We’re big fans of traveling light when we can because checking a bag with the airline can introduce a whole host of travel issues that we’d prefer not to deal with. While this may not work for all travelers (particularly families), there’s a new category of luggage in the market that’s making this easier – underseat luggage.
We recently purchased some underseat carry-on luggage from eBags and love it after traveling with it for a few trips now. It fits under the seat like it should and has made our flying experience smoother. These smart designs are making flying easier on everyone, and it sure beats stuffing an odd-shaped bag or backpack under the seat and hoping your valuables don’t get crushed in the process. If you plan on traveling overseas, this is the best luggage for international travel as well since those carry on requirements are more strict.
They might also save you some money in the long run.
With some low-cost carriers charging for carry-on bags (such as Spirit and Allegiant), avoid the fees and pack your gear in one of these bags instead. Now you have a personal item that goes under the seat – not a carry-on bag that goes in the overhead bin.
#travelhack for the win.
In this underseat luggage comparison, we take a look at all the variables you need to consider before you purchase. Things like size, wheels, and materials are all important things to consider. Use our table below to quickly find what’s right for you, and then check out our mini-review for each featured bag.
The Best Underseat Luggage – 2019 Underseat Carry-On Luggage Reviews
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Table of Contents
Travelon Wheeled Underseat Carry-On Review
Samsonite Wheeled Underseater - Large Review
LUCAS Wheeled Underseat Cabin Bag Review
AmazonBasics Underseat Luggage Review
Samsonite Spinner Underseater with USB Review
Samsonite Wheeled Underseater - Small Review
eBags Kalya Underseat Carry-on 2.0 with USB Review
Delsey Quilted Rolling UnderSeat Tote Suitcase Review
Kenneth Cole Reaction Underseat Spinner Review
Travelpro Maxlite 4 Rolling Tote Review
Lily Bloom Under the Seat Carry on Bag Review
What to Look For When Buying New Underseat Luggage
Make sure your underseat luggage isn’t too big
Just because the description says it’s an underseater, double check the dimensions to be sure. If you have a look at our carry-on guide, you know that those typically run about 20-22″ is length. Underseat luggage is smaller, running about 13-17″ in length.
Obviously, there are going to be tighter space restrictions under a seat than in the overhead bins, so don’t buy a bag that’s too large to fit. If you stay towards the middle or smaller side of the spectrum, you should be fine and your bag will comply with most airlines’ carry-on rules. Our eBags Kalya model is 17″ x 13.75″ x 10″ and has worked for us so far.
Need to see if your bag will fit?
It's pretty easy to find airline requirements for carry-on bags, but not always for personal or underseat luggage. Here's a solution - look for the airline's pet carrier policy. Most airlines have posted requirements on the size of a pet carrier because it must fit under the seat in front of you. Problem solved!
Related: Choosing the Best Carry-On Luggage
Although weight is more of a factor with larger luggage, it’s still something to consider with underseat luggage. If you’re going to be managing an underseater in addition to a carry-on, then you may want something that’s lighter weight.
Be realistic about how much space you’ll require and how much you’ll be packing. We recommend skewing towards a lighter weight bag. Not only will this be easier to manage overall when you get out of the airport and are on your way, but it could also save you a lot of trouble when you’re getting a taxi or hauling your luggage up stairs at the subway station (looking at you Paris Metro…).
Wheeled Underseat Luggage – Four Wheels vs. Two
Underseat luggage comes with either two or four wheels (but sometimes none). The models with four wheels – or spinners – are able to stand upright on all four wheels and are extremely maneuverable. Drawbacks to this design are that the smaller wheels can be more fragile than other types, and your bag can roll away from you if you leave it on a slope or hill. Two-wheeled suitcases – rollers – are easier to keep stationary, but are less maneuverable. Again, this is a personal preference.
Four Wheel Spinners:
- Very maneuverable
- Stable and won't tip over
- Can roll away on a slope if you're not paying attention
- Wheels protrude and can be damaged more easily
Two Wheel Rollers:
- Wheels tend to be sturdier because they don't rotate
- Wheels are less apt to get damaged on rougher terrain
- Not as easy to maneuver as spinners
- Can sometimes tip over, especially if overpacked or heavy
- Rolling luggage can be tricky in tight spaces like subways and public transit
Hardside Luggage vs. Soft Sided Underseat Luggage
Luggage is made from different materials, and there are pros and cons to each. Generally, the hard-sided, polycarbonate type will be heavier than their soft-sided counterparts. Many people don’t mind the extra weight of the hard-sided bags because it offers better protection. It’s a personal choice, and you should make the one that feels right for you. We have a soft-sided spinner and are fine with it. Let’s compare:
Hard-Sided Underseat Luggage
- Offer the best protection against damage
- Get scratched easily and show wear quickly
- Don't offer as much forgiveness towards overpacking (unless they have an expansion feature)
Soft-Sided Underseat Luggage
- Are usually lighter than hard-sided suitcases
- Are more forgiving to abuse
- The material can rip
- Not waterproof, so it's vulnerable to a downpour to and from the hotel
Does Spending More Money Get You Better Luggage? Reviews vs. Price.
