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The 10 Best Underseat Luggage for Travelers [2023]

Amar Hussain's image
Amar Hussain
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Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

776 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

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Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Lightweight, compact, and easy to carry, these little carry-on cases have been designed to fit neatly under the seat in front of you during your flight. Offering easy access to your belongings, these are an excellent alternative to traditional carry-on cases.

Things To Consider With Underseat Luggage

Varying in looks, style, and even capacity, there are many things to consider before you find the right underseat carry-on to suit your needs.

Size

Travel Briefcase
Underseat luggage is smaller than regular carry-on cases. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

As is often the case when it comes to luggage restrictions, each airline has its own policy in regards to the acceptable size for underseat luggage. As a very general rule, most underseat luggage must be smaller than regular carry-on cases and measure around 16 x 14 x 8 inches.

Some budget airlines have recently changed their fare policies and now charge a nominal fee for stowing your carry-on luggage in the overhead compartment. Being just a few inches smaller all over, dedicated underseat bags and cases are spacious enough to be useful while still being compact enough to be classed as a free “personal item” on most airlines.

Weight

Travel briefcase material
Underseat luggage is usually made from a lightweight material. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Due to their smaller dimensions, most underseat bags and cases will also be lightweight by design. With many being made from tough and durable softside material such as ripstop nylon, they probably won’t weigh more than a few pounds when empty.

Wheels

Travel Briefcase Wheels
Some underseat bags come with wheels. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

You could carry your bag around with you, but why sweat the small stuff when you could wheel it around neatly behind you? Most of these cases come with smooth-rolling, multi-directional spinner wheels and retractable handles for increased maneuverability.

With additional grab handles for easy lifting when you need to and smart straps on the back that let you slide your underseat bag over the handle of your full-size spinner, these little cases offer lots of versatility.

Pockets and Compartments

Travel Briefcase Compartments
Underseat luggage will be just enough for a night or 2 away. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Remember, these cases are the smallest out there, so internal space in the main storage compartment will be just enough for a night or 2 away. Some of the best examples also manage to offer a healthy selection of zippered and mesh storage compartments to help keep your smaller items nice and safe.

External pockets are also a must, as you will want to be able to access your passport, boarding pass, phone, wallet, and other essentials as quick as a flash in transit.

Hot Tip: If you are planning to work while you are away, definitely look for an underseat case that has a dedicated and padded laptop pocket or compartment to keep your electronics safe.

Additional Features

Some bags come with clever additional features that add value and increase convenience. Dedicated shoe pockets, for example, are designed to keep your dirty shoes separate from your clean clothing, and other storage solutions such as organizer panels, card slots, and even key chains just make it easier to stay well-organized.

For tech-loving travelers, USB ports offer a quick and easy way to charge up your devices in transit, but remember that you will need to provide your own power bank along the way.

The 10 Best Underseat Luggage for Travelers

1. High-end Underseater

Check on Samsonite

Samsonite Underseat Carry-On Spinner

This underseat spinner case is made by the luggage giants at Samsonite and comes with all the high-end features you would expect. Offering spacious interior dimensions, this case is made from high-quality, durable material and comes in a selection of eye-catching colorways.

Measuring 16.5 x 13.75 x 9 inches, it fits the luggage size restrictions perfectly, and with a built-in USB port, you can keep your devices charged along the way (power bank not included).

On the inside, it offers a padded laptop compartment that has enough space to comfortably house laptops measuring up to 13.3 inches, and the large mesh pocket and multi-compartment divider make it easy to keep your belongings well-organized.

With easy-to-reach, quick-stash exterior pockets, you can keep your most needed items close at hand, and the multi-directional spinner wheels and push-button handle make it easy to silently wheel this case alongside you through the terminal.

What We Like

  • It is the perfect size for air travel

What We Don’t Like

  • The wheels feel a little flimsy

2. Bright and Stylish Underseat Bag

Lily Bloom Designer Rolling Under Seat Bag

This beautiful rolling case comes in a variety of eye-catching designs and is the perfect size for stashing under your seat. Measuring up at 15 x 14 x 9 inches, it is the perfect size to sit under your airplane seat or in the overhead compartments. The spacious interior has been designed to maximize your packing power while still being compact, lightweight, and easy to carry.

With a roomy main pocket, there is plenty of space to hold your shoes and clothing, and with a couple of additional interior pockets, you can neatly store your toiletries and personal items.

