a padded grab handle at the bottom for easy lifting into a trunk or overhead bin.
To store all your gear, there is a large main compartment for your clothing, shoes, and other large items.
For the smaller pieces, there is a large mesh zippered pocket inside and another large zippered pocket on the exterior for maps, charge cords, or travel documents.
Weight: 5.6 lbs (2.54 kg)
Dimensions: 15.5 x 13 x 8.5 inches
Additional Features: Retractable handle, padded carry handle on top and bottom, multiple pockets, protective corner guards, inline skate wheels
This underseat carry on bag by Travelpro is built to last, with rigorous testing on every aspect to ensure its durability.
The Travelpro Maxlite 4 Rolling Tote use polyester for the fabric areas and a water-resistant coating that also repels stains for a cleaner bag.
The telescopic handle is made of airline-grade aluminum and locks in two positions for easier use on those of all heights. And when not in use, you can zip the handle into its own little compartment, leaving the carry handles easier to access.
The inline skate wheels are high performance, filled with ball bearings for a smoother roll. These wheels also have protective housings to reduce damage if you should crash into a chair, wall, or other obstacles in your path.
There are also sturdy feet on the front to hold your bag in place when you stand it upright.
The zippers are high-tensile-strength, ergonomic, and self-repairing. This keeps them running smoothly, even if you open your bag every few minutes to double check the contents of your bag or grab something out of it.
But strength doesn’t mean anything if your bag won’t hold all your gear. The Maxlite 4 carry on rolling bag has a large main compartment, with a huge mesh pocket on the inside of the flap.
This gives you more than enough space for clothing, shoes, toiletries, hair accessories, and anything else you may need.
For those extra pieces you want to keep easily accessible, there is another big pocket on the front exterior, plus a ticket holder for quick access at security checkpoints.
Weight: 6 lbs (2.72 kg)
Dimensions: 15.5 x 13 x 8.5 inches
Additional Features: Inline skate wheels with crash-guard housings, multiple pockets, locking telescopic handle, add-a-bag strap, multiple pockets
The American Tourister underseat bag has room for everything, regardless of whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure. The roomy main compartment gives you ample space for clothing and other necessary comfort items.
On the exterior of the bag, there are two more storage areas. The larger middle pocket can fit a laptop or large tablet comfortably.
The smaller outer pocket has spots for a smaller tablet or some notebooks, pens, phones, cards, and other important documents. This keeps these handy items close at hand when you need them.
To make it easier to move with this 17-inch luggage, there is a retractable handle that can be locked in place when it is fully extended to eliminate any shifting while you walk.
It also locks down when stored in its own handy compartment so it doesn’t get in the way when you’re using the carry handles. There is also another handle on the bottom to make it easier to lift this bag in and out of your trunk or an overhead bin.
The inline skate wheels are made of polyurethane and are filled with ball bearings to reduce friction and resistance when you’re traveling through a busy airport. As well as a smooth roll, these wheels are also durable enough to travel over rougher surfaces.
Though they only come in black, this American Tourister boarding bag comes with its own hideaway ID tag, so you’ll always be able to figure out which one in the sea of other black bags is yours.
Material: 1200D x 900D Polyester with Dobby accents
Weight: 6.1 lbs (2.76 kg)
Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 8 inches
Additional Features: Hideaway ID tag, inline skate wheels, lockable retractable handle, top carry handle, bottom lift handle
You don’t need to spend a fortune to have the best underseat luggage, as this small carry on with wheels by Zegur shows. The exterior is made of durable 1800D polyester, with a plastic lining inside for easy cleanup if you spill a drink or a bottle of lotion pops open during your flight.
The sturdy wheels glide smoothly over many surface types and have durable housing to protect them and the corners from damage during your travels.
Little feet at the front of the bag’s bottom keep it off the ground and prevent it from rolling away if you let go. The add-a-bag strap lets you hook your bag onto your larger luggage for even easier movement through a crowd.