With our reviews, we’ve tried to find a good balance between quality and budget. We believe that you do get what you pay for, but we also believe in spending money on experiences rather than lots of stuff. Do you need the best luggage? No, but luggage is not a cheap item, and it’s important to get what you can reasonably afford.
As we were researching this article, we found that across most sites, there was a correlation between good reviews and underseat luggage in the $60-$120. However, we’ve included some outliers in our review because we think they represent an excellent value based on the amount of good reviews from Amazon, eBags, and other sites, or because of personal experience with luggage that we’ve owned.
Related: Need to check a bag? Visit our suitcase guide: Choosing the Best Suitcase for Travel
Reviews of the Best Underseat Luggage for 2019
15″ x 14.5″ x 9
Any search that we’ve done on underseat luggage returns this 2-wheel roller from Travelon near the top. It has 4 stars and well over 900 reviews on Amazon which means it deserves a closer look. With 4.5 stars and nearly 1,300 reviews over on eBags, the Travelon has earned a spot on our list.
Similar to the Delsey Underseat Tote, the Travelon has a quilted exterior made of nylon that comes in a variety of colors which is a nice change of pace from the usual. It has a large main compartment with smaller zippered pockets that keep smaller items organized an easy to get to. A side pocket on the outside is perfect for storing a bottle of water as you head to your gate. A strap across the back of the bag allows it to fit over the handle of other luggage making it easier to manage.
The Travelon is a bit heavier than some other models in this round-up, but based on the reviews, it excels under the seat or in the overhead bin. The Travelon Wheeled Underseat Carry-On comes with a five-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.
Check here for the latest prices on the Travelon Wheeled Underseat Carry-On.
16.5″ x 13″ x 9.25″
Winner: Best underseat luggage for the tidy traveler (or gear junkie)
The Samsonite Large Wheeled Underseater bag is perfect for travelers wanting to maximize all the space available to them but not bust the budget. With nearly 1,000 Amazon reviews and 4.5 stars, this is a great bag to consider for your next trip. It’s our best carry on bag in this comparison.
This Samsonite is packed with pockets and pouches. In addition to the standard large compartment, it features wet-pack compartments to keep your clothes protected from damp swim suits or other items that may leak during your trip. Inside and out, there are small pockets to keep all your gear nice and tidy.
With all the storage, price, and good 3-year warranty, this would be a great bag for families, and kids in particular, who have lots of smaller gear and electronics to haul around. It also comes in some unique colors, so they’re easy to keep track of. Get one color for each person in the family, and you’ll be all set!
Check here for the latest prices on the Samsonite Large Wheeled Underseater bag.
15.7″ x 15.7″ x 9.8″
The LUCAS Wheeled Under the Seat Cabin Bag is one of the heaviest bags on the list, but it’s also one of the largest at nearly 16″ wide. If you’re looking to travel with only one bag and want to put it under the seat or in the overhead bin, this may be the bag to consider. It’s a great size for a quick trip of just a few days.
The T-handle grip is easy to hold on to (although some might prefer a full handle grip) and extends to 23.5 inches. Inside, there are clear zippered pockets that making finding items easy, an included document wallet, hanging cosmetic satchel, and travel slippers for cruising through TSA (although we recommend keeping your shoes on and applying for Global Entry).
The LUCAS Under the Seat Bag is a well rounded bag and is one of the most affordable on our list making it a great value. It also comes with a 2-year warranty, so if you’re looking for cheap luggage that’s highly rated, consider this LUCAS bag.
Check here for the latest prices on the LUCAS Wheeled Under the Seat Cabin Bag.
13.4″ x 9.4″ x 14″
The AmazonBasics Underseater is perfect for – as the name suggests – someone looking for a basic bag that’s affordable and works as advertised. At only 13″ square, this bag is sure to fit wherever you need it to, and weighing less than five pounds, it’s not a back that will hold you back.
