The 8 Best Underseat Luggage of 2023, According to Travel Experts
From spinner suitcases to duffles, totes and backpacks, these expert-endorsed underseat luggage options will upgrade your next in-flight experience.
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Having a few quality carry-on bags for all your travel needs, including a piece of underseat luggage, can simplify travel. An underseat bag is exactly what it sounds like: A bag sized to fit directly underneath the seat in front of you—no overhead compartment space required.
“Invest in a piece of underseat luggage if you want something lightweight to carry that will fit a few days’ worth of clothing, your toiletries, your laptop and valuables stored right at your feet on the plane,” suggests Amber Rose Powers, a travel advisor at Fora. An added bonus? You won’t have to worry about baggage fees or even about overhead compartment spaces being full, “which seems to be a regular problem these days with fewer people checking bags for shorter trips,” she says.
Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at truetrae.com, looks for “something that is truly low-profile enough to slide under a seat,” and notes that, “most backpacks, for example, need to be jammed under.”
We found the top picks for every type of traveler, in all shapes and sizes and even smart bags from the very best luggage brands. Before your next trip, be sure to also check out the best luggage sets, the best hard shell luggage and the most affordable luggage.
The best underseat luggage
- Best overall: Travelpro Maxlite 5 Compact Underseat Luggage
- Best budget: Wandf Foldable Weekender Bag
- Best on Amazon: Samsonite Underseat Spinner
- Best hard shell: Calpak Ambeur Mini Carry-On
- Best for business: Briggs & Riley Baseline Underseat Cabin Bag
- Best smart: Travelers Club Luggage Smart Under Seat Carry-On
- Best tote: Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe Tote
- Best backpack: Peugeot Voyages Backpack Tote
Best overall underseat luggage
Travelpro Maxlite 5 Compact Underseat Luggage
Frequent fliers consistently choose Travelpro as a dependable luggage brand. This soft-sided underseat suitcase meets all the criteria for a convenient and budget-friendly bag. For starters, inline skate wheels and a telescopic handle make it easy to maneuver around the airport. It also has convenient interior and exterior storage options, including a padded laptop sleeve and removable wet pocket.
“I am a flight attendant and have used this for a month now and love it. It’s lightweight and I can still fit the same amount of items I had in my LuggageWorks carry-on into this one. The wheels roll so smoothly on this bag,” writes five-star reviewer, Lisa. Did you know that pilots only travel with soft-sided luggage, too?
- High quality for the price
- Lots of organizational pockets
- Stain-resistant and water-repellant coating
- Available in multiple colors
- Might not fit underneath the seat in budget economy parts of the plane
Best budget underseat bag
Wandf Foldable Weekender Bag
If you’re flying a budget airline, including Frontier or Spirit, and want to get away without having to pay for a carry-on or checked bag, invest in this incredibly frugal weekender bag instead. (Save even more space when traveling by rolling your clothing!) If you do end up bringing another carry-on or check-in, the trolley sleeve fits easily and conveniently over the luggage handle. An added bonus? It comes in 29 color options, so you can travel in style.
- Extremely affordable
- Considered a personal item
- Offers 25 liters of space
- Available in 29 colors
- Less compartments and pockets for organization compared to more structured bags
Best underseat luggage on Amazon
Samsonite Underseat Spinner
Need a charge while traveling for work or play? This Samsonite suitcase is our top Amazon pick because not only does it fit underneath the seat in front of you on most flights, but it includes a handy USB port, four multidirectional spinner wheels and a telescopic handle. Quick-stash exterior pockets offer easy access and room for all your travel essentials, so you want misplace your passport at the last second. The main compartment also features a padded laptop sleeve with an elastic band to secure it.
“Just returned from my first trip in Rome and Florence and love love love it! Much bigger than it looks and spacious. It stacks on my carry-on making traveling with more that much easier. Fits perfectly underneath the airline and train seats. Glad someone figured this out!” shares Vincent Ho, a verified purchaser.
- Has over 3,900 five-star ratings
- Features tons of pockets and storage compartments
- Has a USB port for charging
- Four multidirectional spinner wheels
- Only accommodates laptops up to 13.3 inches
- USB charger battery sold separately
Best hard shell underseat luggage
Calpak Ambeur Mini Carry-On
Powers’ pick for the best underseat luggage is Calpak’s Ambeur Mini Carry-On. “It has a durable hard shell exterior to protect items, yet fits underneath most airplane seats,” she explains. “It has 360-degree spinner wheels, making it super easy to roll, has cushioned top and side handles and has an interior divider with multiple pockets for easier packing. Its sophisticated design and smaller size for shorter trips is a winning combination.” A carry-on like this will help you pack lighter and smarter for the next trip!
- Has a durable hard shell exterior with a luxurious sheen
- Includes interior divider and various pockets
- Comes in four colors and six size and set options
- Equipped with 360-degree spinner wheels
- On the pricier side
Best underseat luggage for business
Briggs & Riley Baseline Underseat Cabin Bag
Business travelers or other frequent fliers should invest in a durable piece of underseat luggage with all the bells and whistles. Constructed out of durable ballistic nylon, this underseat bag withstands wear and tear, moisture, dirt and abrasions and sits on spinner wheels for convenience. An interlocking handle system secures it to other Briggs & Riley Baseline suitcases, and the exterior pockets are ideal for personal items, including a tablet or laptop and travel documents. As for interior features, it includes a roomy main compartment and zip mesh pocket for organization, plus two additional pockets. Don’t forget to pack a travel pillow while you’re at it!
