My Travel Experience
I just completed my first 51m trip over Memorial Day and thought I would share my experience. First, certain planes and seats will
be a problem. If your trips are on any regional jets or turboprops it gets even worse. My trip was from Little Rock to Houston to Seattle to Spokane. The trip was on a CRJ, 757, DH8, and MD-80. In general the backpack fit under the seats on the larger aircraft. On the regional jets CRJ's and ERJ's the bag fit in only longways. This left very little leg room. In fact in the DH-8 (Alaskan Air Turboprop) the bag was unable to fit and I had to use the overhead space. I would offer the following tips when traveling with the backpack.
1. When possible get the middle or aisle seat. On small planes, and some bigger ones, the curvature of the fuselage will reduce the area under the window seat. On some planes however, the aisle seat has some sort of metal ring that can reduce room also. Best bet for under seat room? The dreaded middle seat.
2. Carry the minimum of accessories. I only packed the extra battery, power supply and a few cd's. Oh, I did have to bring my free American Airlines headphones... ($3000 laptop I had to skimp somewhere)
3. When possible board as early as you can. In all my flying I have only ever seen one gate agent make someone wait until there section was called. I try to board at the end of the previous group i.e. if I am in row 20 I will board with the row 24 to 28 group. This will allow you to use the overhead if the bag won’t fit for whatever reason.
4. Avoid the bulkhead and emergency exit rows. While the bulkhead has more leg room some airplanes and airlines do not have under seat storage in front of this row. In exit rows I would think you are much more likely to be hassled for bags protruding to far.
Hope this helps. My trip was on Continental and in general went smooth. On the 757 the plane's electronic headphone box under the seat in front created a problem but I was able to work it, hence #3. Also, be prepared to be cramped. With the current seat spacing on planes my lid was on the seat back in front of me and the latch touching my stomach. This made switching the batteries fun.
I hope this was not too long of a message. (first post)