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Best Underseat Backpack for Air Travel in 2023

by Albert Varkki updated 01-09-2023

best underseat backpacks

Premium quality underseat backpacks, ideal as your personal item for your next flight.

Most airlines allow you to take a carry-on bag and a personal item on the plane, making these backpacks a great way to keep your essentials close during your flight.

Best Underseat Backpacks for 2023

Here we outline the best underseat backpacks by type and style:

Best Small Laptop Underseat Backpack

liberty tan leather backpack for women

Winner: Liberty Leather Backpack

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • 14 inch laptop sleeve.
  • Multiple front zipped compartments.
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Durable cotton lining and YKK zippers.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized

Click here to check the price

Best Large Underseat Backpack

Winner: 10X Leather Laptop Backpack

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Can convert from backpack to shoulder bag
  • Fits up to 15.6 inch laptop or tablet.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized
  • Available in brown, tan, black, or red leather.
  • Unisex.

Click here to check the price

Best Leather Underseat Backpack

prime large brown leather backpack

Winner: Prime Leather Backpack

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • 14 inch laptop sleeve.
  • Multiple front zipped compartments.
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Durable cotton lining and YKK zippers.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized

Click here to check the price

Best Underseat Backpack Purse

minerva leather backpack

Winner: Minerva Leather Satchel Backpack

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Magnetic snap closures.
  • 10 inch tablet pocket.
  • Durable cotton lining and YKK zippers.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized
  • Available in tan or black leather.

Click here to check the price

Best Very Small Underseat Backpack

bella small leather backpack in tan

Winner: Bella Small Leather Backpack

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Petite and stylish leather backpack.
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Multiple internal pockets.
  • Durable cotton lining and YKK zippers.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized

Click here to check the price

Why Use Underseat Luggage?

Flying, let’s face it, can be a pain. Many things could go wrong, such as the crowds, security checks, and weather delays. Any trip would be ruined by the nightmare of checked baggage fees and missing bags, anyway.

Carrying your luggage on board is one method to make life a little bit simpler, particularly for a brief business trip or weekend getaway.

In general, each passenger is only permitted to bring one carry-on bag per flight unless they are traveling on one of those ultra-cheap airlines (*cough, Spirit), in which case they are not permitted to check any bags.

We can look at some general rules here, but each airline sets its own size requirements, so you’ll want to check with your airline before arrival to see what they allow.

Personal Item vs Carry-On Bag for Underseat Luggage

Personal Item

This is a little more challenging. The various airlines’ recommendations varied considerably, partly because of the different aircraft and partially because the seat configuration is frequently used to save room and pack in more passengers.

For our purposes, a “personal object” is something you can stow under the seat in front of you, such as a bag or backpack. Obviously, they want everything put away for takeoff and landing so you can quickly deplane if necessary.

Carry-On Bag

A carry-on bag is one piece of luggage that must fit in the overhead compartment and is normally 22 x 14 x 9 inches in size (used by American Airlines and various others).

Every check-in desk has the typical “baggage sizer,” which is the frame that your bag must fit within. I'm sure you've seen them by the check-in desk before, and hoped your bag wouldn't need to be tested.

For now, let’s focus only on domestic U.S. carriers. Anything that works for a local flight should also work for an international flight because international carriers typically have a little bit more room.

Airline

Personal Item size

American Airlines

18 x 14 x 8 inches

Jet Blue

17 x 13 x 8 inches

British Airways

16 x 12 x 6 inches

South West

16.25 x 13.5 x 8 inches

Spirit

18 x 14 x 8 inches

United Airlines

17 x 10 x 9 inches

Delta

Not specified online

Alaska Airlines

Not specified online

Therefore, a smaller backpack (around 16 x 10 x 8 inches) should be able to travel anywhere, but some airlines will accept a slightly larger knapsack (more so if you can squash it a bit). Avoid the temptation to take this too far. They will remove it and place it somewhere overhead if it doesn’t fit.

What to Look for When You Buy a Carry-On Backpack

Price

Since carry-on backpack prices range greatly, think about your most significant demands. You can get a roomy travel bag for about $100 – often for under $50 – but if you’re going to be in harsh outdoor conditions or you care about style, you might want to spend a little extra for a better bag.

If the quality of the material is crucial to you, keep in mind that leather backpacks can cost hundreds of dollars, but are much better quality.

Anti-theft travel bags can also be a little more expensive, but they are frequently necessary for places with considerable tourist traffic.

Related:

Fit

Find a travel backpack with a removable hip harness if you want to use it for hiking so you can more evenly distribute the weight of your pack while you’re moving.

Look for a design with a padded back and adjustable straps if you only intend to carry your travel bag casually – to the airport or to work. Especially if you’re taking a lot of weight, this will prevent any back strain.

Test the shoulder straps of the backpacks you are considering wearing while imagining how they would feel if loaded with a ton of rocks.

Is the padding sufficient? Is the fabric going to rip into your shoulders? Does the back of the backpack seem to have a ventilation system? Mesh exteriors frequently aid with this latter aspect.

Style

You may spend days sorting through the various backpacks available due to the wide range of models available. It should be brief: How will you use this backpack?

Look for something simple and stylish that doesn’t display a ton of pockets if you’re interacting with clients or business partners.

Lean into the pockets if you intend to spend most of your vacation living out of your backpack. For simple loading and unloading, you’ll want a bag that zips open flat like a suitcase (this also makes going through security easier).

Size

This is the first and most crucial bag selection rule. All that counts is that you choose a bag that complies with the restrictions on carry-on backpack sizes; otherwise, you must check your luggage. It's over.

Beyond following airline requirements, your bag's size also matters. It would be best if you thought about whether the backpack will fit comfortably on your back or whether it will slide beneath the seat in front of you.

Organization

The number of compartments in our backpacks increases as the list of essential goods expands. It would help if you considered how you'd maintain organization with the items you plan to carry in your backpack.

Understanding how you're going to use your bag in advance, will help you to choose how your bag should be organized, and therefore how the compartments and zipped pockets should be.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed our best underseat backpacks post.

If you ever need any help with anything to do with travel, bags or fashion, feel free to contact the Von Baer team, at info@vonbaer.com.

Browse our other travel pages here.

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Author: Albert Varkki
Albert Varkki is the co-founder of Von Baer. He understands leather products as a consumer, supplier, and a manufacturer, helping you with the inside knowledge you need, to choose the perfect leather product for you. Connect on Linkedin

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