best laptop bag for air travel of 2019: Reviews And Buying Guide

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A laptop can be a real time saver when it comes to productivity, but what if you have to travel with it? What if you need to board a plane?

How can you choose the right laptop bag for air travel and ensure that it’s entirely appropriate for your needs?

In this article, I’ll be covering five of the best laptop bag for air travel to make your life easier whenever you’re traveling.

In hurry? Here is Our Pick: SwissGear 1900 Scansmart

Disclaimer: I mention some products that I’m an affiliate for is this post. If you buy via my link, then I get a commission — thank you!

Comparison Table

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PRODUCT

BEST FOR FREQUENT FLYERS

SwissGear 1900 Scansmart

Highlights: TSA checkpoint-friendly Scan Smart design, 31 liters bag, fit up to 17.3-inch laptop, airflow back panel venting technology.
(Read the review)

BEST FOR FREQUENT FLYERS

PRODUCT

SwissGear 1900 Scansmart

Highlights: TSA checkpoint-friendly Scan Smart design, 31 liters bag, fit up to 17.3-inch laptop, airflow back panel venting technology. (Read the review)

IMAGE

PRODUCT

BEST ORGANIZER

Timbuk2 Authority Pack

Highlights: Dual Purpose Compression Straps, 28 liters bag, Airmesh ventilated back panel, YKK zipper, fit most 17-inch laptops
(Read the review)

BEST ORGANIZER

PRODUCT

Timbuk2 Authority Pack

Highlights: Dual Purpose Compression Straps, 28 liters bag, Airmesh ventilated back panel, YKK zipper, fit most 17-inch laptops. (Read the review)

IMAGE

PRODUCT

BEST 3 IN 1

Solo Duane Hybrid Briefcase

Highlights: Transformable into a briefcase-messenger-backpack, fit most 15-inch laptops, Solo 5 years warranty. 
(Read the review)

BEST 3 IN 1

PRODUCT

Solo Duane Hybrid Briefcase

Highlights: Transformable into a briefcase-messenger-backpack, fit most 15-inch laptops, Solo 5 years warranty. (Read the review)

IMAGE

PRODUCT

BEST FOR EVERY ACTIVITY

Osprey Packs Porter 30 Travel Backpack

Highlights: 30 liter bag, straight jacket compression system, Stow-Away Padded Hipbelt, fit up to 15-inch laptop.
(Read the review)

BEST FOR EVERY ACTIVITY

PRODUCT

Osprey Packs Porter 30 Travel Backpack

Highlights: 30 liter bag, straight jacket compression system, Stow-Away Padded Hipbelt, fit up to 15-inch laptop. (Read the review)

IMAGE

PRODUCT

BEST FOR PROFESSIONAL

eBags Professional Slim​

Highlights: Padded air-mesh back panel, pass through sleeve secures, removable AC adapter garage, fits up to 17 inch laptop.
(Read the review)

BEST FOR PROFESSIONAL

PRODUCT

eBags Professional Slim​

Highlights: Padded air-mesh back panel, pass through sleeve secures, removable AC adapter garage, fits up to 17 inch laptop. (Read the review)

What Are the Benefits of a Laptop Bag for Air Travel?

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you need to make sure that your laptop is easy to carry around. Though many people invest in laptop sleeves, they’re not going to cut it when it comes to real practicality. 

You have enough luggage to carry around and other stuff to worry about, so why would you want to tuck a laptop under your arm too?

This is when you need to find the laptop bag that is designed for air travel. So, how do you choose from all of the products out there on the market? How do you make sure you don’t waste your money?

How to Choose the Laptop Bag for Air Travel

You’ve purchased a great laptop, but you can’t just lug it around everywhere under your arm with you. This is where laptop bags come in handy. A great laptop bag will allow you to carry your equipment around safely and securely. 

Of course, there are so many brands around that it can be hard to choose, so here are some things that you need to consider before shelling out the cash:

1. Size of the Bag

The first question you need to ask yourself is: how big should the laptop bag be? Ideally, you need to choose a bag that snugly fits your laptop and any accessories you plan to carry around. 

Laptops come in lots of different sizes, so choose one that is neither too big, nor too small.

