It seems as though some travelers are considering even lighter packing. With that in mind, I thought this article was informative. https://www.cleverjourney.com/underseat-luggage-size-guide/
That's nice to have it all broken down by airline. Thanks for sharing!
You're welcome, Mardee. I found it useful and thought others might also.
Good article. My goal if I choose to go to under-the-seat size rolling carry-on is to use that in place of a “standard size” carry-on and put it in the overhead. Then put my personal item tote under the seat.
horsewoofie, good idea. My previous trips have been 4+ weeks long and my ebags mother lode works great. But my future trips may only be a couple of weeks, at the most, so I'm considering ultralight packing. I'm short and don't need as much legroom as others, so an underseat bag may work for me.
FYI- The comments on Turkish airlines (which I am flying for the first time in September) were a little inconclusive. Their own web site can be confusing as well. They do have a place where you put your own flight details in and it tells you what you can bring. Although the web site talks about bringing on a small personal item, when I put my flight in (Seattle to Istanbul) it showed I could only bring something about the size of headphones. The article clearly indicates that they do have flights where they refuse to let you bring on a backpack. A carry on is allowed with restrictions and we can check 2 bags for free. (which we don't want to do, of course)
There are a couple of other practical considerations to this list also. The aircraft model and the presence of that box or sloped, narrower at the feet, wall space can affect actual volume under standard seats. This summer we flew on 7 flight legs on three different airlines, Aer Lingus, Ryanair and KLM. About 1/2 of the time my husband, who prefers an aisle seat found an ~3x6x9” box at his feet. On the 2-4-2 configured planes I found the area under the wall seats to be less volume. I would put my little Baggallini purse in the generous space between the wall and the seat brace and my under seat slender Baggallini backpack under the seat. When the silver box was by my husband’s feet he had to stow his backpack in the overhead which we don’t like to do but had no choice.
I also encourage people to use the metric measurements online when looking at new luggage purchases. In my search last year I found that the inch measurements were rounded from the metric measurements so that gave weird results. One company would round up, another would round down. I was freaking myself out until I realized the Metric sizes were easier to deal with ....and I am SO not a Metric person, lol!!
For instance looking at KLM and Air France personal item baggage allowances...
From the linked chart - KLM personal item: 15.7 x 11.8 x 5.9 inches Air France Personal Item: 16 x 12 x 6 inches
In reality, BOTH KLM and Air France rules state 40cm x 30 cm x 15 cm.
From the conversion chart: 40 cm = 15.748. 30 cm = 11.811. 15 cm = 5.90551
So....NOT saying the chart is wrong....just saying use the metric for the airline and the piece of luggage so your brain doesn't explode like mine did, lol!!
Mona, I agree that aisle seats have less foot room. Thankfully I carry a very swishy tote bag as a personal item so it fits, but just barely on United.
And consider weight restrictions for the personal item.
I think the “underseat” bag in the overhead bin combined with a zip-top tote with a trolley strap (i.e. Vera Bradley Miller) for underseat is easily doable. Then, the zip-top tote (longer over-shoulder strap) can double as an around-town day bag. Or, a backpack with a trolley strap (i.e. osprey daylite tote pack).
This is ample packing volume and not minimalist.
I’m always curious when I hear about underseat baggage - how can you extend your legs? It sounds unbearable for a long flight
It’s way easier for short folks like me. Get lucky - get an emergency exit seat for lots of leg room. Or, use a smaller bag and straddle - one foot on each side. Or, smaller bag on one side - feet on the other.
At 4'10" it's not an issue for me personally, but understand it's a problem for most folks. Getting my luggage into the overhead bin is another story.😉
Hopefully you don't get a seat, where the powerbox/router is located for the in-seat entertainment system, this will cut into your leg room and storage space.
Generally, most wide-body international flights don't have this issue since there's more room to accommodate those extra boxes but, smaller planes like a 737 or, 320, choose your seats wisely.
I really miss SeatGuru for identifying the problem seats, like those with entertainment boxes, on specific flights.
Alitalia has those underseat electronic boxes. They are not under every seat. I am lucky that I am on the short side. My husband would have had serious problems if he had my seat.
Unfortunately, the article dimensions are quite incorrect.
The article gives personal item size for each airline. It does not give the size of the actual space under the seat. This will vary by aircraft type.
Technically you could take a single undersized carry on and store it under the seat. The airline would allow this because it is your carry on and not your personal item. For example, Air Canada states that the dimensions of the personal item are 17 x 10 x 9 inches. Yet the carry on size is 21.5 x 15.5 x 9.
My ULA Dragonfly is considered a carry on bag. Its dimensions are 19.5 x 11 x 7 inches. It absolutely fits under the seat.
In short, do not use the article as a guide for the actual under seat area!
“Below, we’ll cover the underseat luggage/personal item size restrictions for the 20 most popular airlines in North America and the rest of the world”
With all due respect, the article does not claim to be listing actual under-seat dimensions, as noted in the above quote from the article.
Sorry Sempre Italia, but it’s not true.
What’s the Difference Between a Personal Item and Underseat Luggage? There isn’t any difference between the two. When airlines refer to personal items (or personal articles, if in Europe,) underseat luggage is included in that statement.
That statement is patently false. Many airlines allow 2 bags. One is a carry on and one is a “personal item”. There is an expectation that you store the personal item under the seat. But let it be known that the second bag is the personal item.
But the personal item size is not the same as the area under the seat. That means that the personal item size can not be used to judge the size of the under seat area.
I travel with a carry on that can fit under the seat because there are so many problems with the overhead bin. But make no mistake, this is my main bag (aka carry on bag), not my personal item. When I store my main (only) bag under the seat it becomes an under seat bag.
Below, we’ll cover the underseat luggage/personal item size restrictions for the 20 most popular airlines in North America and the rest of the world”
Again, under seat /= personal item. You can store a carry on under the seat and it is not a personal item.
The dimensions given in the article are for personal items, not the area under the seat. The size restrictions are for personal items. It is not size restrictions for under seat luggage. That is wholly dependent on aircraft type, and if there are things like entertainment units under the seats.
BTW, one of the biggest issues is the airlines like Frontier etc muddling the bag name based on ticket class. Air Canada is bad like this. If your ticket class is “rouge” then your bag size is size limited. If your ticket class is standard then the under set bag size is whatever fits under the seat.
If you want to see the actual space under the seat in front of you, see what the maximum size pet carrier they allow in the cabin. It has to go under the seat in front if you.
As an example, the maximum size pet carrier allowed on American Airlines mainline flights is 19 x 13 x 9. The maximum size personal item is 18 x 14 x 8. Not a big difference but it is different.
That’s a sharp insight into determining underseat space. In the end, it’s the airline’s bag policies and sizer boxes that determine the allowable dimensions and weight, regardless. If someone desires to learn minimalist packing - look-up a budget airline’s policies and try packing for a week within the parameters. It forces choices. Also, consider buying things like shampoo at the destination. Packing as a family for 2 or more people also brings about different packing methods.