Personal Item Luggage Comparison

When I first started traveling, I was a chronic over-packer who “couldn’t survive” without checking the largest possible luggage.  After having checked luggage get lost when I was in a foreign country and being annoyed with having to haul around a huge heavy bag, I started packing lighter and could fit everything I need into one carry-on and one personal item.  I realized I was still over-packing more that I needed so I started reducing the amount I packed even more, and I am currently able to pack only necessities that fit in one free Personal Item sized bag (must fit under seat in front of you).  I’m also frugal so I usually travel using budget airlines, who have strict limits on the size of Personal Item bags.  Therefore, I put together the below spreadsheet which lists the main US airlines and their personal items size limits across the top, and then lists many luggage options down the left, including the type of luggage and it’s dimensions, and marked which luggage will work for which airlines.


  • Better View: Click the icon at the lower right to view the spreadsheet in full sized mode
  • Missing Airlines: The other main US airlines (Delta, Alaska, and Hawaiian) do not specify a size on their websites, they just say “must fit under seat in front of you”, thus I did not list them here because they are less strict that other airlines
  • Missing Bags: You may notice some bags you have been shopping for are NOT listed here at all.  Please don’t assume that I forgot about them, because chances are I didn’t.  There are a huge number of bags that claim to be “Personal item size” and claim to be “under seat” bags which in reality do not fit within even the largest of these personal item sizes (18″ x 14″ x 8″), thus I have not included them in the spreadsheet above.  Additionally, there are a large number of bags that are advertised with certain dimensions which are wrong because they don’t include the wheels and handles.  When I measure the actual exterior dimensions myself, they are again over the largest of these personal item sizes (18″ x 14″ x 8″), thus I have not included them in the spreadsheet above either.
    • If you have a bag that you want me to add to this list, please CONTACT ME HERE, and provide a link to the bag and the exact EXTERIOR dimensions.

Some of the bags that I found which are too large to be a “personal item” and/or which have misstated their dimensions online are:

Luggage: Stated Dimensions: Actual Dimensions: Budget Airlines that would work:
American Tourister Zoom Spinner 14.75″ x 13″ x 8″ 16″ x 13.5″ x 9.25″ * NONE
Leisure Escape 15″ Under Seat 15″ x 13″ x 8″ 15″ x 14″ x 8.75″ * Yes: NONE
Maybe: Southwest (.5 too large width, .25 too large depth)
Olympia Deluxe Rolling Overnighter 17″ x14″ x 8.25 18″ x 15″ x 9″ * NONE
Samsonite Wheeled Underseater 13″ x 13″ x 6.5″ 14″ x 13″ x 9″  ^ NONE
Travelpro Maxlite 15″ Under Seat 17.5″ x 14.5″ x 8.5″ 16″ x 14″ x 8.5″ ^ NONE

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