The other thing to think about is how big and bulky do you need it to be? If you travel by air often, you might want to consider a sleeker bag that’s easier to carry around and won’t get in the way of your carry-on luggage.

2. Lifestyle Considerations

When you travel by air, the chances are that there are going to be some bumps along the way. In this context, you’re probably better off investing in a laptop bag that offers extra security features and higher durability.  

You should look for one that can take the possible bumps that go along with frequent air travel. Look for one with plenty of padding in this case.

You may also want to consider a laptop bag that has a lock or other type of security feature. Though you may have your bag with you most of the time, it makes good sense to invest in a bag that will protect your gear.

3. Your Comfort

If you frequently travel for business, you need to think about your comfort, too. 

A laptop bag that can be slung easily over the shoulders is a good idea, but some people also opt for a backpack instead of their laptop. 

Ideally, it shouldn’t be difficult or uncomfortable to carry around your laptop, especially if you have lots of gear.

4. Extra Storage

Since you’ll be taking your laptop with you on the plane, it might also be a good idea to find one that has additional storage compartments so that you can take other things on board with you.

How much extra storage you need depends on how much you travel and how much you take with you.

What's the Best Way to Use a Laptop Bag for Air Travel?

Before you buy a laptop bag, there are some pertinent questions to ask yourself. Though it’s a personal choice, there are some practical considerations, such as personal comfort, storage, and size.

The best way to use a laptop bag for your travel is entirely up to you, but it really should be practical and suit your lifestyle. 

Some people prefer a sling bag, where others may like a backpack that has storage for a laptop. 

Others may simply prefer a strong and durable laptop sleeve because they don’t travel quite as often.

The Best Laptop Bag for air travel

Men Carry backpacks in the airport

As usual, I’ve searched for many different products and chosen five different laptop bags to compare. Have a look through all our pros and cons for each bag to find your laptop bag for air travel:

If you’re looking for a large capacity laptop backpack and don’t mind to carry a slightly heavy bag on your shoulder, the SwissGear 1900 Scansmart laptop backpack is probably the right choice.

Click the image to see the latest pricing on Amazon.

With a storage capacity of 31 liters, it offers plenty of room for you to load your stuff. The main compartment is deep and wide enough to carry some clothes, electronic equipment (chargers, batteries, laptop, tablet), and computer gears. 

There are two mesh pockets on both sides for you to put the water bottles. The laptop compartment is well-padded to protect up to 17.3-inch laptop. The backpack has a stretchy Velcro strap to hold your laptop snugly in place inside the pocket. 

From my research,  you may find that it is quite challenging to fit the 17.3-inch laptop in. Depending on the model though, you need to check the measurement of your laptop and compare it to the laptop compartment dimensions – 17 X 12.5 X 2.5 inches. 

The good news is that most of the cases it can fit any device dimension like the MacBook Pro easily. At the top of the main compartment in the middle of the bag, there is a tablet pocket for you to bring along your tablet or small iPad.

As for comfort features, the contoured padding shoulder strap and handle are well designed to make you feel comfortable under a heavy load. The airflow back panel venting technology provides extra comfort for your back.

In terms of the quality, the backpack is made from a quality, durable, and weather-resistant 1200D ballistic polyester. Stitching is really good and handles at the top is leather. However, the backpack is not waterproof.

One of the cool features about this bag, it has a TSA checkpoint-friendly Scan Smart design. You don’t have to take the laptop out of your bag. Unzip and lay it flat on the screening conveyor.

Overall, the SwissGear 1900 Scansmart laptop backpack is an excellent backpack for a short trip as you can pack many things, thanks to its size. However, it is missing of anti-theft features.

Pros

  • Durable material
  • Large storage
  • TSA checkpoint friendly

Cons

  • Not anti-theft (no locking mechanism)
  • Heavy backpack

If you’re looking for a sleek-looking laptop bag, excellent build quality, as a desire for keeping things organized – the Timbuk2 Authority Pack backpack is a perfect choice. The backpack is a practical 28 liter that provides a generous amount of space.

Click the image to see the latest pricing on Amazon.

