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Think traveling with just an underseat carry on is impossible? To get you started, we’ve rounded up a list of the best under seat luggage and we’re showing you how to pack strategically to make the most of low-priced airfares. Find out how!
Best Under Seat Luggage
Airlines are constantly downsizing their offerings, and in the latest move to offer basic economy fares, some airlines now charge for carryons making use of the overhead compartments.
Before you worry, let me clarify. Several US-based airlines have now added new basic economy fares with competitive pricing but without luggage options. While this move has received much criticism, this isn’t necessarily a negative.
I spoke to a representative from a major US airline carrier and they explained their decision to offer this new basic fare.
To summarize, the major airline carriers in the US want to offer budget-friendly airfares similar to the low-budget carriers such as Southwest, Jet Blue, and Spirit. These low budget carriers charge a minimal fee for a seat but make their money upselling other items such as luggage space and food.
Europe’s budget airlines, RyainAir and EasyJet, have done this for years and now American based airlines are catching up. Savvy travelers can benefit from these fare wars and see this an opportunity for more budget travel options within the US; which has been expensive to travel domestically compared to Europe.
Let me show you how you can downsize your belongings to take advantage of these fares and travel only with a “personal item” such as the underseat luggage featured below.
Choosing the Best Under Seat Luggage
In order to travel just with a personal item you need to first choose the perfect underseat carry on. This bag has to fit perfectly under the seat of domestic airlines all while providing you ample room for everything you need to bring.
To be honest, an underseat carry on isn’t drastically smaller than a regular carry on. However, it is important to note that the dimensions of the bags and the space under the airplane seats will vary between airlines. Visit the website for the airlines you travel most frequently in order to choose the most versatile option.
Tip: the middle seat has the most space and it’s usually the least expensive! Keep this in mind when booking your flight.
Wheeled Under Seat Carryon vs Shoulder Bag
Traditional “underseat luggage” features wheels, which many find more convenient than a regular shoulder bag or backpack. For the sake of this article, we’ve focused specifically on wheeled underseat carryon styles but you can also visit this post for ideas on weekender bags.
One of the biggest challenges with trying to find the best under seat luggage is that the majority of styles are designed for business travel. Consequently, this limits the space available for clothing and shoes.
Rest assured, the underseat luggage we’ve featured in this post offers the most spacious interior maximizing the space available for your belongings!
Here is our round-up for the best underseat luggage. You can learn more about them in the article below.
- Delsey Quilted Tote
- Delsey Sky Max 2
- Travelon Wheeled Underseat
- Samsonite Wheeled Underseater
- Tumi Oslo Voyageur
- AmazonBasics Underseat Luggage
- Travelpro Maxlite 4
- Delsey Cruise Lite
- 18″ Underseater by Travelon
- Aimee Kestenberg Quilted Python Underseater
- Delsey Ez Pack
- London Fog Cambridge
Best Under Seat Luggage Review
Delsey Quilted Tote
Delsey quilted rolling underseat tote couldn’t be lest off our list. While it has various organizational pockets, it still has a roomy main compartment, which is enough to pack clothing and a pair of shoes. As a plus, it’s also available in two pretty blue colors! Buy it here!
Delsey Sky Max 2
After searching high and low for the best under seat luggage, the closest I got was the Sky Max 2 by Delsey. This bag conveniently features nine pockets and is supposed to fit under the airplane seat of most airlines.
It ticked off most of the boxes including a nice wide open space so you can organize your belongings the way you want to. Underseat luggage tends to have too many compartments limiting their use to business documents.
This bag, however, has a spacious interior where you can fit just about everything you need for a simple travel itinerary. At 4.6lb, it’s the perfect weight to adhere to limited baggage restrictions. Buy it here!
Read these tips on how to pack for 5kg baggage allowance!
Travelon Wheeled Underseat
Travelon is one of our readers’ favorite brands, especially when it comes to anti-theft products such as purses and money belts. They also happen to have a few awesome travel products not related to theft including their Wheeled Underseat bag.
It weighs 5.4 pounds and gets rave reviews from our readers. The bags best features include a convenient zippered water bottle pocket, and an “add-a-bag a sleeve on the back to fit the handle of a larger piece. Buy it here!
Samsonite Wheeled Underseater
Samsonite is on our list of the top luggage brands and this wheeled underseater makes this list, too. This durable luggage is built to handle the harshest of travel elements thanks to its polyester and nylon fabrics featuring excellent wear properties. Your luggage will look as great on the 100th trip as it did on the first.
