The 8 Best Underseat Luggage of 2022, Tested and Reviewed

Our top pick is the sleek and sturdy Calpak Hue Mini Carry-on Luggage.

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Best Underseat Luggage

TRAVEL LEISURE / CONOR RALPH

A piece of underseat luggage is one of the best solutions for preventing baggage stress while traveling by air. You can have your valuables right at your feet, you don’t have to worry about checked bag fees, and the best underseat luggage can fit at least a few days’ worth of clothing.

To find the best carry-on luggage that fits under airplane seats, we tested 19 bags in our New York City lab. We packed each bag with a weekend’s worth of clothing, a laptop, and a toiletry bag and then placed the suitcases in a compartment we created to replicate the average dimensions of storage space underneath airplane seats. We set up an obstacle course to test the maneuverability of the wheeled bags by pushing and pulling them around cones. After comparing the performance of each bag and the aptness of their price points, our top pick for the best underseat luggage is the Calpak Hue Mini Carry-on Luggage. We loved how easy it was to organize and pack the hardshell suitcase as well as effortlessly glide it around thanks to its four 360-degree spinning wheels. 

But there are other great options. Here is the best underseat luggage for your next flight.

Best Overall: Calpak Hue Mini Carry-On Luggage

4.9
Calpak Hue Mini Carry-On Luggage

Calpak

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    5/5
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Functionality
    5/5
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love It: It provides excellent organization with a laptop sleeve, zippered interior pockets, and pouches. 

 What to Consider: The bag doesn’t have pockets on the outside. 

Our testers found the Calpak Hue Mini Carry-on Luggage to be both functional and stylish. The bag fit perfectly under the airplane seat we recreated, and although it’s hardshell, we think it has enough give to be squeezed under a tight seat. In testing, the bag provided excellent organization, with one side dedicated to mesh pockets and a laptop sleeve while the other side was an open compartment for shoes and clothes. We fit two pairs of pants, a bomber jacket, flip-flops, and three shirts inside the underseater without issues. The one downside to the Mini Hue Carry-on is that there are no pockets on the outside of the suitcase. If you need anything during your flight like a laptop or chargers, we recommend pulling those out ahead of take-off since it might be difficult to open the suitcase mid-flight, especially if you are using the dial lock on its side. Our tester thought the four-wheeled rolling bag made up for this access pitfall during a series of tests involving a mini obstacle course: It glided smoothly and felt sturdy, and our tester raved that the Mini Hue handled hurdles “like a breeze” due to its four 360-degree spinner wheels. This sleek hard-side suitcase has a clam-shell opening and comes in eight earthy tones.

 Dimensions: 16 x 13.5 x 8 inches | Weight: 6.05 pounds

Calpak Hue Mini Carry-On Luggage

TRAVEL LEISURE / CONOR RALPH

Best Budget: High Sierra Endeavor Wheeled Underseat Carry-On

4.6
High Sierra Endeavor Wheeled Underseat Carry-On

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    4.5/5
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Functionality
    4.5/5
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5

Why We Love It: There are plenty of storage pockets inside and outside the suitcase. 

What to Consider: It might not fit under the seat in some planes if it’s filled to capacity or overstuffed. 

The High Sierra Carry-on is a spacious underseat bag that fit two T-shirts, two pairs of pants, a pair of heels, and a toiletry bag during our test for capacity. When you open up the suitcase, there is a large main compartment for bulkier clothes, and on the other side is one zippered mesh pocket for undergarments or toiletries. The front of the suitcase has a padded zippered pocket that can fit laptops up to 15 inches long, a medium-sized zippered pocket for iPads or books, and a smaller zippered pocket. Since shoes can take up a lot of space in a suitcase, the High Sierra bag has a special expandable compartment on its side to accommodate that extra pair of sneakers you just have to bring on your trip. You can also store your water bottle in a dedicated beverage pouch. As for portability, we thought this bag was comfortable to carry with its paddle handle, and it performed well when wheeled through the obstacle course. According to our tester, it’s perfect for busy airports. “I can see that it would be easy to maneuver through a crowded staircase quickly as well as easy to carry when needed due to the padded handle,” they said. Although the bag fit under our makeshift airplane seat, we had to flip it over to the flatter side and give it a hefty push to properly store it. Keep in mind that if the bag is completely full, it might be difficult to get it under a seat with ease.