It has separate access to the laptop compartment from the top of the bag, which is great for quickly pulling your laptop out without any hassle. 

The laptop section has excellent padding and can fit most 17-inch laptops. However, the backpack is not TSA checkpoint friendly. A little bit inconvenient when getting through airport security.

The main compartment is very roomy, reasonably enough to keep your jacket when traveling. What I like about the bag, it is designed like an accordion.

You can expand or collapse the main compartment by cinching the bottom compression straps. 

The backpack features a lot of small pockets for the small stuff, but strange though that there is only one pocket for your water bottle. 

The backpack has the right amount of cushioning on the back, which is excellent if you have back pain issue. There is also an air channel to keep your back from getting sweaty. 

The sternum strap is adjustable, but it’s positioned a bit too high on the chest. It may cause discomfort to some people with different height.

As for durability, the bag is designed with a sturdier and water-resistant material. The cool thing about its design is the ability to maintain its shape and form. 

The zippers are made by YKK, mostly known for producing high-quality zippers. Timbuk2 The Authority Pack is a solid choice for those who are looking for a lightweight and spacious backpack. 

It doesn’t have extra features like USB charging port and RFID blocker, but it has everything you need for work and travel.

Pros

  • High quality and clean design
  • A lot of pockets
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Uncomfortable to wear
  • The zippered opening is not wide

Do you want a versatile laptop bag that can transform into a briefcase, messenger bag, and a backpack for your business trip? Solo Duane Hybrid Briefcase is probably worth considering.

Click the image to see the latest pricing on Amazon.

There are three different ways to carry this cool hybrid briefcase:

  • Briefcase – hide the shoulder straps into the small pouch at the back of the bag. There is a side handle that allows you to carry as a briefcase.
  • Messenger bag – There is a shoulder strap to be worn on your shoulder or across the body.
  • Backpack – Two hideaway shoulder straps can be attached or detached.

The laptop compartment is fully padded that can fits 11 to 15-inch laptop or Macbook. In front of it, there is one internal pocket for you to put the Ipad or tablet. 

The laptop strap is attached to the compartment to secure your devices whenever you carry it vertically or horizontally.

The main compartment is reasonably big enough to hold a couple of files, binders, clothes, and even a pair of shoes. 

The two front pockets are great for you to put small stuff like cables, cards, cell phones, passport, chargers, etc. 

Unfortunately, this hybrid bag doesn’t have a dedicated water bottle. I guess you could attach a water bottle with a carabiner.

The build quality is good and made of grey polyester, reasonably water-resistant. The bag can keep its shape after some rough usage.

About the zippers, they are a bit flimsy, but it gets the job done. There is no strap for securing it on top of a rolling suitcase.

In term of ergonomic features, the shoulder straps have adequate padding for your comfort. But the bag is lacking support features. You may encounter some discomfort if the bag is heavily packed.

Overall, Solo Duane Hybrid Briefcase is versatile, lightweight, and easy to stow for traveling, commuting, or everyday use. 

It is easily fit underneath the seat of an airplane. The best part, the bag has a Solo 5 years warranty.

Pros

  • Three different styles to carry
  • Lightweight and easy to stow
  • Solo’s Unstoppable 5-Year Guarantee

Cons

  • Lack of compartmentalization
  • Decent quality of zippers and plastic hook

Best for Every Activity - Osprey Packs Porter 30 Travel Backpack

Osprey Packs Porter 30 Travel Backpack is an excellent choice for light and minimal travelers. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, organized pack and enough space for a few days trip, this bag is probably the right choice for you.

Click the image to see the latest pricing on Amazon.

This bag has a 30-liter capacity that can hold just as much stuff like the larger volume bags due to the semi-rigid walls. The sidewalls are padded and flexible enough to allow for more effective packing.

Osprey Packs Porter has a cool feature calls straight jacket compression system that compresses, secure, and protects your stuff even if it is not fully loaded.

The major highlight of this backpack is the generous amount of pockets for all kinds of things. 

Whatever stuff you bring: passport, pen, sunglasses, cell phones, cables, cards, etc. – all of them can fit into the specific area of the bag.

As for the main compartment, you can easily pack a couple of packing cubes and a pair of shoes. There are dual internal zippered side pockets to keep the toiletries and small items.