This bag features several zippered compartments inside and out for storing gear and personal items. One thing it does lack is an elastic side pocket for water bottles, but for the price, we can overlook it. Like other bags in this roundup, the AmazonBasics Underseater features a telescoping handle and a luggage strap in the back for sliding it over another piece of luggage if you choose.
With over 300 reviews and 4.5 stars, we feel good about putting this bag on our list, as we feel it offers a good value, and it comes with a 1-year warranty to back it up.
Check here for the latest prices on the AmazonBasics Underseat Luggage.
16.5″ x 13.5″ x 9″
The Samsonite Underseater Spinner is one of the few 4-wheel spinners on our list, but if that’s the type of bag you prefer, this is a good value. Not only is it very maneuverable, it has a built in USB port for charging your devices, which is a nice touch found in the eBags Kalya bag as well. Just attach your battery pack on the inside and plug in your devices without having to open your bag and find a charger cable – pretty slick.
Inside you’ll find lots of compartments similar to the Samsonite roller, as well as net pockets for shoes. This bag also features a padded sleeve for tablets and electronics, and a locking 3-height handle to help you get around.
With a 10 year warranty from Samsonite, this spinner is worth a look if you prefer the increased maneuverability.
Check here for the latest prices on the Samsonite Spinner Underseater with USB Port.
13″ x 13″ x 9″
Winner: Best underseat weekender bag
Just like the name suggests, the Samsonite Wheeled Underseater – Small is just a smaller version of the larger carry-on in our list. At 13″x 13″ and only 5 pounds, this bag will fit just about anywhere, and is a nice size if you pack light or plan on pairing it with a larger carry on bag.
Just like its big brother, this bag has lots of zippered pockets for storing your smaller items and also comes with a removable 3-1-1 pouch and a removable shower kit bag. It’s made from durable 100% polyester and comes with a manufacturer 3-year warranty.
If you’re looking for an underseat bag that’s on the smaller end of the spectrum, this this Samsonite is worth looking at.
Check here for the latest prices on the Samsonite Wheeled Underseater – Small
17″ x 13.75″ x 10″
200D Nylon and 600D Brushed Poly/300D Heathered Poly
Winner: Best underseat full-featured carry-on
Full disclosure – the eBags Kalya is a bag that we own, and like all of our eBags gear, its smart design and features make it a piece of luggage that we’re very happy with. We’ve had it on a few trips now, and it has performed like a champ.
At 17″ in width but only five pounds, it’s a bag that makes good use of space and materials. This is a great option for a short trip, and also pairs great with the TLS Mother Lode Wheeled Duffels that we love. With the wide pass-through luggage strap on the back, the Kalya stays secure against the handle of your other luggage, freeing up hands for other things (like herding kids).
For storage, the Kalya has lots of pockets and spaces for your items. An elastic sleeve on the side holds a water bottle, and on the inside, an integrated USB port makes it super-easy to charge your device. Just plug your battery pack in on the inside and use the external port on the bag for your device. It works great, and keeps you from having to dig around for a cable in your bag.
A padded sleeve pocket with Velcro secures small electronics like a tablet or laptop, and compression straps will keep everything else in its place. If you use eBags packing cubes like we do, you’ll like how everything fits nice and snug.
So far, we’re pleased with this bag and can recommend it in our list. The eBags Kalya comes with a lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.
Update 3/3/2019: While we love this bag, we did notice that when flying on Southwest Airlines, it is too wide to fit underneath the isle seats. For whatever reason, the supports under the isle seats are slightly narrower that the other two. This bag does fit under the middle or window seats.
Check here for the latest prices on the eBags Kalya Underseat Carry-on 2.0.
14.5″ x 14″ x 9″
Delsey always seems to find a way into our comparison guides – both for suitcases and carry-ons – and this underseater is no exception. Delsey makes innovative and functional luggage at a great price, and that’s why we keep mentioning it.
This 2-wheel bag sports a unique quilted fabric exterior that makes it stand out against all the rest in the field. Lots of interior pockets make keeping your small items organized a breeze. Interior sleeves keep small electronics protected and safe. The mesh side pocket is a quick way to store a bottle of water or other items that you want to have quick access to.
We especially like the built-in pass-through strap on the back near the handle that allows it to slip over another bag. This is perfect for working in conjunction with a carry-on like the Delsey Helium Aero International Carry-On. It’s a duo that’s hard to beat.
This Delsey bag comes with a limited 5 year warranty.