The retractable handle extends up to 25″, so all but the tallest members of your group will be comfortable pulling this bag behind them. And when its time to store your bag, it can be zipped into its own compartment out of the way. The two carry handles can be strapped together for easy use.
For storing your gear, there is a large main compartment with a zippered mesh pocket and two security pockets. This gives you room for all your clothes, toiletries, makeup, and any accessories you need.
On the exterior of the bag is a front storage pocket with room for a tablet, books, cards, phones, charge cables, and any important documents. There is a mesh pocket on each side, one of which is enclosed in a zippered security pocket.
As well as being functional, the ZEGUR Quilted Rolling Underseat Carry-On Luggage is also stylish, with its black material and purple accents. The interior is also purple, drawing the eye every time you open the bag.
Material: 1800D polyester
Weight: 5.6 lbs (2.54 kg)
Dimensions: 17.4 x 16 x 8.9 inches
Additional Features: Multiple pockets, add-a-bag strap, retractable handle, plastic interior lining
Rather than getting the same bag as everyone else, the best underseat luggage for you might be the one that stands out in a crowd.
The Lily Bloom underseat carry on with wheels could be this bag, thanks to its 3 distinct exterior patterns.
The Furry Friends model shows colorful kitties, the Forrest Owls shows these birds with foxes around colorful trees, and the Wildwoods pattern shows deer and more owls among trees and flowers.
As well as looking great, these bags have the features necessary to make them a great bag for any type of trip.
The cotton canvas material on the exterior of the bag has a biodegradable coating made from recycled plastic bottles. This helps increase the bag’s durability and makes the colors last longer.
The telescopic handle is ergonomic for extra comfort during those long walks to your gate. There are also two sturdy carry handles with a padded strap to hold them together for easier toting.
On the bottom are sturdy wheels surrounded by a protective housing, 2 feet to hold it in place and off the ground, and a bottom handle for easy lifting.
When it comes to storage, these lightweight wheeled tote bags have plenty of room to carry everything, while keeping it sorted for easy finding when in a rush.
The lined interior has a large main compartment and three clear plastic zippered pockets to keep your liquids separate from everything else.
On the outside of the bag are four more zippered pockets, two in front, one on the back, and one on the side. This gives you more than enough room for those items you want easy access to, like books, documents, wallets, and electronics.
Material: Cotton Canvas
Weight: 4 lbs (1.8 kg)
Dimensions: 16 x 14.5 x 9 inches
Additional Features: Biodegradable material, inline skate wheels, telescopic push button handle, multiple pockets
For those who prefer to carry their bag instead of rolling it behind them, the Travelpro Maxlite 4 carry on tote bag may be the best underseat luggage around.
It is made of durable polyester material with a water repellent coating on both the inside and the outside. This keeps your belongings safe in damp weather or if a spill should occur.
The large main compartment has a U-shaped opening for easy packing and access to all your belongings.
There is a zippered mesh pocket inside as well, to keep your smaller items from getting lost in your larger clothing, shoes, laptops, and other main gear.
There is another pocket on the exterior front of the bag for your tickets, documents, notebooks, or other items you need quick access two. The third pocket on one side is large enough to hold a bottle of water to keep you hydrated, or a few other items you can’t do without on your trip.
The Travelpro Maxlite 4 underseat carry on luggage is extremely light at only 1.6 lbs when empty, and even if you fill it to capacity it still won’t weigh you down.
This makes it even easier to carry it with the dual carry handles. These have a Velcro strap to hold them together plus a bit of padding for extra comfort.
There is also a padded shoulder strap, which is removable when you don’t need it. The add-a-bag strap on the back of the bag lets you attach it to the handle of larger luggage to make toting more than one piece even easier.
This Travelpro carry on luggage comes in two colors, blue and black, both of which use ergonomic zipper pulls for easy opening, no matter where you are.