The exterior has a further selection of zipper pockets to access your passport and other travel documents easily, and the handy grab and telescopic handles provide the option to carry or roll the case behind you.

What We Like

  • Has a built-in panel for toiletries

What We Don’t Like

  • The handle feels thin

3. The Big Underseat Spinner

Check on Kohl's

American Tourister 4 Kix Expandable Underseater

Weighing in at just 7 pounds, this underseat spinner from American Tourister features a spacious interior and lots of useful exterior packing pockets. With an impressive amount of interior packing space, this underseat spinner case lets you pack everything you need for a few days away, and the 18 x 14 x 8-inch dimensions ensure that it is suitable for use on most domestic and international airlines.

With a deep main compartment with a mesh modesty pocket for your personal items, as well as compression straps to keep your clothes wrinkle-free, this case can also expand to give you extra inches when you need them the most.

The large front panel pocket offers easy access to your most used items, and the 360-degree spinner wheels ensure that you can roll it silently along beside you. The push-button handle lets you turn the case on a dime, and the lightweight yet sturdy construction makes this an excellent choice for frequent flyers.

What We Like

  • The compact dimensions

What We Don’t Like

  • The zipper is very stiff

4. Ultralight Underseat Suitcase

Check on Travelpro

Travelpro Skypro Rolling Underseat Compact Carry-On

This underseat carry-on from Travelpro measures in at 17.5 x 14.5 x 8.5 inches and weighs in at a featherlight 5.2 pounds when empty. Perfect for use on short trips and overnight stays, this case is made from stain-resistant and water-repellent polyester fabric, and with a high tensile strength zipper, it has been built to last.

With a spacious and well-designed interior, this case comes with a padded laptop/tablet sleeve that offers protection for your electronics, and a deep main compartment for your shoes and clothing.

On the outside, the separate zipper pockets are perfect for your passport, boarding pass, and other essentials, and the inline skate wheels and PowerScope handle ensure a smooth and easy roll through the terminal. There’s even a handy USB port for easy on-the-go charging.

What We Like

  • This model is super lightweight

What We Don’t Like

  • The design makes it difficult to access the interior in transit

5. Retro-style Carry-on With Thoroughly Modern Features

DELSEY Paris Chatelet Soft Air Luggage Under-Seater

This lightweight polyester case with vegan leather trims is supercool and incredibly practical with super classy retro styling. The timeless chevron pattern looks stylish, and with a soft-touch red lining, this case looks way more expensive than it is.

Offering plenty of space for short trips away, this case comes with top and bottom handles for easier lifting. The recessed 1-button locking handle system offers improved maneuverability.

With a spacious main compartment, you will have plenty of room for your clothing, and the super-useful zippered pockets, elastic straps, and shoe pocket will help to keep your belongings neatly organized in transit. There’s also a hidden front pocket for easy access to your most important essentials.

This stylish and super-roomy case comes with smooth-rolling wheels and an easy-to-control telescopic handle, and also has a super useful “add-a-bag” feature that lets you attach it to the handle of larger spinner suitcases.

What We Like

  • This case has stunning good looks and is extremely well-made

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s not the most spacious underseat suitcase

6. For Those Who Like To Travel in Style

Rockland Melrose Underseater Carry-on

This eye-catching and super-stylish rolling tote bag is the perfect choice for business trips and overnight stays. Made from a high-quality quilted polyester, this underseater comes in a range of colors and fashionable prints.

The spacious main compartment has plenty of room for your clothes and shoes and the 2 slip pockets and 2 zippered pockets are perfect for safely storing smaller items. Your essentials, such as your passport or cell phone, can be stored in the exterior pocket for quick access and the side mesh pockets can hold a water bottle or umbrella.

With smooth inline skate wheels and a hidden locking telescopic handle, you can pull this stylish and spacious case around with you, wherever you are headed.

What We Like

  • The stylish design

What We Don’t Like

  • The zippers could be stronger

7. Great for Business or Pleasure

Kenneth Cole Reaction Chelsea Quilted Tote

Offering a range of upscale features and stylish good looks, this is an excellent travel tote from Kenneth Cole. The polyester twill exterior and fully-lined interior protect your personal items from the elements, with a large main compartment, 2 open pockets, and a zippered pocket inside.

The zippered closure on the main compartment makes it easy to access the interior, while 2 additional exterior pockets provide quick access to your cell phone or travel documents. Perfect for business travel, this tote also has padded compartments for a 15-inch laptop and a separate tablet.

