This may be too late but here goes. I use the Meridian and like it a lot. I mostly just choose to forget that it can be a back pack and treat it like your basic roller bag. Two week(ish, 16 days) trip with three pairs shoes (wearing the boots) average number of tops, pants, haba, in packing cubes, the bag weighed less than 25lbs- and im not the lightest packer. I usually check it because with curly hair I need a lot of products to keep it under control. I have never used the back pack straps but I keep them with me in case I ever need to. Otherwise I use the backpack strap pocket for a jacket, a book, maybe a pair of shoes. An umbrella would probably fit if you were an umbrella person (I'm really, really not).
I think it would work in the overhead at least domestically (we may have carried it on once, we shift stuff around on the way back depending on what we're bringing back) but don't have the back pack attached when you try it. I usually use the back pack as my personal item.
Things I like:
Top zip pocket for 311 if needed.
Zip pouches on the inside of the front and along the side, large and useful.
Hidden/protected zipper for safety. The lip has some kind of plastic in it so it's harder to slice through and because the zippers are kind of hidden makes it more secure.
Wears well. I've taken it on flights eight times now and it's sturdy and holding up well.
Big strong wheels
Matching backpack that can be attached (also protects access to the main bag when in place)
Not as many people have them so it's identifiable.
Things i don't like
Weight balance when the back pack is clipped on is kind of tippy and will fall on its front if bumped. It also looks huge when the back pack is attached.
Backpack holds more than you think it will but the shape is a bit strange.
Finally, despite this not being a terribly cheap bag, if you're wanting to impress someone with your fancy luggage, this bag, for all its sturdy practicality, just won't do it. Now, that actually might not be a bad thing, but, just saying...