Weight: 1.6 lbs (0.72 kg)
Dimensions: 11 x 18 x 8 inches
Additional Features: Multiple pockets, removable padded shoulder strap, add-a-bag strap, ergonomic zipper pulls, water repellent coating, ticket holder
Though the price of this one is a bit higher than some other models, there are many features that make it one of the best underseat luggage pieces available.
First, it comes in multiple colors, so you can find the best match for your other pieces or just your personal taste.
There are comfortable leather carry handles to keep your hands from getting sore during those long walks where rolling it isn’t an option. The four-piece telescopic handle collapses into its own zippered compartment when you don’t need it.
The sturdy wheels have protective housing to keep them and the bag around them free of damage if they should be bumped during your travels. And on the back of the bag is a handy strap which you can slide the handle of a larger bag through to make stacking them easy.
The material used on these wheeled carry on bags is lightweight nylon, which is water-resistant to keep your belongings safe if you go out in the rain or happen to spill something on your bag.
With three zippered compartments, you’ll have plenty of room for all your gear. The main one is perfect for your larger items, like clothing or shoes, plus has two mesh pockets for toiletries or cosmetics.
There are also compression straps inside to keep your belongings from shifting while you travel.
The front compartment on the Baggallini Carry-On Rolling Travel Tote holds smaller items, plus has a zippered pocket on the outside for the little things.
And the middle pocket is padded, making it the perfect place for a laptop or other delicate items. Altogether, these features make this Baggallini rolling tote bag the only one you need.
Weight: 5.43 lbs (2.46 kg)
Dimensions: 17 x 14.5 x 8 inches
Additional Features: Telescoping handle with pocket, leather handles, water resistant, add-a-bag sleeve, padded laptop pocket, internal compression straps
Sometimes when you travel, you’re doing it for business instead of pleasure. This means you’ll be leaving out the clothing and carrying all the items you need to hold a meeting no matter where you are.
For these types of trips, the Solo Bryant compact rolling laptop bag could be the best underseat luggage for your needs.
This piece has three large compartments, all designed to hold specific items on your travel list. The largest area at the back of the bag holds the biggest items on your list, with room for books, magazines, or files. There is also a padded laptop sleeve that can hold personal computers up to 17.3 inches.
The middle pocket holds binders, more files, important documents, or a couple of magazines to entertain you on a long flight. The front compartment, though the smallest, keeps your little items organized.
It does this using pockets specifically designed for smartphones and cords, pens, cards, and notebooks or day planners. There is even a small zippered pocket on the front for anything else you need close at hand.
The beauty of these compartments is that all three have full openings, giving you complete access to everything you need at all times. The polyester body of this bag is durable, resisting tears and abrasions even on the roughest flights.
There is a telescoping handle with a push-button system for easy use, which can also fold down and be zipped into its own compartment when you need to store it.
Other handy features include the durable inline skate wheels, the small feet at the front to keep your bag from rolling away when you let it go, and the padded carry handles for extra comfort.
Weight: 6.4 lbs (2.9 kg)
Dimensions: 16.25 x 11.75 x 1.8 inches
Additional Features: Multiple compartments (including laptop sleeve), hidden telescoping handle with push-button system, padded carry handles
Guide to Finding the Right Underseat Luggage
Why Use an Underseat Bag?
There are a few great reasons to travel with underseat carry on luggage. The first is that it eliminates the boarding rush.
If you don’t need to snag that precious overhead bin space, you can take your time getting on the plane. There will always be room for your bag under the seat.
Let’s face it, some people aren’t tall enough to easily access overhead bins, making underseat bags a lot more convenient. Those who are injured may not be able to access the overhead bins, either, so they will need to take advantage of the space beneath the seat.
You don’t have to worry about damaging your bag or its contents either since the risk of dropping it from such a high height is non-existent. Or a another passenger jamming their luggage next to yours, crushing your belongings.
Plus, when you get to your destination, you won’t have to fight for room getting your bag down. It’s right there at your feet.
Of course, if your bag is too large or has a hard shell that can’t be compressed to fit in the smaller underseat area, none of the above will matter, and the overhead bins will be your only option.
