The Business of Bags
Airlines also have played a role. By charging more to check luggage, more travelers opt to carry on their suitcase, leaving many to place their backpack under their seat or at their feet due to lack of room in the overhead bins. "So you don't want to make [the backpack] too big because then you won't have any legroom at all, so it's just got to be perfectly functional for an airplane so it will accommodate, of course, that laptop and important documents but not be so big that it takes up that entire space," Morin said.
But above all, it may just be convenience that is the biggest factor for this new preference. "You've got both your hands free, and that's great for us smartphone users," he said.