Measuring 17 x 13 x 5 inches, this tote will fit nicely under the seat in front of you, while still being large enough to accommodate personal items for an overnight stay.

What We Like

  • The stylish design

What We Don’t Like

  • The main compartment is quite narrow

8. Designer Underseat Carry-on

Steve Madden Wheeled Under Seat Bag

This classy-looking underseat bag measures 15 x 9 x 14 inches, making it the perfect size for air travel. Small enough to stash under your seat, it is surprisingly roomy on the inside and packed with practical storage spaces. Perfect for overnight trips and short stays, the large main U-shaped opening makes it super easy to access your belongings.

The stylish, practical, and fully-lined interior has plenty of room in the main compartment. With multiple zippered pockets both on the inside and outside, this designer bag makes it easy to organize your clothes, shoes, toiletries, and other essential items.

The telescopic push-button handle system lets you pull the bag along behind you on high-quality wheels, and with strong top grab handles, you can easily carry this bag in your hands when you need to.

Available in a stunning teal colorway with contrasting brown accents and handles, this is a beautiful underseat carry-0n that is as stylish as it is practical.

What We Like

  • The high-quality design and the multiple storage compartments

What We Don’t Like

  • The plastic wheels are surprisingly noisy

9. Highly-durable Carry-on for Business Travelers

Check on Targus

Targus Metro Rolling Laptop Case

Made from strong and durable 1200D polyester, this soft-sided underseat case has been designed to fit neatly under the seat in front of you. With a fully-padded laptop compartment, you can comfortably keep devices measuring up to 16 inches nice and safe.

In addition, the zip-down workstation has multiple pockets, pen loops, and business card and cell phone holders, making this an excellent option for anyone who likes to work while they are away from home.

Offering an impressive amount of storage space, this compact but highly capable carry-on features a good-size main compartment, an interior divider panel, and internal zippered pockets to keep your gear organized on the go.

When not in use, the telescopic handle retracts into a zippered compartment, and the double grab handles provide a quick way of carrying when needed. The inline skate wheels will see you smoothly rolling from A to B quickly and quietly.

What We Like

  • The sizing is perfect

What We Don’t Like

  • The inner lining is a bit fragile

10. For Easy Access to Your Charger

Verage Underseat Luggage with USB Port

Keep connected with this polyester carry-on that comes complete with a built-in USB port and space for your very own choice of power bank. Measuring in at 17 x 14 x 9 inches and weighing just 4.8 pounds, this is an excellent choice for tech-loving travelers who like to travel light.

With a water-repellent coating and an anti-scratch bottom, this carry-on is incredibly durable. With a protective laptop compartment, it is a high-quality travel accessory that you won’t want to leave home without. The spacious main compartment has enough space for your clothing, and the multiple zipper pockets and mesh compartments let you keep your belongings neatly organized in transit.

With 8 multi-directional spinner wheels and a telescoping push-button handle, this case will roll effortlessly alongside you at the airport, and the smart sleeve on the bag allows you to attach the case to your larger pieces of luggage for super-easy transportation through the terminal.

What We Like

  • The laptop compartment and USB port

What We Don’t Like

  • Due to the wheels, the bag attaches sideways when using the smart sleeve

Final Thoughts

Cute, compact, and incredibly capable, these great-looking underseat bags and cases come with the high-quality construction and upscale features you would expect from larger pieces of luggage.

With smooth wheels, telescopic handles, spacious interiors, and even USB ports, an underseat case will not only be cheaper to travel with, but it will also offer enough space for short trips away in a smaller but perfectly formed package.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is underseat luggage a personal item?

Underseat luggage has usually been designed with dimensions that fit under the seat in front and fall under the personal item criteria. Of course, this does depend on the airline that you fly with. For example, American Airlines class a personal item that is 18 x 14 x 8 inches or under. It’s best to check with the airline that you are flying with.

Can a carry-on fit under the seat?

Many carry-on cases are too big to fit under airplane seats, so look for a case or bag that meets your airline’s personal item restrictions.

Will a backpack fit under an airplane seat?

There are a lot of backpacks on the market that will fit under an airplane seat. Make sure that the dimensions of the backpack do not exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches. The advantage of backpacks over underseat suitcases is that there is more give in the material, and they are easier to store under the seat.

How do you pack an underseat bag?

An underseat bag is much smaller than a regular carry-on, so you must think more carefully before packing. Pack items that can be used for several outfits, leave stuff behind if you can, take travel-sized versions of things, and roll your clothes to save space.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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