That’s why we have only selected and reviewed the best underseat bags that fit under most (if not all) airline seats.
The bottom line is the best underseat luggage is designed to help you save time and money when flying. Plus, provide you with a backup if you checked bag gets lost in transit.
Types of Underseat Carry On Luggage
Wheeled Underseat Bags & Totes
These two types of bags are usually soft-sided, which helps when you are trying to squeeze them into the small spaces beneath the seats.
The rolling models have two wheels with small rubber or plastic feet in front to help them stand properly and keep them from rolling around if you let them go.
Though totes can have wheels, many of them leave them off, making them carry bags instead. These ones are usually smaller, with carry handles and possibly a shoulder strap. Because of the style, these can sometimes be considered a personal item. In this case, you may get away with a second carry on if needed.
Underseat Spinner Luggage
Underseat spinner luggage is a bit different from normal rolling luggage. They are usually smaller but have 4 wheels instead of 2.
These wheels can spin 360 degrees, so you can pull your bag tilted, upright, and spin it as needed to avoid any obstacles. They can also go sideways, fitting down narrow airplane aisles that normal fixed wheel bags may be too wide for.
Though they handle easier when being pulled, the spinner wheels stick out a bit more than the fixed ones, adding a bit more height to the bag. This won’t necessarily keep them from fitting under the seat, but they could take up a bit more of your leg room.
Rolling Laptop Bags
If you’ve ever carried a laptop and its accessories, you know they can be a bit heavy. When you add a bunch of other items in your bag, this can weigh it down even more.
If you’re carrying it through a busy airport to a gate on the other side of the terminal, this can cause unnecessary strain on your arms, shoulders, and back.
A small carry on laptop bag with wheels can take the strain out of your trip. They look almost exactly like a normal laptop bag but with wheels and a telescopic handle. This way, you can pull your bag behind you. These bags come in either rolling 2 wheeled models or the spinner bags, so you can choose your favorite.
Best of all, you won’t need to worry about space. These bags store everything a regular laptop bag has, plus are padded to keep your sensitive electronics safe from harm.
Underseat Boarding Bags
Boarding bags look kind of like small duffels. Many of them have a U-shaped opening at the top and a large main compartment, though some open more like a suitcase. These are usually carried by hand, with a couple of carry handles but some also include a shoulder strap for a second carry option.
There are a few boarding bags that include rolling or spinner wheels but the majority of the boarding bags on the market don’t have these features.
The lack of wheels helps these bags remain small, making it easier to store them under the seat. The soft sides also compress easier, so you can squeeze them in easier than many other types of carry on bags.
Though a large hiking backpack probably won’t fit nicely under a seat, the smaller backpacks and daypacks can be a great carry on bag. These can be packed with clothing, shoes, with ample space left over for your smaller toiletries, cosmetics, electronics, and charge cords.
The beauty of an underseat carry on backpack is that they are usually slimmer than other types of bags, so they should be able to fit in even the thinnest underseat area.
Plus, they can compress easier since they don’t have the hard edges or wheels you may be dealing with on those other bags. Plus, these bags probably won’t take up too much of your limited leg room.
Underseat Carry On Bag Rules for Each Airline
It can be hard to find the carry on rules for every airline out there. This is because many of them don’t publish their guidelines.
If this is the case, ask when you purchase your ticket or call the airline directly to get the proper information.
Another clever way to find out how much underseat space each airline allows is to take a look at their underseat pet carrier size limits. There is a lot of compile information on the web from travlears that frequently fly with their dog.
Another thing to consider is the fact that carry on bags come in a variety of sizes. Because there is no standard on under the seat dimensions, your bag may fit under some seats but not others.
Just because a bag is listed as the best underseat luggage doesn’t mean it will fit on every airline. Check out the rules before your flight to be sure your bag meets their requirements.
- Alaska Airlines carry on rules – 1 personal item and 1 carry on bag (max size of 24 x 17 x 10 inches). Carry on must fit in overhead bin or under the seat. Approximate underseat pet carrier size limit 11 x 17 x 18-20 inches.