- Made of durable ballistic nylon material
- Has lots of interior and exterior pockets
- Includes a removable, adjustable crossbody strap
- Wide zippered opening for quick access
- Only available in two colors
Best smart underseat luggage
Travelers Club Luggage Smart Under Seat Carry-On
This budget-friendly smart suitcase is a favorite with Amazon reviewers, boasting a built-in USB charging port for keeping gadgets powered on the go. It also has a telescopic handle and smooth inline skate wheels, multiple exterior pockets for easy access to accessories and ample interior storage space. Beware before flying, though, not all carry-ons are free. It’s available in four colors and only weighs 5 pounds, so you it won’t weigh you down as you’re rushing to your terminal.
“Finally, an underseat bag with wheels that actually fits under the seat, even most aisle seats! Well-made, and not as heavy as some. Easy to manage even in narrow plane aisles,” writes Peggie Hall, a five-star reviewer.
- Features an exterior USB port
- Lightweight and easy to maneuver
- Has lots of pockets
- Power bank and USB cord sold separately
Best tote underseat luggage
Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe Tote
A weekender is a useful, multifunctional piece of underseat luggage, which works for anything from international travel to an elevated gym bag. The Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe Tote isn’t an average tote bag, offering ample organizational features, including the brand’s trademark bottom pocket for shoes or dirty clothes and multiple zip and slip pockets to stash belongings. It also includes a slip sleeve to attach to other suitcases, exterior pockets for travel documents and an interior key leash.
- Multifunctional tote/weekender
- Available in 14 colors and two materials
- Includes a bottom zip pocket for shoes
- Has lots of organizational features
- No wheels
Best backpack underseat luggage
Peugeot Voyages Backpack Tote
Can’t decide if you want to carry underseat luggage or wear it on your back? This clever backpack from Peugeot Voyages doubles as a tote with removable back straps and is designed with business travelers in mind. The bag offers seven organizational pockets for everything from clothing to travel documents, and features a convenient exterior sleeve to slip onto a suitcase—no packing mistakes while using this backpack! It’s complete with a padded laptop sleeve big enough for a computer and a tablet. The bag is constructed out of a material made from recycled water bottles, and features high-quality leather trim and handles offer a sleek, expensive-looking touch. There’s a special pocket for a power bank and USB port, but you’ll have to supply the power bank.
- Features removable back straps
- Made out of recycled water bottles and high-quality leather
- Has a smart band to slip over a suitcase handle
- Exterior is water-repellent
- Only available in two colors
- Power bank not included
What to consider when buying underseat luggage
Let’s start with budget. The best underseat luggage can go as low as $10 and all the way into the hundreds. If you are a frequent flier, consider investing in a high-quality piece that offers lots of storage and other convenient features, including wheels and a telescopic handle.
If you are traveling with other carry-on or checked luggage pieces, look for a bag with a trolley sleeve to slip on the handle of other suitcases. There are also personal preferences, including whether you like a wheeled bag, a crossbody option or carrying in your hands. You also have to decide on hard shell vs. soft-sided.
Types of underseat luggage
- Mini suitcase: Many underseat luggage styles are basically miniature versions of the traditional carry-on, complete with wheels and a telescopic handle.
- Weekender: Another popular style of underseat luggage is a weekender, which generally comes in a nylon or other fabric blend. Some of these offer compartments and pockets while others are quite simple in design.
- Tote or backpack: You can also use a tote bag or backpack as underseat luggage. These pieces are generally more versatile and useful as a work or school bag, too.
How we found the best underseat luggage
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
What is the standard size for underseat luggage?
Here are the guidelines for underseat luggage on major airlines. Just keep in mind that size requirements may vary by the type of aircraft.
- Alaska Airlines: Alaska’s carry-on size is 22 by 14 by 9 inches, including the wheels and handles. It also defines a personal item as, “a purse, briefcase or laptop bag.”
- American Airlines: Bags stored underneath the seat in front of you should not exceed 18 by 14 by 8 inches.
- Delta: Delta defines a personal item as, “a purse, laptop bag or item of similar size that will fit underneath the seat in front of you,” but doesn’t offer a specific size. However, their maximum carry-on size is 22 by 14 by 9 inches, with no bag exceeding 45 linear inches combined. (Did you know that Delta is one of the most pet-friendly airlines?)
- Hawaiian Airlines: Carry-on bags should not exceed 9 by 14 by 22 inches or 45 linear inches, or weigh over 25 pounds. “The allotted personal item must be small enough to fit safely under the seat in front of you. Personal items are generally such things as a purse, briefcase, laptop computer, small backpack or similar piece. In each case, it must fit safely under the seat in front of you,” they explain.
- JetBlue: Underseat baggage can’t be bigger than 17 by 13 by 8 inches.
- United Airlines: United limits underseat luggage to 9 by 10 by 17 inches.
- Southwest Airlines: Personal items must fit in the 16.25- by 13.5- by 8-inch space underneath the seat in front of you.
- Spirit Airlines: Spirit allows personal items up to 18 by 14 by 8 inches, including handles and wheels.
Can you have overhead and underseat luggage?
“Typically, you can have overhead and underseat luggage,” says Bodge. However, it depends on the size of the bag and the restrictions of the specific airline you are flying whether you can have both overhead and underseat luggage.
How heavy can underseat luggage or bag be?
Weight restrictions for carry-on luggage vary. Some airlines, including American and Delta, don’t even have any for domestic and even most international travel. However, some budget airlines, including Frontier, require carry-ons to weigh 35 pounds or less.
Does underseat luggage count as a personal item?
“An underseat bag is considered to be a personal item,” says Bodge. However, it will ultimately depend on the carrier and size of the bags.
- Amber Rose Powers, a travel advisor at Fora, a travel agency
- Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at TrueTrae.com
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