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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!


Get your bags here

Horsleys is a new name in the bag supply business. The firm, based in Reading, UK, supplies "a range of block bottomed airsickness bags to suit your needs". Click here for more.

Thanks to George for the heads-up, and for a delightful package of Easyjet bags.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004 

Bags in the press

Photo: John Baxter

British baggist Aidan Stradling reports on "a publication that hit the book shops shortly before Christmas. It's a rather natty book called "Men and Collections".

Coming from the same stable that produced "Men and Sheds" the previous year, it contains a series of cameo pen pictures and photographs of men and their weird and wonderful collections.

Well, you've guessed it - the sick bags are in there. Pictured alongside yours truly. Available from all good book shops - and, of course.

There are some rather amazing collections featured - definitely a book worth a look!

On the left is the pic of Aidan from the book. Hint: if you want to keep your bags in mint condition, do not spread them out on the floor and lie on them.

I'm trying to get Aidan to take that vintage Air France bag out from under his elbow and to send it to me.

Sunday, January 25, 2004 


Here's "the shirt that made barf bags cool", from French baggiste Gilles Beger.

Created for him by a professional designer from Kenzo, it features the Emirates cartoon, the Libyan Arab Airlines logo, and an ethnic motif from Air Afrique. Along with many other memorable bag designs.

Still waiting for this shirt to appear in the Kenzo summer collection.

Sunday, January 25, 2004 

Sealing it in

The TANS Perú bag has a mysterious instructions "HERE AQUI" and a plastic strip-cum-handle fixed to it.

I appealed for help on how to use it.

Armando Valdez Power of TANS Perú's marketing department kindly responded:

"I was taking a look to your web site and I noticed you are wondering how to use the strip plastic in our Air Sickness Bag. You have to tear one of the sides of the strip plastic and then wrap around the plastic bag to keep it closed."

Perhaps someone with some spare TANS bags can try this out and tell me if it works. I don't want to ruin my only precious specimen of this bag.

Monday, January 19, 2004 

From bag to dust

Help - my bags are falling apart in my hands!

I picked up my Biodegradable Dog Tidy dogshit bag, and it crumbled into dust.

What should I do? It didn't even have any dogshit in it!

Preservation hints here, please.

Sunday, January 18, 2004 

MADia coverage

Alaskan collector Bruce Kelly reports that barfbags have featured on magazine covers:

I ran across some old Mad Magazines in a flea market and noted some with covers that showed barf bags. I then proceeded to collect all 4 known mags featuring barf bags on the cover. At the time I was also hopeful I might discover some clever bag inserts in the magazines, but no luck. They are just covers.

The cover of Mad4 (shown on the left) illustrates perhaps another use for bags, although I would consider it quite a dangerous act to perform today, particularly with the advent of armed sky marshals.

Click here to see all four Mad covers.

Thursday, January 15, 2004 

What if there's no barfbag?

What should you do if you feel that queasy rumble in your stomach? You grope in your seat pocket, you pull out the airline safety card, the menu, the in-flight magazine, the catalogue of duty-free items, and a half-eaten sachet of stale peanuts... but there's no barfbag.

Sadly, this is not an unusual occurrence. Budget-strapped airlines are skimping on even basic necessities. Low-cost fliers charge you extra for seat cushions and visits to the loo. Burgeoning numbers of bag collectors rampage through aircraft, pillaging airsickness bags as they go.

The answer to your dilemma is on the left: puke into your neighbour's shirt pocket. "In an emergency: sometimes you don't have the little bag handy when you really need it", it says.

This useful idea is from Was tun mit nutzlosen Männer by Scott Wilson and Jasmin Waltz (Lappan, 2002). This book is an adaptation of Things You Can Do With a Useless Man.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004 

20 bags for Christmas

Kevin Middleton of Melbourne wanted to get rid of his bag collection, so he sent it to me. 20 bags new to this collection! I can't thank him personally as there was no return address on the bagpack that arrived in my letterbox. Many thanks, Kevin!

Monday, January 05, 2004 


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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