I'm going to have a 22" carry-on and then I have a messenger style slim laptop bag which I was going to bring and from what I understand counts as a personal item. So, I can bring this along with the carry-on.
Now, I'm starting to think instead of bringing a messenger style laptop bag that I want to bring a laptop backpack instead the kind that look like school backpacks. The reason is since I'm planning on cycling when I arrive and it would be more convenient to have my laptop in that style of bag instead of cycling with a messenger type bag.
If I bring one of those backpacks for my laptop could that still count as a personal item? Even though it will look like a school backpack? Or do they just care about the contents? They will see there is a laptop and it will be ok?
It's not about the content. it's about the size. It must be preferably less than 36 linear inches. Sometimes you can stretch it to 38. 40 is too much. It MUST fit under the seat in front of you to count as a personal item.
Location: GNV which is not where we would like to be :)
Programs: ABP, Mr. Mom without the kids, Signor Mucci, DL PM, HH & Hyatt Diamond
Also check with your airline on what, if any, restrictions on size they may have. I remember years ago UA was very stringent on the size of carry-ons. We found that flying out of London, even though DL had checked our bags and issued our BPs, the fact that one carry-on was about 2 cm larger than the sizer we were not allowed to proceed to security.
As noted, some airlines specify a maximum measurement (length + width + depth) of 36 inches. Of course has to be small enough in each dimension to fit under the seat.
Many laptop backpacks are larger than this, some by as little as 1/4 inch and some by 4 or 5 inches. FWIW, I like to use ebags.com to shop for laptop bags because their site can tell you whether a specific model of laptop computer will fit in a specific bag, or show you only bags into which it will fit.