 Dimensions: 16 x 12 x 8 inches | Weight: 5.53 pounds

High Sierra Endeavor Wheeled Underseat Carry-On

TRAVEL LEISURE / CONOR RALPH

Best Design: Steve Madden Underseat Wheeled Bag

4.2
Steve Madden Underseat Wheeled Bag

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    4/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Functionality
    4/5
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Value
    3/5

Why We Love It: The bag has a vintage style with brown trim and gold accents. 

What to Consider: It’s smaller than the average underseat luggage and might not work for bulkier clothes like winter jackets. 

Functional and practical for weekend trips, the vintage-style Steve Madden Underseat delivers an elegant look and much, much more. The bag has a U-shaped opening that unfolds outward to reveal two clear plastic-lined zippered pockets and one large zippered pocket. Our tester noted that the interior pockets are great for easily finding items in the bag and staying organized. There are also zippered pockets on the front, back, and sides of the suitcase, creating ample storage space for small items like toiletries, jewelry, or phone chargers. While there are plenty of places for smaller items, our tester noted that the bag might not be ideal for packing bulky clothes like shoes, coats, and jackets. In addition, the bag fit under the seat with slight difficulty initially due to the zippers and dangling accessories getting caught, but when we flipped it onto the flatter side, it slid under with greater ease. We were impressed that despite being packed full of clothes, the bag felt lightweight when we pushed and pulled it through our obstacle course, and the two wheels glided smoothly. 

 Dimensions: 14.5 x 8 x 13.5 inches | Weight: 4.80 pounds

Steve Madden Underseat Wheeled Bag

TRAVEL LEISURE / CONOR RALPH

Most Spacious: Rockland Unisex Adults Melrose Upright Wheeled Underseater Luggage

4.2
Rockland Unisex Adults Melrose Upright Wheeled Underseater Luggage

Rockland

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Functionality
    4.5/5
  • Maneuverability
    3.5/5
  • Value
    3/5

Why We Love It: It has one large compartment that’s perfect for fitting bulky clothes like shoes and jeans. 

What to Consider: The bag doesn’t have the best maneuverability.

If you’re looking for a roomy piece of luggage that fits under an airplane seat, then the Rockland Melrose Upright Wheeled Underseater Carry-on Luggage is your best option. In testing, we were impressed with how easy it was to pack two days’ worth of outfits, including two pairs of pants, three T-shirts, a sweatshirt, and a pair of heels. The bag has a U-shaped opening with a large main compartment for clothing items, and the opening flap has several mesh and zippered pockets for storing smaller items. We liked how organized the suitcase was thanks to plenty of interior compartments, two mesh water bottle pockets, and two zippered front pockets. The bigger front pocket is tablet-sized but can’t fit a laptop, so computers will need to be stored in the main compartment. The roller bag easily fit under the seat during our test, but the ample space inside the suitcase comes with a risk of overstuffing it and not being able to slide it in front of your feet. During our maneuverability assessment, we found the inline wheels to be difficult to turn on tight corners, but the bag rolled smoothly when we pulled it behind us. Additionally, the handle was slightly difficult to pull up to the preferred height of some testers. Still, we think the superior organization and impressively plentiful space make this underseat luggage well worth an investment, especially if it’s on sale. 

 Dimensions: 16 x 11.5 x 8 inches | Weight: 4.56 pounds

Rockland Unisex Adults Melrose Upright Wheeled Underseater Luggage

TRAVEL LEISURE / CONOR RALPH

Best Tote: Travelpro x Travel + Leisure UnderSeat Tote

4.4
Travelpro x Travel + Leisure UnderSeat Tote

Travelpro

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    5/5
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Functionality
    5/5
  • Maneuverability
    4/5
  • Value
    3.5/5

Why We Love It: The bag has tote bag handles, a detachable shoulder strap, and a rear strap for placing it on a suitcase to carry. 

What to Consider: There wasn’t enough room for a laptop after placing two days' worth of clothes in the bag.

For those in search of a bag that doesn’t have wheels to worry about fitting under a seat, the Travelpro x Travel + Leisure Underseat Tote is a great option that you can sling over your shoulder or place on a suitcase. During our test, the bag fit perfectly under the seat, however, after placing two days’ worth of clothes inside, there wasn’t enough room for a laptop. If the bag isn’t filled to capacity, there is a laptop sleeve in the back for safely storing a computer. The zippered top opens up to one main compartment that has a buttoned sleeve and zippered pocket. Phones and passports can be easily accessed in a small pocket on the front of the bag. We especially liked having the option to carry the bag either as a tote or with the detachable shoulder strap. When you’re also traveling with a carry-on roller suitcase, the tote bag has a rear strap that you can slide over the handles to securely attach it. While the price point is on the higher end, we think the versatility and sleek design of this tote bag will ensure you’ll get more than your money’s worth. 

