Carry on complement
I recently purchased an Aeronaut and I love it. I'm looking to find a briefcase/laptop bag that will complement the Aeronaut by sliding under the airline seat. The only one that officially touts this feature is the co-pilot but it seems a bit small. I'd like something larger that will also fit under the seat so I can carry it on with my Aeronaut. Recommendations? TIA!
Starting to narrow down... looking hard at the ID and the Empire Builder. Pros/Cons to these? Any experience getting them under an airplane seat?
Both of those are fairly large but the first thing to consider is that not all airplane seats are identical. The "I always fly first class on the Dreamliner" customer can get by with a larger bag than can the "I fly sardine class on a CRJ-2" commuter.
I've had good luck with the Western Flyer on most planes and I downsize to a Ristretto when I know that I'll be flying puddle jumpers.
depending on the size of your computer, an imago might be an option, too. it's remarkably spacious for its size and has always fit easily under every plane seat, even the window seats on the tiniest regional jets which have maybe half the usual foot room.
Most of the time, and for the forseeable future, I'm flying American on a 737. I don't want to box myself into a corner and get something huge that will only fit there, but I also need something a bit larger than a cafe bag. Most of the time I also only carry an iPad, but sometimes may need to carry a second iPad (for work) or a small laptop in addition. Other than that, I have my case for sunglasses (fairly bulky) and the hard case for my Bose noise cancelling headphones. Would love to not be so cramped that I can't stuff a windbreaker in there. One more thing: not really looking at the backpacks. I generally carry the Aeronaut on my back. Any specific experience with the Cadet, ID, or Empire Builder would be appreciated (especially with regards to fitting under the seat in a 737). Thanks!
The Empire Builder's going to be a squeeze underseat, as it's a tall laptop bag. It's also utterly massive. It will swallow everything in your list and beg for you to load it with more. I use mine when I have to carry both my company issued 14" laptop and one issued by a client ... and there's still a lot of space left over. Nowadays I'm more likely to carry a 15/13 Cadet. The only item that gives me pause to recommending this is the headphone case. If it's more than 1.5-2" deep it may limit what else you can carry in the Cadet.
I also fly American 737's pretty frequently, and often on Aeromexico Embraer RJ145's. I haven't used the bags you are interested in, but for sake of comparison, my Brain Bag loaded with two laptops in Brain Cells + accessories fits under the seats of those planes. I think the BB is comparable in size to the EB. So I'm sure either bag will fit. But obviously, the larger the bag, the less legroom it leaves you.
EDIT: When I say the EB will probably fit, I mean if you lay it down on its side. I doubt it will fit standing up. My BB fits when I lay it on its back with the straps down.
Thanks so much for the suggestions! It was especially helpful to see the airplane seat dimensions. I almost always fly American, and it looks like I won't have trouble with either the md-80 or the 737. I think I've narrowed it down to the zephyr or the ID. I would love to hear arguments for either one. There is a previous thread on this topic but I'm curious to hear updated thoughts. I really like the water bottle option on the ID, but the zephyr seems better suited to bring to my meetings once I reach my (business) destination. I have a business trip coming up so I've gotta order soon!
I haven't had experience with a Zephyr, but I own an ID, and I'd say that if you must have headphones with you, I think the ID would be a better bet, b/c its back wall is hard-ish, but its front sides (both of the main compartment and the front compartment are very flexible, which is an advantage when you want to fit in a bulky and/or odd-shaped object.
I have taken a picture of my ID with the following items inside the main compartment:
1) 6z-size Brain Cell (MacBook Pro size);
2) folder, 7/8" thick
3) an iPad in a case (Snugg)
4) a pretty voluminous hoodie.
And I've stuck my Shure SRH840 headphones (which are pretty huge studio-type monitor headphones) in their pouch into the front compartment. The result:
If you forego the hoodie/windbreaker, it won't be so bulky.
The front compartment of the ID is actually humongous compared to how front compartments usually are. Here is a picture of my ID with only the Brain Cell inside the main compartment and a large paperback (9 x 6 x 1 6/8") inside the front comparment, with my headphones by the side (the earcup is 3.5" wide):
Obviously, the bag is restricted with its overall dimensions, so you will be able to fit a lot of stuff either in the main or the front compartment—but it's good to have that flexibility between what you keep sorta concealed in the main compartment, and what is easily accessible in the front one. With the bag stuffed as in the first picture, the headphones are a bit difficult to get out b/c the bag's outside walls are strained, but not _that_ difficult.
Of course, you are right in noting that this doesn't look exactly fitting for a business meeting. So I guess you'll have to choose between the suitability for the business environment (of the Zephyr) and the flexible bulky-items-swallowing frame of the ID.
Tom Bihn doesn't yet seem to have made a bag which would look good in a business environment but would accept bulky items on occasion. ;)
Thank you so much for the info!
@Arizcats13 - Did you go for an ID or a Zephyr. I am deliberating between a Z and a EB myself - EB is tempting but then I know me - if there is space I will fill it and then my arms and back will be on the receiving end!
I too need something that is practical but not out of place at business meetings