If you’re a habitual “research before purchasing” shopper, you’ve already read countless lists detailing the “best carry-ons.” And while there’s even a well-curated list of the best carry-ons that definitely fit in the overhead compartment, where’s the list highlighting the best personal item bags that definitely fit under the seat?
With this in mind, we’ve done the hard work and research to find the absolute best personal item bags that fit under the seat on most major airlines.
Before getting into this carefully curated six-product list, here are key details on what qualifies as a personal item bag and what dimensions you should consider when buying one for travel.
Simply put, a personal item bag is just a carry-on bag that fits under the seat in front of you while on a flight. The main setback most shoppers and travelers face is finding one that fits with ease while offering enough storage to hold things they need.
With this in mind, take into account the different personal item sizes across a few major airlines below:
JetBlue: 17 inches by 13 inches by 8 inches
American: 18 inches by 14 inches by 8 inches
Delta: 22 inches by 15 inches by 9 inches
United: 17 inches by 10 inches by 9 inches
Southwest: 16.25 inches by 13.5 inches by 8 inches
After checking the size requirements of over 10 airlines, we found that the average size of a standard personal item bag is just about 18 by 14 by 8 inches — and, depending on how your bag’s dimensions fall, you’ll have lots of extra space around your bag.
Dimensions aside, your personal item bag should be durable, have enough compartments and pockets to keep your easy-to-reach items organized and be easy to grab and go at a moment’s notice without any struggle.
To help you decide which fits your needs, we’ve rounded up the six best personal item bags from brands like Monos, Samsonite, Longchamp and more, with prices starting at just $43.
Also, to simplify your shopping experience, we’ve separated them into categories ranging from the best under-seat backpack to the easiest bag to maintain.
Take a look at our top six recommendations below, complete with pros, cons and what makes them worth the investment.
$35 at Amazon
This remains one of the roomiest personal items bags we've ever tried. In fact, it's so roomy that some travelers use it as their main carry-on, completely bypassing the need to stow a piece of luggage in the overhead compartment.
If you're concerned about carrying a heavy load on your shoulders, this bag has contoured shoulder straps padded with air mesh for added comfort. A neat feature we love, though, is the ability for the straps to be hidden when not in use, preventing them from possible staining.
It also has long-lasting, thick zippers that don't easily split or fray, making this the perfect long-haul bag for constant travelers.
Dimensions: 13 inches by 7.9 inches by 19.7 inches.
$165 at Samsonite
This is the perfect personal item bag for the person who isn't traveling with a carry-on.
Samsonite is one of the most reliable luggage brands in the world and designed its Novaire Wheeled Underseater to neatly slide right under the seat in front of you without any trouble.
It's also extremely roomy inside thanks to dual packing compartments that come in handy for easy access items like your passport, wallet or headphones. This personal item roller bag also has a charging packet for your phone (complete with USB), 360-degree spinner wheels and high-impact resistance material.
Dimensions: 16.8 inches by 13.8 inches by 9.3 inches.
$125 at Neiman Marcus
This nylon tote has been a travel staple for most folks for decades. In addition to its adaptability (use it as a personal item bag, a purse or a work bag), it has a stunning, luxe look that pairs perfectly with any outfit and doesn't have that "luggage look."
When you get to your destination, use it as your everyday bag once you've settled in and avoid packing another bag and taking up even more space in your main luggage.
The Longchamp Le Plaige Club Large Nylon Shoulder Tote Bag is known for being light as a feather and its simple design.
Dimensions: 12.25 inches by 11.75 inches by 7.5 inches.
$275 at Troubadour
Nothing screams "cool traveler" more than a sleek black duffel bag, and this one from Troubadour is one of the few on the entire market that easily fits under the seat.
If you're traveling with a change of shoes, this is definitely the one to buy, as it has a dedicated shoe storage compartment with air circulation on the side that keeps them separated from your other belongings.
Don't need an extra pocket for your shoes? Use this compartment for your dirty clothes when returning from your trip, as the air circulation built-in will keep the smell from spreading until you unpack them.
Dimensions: 18 inches by 7.5 inches by 11 inches.
$210 at Monos
This is my tried-and-true personal item bag, and it slides under the seat in front of me on every single flight I've taken for the past few years.
Its gorgeous silhouette and size aside, what I love most about the Monos Metro Duffel is how seamlessly it pairs with any roller carry-on. Thanks to its trolley sleeve, it securely fits around any suitcase handle, allowing you to pull both bags in one single motion.
It has water-resistant nylon twill and vegan leather details (there's also a full vegan leather option that's just as stunning but slightly more expensive). Plus, the front pocket Metro Kit has Monos' unique QuickSnap Modular Kit System, which lets you interchange it with any other color or just simply remove it for even more space.
Dimensions: 16.3 inches by 11.2 inches by 7.2 inches.
$469 at Rothy's
Rothy's is known for its machine-washable shoes, bags and accessories, and its Overnighter bag is one of its best sellers that shoppers can't stop raving about, even years after its release.
Rothy's designed its Overnighter specifically for quick trips. This one has a classic gray herringbone design and features an adjustable, detachable strap and top handles.
It has a structured design but is malleable enough to take up as little space as possible wherever you store it. If you place anything on top of or next to it, it will bend and adjust as needed. The main compartment has enough room for a change of clothes, toiletries, accessories and even a pair of shoes. Also, did we mention that it's fully machine-washable?
Dimensions: 13.4 inches by 11.8 inches by 7.9 inches.
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