Does An Underseat Bag Count As a Personal Item?

So does an underseat bag count as a personal item? What is the standard underseat luggage size?

Are you ready to take your travel experience to the next level?

Choosing the right under-seat carry-on suitcase is crucial and it will significantly speed up your process at the airport and overall your flight experience.

If you are worried whether your under-seat bag counts as a personal item? or how to pack an under seat for a carry-on so it can fit under the seat in front of you.

you are not alone.

There is a huge misunderstanding about the right carry-on bag that will fit any airline carry-on policy.

In fact, some airlines are slightly strict about carry-on luggage , but most of the time they won’t.

In this post, we’ll help you better understand what is considered an under-seat bag, and what size airlines considered an under-seat bag

Let’s dive right in.

Does an underseat bag count as a personal item
Does an underseat bag count as a personal item (image)

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What Size Bag Is Considered A Personal Item? And What Size Bag Can Fit Under Airplane Seat?

Underseat luggage size differs from airline to airline, because of the type and the capacity of the airline.

For instance, the United Airlines maximum dimensions for personal items are 9 inches in width x 10 inches in length x 17 inches in height (22 centimeters x 25 centimeters x 43 centimeters).

the personal item should fit underneath the seat in front of you.

How do you pack an under seat for a carry on-03
Underseat Carry on size UA / image courtesy United Airlines

Related: How to take extra luggage in flights ? Smart Ways to Bypass Baggage Fees

Is An Underseat Bag Considered a Personal Item?

Yes most airlines define the personal items as something that fits perfectly underneath the seat in front of you.

and it can be a “ purse, briefcase, or laptop computer,” and the airline notes that either your carry-on or personal item must fit under the seat in front of you.

Jackets, hats, umbrellas, personal pillows, food, child safety seats, strollers, medications, assistive/medical devices, and a reasonable amount of reading material do not count toward your carry-on or personal item allowance.

Can a Backpack Fit Under An Airplane Seat?

Yes a backpack will easily fit under the airplane seat, if your backpack is too big and exceeds the airline carry-on size in the gate, you’ll need to check your bag.

You’ll also have to pay the applicable checked bag fee if the airline does not allow a free checked baggage .

What Kind Of Underseat Suitcase Do You Need To Pick?

Under seat suitcases come with either two or four wheels (but sometimes none), soft or hard , The models with four wheels – or spinners – are able to stand upright on all four wheels and are extremely maneuverable.

Alongforthetrip did a great job on reviewing some of the best underseat carry on for this year.

Is a Duffle Bag a Personal Item?

Most airlines do not specify what you can take as carry-on or, whether it’s a small suitcase, a duffel bag or a backpack.

So yes you can carry a duffel bag as a carry-on item if it is small and will fit perfectly under the seat in front of you.

however; your carry on depends on your duffel bag size and the airline you are flying with.

Hard Or Soft Underseat Luggage

If you are confused whether to choose a soft-sided or hard-sided bag we’ve already dod compared them .

Please remember that hard shell underseat luggage size will usually be smaller in capacity than a soft-sided suitcase even if their volume is the same.

This is because when you pack a soft shell suitcase, it can expand a little, accommodating more of your clothes.

Major Airlines Underseat Luggage Size

American Airlines

According to AA policy, all items that will be placed under the seat must not exceed 18 inches by 14 inches by 8 inches.

Delta Airlines

The size under the seat in Delta Airlines is 20 inches wide, 17 inches long and 11 inches tall.

The carry-on luggage for Delta is 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches. and No bag may exceed 45 linear inches combined.


Under-the-seat baggage can not exceed 17 inches by 13 inches by 8 inches on all JetBlue flights. The airline’s fleet is made up of Airbus A321s, which is why the size restriction is uniform.

United Airlines

The maximum size for a personal item on United is 9” by 10” by 17”. and United underseat luggage size can be 17” deep, about 10” tall, and 20” wide (on a 757).

Southwest Airlines

Southwest’s Boeing 737s have an under seat space of 19” long by 14” wide by 8.25” high. Middle seats are the same, except for a 19” width.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska airlines are under 11” tall by 17” wide by 18-20” long. The maximum size for carry-on luggage is 24 inches (including wheels and handles) by 17 inches by 10 inches. The seat width is approximately 17 inches.


Lufthansa does not state the extra Under Seat size but your personal item must be stowed properly under the seat in front of you , such as laptop bags, shopping bags or handbags.

Final Thoughts

If you read the post and still wonder what size bag fits under an airplane seat, generally an under seat bag size is different from one airline to another, but mostly any size that is less than 9” x 10” x 17” will work fine.

The more you choose a small personal item the more it will fit under the seat.