The zippered compartment allows you to separately pack damp or soiled items, while the removable 3-1-1 pouch and removable, hanging organizer pouch make it easy to organize all of your essentials. Buy it here!
Tumi Oslo Voyageur
For a bit of luxury, Tumi has the good looking, feature-packed Oslo Voyageur Compact Carryon. It’s small enough for easy storage on planes yet large enough for clothing, too. It has usefully laid out compartments that aren’t limited to use for business travel.
It’s water resistant, has a sleeve for stacking onto other rolling luggage, and even has 4-wheels so you can easily wheel it down the plane aisle. Unfortunately, it’s more expensive than the other bags listed here. However, that’s the price you pay for a Tumi bag. Buy it here!
AmazonBasics Underseat Luggage
Travel in style with the AmazonBasics underseat luggage featuring a trendy quilted design. Along with its good looks, it’s compact in size, offering useful storage space, a telescoping handle, and smooth rolling wheels.
The bag has a roomy main compartment, several interior pockets, and a handy front organizer so everything has a space for easy access. Whether you’re headed on an overnight business trip or a weekend getaway, this durable and high-quality underseat luggage makes traveling a breeze. Buy it here!
Travelpro Maxlite 4
At TFG, we’re big fans of Travelpro and their Maxlite bags. The latest version, the Maxlite 4, is one of the best underseaters for flights. The bag’s best feature is the wide open space. We like the fact that it does not include a compartment for a laptop or business documents because that means that’s it’s much more functional as a carry-on bag.
Popular with pilots and flight attendants, the main downside is the 6.6lb weight, so you’d only be able to use it on a flight with a generous carry-on allowance. Buy it here!
Delsey Cruise Lite
The Cruise Lite Hardside 2 is another win by Delsey. It’s actually the first wheeled underseat carryon and weighs 5.6lb.
While it doesn’t have a strap to be layered over a larger suitcase, this is the ideal option for someone who strives to pack light enough to travel with only an underseat carry on or a business traveler on a 1-2 day trip for meetings. Buy it here!
18″ Underseater by Travelon
Another reader favorite, this under seat bag by Travelon is a good buy. Its roomy main compartment has enough space for a couple of packing cubes and maybe even a thin pair of shoes such as ballet flats or sandals.
One traveler packed a pair of shoes, iPad, rain jacket, a pair of pants, 3 shirts, a skirt, two socks, a few undies, and a small Ziploc bag with toiletries. We’re impressed!
It has a front organizer that can holds a tablet, travel documents, or other small essentials. As a plus, it also holds a 15.6 inch laptop but this is a nicely built-in feature that doesn’t compromise space.
The major downside is that it doesn’t fit under the seat in all airlines so it might be best used as a smaller carryon for the overhead bin. Buy it here!
Aimee Kestenberg Underseater
Aimee Kestenberg has some of the most stylish prints available and we couldn’t exclude this carry-on from our list. The colors and designs are absolutely beautiful, and this looks more like a trendy handbag than luggage.
This bag features a front exterior pocket with a padded tablet pocket and numerous business pockets, while the main compartment includes two zipper pockets, garment restraints, and two elastic open top pockets. Two side zipper pockets offer additional easy access storage. Fashionable and functionable? Impressive. Buy it here!
Delsey Ez Pack
The last one by Delsey on our list of the best under seat luggage is the Ez Pack. The minimalist, clean design with spaciousness is exactly what we want in a small carry on! Big points for the wide open space! Buy it here!
London Fog Cambridge
Not only does London Fog make classic trenches, this brand also produces trendy and practical under seat bags. At 15”, this carry-on is designed to comfortably fit underneath most airline seats so you can easily access everything you need while flying.
The wheels make this easy to use as a rolling tote, a business case, or an overnight bag. Along with a roomy interior, the bag has 2 clear zip water-repellent pockets, a zip mesh pocket for accessories, and a padded tablet compartment, while the exterior has two front and two side zip pockets. Buy it here!
Still undecided? Here’s a quick overview of the best underseat luggage:
|BRAND / MODEL||REVIEW||RATING / PRICE|
|Delsey Quilted Tote|| While it has various organizational pockets, it still has a roomy main compartment, which is enough to pack clothing and a pair of shoes.
9 x 14.5 x 14 in / 5.6 lbs
|Delsey Sky Max 2|| At 4.6lb, it's the perfect weight to adhere to limited baggage restrictions.
