Wondering what an underseat cabin bag is and if it can help you travel better? Find out in under 5 minutes with our quick read guide.

What is an Underseat Bag
This diagram shows exactly what an underseat cabin bag is

If you already know all about underseat cabin bags and just want the Travelbetter recommendation then select the bag you are after and go straight to our top choice.



Small enough for Ryanair

What is an Underseat Cabin Bag?

An underseat bag is a type of cabin bag for airplane travel that is designed small enough to be stored under the seat in front of you rather than in the overhead luggage bin. This allows you to avoid paying for cabin luggage but still travel with a small amount of luggage and take it onboard your flight.

Any underseat cabin bag is designed to maximise storage capacity while (snuggly) fitting under the seat in front of you and they have been sized to the smallest available space. To date this is Ryanair and is stated on their website as a space 40x20x25cm.

Why do you need an Underseat Cabin Bag

Rightly or wrongly, in their quest to maximise revenue opportunities some airlines, typically lower cost ones, are charging for cabin bags and only allowing travelers to take a small personal bag on board inclusive with their ticket.

As a result of this, a few baggage companies have been looking at ways to enable people to still travel and take some luggage without paying additional fees and have developed an underseat bag to store under the seat in front of you.

What are the Pro's and Con's of an Underseat Bag

Here are the pro's and con's of an underseat bag.

  • It allows you to avoid paying additional charges to take a carry on bag
  • It will help you learn to travel light and only take the bare essentials
  • They are generally quite cheap to buy ranging from £10 - £40 so you don't need to take many flights to cover the cost in saved charges
  • You are going to lose what little leg room you have on a low cost flight and if you are tall like me this is going to be an issue, even on a short haul flight
  • You can only take the bare minimal amount of luggage
  • You will have to store them and the luggage inside on the floor of an airplane, under the seat of someone else who may decide to throw their litter under the seat or spill a drink.

Range of Underseat Cabin Bags that are available

I'll be honest here, I was surprised to discover just what a large range of bags seem to be available under the category of underseat cabin bag. However, many of them are just small bags rather than designed with air travel in mind so think carefully before buying one.

But, if you are interested in buying one then to help you out we've listed a number of the main types available and examples in this section. Just click on the image or link to see the price and availability at Amazon.

Foldable Underseat Cabin Bags

Here are some examples of foldable underseat cabin bags. A foldable bag just means that is collapses down into a very small bag when not in use.

Hardshell Underseat Cabin Bags

If you are wondering if you can get a hardshell underseat cabin bag to protect your items a bit better than the answer is yes and here are some examples.

More Ryanair compatible underseat bags...

Backpack Underseat Cabin Bags

Here are some example Backpack style underseat cabin bags.

How much do Underseat Cabin Bags costs

Underseat bags do not cost very much otherwise they wouldn't look very appealing against paying the carry on luggage fees. Typically, they range from as little as £10 up to £50 for hardshell models with wheels.

Is it worth getting an Underseat Cabin Bag

If you travel on low cost airlines regularly and have no problems travelling extremely-light, and can manage the loss of leg space on your flight then you may want to look at getting an Underseat Cabin Bag to travel better.

If you do get an underseat cabin bag then we would recommend you get the following backpack option.

This backpack is easy to carry, robust, showerproof, has lots of pockets and has a somewhat unique compression feature to help you get a good amount of luggage in while still being able to store under the seat in a Ryanair plane.

Is an Underseat Bag useful for Family Travel

If you are travelling with older children and teenagers who can travel light, and their ticket allows for them to have a personal bag (be sure to check this), then an underseat cabin bag will be an option. If you have younger children then it may be option to supplement checked baggage without paying for carry on but you may find it very limiting on what you can take.

In conclusion

In conclusion an underseat cabin bag is a viable option to avoid paying additional fees for a cabin bag but only if you are the type of traveler who is able to travel extremely-light and put up with even less legroom on a flight.

More information

If you do get yourself an underseat cabin bag and want some tips on how to pack it well then check out this guide from Travel Tips from Laurie.

An informative video on how to pack an underseat cabin bag

More from Travelbetter

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