- Allegiant Air carry on rules – 1 personal item (max size of 7 x 15 x 16 inches) stored under the seat. 1 carry on (max size of 9 x 14 x 22 inches) stored in overhead bin.
- American Airlines carry on rules – 1 personal item and 1 carry on bag (max size of 22 x 14 x 9 inches). Must fit in overhead bin or under the seat. Approximate underseat pet carrier size limit 19 x 13 x 9 inches.
- Delta carry on rules – 1 personal item and 1 carry on bag (max size of 22 x 14 x 9 inches). Must fit in overhead bin or under the seat. Approximate underseat pet carrier size limit 20 x 17 x 11 inches.
- Frontier Airlines carry on rules – 1 personal item (free) and 1 carry on (max size of 24 x 16 x 10 inches, subject to applicable fees). Must fit in overhead bin or under the seat. Approximate underseat pet carrier size limit 18 x 14 x 8 inches.
- Hawaiian Airlines carry on rules – 1 personal item and 1 carry on (max size of 22 x 14 x 9 inches). Must fit in overheat bin or under the seat.
- JetBlue carry on rules – 1 personal item (max size either 18 x 15 x 8 inches or 17 x 13 x 11 inches, depending on aircraft) and 1 carry on (max size of 22 x 14 x 9 inches). Must fit in overhead bin or under the seat. Approximate underseat pet carrier size limit 17 x 13 x 8 inches.
- Southwest Airlines carry on rules – 1 personal item and 1 carry on (max size of 24 x 16 x 10 inches). Must fit in overhead bin or under the seat. Approximate underseat pet carrier size limit 18 x 13 x 8.
- Spirit Airlines carry on rules – 1 personal item (free, max size of 18 x 14 x 8 inches) and 1 carry on (max size of 22 x 18 x 10 inches, subject to applicable fees). Must fit in overhead bin or under the seat. Approximate underseat pet carrier size limit 18 x 14 x 9 inches.
- United Airlines carry on rules – 1 personal item (max size of 15 x 11 x 8 inches) and 1 carry on (max size of 22 x 14 x 9 inches). Must fit in overhead bin or under the seat. Approximate underseat pet carrier size limit 18 x 11 x 11 inches.
- Virgin America carry on rules – 1 personal item (max size of 17 x 10 x 9 inches) and 1 carry on (max size of 24 x 16 x 10 inches). Must fit in overhead bin or under the seat. Approximate underseat pet carrier size limit 18 x 15 x 8 inches.
Advantages of Using a Underseat Carry On Bag
Avoid Lost Luggage
When you carry your bags with you, you always know where they are at all times. This eliminates the risk of lost luggage since there is no way it can end up on another flight.
It takes time to check your bags, plus retrieve them at the end of the flight. When you use carry on bags, you can skip both of these steps. When your plane lands, you can head right out of the airport and begin enjoying your trip.
Another advantage of the best underseat luggage is that you reduce your stress levels. You won’t need to rush (or pay) to board the plane to get your bag in the limited storage space of the overhead bin. Instead, you can relax and wait until the line empties out and board peacefully, tucking your bag under the seat in front of you.
Avoid Checked Baggage Fees
Though baggage is often expected, especially on extended flights, it is rarely included in your ticket price. This means paying extra baggage fees just for bringing along your necessary items.
But the majority of the airlines allow you a free carry on. This means you can bring along everything you need in the best underseat luggage and save some money on those extra baggage fees.
Inflight Access to Your Belongings
If you check your bags, you can’t access them until your flight lands. And if you find you need something out of those bags, it’s too bad for you.
Even you place your carry on in the overhead bin, you still have limited access during takeoff and landing. Or you’ll need to bother your seatmate to let you by if you are in the middle or window seat. Using underseat bags keeps all your belongings right at your fingertips.
