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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!


Bags hit the Berkshires

"The North Adams Transcript, a small paper here in Massachusetts, published an article that mentions our cherished sport of bag collecting", says baggist Steve Silberberg.

The article mentions two bagsites: Steve's own Air Sickness Bag Virtual Museum, and Rune Tapper's

The article is sandwiched between Alan Radecki's "The Wonderful World of Airline Napkins" and "The Virtual Toilet Paper Museum Exhibit Hall".

For those of you unfamiliar with northwestern Massacchusetts, North Adams is in the swanky Berkshires. Click here to read the article.

Click here for more media coverage of baggery.

Monday, January 31, 2005 

Design for Chunks

Someone in Virgin Atlantic has a sense of humour. The British carrier has issued a set of 20 designer barfbags, and is actually encouraging people to steal them. Here's the blurb from the back of these bags.

Who says something functional can't be fun? Well, you can't get much more functional than an airline sick bag, so we decided it was time to inject a little creativity into this familiar item.

We teamed up with multimedia designer Oz Dean ( who has been running an online competition called 'Design for Chunks' ( for the last three years challenging designers from around the world to apply their creative talents to this undiscovered art form.

A meeting of minds led to Virgin Atlantic partnering with Oz Dean for the 2004 competition. Hundreds of entries were received from around the world, from which we've chosen 20 designs to appear on our inflight sick bags which will be randomly distributed on every flight for a limited period.

We hope you find the designs fun and interesting - who knows, you might even be tempted to start collecting the whole set!

Saturday, January 29, 2005 

Pathological collecting by brain-damaged psychos

The gem below is from the Science Notebook column in the 10 January 2005 edition of The Times, a British newspaper. The article is by Anjana Ahuja.

A CLOSE friend used to collect air-sickness bags. A true patron of puke, he defended his odd assemblage as a narrative on both the airline industry and world history. To him, his wall spoke of defunct airlines, fallen empires and virgin nations.

Sick sacks, or barf bags, as they are also known, are a common target of hoarding behaviour. The best ones go for more than $200 on eBay and everyone wants one from the space shuttle. Now the universal, if baffling, acquisitive tendency — 70 species of animal hoard — has come under scrutiny at the University of Iowa.

The researchers took 86 brain-injured people and asked close relatives to assess whether they indulged in “abnormal” collecting behaviour, such as hoarding useless or unattractive items, being resistant to a clear-out even after interest had waned, and having a very extensive collection. Thirteen patients showed such traits, filling their homes with, among other objects, junk mail and broken appliances. All were brain-scanned.

“A pretty clear finding jumped out at us: damage to a part of the frontal lobes of the cortex, particularly on the right side, was shared by the individuals with abnormal behaviour,” said Dr Steven Anderson, who led the investigation. The insight could help those researching obsessive- compulsive disorder, schizophrenia and dementia, which can all be associated with pathological collecting.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 

Not sick at all

The 2 January edition of Die Welt am Sonntag (a quality German Sunday paper) carried a half-page article about barfbags.

The article was stimulated by Virgin Atlantic's decision to treat passengers to designer bags. It reviews several bagsites, including

Click here for the full article and an English translation.

Thanks to Barbara and Wolfhard Schlosser for alerting me to this item.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005 

Reward for identifying logoless bags

A very pretty "Vomiting bag", but which airline did it come from? Josef Gebele, who sent it to me, doesn't know. Can anyone help?

A free bag of your choice from my swaps list if you can identify one of my Unknown bags. Contact me to claim your prize.

Monday, January 03, 2005 


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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