6.8 x 17.2 x 12.8 in / 4.6 lbs
|Travelon Wheeled Underseat|| The bags best features include a convenient zippered water bottle pocket, and an "add-a-bag a sleeve on the back to fit the handle of a larger piece.
12 x 8.5 x 14 in / 5.4 lbs
|Samsonite Wheeled Underseater|| This durable luggage is built to handle the harshest of travel elements thanks to its polyester and nylon fabrics featuring excellent wear properties.
6.5 x 13 x 13 in / 5.07 lbs
|Tumi Oslo Voyageur|| It's small enough for easy storage on planes yet large enough for clothing, too.
15 x 14 x 8 in / 7.9 lbs
|AmazonBasics Underseat Luggage|| Along with its good looks, it’s compact in size, offering useful storage space, a telescoping handle, and smooth rolling wheels.
13.38 x 9.45 x 13.97 in / 4.67 lbs
|" Travelpro Maxlite 4|| The bag’s best feature is the wide open space. We like the fact that it does not include a compartment for a laptop or business documents because that means that’s it’s much more functional as a carry-on bag.
13 x 15.5 x 8.5 in / 6.6 lbs
|Delsey Cruise Lite|| While it doesn't have a strap to be layered over a larger suitcase, this is the ideal option for someone who strives to pack light enough to travel with only an underseat carry on.
12.2 x 14.8 x 9.2 in / 5.6 lbs
|18" Underseater by Travelon|| One traveler packed a pair of shoes, iPad, rain jacket, a pair of pants, 3 shirts, a skirt, two socks, a few undies, and a small Ziploc bag with toiletries. We're impressed!
9 x 18 x 14 in / 7 lbs
|Aimee Kestenberg Underseater|| This bag features a front exterior pocket with a padded tablet pocket and numerous business pockets, while the main compartment includes two zipper pockets, garment restraints, and two elastic open top pockets.
12.5 x 7.5 x 16 in / 5.72 lbs
|Delsey Ez Pack|| The minimalist, clean design with spaciousness is exactly what we want in a small carry on! Big points for the wide open space!
8 x1 4.5 x 13.5 in / weight unknown
|London Fog Cambridge|| At 15”, this carry-on is designed to comfortably fit underneath most airline seats so you can easily access everything you need while flying.
13 x 8 x 15 in / 3 lbs
Packing Your Underseat Carry On Bag
There are a variety of packing organizers ranging from compression sacks to packing cubes to ziplock bags. Personally, we like using these packing cubes and our readers agree. They’ve helped millions of our readers travel carryon only – learn more!
The idea of packing in a packing cube may seem impossible, and it is if you don’t plan strategically. To make this a reality, use our signature capsule wardrobe framework that show you how to downsize your clothes for any trip to take only what you need to avoid overpacking.
We recommend starting with our ten-piece travel wardrobe and revolving or adding items as needed.
Need more clarification? Read our packing ebook, which reviews the capsule travel wardrobe concept on detail showing you exactly how it’s possible to pack light for every trip.
Once you’ve managed to downsize your clothing, the next big challenge is downsizing your shoe collection. When traveling with only one underseat carry on, you want to bring no more than two pairs of shoes and plan to wear your heaviest pair on the plane.
Make sure you follow these guidelines so that the two pairs you bring are versatile and mix and match with all your clothing.
Don’t forget that comfort is the number one priority. The wrong pair of shoes can ruin your trip!
Read our ultimate guide on how to choose travel shoes for more details!
Lastly, it’s time to downsize your toiletries, hair styling tools, and makeup. Our Ultimate Guide to Travel Toiletries shows you exactly how to pack less beauty products without giving up your favorite things – plus it has a free printable toiletry list!
Next, create a capsule makeup collection so you can make the most of mess stiff without sacrificing your beauty routine. If your hair is high maintenance, consider bringing a compact multi-tool like this one.
Tip: These travel containers are my secret to decreasing my beauty products and toiletries for any trip!
What do you think is the best under seat luggage? Share in the comments below!
For more packing strategies, please read these posts:
- 10-Step Guide to Packing One Suitcase for any Trip
- How to Fit Everything in a Carryon (Video Tutorial)
- An Easy Packing Hack to Travel Carryon Only
- How to Pack for the Carry-on Crackdown
For suggested travel gear, please read:
- How to Choose the Best Luggage Organizer
- Top 10 Toiletry Bags for Travel
- Best Hanging Toiletry Bag for Women
- Anti-theft Travel Accessories 2017
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