It features a lockable zippered laptop compartment on the rear side of the backpack that can fit up to a 15-inch laptop.

Another highlight is that you will get a full harness and hip belts to tuck away secretly on the backside of the bag. The stowaway shoulder straps come with an adjustable sternum and need to attach to the hip belts when in use.

The hip belts are handy to take the weight off of your shoulders, and you can tuck it away if you don’t need them.

The bag has all kinds of additional lash points for extra accessory and D rings to attach a shoulder strap. There are few downsides about this bag. 

While the bag is made from durable material, but it is not waterproof. It is also missing of side pockets for holding water bottles.

To recap, Osprey Packs Porter 30 Travel Backpack is an excellent choice for someone taking a short weekend business trip or the light weekend getaway. 

The bag is not too big, which is excellent to keep you moving quickly and efficiently to the airport or train station. It fits well under the plane seat.

Pros

  • Lots of space
  • High quality
  • Osprey All Mighty Guarantee

Cons

  • Poor chest strap location especially for a woman
  • A bit uncomfortable to wear

If you’re a professional working traveling extensively for work or needs a reliable backpack for commuting, TLS Professional Slim Laptop Backpack from eBags is a perfect choice. It is low profile, slim and very comfortable while wearing a suit or casual.

Click the image to see the latest pricing on Amazon.

What makes this bag stood out for me is the innovative design of the storage compartments. 

At the front vertical exterior zippered pocket, there is a great place to put the boarding passes, passport, or paperwork for quick access. It’s using an apparel zipper so that it won’t walk open easily.

There are a bunch of small pockets and mesh pockets in the middle pocket. It opens diagonally, so you see everything you need in one shot. It is using a double zipper which is cool. 

The main compartment is accessible via “L” zip opening. The wide opening design allows you to get the content inside easily compared to the traditional top opening.

The laptop compartment at the back is fully padded, and it includes the removable pallet font at the bottom for extra cushion. 

It can fit up to a 17-inch laptop. On top of the bag, there is a nice separate pocket for your tablet or mini iPad.

It does have a fleece-lined side to protect the screen of your device. There is also a side pocket for a water bottle, which can be zipped up when not in use.

One of the coolest features of this bag is the AC adapter garage where you can stash your electronics stuff inside. 

It is a hard case, and you don’t have to worry about your electronic devices getting compressed. 

If you want to have a larger space inside the main compartment, remove the AC adapter garage and pull the floor down to expand.

As for the comfort, there is ventilation support at the back panel. The shoulder straps are contoured air mesh and fully padded with an adjustable sternum strap. You can tuck them away in the bag and carry it like a briefcase-style.

The backpack includes the pass-through sleeve to slot it right through the handles of your rolling suitcase.

Overall, eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack is very sturdy, super durable, sleek, and excellent build quality. It’s perfect for the seat in front and underneath the plane seat. 

They are using YKK zippers throughout the entire bag, and it is the most durable zipper on the market. The major downside of this bag is pricey.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Innovative design
  • A lot of zippered and mesh pockets

Cons

  • Slightly heavy
  • Pricey

Conclusion

When it comes to choosing the best laptop bag for air travel, you’re going to want a bag that are comfortable, durable and TSA checkpoint-friendly, and I’d highly recommend the SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack.

Not only does it offer an outstanding number of tech-friendly features, such as protective pockets and TSA-compliant screening technology, but it’s also built with weather-resistant 1200D ballistic polyester to withstand a lot of damage.

It’s also has a plenty of spaces and pockets to keep your belonging organized. Ergonomically, the bag has a deep air flow channel, along with mesh backed straps to allow for air flow around your shoulders

With its stunning modern appeal, you’ll finally have a bag that you can comfortably travel with on every occasion.

If you’re a business person who is looking for a laptop briefcase for traveling,  you would want to read Best Rolling Laptop Bag.

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Joe

Joe

Joe is an engineer by profession who spends as much time in front of a laptop screen when he is not working. His mission is to make this website very useful and helpful by sharing some tips and guides that could help you to find your best laptop bag, accessories and related stuff.

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