My Quest for the Perfect Underseat Carry-on Luggage

For years, (blame it on: http://www.travelsmith.com- their version is $119)

http://www.travelsmith.com/travelon-underseater-carry-on-bag/luggage-bags/carryon-luggage/10927

I’ve wanted an easy carry-on piece of luggage to place underneath the cabin seat in front of me; I am short so I have a hard time stretching upward to find a free space above overhead cabin. Plus, I want to eliminate waiting just to get in line to retrieve it. I’ve done lots of online research and have checked numerous blogs and articles as well as luggage sites, such as http://www.ebags.com, http://www.overstock.com, http://www.luggageonline.com, http://www.luggagepros.com, just to name a few.

My list of must-have features: (1) affordable, preferably under $100.00 (2) light, no heavier than six pounds (there’s no point in getting something heavy when there is a limit of 25 pounds) (3) fits underneath the seat in front of me- this is a non-negotiable one (4) has organizational pockets throughout (5) in a preferred color; I chose blue because our main luggage, the one we are checking in, is blue. (6) an easy-to-use telescopic handle

So, when I got a giftcard (christmas gift) to amazon (free shipping is a plus, too), I was eager and excited to use it. Despite some spotty reviews, I took a chance.

Take One- also sold on http://www.walmart.com (free shipping, if using the “Site to Store” option)

http://www.amazon.com/American-Tourister-Underseater-Black-Size/dp/B00NQ2MY08/ref=sr_1_1?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1421367215&sr=1-1&keywords=underseat+carry+on+luggage

This was my review on the site, in detail:

Very disappointed, that as I was test-packing it (my vacation is less than a couple months away, the zipper to the main compartment broke after such a short time. Very surprised because there is a 10-yr. warranty, and Samsonite/American Tourister is a reputable travel brand.

Two exterior front pockets, one is a short one, ideal for travel docs, the other can fit a tablet. Interior zippered mesh pocket on the other side (lid). The body of the luggage is roomy. I actually placed half of my clothing inside (5 tops, a cardigan, a scarf, & 3 prs. shorts). To one side, there is a luggage strap and zippered logo grey silk lining. The exterior has a telescopic handle, and it was easy to use, did not stick (I always test this when I am stores). There is a small pocket for the luggage tag. The construction seemed sturdy. The handles had velcro to attach to the other handle. The handles were well-constructed.

I measured in case it was wrong from the advertised measurements; this is what I found: 16″ tall/height, 13.5″ straight across width, and the base width is 8″ wide.

I decided to take a chance, despite some of the bad reviews, but this had to go back.

Back to the drawing board. More research.

I had thought about this one, which is also sold on http://www.overstock.com, but there is a weird cancer warning, so I opted to pass on this. It is under fifty dollars (very attractive price- but sometimes you get what you pay for, right?). I also passed on another luggage piece that some reviewers (more than one) mentioned had an odd chemical smell.

http://www.amazon.com/Kemyer-15-Inch-Black-Underseater/dp/B00JX7UOX4/ref=sr_1_1?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1421367767&sr=1-1&keywords=kemyer+underseat

Enter my second attempt at ordering another piece of underseat luggage, this time, top-rated on both http://www.amazon.com (with 228 reviews at 4.5 stars) and http://www.ebags.com (with 1365 reviews at 91%)- both of the links are below:

http://www.amazon.com/LUCAS-Wheeled-Under-Cabin-EXCLUSIVE/dp/B004P99Q3Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422389139&sr=8-1&keywords=lucas+underseat+bag

http://www.ebags.com/product/lucas/wheeled-under-the-seat-bag/211182?productid=10128614

