I probably have a half million butt-in-the-seat airline miles. For the last 75,000 or so I have been carrying a modified Max Malage. Mods in this old thread: http://edcforums.com/showthread.php/60814-Malaga-Convertible-Left-Right-Sling-Backpack Something to remember is that not only will you be carrying the bag, you will be trying to take things in and out during the flights. I place the Malaga vertically on the floor between the seat edge and my knees, leaving the underseat area ahead of me for legroom. Because the compartments are easily accessible from the top, most times I can get and put things without hauling the bag out onto my lap. For example, my salt/pepper shaker (http://www.gsioutdoors.com/products/pdp/salt_pepper_shaker/), my MP3 player and my headphones are in the upper front pocket, easy to get. If you get a black bag, the flight attendants will probably not notice it. If they notice, they will make you put it under the seat in front of you for takeoff and landing. Not a big deal, though inconvenient. The stiff sling on the Malaga was obnoxious, always in the way. That's why I ditched it in favor of the current strap, which easily drops out of the way when not in use. As mentioned in the thread on mods, I also made backpack style straps for it. As it turns out, I have never felt the need to use them. So, my main point is that having vertical access is very handy regardless of what bag you buy. Also be conscious of how bulky and stiff the straps are, as you will be dealing with them as you fly.