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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!



Some more market research on those lovely Virgin Atlantic bags... Updated on 31 March

Single bag prices volatile as offers taper off

A single bag - the highly regarded Furi Furi manga cartoon design on the left, fetched a record price of £2.70 (plus postage) on 22 March. Prices for complete sets seem to be stabilizing around the £1.00 a bag mark, though fewer sets are now coming on the market. (31 March)

Limited Edition truly Limited

According to one recent seller on eBay, Virgin Atlantic are switching back to their boring old-style bags on flights from Los Angeles. A warning to desperate baggists who do not yet have a set, or merely a ploy to boost bag prices? (18 March)

Prices for these delectable items have been volatile over the last week, ranging from a mere £10.50 for a full set of 20 bags (£0.53 per bag) on 13 March, up to £31 for a set (£1.55 per bag) on the next day. But there hasn't been a repeat of the madness of late February and early March, when bagprices zoomed to £43 for a set (£2.15 a bag), then slumped to a miserly £5.50 (£0.28 a bag).

Confidential sources report to The Bagonomist that many recent bagbuyers are new to the market. Insiders speculate that the Virgin Atlantic series has attracted the attention of collectors who normally trade in stewardesses' uniforms and little metal model planes. Or perhaps these are well established baggists who are merely trading under assumed names to hide their true identities.

Top bagseller so far has been eBay trader kd1902, who has so far sold 160 bags (8 complete sets), and has raked in the tidy sum of £162.05 over the last 2 months. Where does this trader get his (her?) apparently unlimited supply from? A friendly member of the cabin crew? Or perhaps this is a Virgin crewmember trying to boost a meagre salary by purloining his/her employer's property?

Since December 2004,'s highly paid eBay bagonomists have tracked the fate of 893 bags: 38 full sets of 20 bags, plus 29 lots of individual bags or partial sets. The average price has been £0.92 per bag. In all, 793 bags have changed hands during this time - though another 100 bags have failed to find a buyer.

That may seem a lot of bags. But look at it another way: that's the seat-pocket contents of less than a brace of Virgin Atlantic's A340 widebodied jets. Or only 0.18% of the 500,000 "Limited Edition" bags that Virgin is thought to have printed.

Top dollar so far has been the £44.00 (£2.20 per bag) shelled out in December 2004 by one (formerly) well-heeled baggist for one of the 200 boxed sets presented to passengers on the inaugural flight from the UK to Australia.

Overall, it's been cheaper to buy partial sets. The average price for individual bags or partial sets has been £0.50 per bag, compared to £0.94 per bag for a full set. However, the additional cost of postage for several partial sets may offset this advantage.

Cheapest price so far has been £5.50 (£0.28 per bag) paid by a baggie from Germany. This collector cannot seem to get enough of these admittedly desirable items. He (she?) has so far purchased no less than seven complete or partial sets of bags.

Such prices are peanuts compared to the $80 paid by a connoisseur recently for a single bag from a Brazilian airline.

Thursday, March 31, 2005 

Fresh faced young Asian bags looking for a home

New deliveries of young bags from my suppliers in Nepal, India and Indonesia, plus a few ageing European bags from a kind benefactor: check my swaps list, and choose the bags you want to give a new home to.

The exotic item on the left is a Sriwijaya Air from Indonesia.
Check the bag gallery (menu on the left) for gaps in my collection - all trade s on a one-for-one basis.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005 

Intellectual property in bag design

Delving into his collection, bag archivist Homer Goetz has unearthed an apparent violation of intellectual property by US airlines.

A 1989 Delta bag in his collection contains a "seat occupied" card that has a suspiciously similar design to two Sun Country bags.

Sun Country's mannequin is more coarsely drawn, and the seat appears to be made of plywood, but otherwise it's the same. The text is nearly identical too.

Who copied from whom?

Sunday, March 20, 2005 

The bags you'd love to get

That's Niek Vermeulen on the left, and he's holding three bags on every baggist's wishlist: an ancient KLM, the ultra-desirable reindeer-barfing-icecubes from Finnaviation, and Continental's "bowser" dog-cum-barf bag.

If you want to see more of Niek (no more bags, sadly), you can click on the image on the left. Or you can visit the Open Air Museum, at Arnhem in the Netherlands, which features an exhibit of Niek's bags hanging from the ceiling. Plus a full-length photo of the man himself holding these bags.

The 800 bags Niek gave to the museum now have little frames inside them and have been sprayed with a fire retardant at the government's behest. Making them useless to collectors.

Niek assures me that he still has plenty of swaps left, though. More than 11,000, in fact.

Hmm... Niek probably has more bags in stock than most airline caterers do.

This is the third of a series about bagophiles in their natural habitat. Want to have your picture on Send me a jpg, and I'll put it on the web!

Friday, March 18, 2005 

American bagfest

Airliners International 2005 is the 29th annual convention and meeting of the World Airline Historical Society. The convention will be held on 19-24 July 2005, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, at the Four Points by Sheraton at Milwaukee Airport.

"Buy, sell, and trade all types of airline memorabilia. Postcards, timetables, glassware, silverware, airline models, kits, decals, ticket folders, keychains, and much more," says the convention's website.

Presumably barfbags come under the "much more" category.

Thanks to Bob Grove for this news.

Saturday, March 12, 2005 

Hanging bags

If you haven't traded bags with Niek Vermeulen recently, it's because he's lent all his swaps to a museum.

The biggest baggist on the planet (that's him on the left) has allowed the Open Air Museum, at Arnhem in the Netherlands, to suspend hundreds of his spare bags from the ceiling.

The bags hang in a room designed like an aeroplane, just out of reach. Like a flock of frustrated oxygen masks on a particularly eventful flight.

Visitors can relax in aircraft seats while they watch a video of Niek talking about his hobby, his motives and his collection.

It's not known whether there are any bags worth nicking in the seat pockets in front of you.

Or how many times drinks trolley comes past while you're riveted to the screen.

This is all part of an exhibition entitled "Spaarstation Dingenliefde", which features collectors and the passion of collecting.

"The rest of the exhibition shows collectors of pipes, cruxifixes, piggybanks, tattoos, dollhouses, the Dutch royal family and memorabilia of a famous Dutch singer'" says Caroline Berkhof of the museum's staff. "It is not so much about the objects as about the passion of the collectors for the objects."

She did not elucidate how one goes about collecting the Dutch royal family.

Definitely worth a visit: see on how to get there.

Thanks to Ms Berkhof for this info and the photos.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005 

Limited Edition: The Next Generation?

Virgin Atlantic is considering repeating its highly successful Limited Edition bag series.

"We are looking to have different designs onboard later this year," a spokeswoman from Virgin's media unit told's chief airline industry correspondent.

Pressed further, she confided "there isn't anything definite in the pipe line as yet but we would like to do more of these promotions on sick bags in the future so watch this space!"

The spokeswoman offered "pictures" for this website. angled for a photo of Sir Richard Branson inaugurating a bag, but this was not forthcoming. She did kindly provide original PDFs of all 20 bags, though. These high quality images are available for download in the Gallery.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005 

Bagsite of the month

Bagsite for March 2005, and released just in time for this year's Bag Oscars, is Christian Annyas's Inflight site,

This beautifully designed, easy-to-navigate site features 556 bags from 228 airlines in 102 countries.

There are listings and bagpix ordered by airline and country, a useful section on defunct airlines, and of course a swaps list. Well worth a visit.

Tuesday, March 01, 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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