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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!


Aussie bag broadcast

SBS Radio, an Australian public broadcasting station, aired a programme on barfbags on 13 November 2002.

The programme features interviews with Oz (?) Dean, proprietor of the admirable Design for Chunks website, a stewardess experienced in onboard bag management, and me :-).

Download it here (MP3, 1697 kb)

Here are some reviews of the broadcast:

"Can we all please note that barfbags are not currently the no.1 conversation piece at australian dinner parties, however now that sbs has broadcast this bit of award winning journalism i dare say it will climb up the agenda. i myself cannot wait to sit down at the next barbie and discuss the finer points of the pleating and folds of a go-jet bag!"

"I'm so sad that I have just downloaded AND listened to this informative piece of investigative journalism. (mental note to self: must get out more)"

Friday, November 15, 2002 

Plain bag?

Atlantic Airways before they went the Plain White Way.

Why do so many airlines increase the tedium of air travel by providing plain white bags?

At last, here's a rationale from Atlantic Airways: "they do not want the sick passenger to remember our logo" (thanks to Josef Gebele for passing this on).

It sounds almost logical. But here are some counterarguments:

  • You're less likely to get sick if you have a well-designed bag to look at.
  • If you are sick, you spend most of your time looking at the inside of the bag, not the outside.
  • Befuddled by barf, you will be grateful for instructions on what to do with you bag afterwards: how to secure it to prevent leakage, whether to give it to the cabin crew or place it on the floor, etc.
  • The majority of passengers don't get sick. They are reassured by a coordinated corporate identity where the barfbag matches the stewardesses' uniforms and the tailfin of the plane.

Visit the bag identity parade to identify anonymous bags.

Thursday, November 07, 2002 


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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