Check here for the latest prices on the Delsey Quilted UnderSeat Tote.
17.25″ x 13″ x 9″
High-Strength Hardside Embossed ABS
If you’re looking for a hard-side piece of underseat luggage, then this bag from Kenneth Cole will fit the bill. We’ve always loved their combination of sleek looks and competitive price, and this bag lives up to that billing. While there might be other hardside underseaters on the market, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value than this one.
The Kenneth Cole Renegade is made of molded ABS plastic, so it will protect your stuff whether you put it under the seat or up in the overhead bin. It’s also expandable, which is a nice feature that is also found in the larger Kenneth Cole bags we’ve featured.
Even with four wheels and a hard exterior, this bag still weighs less than six pounds, which is impressive. Inside you’ll find compression straps to keep everything in place and a zippered divider to separate the two sides. One drawback the Kenneth Cole has over the other bags in this comparison is the lack of a luggage strap, which means you can’t stack this on top of another piece of luggage. Otherwise, this is a great bag for a business trip or long weekend.
Kenneth Cole Reaction Renegade 16″ Expandable Hardside Underseat Spinner comes with an impressive 10 year limited warranty.
15.5″ x 13″ x 8.5″
100% Polyester with stain & water resistant coating
TravelPro is one of the best luggage brands out there, and their gear is typically top-notch. With a limited lifetime warranty, it’s clear that they are ready to put their money where their mouth is. The Travelpro Maxlite 4 Rolling Tote is no exception.
This bag carries forward the attractive design from their other luggage in the Maxlite 4 series. At six pounds and 15″ wide, it’s a large enough bag to hold enough clothes for a short trip, but also keeps everything in a compact size. It lacks a lot of small zippered compartments and pockets, but if you’re using packing cubes, this won’t be an issue and actually may be a space-saver for you. The two larger pockets in the front allow for easy storage of magazines or newspapers, or other smaller items.
A molded handle on the bottom doubles as a bag rest, and makes this easy to get in and out of the taxi or the overhead bin. Crash-guard wheel housings and a protective coating on the fabric will help keep this bag looking good for a long time. With over 150 Amazon reviews and 4 stars, it’s a bag we’re happy to put on our list.
Check here for the latest prices on the Travelpro Maxlite 4 Rolling Tote.
16″ x 14.5″ x 9″
Winner: Lightest Weight Bag
It didn’t take a long time of searching to take notice of this lightweight luggage from Lily Bloom. Don’t be distracted by the whimsical prints though. This bag is highly rated on both Amazon and eBags, and people love it.
Besides the unique prints, this bag is made of cotton canvas which makes it the lightest bag on our list at only 4 pounds. It’s still relatively large at 16″ x 14″ though, so it is plenty capable. Inside you’ll find several zippered pockets along with a large clear pocket. It also comes with a 5-year warranty, making this bag a good value.
I know that this cute carry on luggage would be perfect for some in our family for the cat motif alone, but it’s extremely light weight and their warranty makes this a great buy and one we recommend.
Check here for the latest prices on the Lily Bloom Under the Seat Carry on Bag.
Don’t Forget the Packing Cubes!
Packing cubes are an essential piece to our family’s travel luggage and packing success! Each member of our family gets a set in their own color, and we pack a few empty ones to keep dirty clothes in. Here are some popular ones to choose from.
Enjoy your trip!
We hope you’ve found what you’re looking for and that we’ve helped you narrow down your choices to get a great piece of luggage! If you have any questions, let us know or drop us a line on our social channels below.
Safe Travels, Everyone!
Carry On Luggage Size Restrictions Reference
|Airline||Overhead Bin||Under Seat|
|Alaska Airlines||22'' x 14'' x 9''||17" x 11" x 9.5"|
|Allegiant Air||22" x 14" x 9"||16" x 15" x 7"|
|American Airlines||22" x 14" x 9"||18 x 14 x 8|
|Delta Airlines||22" x 14" x 9"||21" x 15" x 16"|
|Frontier Airlines||24" x 16" x 10"||14" x 18" x 8"|
|Hawaiian Airlines||22" x 14" x 9"||16" x 10" x 9.5"|
|jetBlue||22" x 14" x 9"||17" x 13" x 8"|
|Southwest Airlines||24" x 16" x 10"||18.5" x 8.5" x 13.5"|
|Spirit Airlines||22" x 18" x 10"||18" x 14" x 8"|
|United Airlines||22" x 14" x 9"||17" x 10" x 9"|
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