Dimensions: 17 x 9.5 x 9 inches | Weight: 2.26 pounds 

Travelpro x Travel + Leisure UnderSeat Tote

TRAVEL LEISURE / CONOR RALPH

Best Splurge: Tumi Oxford Compact Carry-On

4.1
Tumi Oxford Compact Carry-On

Tumi

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    4/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Functionality
    4.5/5
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Value
    3/5

Why We Love It: It has a sleek, modern design and performed well in our maneuverability tests. 

What to Consider: The bag couldn’t fit a laptop in the designated sleeve once it was full of two days’ worth of clothes.

The Tumi Oxford Compact Carry-on is a luxury suitcase that impressed us with its excellent maneuverability. With four recessed wheels, this bag glides smoothly regardless of how you roll it. There was no resistance when we pulled it on two wheels or pushed it using all four, which makes it a great option for navigating busy airports. It fit under the seat, but we did have to flip it upside down with the front on the floor to squeeze it into place. The bag has a U-shaped opening with one larger zippered compartment and one smaller one that fits two pairs of pants, two shirts, and a jacket. Unlike a traditional clamshell suitcase, one side of the bag stays upright after the bag is unzipped, and we think that could be a hassle if you need to unzip the upright compartment to grab clothes. The bag has a deep, wide front pocket where we placed a toiletry bag and a pair of shoes, but there wasn’t enough space to fit a 13-inch laptop. We liked the spacious front pocket and the smaller pocket in front of it for a phone or charger. The bag also has a USB port on the side of it for charging electronics. If you’re looking to splurge on a luxurious piece of luggage, the Tumi Oxford Compact Carry-on has a sleek and functional design, making it a great option for your next weekend trip. 

 Dimensions: 14.5 x 14 x 9 inches | Weight: 5.39 pounds

Tumi Oxford Compact Carry-On

TRAVEL LEISURE / CONOR RALPH

Most Versatile: Samsonite Unisex Adults Carry-on Spinner with USB Port

4.5
Samsonite Unisex Adults Carry-on Spinner with USB Port

Samsonite

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    4/5
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Functionality
    5/5
  • Maneuverability
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love It: The bag has plenty of storage for small and larger items. 

What to Consider: It was a tight fit under the seat.

Whether you’re traveling by train, airplane, or car, the Samsonite Spinner Underseater with USB Port is a great choice for a versatile and functional underseat bag. We loved how easy it was to  pack a laptop and clothing for a weekend trip. The suitcase has one main compartment, and the U-shaped opening folds out to reveal a mesh zipper pocket. Between the large compartment and the opening flap, there is a padded laptop sleeve that can fit laptops up to 13.3 inches. Since the suitcase has one large compartment, you can fit bulkier items like shoes or a blazer if you’re traveling for work. We thought the exterior pockets on the front and side were ideal for storing headphones or a tablet, and the attached USB portis a game-changer for charging your phone while traveling. The suitcase rolled smoothly and was comfortable to carry with the top handle. Our tester said, “​​With the [top] handle plus extended handle, you would be able to transition to different flooring — elevator, escalators, stairs — seamlessly.” 

 Dimensions: 16.5 x 13 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 6.17 pounds

Samsonite Unisex Adults Carry-on Spinner with USB Port

TRAVEL LEISURE / CONOR RALPH

Easiest to Carry: Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Underseat Carry-on Travel Tote Bag

4.3
Travelpro Luggage Maxlite 5 18" Lightweight Carry-on Under Seat Tote Travel

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Capacity
    5/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Functionality
    3.5/5
  • Maneuverability
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5

Why We Love It: The bag weighs just 2 pounds and is easy to carry. 

What to Consider: It didn’t fit under the average airline seat that measures 16 x 14 x 9 inches.

The Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Underseat Carry-on Travel Tote Bag weighs just 2 pounds and is easy and comfortable to carry, even filled with two pairs of pants, two shirts, a jacket, a toiletry bag, a pair of sneakers, and a laptop. While this bag impressed us by having room left over to fit even more clothes, no matter how we tried to place it under the seat, it wouldn’t fit under an average airplane seat of 16 x 14 x 9 inches. Airlines have varying underseat dimensions, so we think it’s possible that the bag would fit under the seat of a bigger aircraft, and it’s an excellent bag for riding in a train or car. The tote bag handles are padded, and it comes with a detachable shoulder strap, too. Our tester said, “It’s small enough that you can carry it in front of you or at your side without feeling weighed down or bumping into people.” The bag itself is lightweight, depending on what you pack, but it could be less comfortable with more weight added. 

 Dimensions: 15.5 x 10.5 x 9 inches | Weight: 2.04 pounds

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Underseat Carry-on Travel Tote Bag

TRAVEL LEISURE / CONOR RALPH

Our Testing Process

We tested 19 pieces of underseat luggage from popular luggage brands like Samsonite, Tumi, Delsey, and more. We compared the bags after testing capacity, design, functionality, and maneuverability, which helped us determine the overall value of the underseat luggage. 

We started by measuring each bag by length, width, and height as well as recording the weight. To judge the design, we took into consideration the organization of each bag, including the main compartments, as well as the front, side, and back pockets. To test the capacity of each bag, we packed a weekend’s worth of clothes which included two pairs of pants, two shirts, a pair of shoes, a toiletry bag, and a laptop. We noted if the bags could fit the clothes and laptop with ease and if there was room left over or if items got left out because there wasn’t enough space. 

Best Underseat Luggage

TRAVEL LEISURE / CONOR RALPH


After packing the bags, we wheeled or carried them through an obstacle course to see how well they rolled when pushed and pulled, or how comfortable the tote bags were to carry around tight corners. We quickly walked through the obstacle course to simulate a busy airport where travelers might be rushing to get to their flights and looked for resistance in the wheels, flimsiness in the handle, and comfort of the handles or shoulder strap. Next, we created a compartment to place each packed bag into that resembled the average dimensions of the storage space underneath an airplane seat (usually 16 x 14 x 9 inches). We placed the bags under the seat to see if they fit and how easy or difficult it was to position them for a flight. After completing the tests, we considered whether the performance of the underseat luggage lived up to, fell short of, or exceeded expectations set by their price points to determine the overall value of the bags. 

Best Underseat Luggage

TRAVEL LEISURE / CONOR RALPH

Other Underseat Luggage We Tested

A few bags came close to making our list for best underseat luggage but fell short during testing.

Delsey Paris Chatelet Soft Air Luggage Under-seater: The bag had plenty of room, but we thought its decent performance wasn’t worth the high price point. 

Nomad Lane Bento Bag V 3.0: This underseat tote bag had excellent organization for small items like toiletries, but it likely wouldn’t fit bulky clothes and is better suited for an overnight trip. 

Verage Spinner Carry-on Underseat Luggage with USB Port: Although the bag glided smoothly when being pushed, it didn’t fit under the seat and would make a good weekend bag for train or car trips.

Tips for Buying Underseat Luggage

Check the bag size

Before you buy underseat luggage, you’ll want to check the dimensions of the bag usually listed in the product description. We learned from testing that although a bag might say it’s airline-approved, it’s a good idea to double-check. We recommend checking an airline’s underseat dimensions, as they vary. 

Consider the difference between wheeled and tote bags

If you’re a frequent flier, an underseat bag with two or four wheels could be a better fit for navigating busy airports. Tote bags are generally lighter since they don’t have wheels, which could be a better option for weekend trips by car or train where space isn’t as limited as an airplane. We tested tote bags and wheeled bags that came with rear straps for securely attaching to a bigger suitcase to make carrying the underseater a breeze, especially through airports. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is the average size of underseat luggage?

    While airlines have different underseat dimensions, the average size of an airplane seat is 16 x 14 x 9 inches — the dimensions we used to test each bag. Most underseat bags will have similar measurements, but the suitcase’s ultimate size may depend on how full it is. 

  • How much can an underseat suitcase fit?

    For our tests, we tested capacity by fitting two days’ worth of clothes, a laptop, and a toiletry bag into each suitcase. Generally, an underseat bag can’t fit much more than a weekend’s worth of clothes, but it varies by the types of clothes or electronics you bring.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Anna Popp is a Commerce Writer at Travel + Leisure where she writes and reviews travel products. She has been travel writing since 2018 and product testing since 2021. Anna worked with travel editors and expert product testers to determine the results for the best underseat luggage based on a series of tests completed in our New York lab.

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