Things to Consider When Choosing Underseat Carry On Luggage
When you’re choosing the best underseat luggage for your next trip, you need to consider the type of bag you’ll be using. They all have their advantages and their flaws.
The rolling or spinner bags take the weight off your shoulders, but they won’t necessarily roll easily in every situation. The wheels work great over smooth airline floors, but on rougher areas like cracked sidewalks or cobblestones, they will hinder you more than anything. Also, the rolling bags won’t always fit in tighter spaces, though the spinners have an easier time in these areas.
Backpacks are great because they keep your hands free for other bags or items you need to carry. But when you need something on the go, you have to stop and take them off, holding up the rest of your party.
Totes and duffel bags have lots of space inside to carry a bunch of gear. Their soft sides make it easy to compress them into smaller spaces. But most of them need to be carried by hand, which can put some strain on your body.
When it comes to size, the first thing you need to consider is the airline carry on rules. If your bag doesn’t meet their regulations, you won’t be able to carry it on. Instead, it will need to be checked, which can be a hassle and cost you some extra money.
Another thing to think about is how much gear you need. Going away for a couple days requires less clothing and other essentials than if you are planning an extended vacation.
You also need to consider what you’ll be carrying. You can compress clothing to a small size in order to fit more in. But you can’t compress a laptop, books, or other hard or delicate items.
When buying your next piece of luggage, you need to consider the materials used to make it. Most of the best underseat luggage is made of durable fabrics like nylon or polyester. These are sturdy and strong, resisting tears and abrasions, which is essential when you are sliding your bag under seats repeatedly during your trips.
You also need to consider the other elements of the bag. Wheels should be made of decent materials, with housing around them to prevent damage. Corners should also be protected since these areas are bound to run into seats, walls, and even other passengers at times.
Check the stitching on the seams and handles. The last thing you want is for these areas to tear. If they do, you’ll need a new bag immediately.
Style & Color
You may have noticed that black is a popular color for luggage. It is basic, doesn’t draw too much attention, and looks stylish on almost everything it colors. But if everyone has the exact same color, it can be hard to distinguish one bag from another.
That’s why many companies are offering multiple colors and patterns for their underseat carry on bags. This way, you can choose which one you like based on your favorite color, the color of your other luggage, or just pick one that you think will stand out from the rest.
There are also numerous different styles when it comes to the best underseat luggage available. Some are sleek and modern, while others are more traditional. There are also a few that break the mold, going in a fun new direction. This makes it easier to choose one that meets your personal tastes.
Storage Compartments & Pockets
If you’re using your underseat carry on as your main bag, you need to make sure it has the space to hold everything you need. If you are traveling for personal reasons, you’ll need a large compartment for clothing and shoes, plus some internal and external pockets for toiletries, cosmetics, and various devices and their power cords.
For those traveling on business, having padded areas for laptops and tablets may be on your list of necessary features. Other organizational areas for files, documents, pens, and planners may also be a must on the best underseat luggage for you.
Also, the types of pockets should be varied. Mesh ones are great for just about anything. Clear plastic pockets can hold liquids without the risk of ruining the other items in your bag if they should open during your travels. And opaque ones are needed for those discreet items on your list.
Though the above features are necessary, there are a few others that can turn a good bag into the best underseat carry on luggage around. One is the addition of a backup bag. These can be folded and carried in a carry on pocket until you need it. Those who like to buy souvenirs for their friends and family will understand the need for this extra bag.
Multiple carry handles, including lift handles and shoulder straps, can be handy. Removable pouches are great for taking toiletries to the bathroom during your flight or at a hotel. Security features like RFID pockets or locking zippers can reduce your travel stress a bit.
Since they can take a lot of the stress out of traveling, these types of carry on bags can have a great deal of personal value to those who use them. But they also have a monetary value that can be a bit hefty, depending on the underseat bag you buy.
Many of these bags can cost well over $100, some even double that price. But you don’t need to buy the most expensive bag available to get one that’s of high quality. There are countless models that are priced well below $100, making them great choices for those on a budget. And since they should last through countless trips, they will be well worth the price.
