If I’m traveling on planes where I’m not assured of overhead bin space, or I want to have access to my laptop or accessories mid-flight, I opt for wheeled underseat carry on luggage that is guaranteed to fit under any aircraft seat but also gives me ample packing space for at least a 2 day trip. I also sometimes have difficulty hefting a larger bag into an overhead bin as I’m on the short side, so it’s just easier to take a smaller one with me.
On longer trips, I sometimes take my underseater along with a personal bag with me on the flight and check in a regular upright suitcase. This way I don’t have to worry that there’s a risk of my carry on bag being placed in the hold at the last minute. Even aisle seats on internal European or Asian flights will have space underneath for it.
There are no official dimensions for wheeled underseat carry on luggage, but it’s widely accepted that the overall linear measurements should total no more than 38 inches, with the depth being no more than 9 inches. Some non-structured bags can be larger than this as long as you don’t pack it fully. You can also pick a slightly taller bag as long as you’re OK with having it stick out in the front under your feet.
A few luggage brands are wising up to the need for carry on luggage that fits under seat specifically. While many have been making rolling tote bags or rolling backpacks, not all of them are small enough for the strictest requirements. For example, Samsonite has many wheeled totes on offer, but while most of them fit under normal seats on larger carriers, they sometimes don’t squeeze into the smallest of spaces.
However, Samsonite has recently brought out very good small and large versions of a wheeled under seater for small planes and large planes. If you don’t mind a slightly larger bag but want the versatility to use it on both business and leisure trips, check out the Lipault Vertical Rolling Briefcase.
If you want to see more established options, take a look at the following best underseat carry on luggage pieces.
Bestselling Under Seat Carry on Luggage With Wheels
LUCAS Wheeled Under the Seat Cabin Bag
This very popular and inexpensive cabin bag from Lucas is made of lightweight polyester and weighs just 6 lbs. It measures 15.7″ x 15.7″ x 9.8″. While this is a little larger than what is ideal for an underseater, it does fit under all seats if it is not stuffed to the gills. This is possible because of the way it is designed. It is one of the most popular bags because it is inexpensive and very light but roomy enough to hold a 15″ laptop.
You can open the bag either while it is upright or on its back, as the zippered front flap folds completely down. A clear zippered partition pocket acts as a clear divider for the roomy main compartment and prevents its contents from spilling out.
The bag includes a separate hanging toiletry bag, a travel document holder and light slippers to keep your feet clean while going through airport security.
The front flap holds two clear zippered compartments on the inside for your other accessories. The outside of the flap has 3 pockets of different sizes, there are two zippered side pockets and one large zippered back pocket. These give plenty of additional organizational space without taking away from the space offered by the main compartment.
The telescopic handle is a single tube with a push button release and the wheels are inline skates.
It is available in black, dark blue or red and features yellow trim.
Travelon Wheeled Underseat Carry-On with Back-Up Bag
This popular bag is also another inexpensive option.This Travelon rolling underseat tote also comes with a back up shoulder bag that is very useful as an extra bag for any shopping that you may do during your trip.
The material is microfiber and it is available in 6 different colors. It measures 14″x 12″x 8.5″ and weighs just 6 lbs. There’s a newer version of this bag that is larger but that one won’t fit under small aircraft seats whereas this one will.
The large main compartment is separated from front opening zippered flap by a zippered mesh partitioning pocket. The inside of the flap contains one zippered clear PVC mesh pocket and two elastic drop pockets.
The outer front features a large zippered pocket that can hold an iPad or e-reader. There is one expanding drop pocket on one side of the bag that can hold a water bottle or travel umbrella.
The back features an add-a-bag strap to allow you to transport it on top of a larger wheeled bag. You can also wheel it separately, as it features inline skate wheels and a double tube telescopic handle. There are two straps on the top that can be Velcroed together to carry it as a tote and there’s a handle on the bottom as well to make it easy for you to lift into an overhead bin.
The accompanying back up bag can fold up into a small parcel to store in the main bag until needed. Its handles can be hing over the main bag’s telescopic handle.
Top Rated Underseat Carry on Bag for Men and Women
Travelpro Luggage Crew 9 Rolling Tote Bag
No one knows more about luggage for frequent air travel than flight crews. Since they spend so much time on the go, they can’t be weighed down by large travel bags but they do need to have enough changes of clothes and necessary accessories at all times. Their bags also need to be tough and durable, as they undergo so many trips in a year.This underseat Crew 9 rolling tote by Travelpro is the bag of choice by many airline crew men and women and for good reason. It is built to last.
This sturdy 100% nylon bag is available in black and grey. It measures 16″ x 13″ x 8.5″ and weighs 7 lbs, 8 oz.
The telescopic handle is designed to minimize wobble when fully extended, and there’s a low profile grab handle on the top. The wheels are the inline skate type.
The interior is designed for packing both clothes and a laptop. Clothes are held in place in the main compartment by restraining straps, while a laptop is held in a padded compartment inside the front panel and secured by a Velcro strap.
The front features two zippered pockets – a smaller organizer compartment for keys, pens, phone and adapters, and a larger one that can hold an iPad or the included detachable clear toiletry pouch.
The back features an add-a-bag strap and there’s an expandable water bottle holder on one side.
Best High End Under Seat Rolling Carry on Luggage
Briggs & Riley Transcend Rolling Luggage
If you want the best quality luggage with lifetime warranty and are willing to pay for it, then look no farther than this Transcend rolling tote by Briggs & Riley. It measures 12.5″ x 15.5″ x 8″ and weighs 6 lbs and 3 ozs. It is available in black, red and rainforest green. It is made of a tough but soft Tuff-Lite™ nylon fabric.
The main compartment opens via a wide U-shaped zippered front flap to allow easy access to its contents. There’s a detachable clear TSA-friendly toiletries pouch inside and other mesh drop pockets as well.
The front features a zippered organizer compartment for your iPad, keys, pens and other accessories. There’s even a headphone cord storage loop to keep cords from tangling. A smaller zippered pocket in front of that is to store items for quick access at the security check.
Two elastic mesh pockets on the sides are perfect for a water bottle and umbrella.
Top and back grab handles of soft neoprene makes carrying it by hand easy. The telescopic handle is mounted on the outside of the bag so as not to take up any packing space inside.
There’s a hidden Nubuck ID tag and clip on handle on the back for stacking it on a larger Briggs and Riley bag.
Haven’t found the best wheeled underseat carry on luggage piece for your needs yet? Then check out more options on Amazon.
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