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the magical world of airsickness bags

Welcome. This is what my wife calls "a bunch of stupid jokes and pictures of paper bags." She's right about the jokes. She's wrong about the bags: some of them are plastic.

What the critics say: "Utterly unnotable" (Wikipedia editor). "Ridiculous collections #4" (Buzzfeed). Other comments: "As complete wastes of time go, it's a very high quality complete waste of time... An entirely dispensable source of inane comments about a truly trivial subject... A monument to the planet's worst corporate design... An unwelcome reminder of some of the more unpleasant moments in our lives."

Donations (unused, please) of bags not represented in the bag gallery are welcomed -- please mail to this address, and I'll credit you on this site! I am happy to trade any extras that I have. Check out the links to other bag sites, find out how you can use your spare bags, and explore the fascinating world of bag manufacturers

Highlights: The design features page reveals the secrets of professional baggery, and the logos page analyses the enigma of airline corporate identities. Search for your favourite bag, browse the bag gallery by country and airline, and check out the biggest, best and worst bags!


Romancing the barf bag

US writer Robert Glick on his barfbag collection: "My background in the arts reminded me of artists like Piero Manzoni, who canned and sold their excrement. It seemed like a natural process to turn something designed to hold the abject into a collection, a type of documentation, an art project."
With around 100 bags, Mr Glick comes in at the number-60 spot in's ranking of collections.

Sunday, December 04, 2011 

Guinness 2011 re-anoints Vermeulen

Click on picture to enlargeFor the 25th time, Guinness World Records has anointed Dutch baggist Niek Vermeulen as holder of the world's largest collection of barfbags.
A row in a table of "classic collections" on page 142 of the 2011 edition of the Guinness annual tome lists Niek as owner of 6,016 bags. That figure was verified back in January 2010, so presumably it has now swollen further.
Niek has now bumped rival Hamburg-based baggist Oliver Conradi from the top spot in's bagometer.
The web version of the Guinness records still has Niek's old total of 5,469 bags, along with a must-see shot of the Man Himself reposing on a bed of bags.
Clearly eager to maintain his exalted position on top of the pile, Niek exhorts other collectors to include only "optically different" bags bearing an airline logo or name in their bagometer counts.
Niek's numbers pale in comparison to the 9,638 bells, 13,627 coffee pots, and 103,009 bookmarks amassed by other kleptomaniacs. Anyone with any idea of how to count over 100,000 bookmarks, please let me know.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 

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Saturday, May 01, 2010 to die?

For those devotees who feared that might already be dead, the answer is "not yet".

Indeed, I have had little time to dedicate to baggy things recently. Blame a hectic travel schedule, a backlog of work, screaming clients, and a new house and garden.

But now comes a more serious threat: Google has announced that for Blogger, "FTP publishing will no longer be available after May 1, 2010".

Translated into language that the average baggist may just understand, that means that I'm going to have to move this blog to another server. That will undoubtedly mess up all the careful design I've devoted so much sweat and care to over the years. And if things go awry, this blog may disappear forever into the depths.

If I do manage to make the switch, will come back bigger, brighter and better than ever before. Once I've got a break from travelling, worked off the backlog, assuaged my clients, and got house and garden in order. I promise.

Thursday, April 22, 2010 

Ordner sind brechend voll

"Folders are full to bursting", but that misses the pun in German: "brechend" can mean both "bursting" and "vomiting".

The Wormser Zeitung, a local newspaper in Worms, Germany, carried this article about Gerd Clemens and his bag habit on 31 March 2010.

The accompanying photo has a beaming Gerd with the usual photogenic bags: Finnaviation's barfing reindeer, TUI's bright yellow "Take it with a smile", and a selection of the Virgin Atlantic Limited Edition series.

As a result of the article, the media pack descended on the Clemens household: Gerd says that SWR, a TV channel, carried a story about him in its local news programme on 21 April.

"Wormser Zeitung"? Schoolboys will perhaps recall another reason to remember Worms, Gerd's hometown: the entertainingly named Diet of Worms, held in 1521, in which Holy Roman Empire worthies quizzed Martin Luther.

Who said you couldn't learn anything as a bag collector?

Click here for the original Wormser Zeitung article, or here for a PDF version. recommends Google Translate for those whose German is not up to par.

Thursday, April 22, 2010 

See you at the show?

If you are the sort of person who wants to travel hundreds of kilometres to a dingy warehouse in order to queue up in front of tables loaded with shoeboxes full of tatty, used barfbags, then this list of airline collectibles shows is for you.

Thanks to Dutch baggist Niek Vermeulen, who has been known to haunt such events, for this info. He can be easily spotted at the shows: he's the one wearing a yellow "Barfbags Wanted" baseball cap, haggling with vendors in the shadows.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 

Barfing stock

Singapore collector Chen Ying Hao is featured in a half page in the 17 April issue of the Straits Times.

This insightful article details some of Yinghao's collecting tricks, including the shameful practice of pretending to be ill while aloft.

On the same page is an advertisement trumpeting "sensuality in the bathroom". Click on the image on the left for more.

Visit Yinghao's collection at

Thanks to Straits Times journalist Nicholas Yong for this item.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 

Bruce joins the 5000 club

Alaskan baggist Bruce Kelly tells me that he has crossed the 5000-bag threshold. "Not nearly enough to challenge the top 2", he laments. But he's off to Mexico to forage for fresh items, so expect his total to rise soon.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009 

Oliver has 5792

Hamburg collector Oliver Conradi has gone public with his bagnumbers - in the German tabloid newspaper Bild.

Oliver featured in a story about Hamburg airport, along with brusque credit-card promoters and hidden railway signage.

Oliver's most recent bagnumbers? 5792 bags from 1399 airlines, collected over 30 years. According to Bild, That's more than Niek Vermeulen, the current Guinness record holder.

Oliver is now 45, says the Bild journalist. A bit of mental arithmetic tells us that he must have started collecting bags at the impressionable age of 15.

If you have teenage children, perhaps it's time to warn them now about the dangers of baggery.

That is, if you don't want to learn of their exploits from the inside pages of a sensationalist tabloid rag.

Sunday, November 22, 2009 

Barfbags for beer

This Times newspaper article says that Kirin (a Japanese brewer) is using bags to advertise its alcohol-free beer to sloshed salarymen riding home in taxis after their nightly male-bonding binges.

An advertising venture doomed to fail, I predict. If the said salaryman is sloshed enough to use one of Kirin’s bags, he is unlikely to remember the message it carries the following morning.

Nice try, Kirin. But perhaps advertising express flower-delivery services to appease irate spouses would be a better use of scarce bagspace?

Thanks to Steve Silberberg for this alert.

Sunday, November 22, 2009 


What do Latvia, Liberia and Lesotho have in common? Yes, they all start with an L. What else? They're all missing from my barfbag collection.

What's the biggest country not represented? Chad. In terms of population? Burkina Faso. Other prominent absentees (coloured red in the map): Georgia and Rwanda. 

Major underrepresented portions of the globe are a swathe of Africa and chunks of Central Asia and Central America.

Donations from these areas especially welcome!

Centres of megabagdiversity are the USA (though many US bags are distressingly plain), China, the UK, Canada, Germany, Brazil and Indonesia. 

Click here for details.

For new baggists only


New to the world of bag collecting? Want to get a head start on your collection? Then send me an email, and I'll send you a randomly selected free starter pack from my surplus bag stock. There won't be anything rare, and you may end up with some duplicates, but at least you'll be able to show your friends a few more of these lovely cultural artefacts. Make sure you include your mailing address in your email. Offer good as long as stocks last.

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