It was priced at $49.99 (at the time) and comes in three colors- black, blue (I chose this one), and red. When I unpacked it, I was impressed by all the bells and whistles! Also, comes with travel slippers (way too big for me; but it could work for people with that size feet, size 9 or 10), an ID carrier, and a small toiletries bag/hanger for the bathroom. There are so many exterior (with zipper pulls allowing for using locks to secure) and interior (plastic- see-through) zippered pockets for the organizational freak. For the simple traveler, this might be a bit much. I really like having the options, though. The construction quality is very good! Nothing broke with the first half-hour, so that was a good sign, right? (After the first try at an underseater, I was discouraged.) The telescopic handle worked well, too. The other handle was very durable. And for the main compartment test: I was able to fit 25 pieces of clothing plus undies-8, socks-4, bras-2, belts-2 and scarves-2 (two zippered packing bags plus, the other items were rolled). The 25 pieces are as follows: 4 pairs shorts (one is denim), 8 tops, 1 cardigan, 2 dresses, 1 pj outfit, 2 swimsuits, 2 coverups, 1 rashguard, 1 pashmina. That brings the grand total to 43 pieces in all! I already placed some paper items into some of the exterior zippered pockets. If I utilize the other zippered interior pockets, I imagine the luggage will puff up and I don’t want to do that because my main concern, was that it would fit underneath the seat in front of me. My husband thinks it’s fine. It’s bigger than I thought. So far, so good.

I included some pics below, to show a bit of what I was to able to pack (I added some more items after these shots were taken).

IMAG0304

IMAG0306IMAG0305

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The next item was going to be my third choice, but ground shipping is a small fee (had I returned this second purchase to amazon, but I ended up liking it, so far). On other sites, this was a much higher price, though, too.

http://www.luggagepros.com/nicole-miller-taylor-taylor-under-seat-bag.shtml

I liked the camel color (also comes in charcoal), the fact that it is an underseater, is light- five pounds, has a telescopic handle, and that it also has organization pockets as well. I am not crazy about the interior animal print, though. I was heavily considering ordering this for the hell of it and doing a side by side comparison, with the Lucas underseater. It is $59.99.

The last item was going to be fourth choice (assuming this nicole miller one wasn’t to my liking). Out of 16 reviews, it got a 4.6 star rating.

http://www.brookstone.com/dash-overnight-bag?bkiid=SearchResults|CategoryProductList|842315p

We saw this dash bag this past weekend, and it looks tiny! It’s a good thing, we stopped in the store. Sometimes, you really can’t tell from pictures online, because, well, looks can be deceiving. I don’t know if I would’ve been able to squeeze all my aforementioned items (43) into this one. Maybe, using compression bags might be a good option. The pros: It definitely would fit underneath most airline seats, though. The material looks sturdy. The telescopic handle worked well. The best feature is it is really light, 4.6 pounds. This would be ideal for airline professionals (or people who travel frequently). It is available in three colors- black, brown, and purple. And it is $99.99. Brookstone has good quality merchandise. I bought a travel hair dryer years ago, that I still use on trips.

So, here are some good choices for an underseat carry-on luggage. Like I said, I did lots of research. It was fun. I really like doing research. The hard part is deciding. I will give an update on the Lucas underseater about actual travel (pros and cons) after the trip.

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5 thoughts on “My Quest for the Perfect Underseat Carry-on Luggage

  1. Hello Margienjoe, have you had a chance to travel with the Lucas bag yet? I’ve only read 1 review on ebags that said it didn’t fit under the seat. I’m also wondering the the durability of the bag. I like Travelpro and the Maxlite 3 Rolling tote is a hair smaller (15x13x9), but has more positive written reviews. Please give feedback if you have traveled with your Lucas bag yet.

    • An excellent question you have. I took this on our annual trip to Hawaii this past March, and the underseater fit comfortably underneath the seat of the Hawaii Airlines plane, on both the flight over and back. (Beware, some airlines are changing their carry-on sizing.) I thought the bag overall was pretty durable, as nothing went wrong with it on our 8 day trip. I had no trouble with using the handle. I also loved that during the 8 day stay, it helped keep me organized with all the pockets and the main see-through compartment. I was very pleased with my purchase. I look forward to using it again, in the near future.

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