Tips for Traveling with a Underseat Carry On Bag
When you’ve chosen the right sized bag for underseat use, you’re ready to start packing it. But you can’t just shove everything in or you’ll run out of space in a hurry.
For the clothing, the best thing to do is roll them up. This means jeans, shirts, socks, and underwear. This allows you to compress them more, saving room for other items.
Make sure the clothing you pick match as well, in case you lose your other bags and need to mix and match a bit until you find your bag or can buy some replacements.
The threat of losing a checked bag is also the reason you should pack anything you would hate to lose. Some things have monetary value, others sentimental value. Keep these items packed in the bag that stays with you at all times.
This is also why you should keep your toiletries, cosmetics, and other essential items in your carry on bag. If it takes a few days to find your lost luggage, you’re going to be dirty and disheveled if you don’t have these items with you. Or you’ll be out a few extra bucks trying to replace it all.
Limit your devices if possible. You probably won’t need your laptop, tablet, e-reader, smartphone, and iPod. Take one or two that you can combine games, reading material, and data on. As well as saving space, this will also limit the number of charge cords you need.
What Seats Offer the Most Underseat Space?
The reason many airlines have different carry on sizes is that the space under their seats depends on the type of aircraft used. But there are also different amounts of space under each seat itself.
Though the aisle and window seat are usually the same, the middle one is always a bit bigger, giving you more room to store your bag.
There are also some seats that have electronics mounted underneath them. This means you have less space for your underseat bag to fit.
Others offer more legroom if positioned in front or behind an emergency exit. You can inquire as to which seats these are when you book your flight or check online at Seatguru.com or other websites before you choose your seat.
TSA Carry On Rules: What to Pack, What Not to Pack
When it comes to liquids, TSA allows you to bring a quart-sized bag of these in your carry on. As well as normal liquids like bottled water, this can include aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes. This means hairspray, deodorant, and makeup is all allowed. But their containers must be limited to travel-sized bottles that are 3.4 oz (100 ml) or less. Anything larger than this must be kept in your checked baggage.
There are also a few other items that are restricted from bringing on any airline in a carry on bag. You can carry alcoholic beverages that are between 24% and 70% alcohol in your bag as long as the container holds 3.4 oz or less.
You cannot carry weapons or ammunition in carry on bags. The same goes for anything that can be considered a weapon, such as axes, hatchets, baseball bats, box cutters, or BB guns. Even blenders can’t be brought on unless the blade has been removed. Since butane is not allowed, anything that uses them is also restricted, even curling irons.
Scissors must be less than 4 inches from the pivot point. Razor blades are only allowed if they are in a cartridge, otherwise, they must be checked. And they should also be sheathed or wrapped to prevent injury to anyone handling your bag.
If you have any other items you aren’t sure about bringing in your carry on, check the online TSA guidelines or call them directly for more information.
The Bottom Line: What’s the Best Underseat Luggage?
Having the best underseat luggage can be a great way to travel stress-free while still carrying everything you need. These bags are lightweight, with ample room for all your essentials, and won’t take up too much of your legroom for a more comfortable flight.
Though all the carry on bags on our list are of great quality, there is one bag that tops them all. This is the Samsonite Wheeled Underseater Large. It has everything you need, including durable materials, numerous sizes and types of pockets, and removable pouches. And it looks great as well.
For those on a budget, the best underseat luggage for you is probably the Lucas Wheeled Under the Seat Cabin Bag. As well as the normal carry on features, this one has a few extras without adding to the cost.
Anyone traveling for business will be more in need of organization than anything else. The Solo Bryant 17.3 Inch Rolling Laptop Case has more than enough space for a large laptop, tablet, files, pens, and anything else you need to carry in this traveling office.
If having a wheeled bag tops your features list, the Travelon Wheeled Underseat Carry-on With Backup Bag is a great choice. Not only does it roll well, it has a variety of pockets, plus comes with the extra backup bag for any extras you pick up on your trip.