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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!


A miserly collectress

Eine geizige Sammlerin aus Wieren
nimmt die vollen Tüten zum Einfrieren!!
Gestern beim Essen hat Sie es uns gestanden
und wir es nicht als guten Gag empfanden,
denn es gab saure Nieren.

Had to take some liberties with the translation of this one too... I hope I've conveyed the sentiment rather than the meaning word-for-word:

A miserly collectress from Gower
Put full bags in the fridge for an hour
When she told us last night
Our stomachs went tight
For the dinner had tasted quite sour.

Gerhard Lang

Monday, November 28, 2005 

Desperate to win the poetry prize

David Shomper must be keen to win a free bag from my swaps list. Here's his third entry to the Christmas Poetry Contest.

Ode to Mundy

There once was a flyer from Cali,
Whose drinking was causing a folly;
His stomach a-whirl,
He needed to hurl,
But the bags had been taken by Pauly.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 

Lucky they had one on board

Another entry in the Christmas Poetry Contest:

There once was a man from Nantucket
Who got a great urge to chuck it.
He searched in the seatback
For a much-needed sick sack,
But was forced to throw up in a bucket.

David Shomper

Thursday, November 17, 2005 

Nightmare on the redeye

While on a flight late at night,
I suddenly felt sick
I reached for my bag, 'cause I felt so bad
I really had to be quick

My sick bag looked small as I puked up my all,
And very soon it was full,
But I soon felt better as we went on our way,
To re-tell this story the very next day.

Chris Hays

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 

Based on a true story

With Air Malta I flew to Malta
With Alitalia I flew to Roma
Both times the guy next to me went sick
I offered him a barfbag with a trick
But no use, he kept crying for his mama.

Tom de Kort

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 

Homer's epic

More ditties from Denmark for the Christmas Poetry Contest:

Sådan en pose fra en flyver til bræk,
det er bare en helt almindelig sæk,
men er sæken fra Gaza
eller posen fra NASA
vil nogen gerne skrive en stor check.

Could be translated as:

If you puke on a plane in a bag,
For most it’s just a simple sack,
But if this sack comes from Gaza
Or the bag is from NASA
Someone might write you a big check.

Homer Goetz

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 

Can't stop Walter once he gets going

A barf bag collector from Cologne
wanted always more bags of his own.
Though he was aerophobic
his collection was so big.
From Ebay, 'cos he never had flown.

Walter Brinker

Monday, November 14, 2005 

Small beginnings set in verse

Ein Sammler und Jäger aus Deutsch-Land
der Spucktüten schon immer ganz toll fand
ganz am Anfang hatte er keine,
dann nach 2 Wochen schon eine,
jetzt füllen sie Walters Haus bis zum Rand.

Homer Goetz

Had to take some liberties with this one to get it translated:

A collector from over the Rhine
Thought barfbags were really quite fine
He started with none
After a week he had... one!
Now Walter's house is full to the roof line.

Monday, November 14, 2005 

Mother-in-law's tongue

My mother-in-law's grandfather was the Silesian poet Philo vom Walde (1858-1905). So poetry runs in her veins, even if barfbags do not. Here's her contribution to's Christmas Poetry Contest:

Wir werben hier für ein Gedicht
Ja ganz so einfach ist das nicht!
Denn es ist ein Gedicht von besonderer Art:
Über Spucktütensammlung: klingt das nicht apart?
Über eine Spucktüte gibt es zwar nicht viel zu sagen
Über ihren Inhalt umso mehr zu fragen.
Einstweilen möchte ich unterdessen
Dem Magen bringen was zu essen,
Und komme gleich wieder mit Speise und Trank,
Und für die Spucktüte vielen Dank!

Eva-Maria Mathias

Here's a rough translation:

For a poem we compete
It would be easy to admit defeat
It’s a poem of a special sort
On barfbags: an unusual sport
About bags there’s not much to say
On their contents - less, anyway
While you wait I’ll go and get
A little snack for me to eat
I’ll be back with food and drinks
And for the bag – many thanks!

Monday, November 14, 2005 

Steve learns how to rhyme

There was a young lady from Turin
Who could not contain all her urine
She started to brag
She would use a barf bag
That she'd taken away from Graham Curran

Steve Silberberg

For those not au fait with the narrow coterie of barfbag collectors, Graham is a famed British baggist who runs the much-admired Vomitorium bagsite.

Monday, November 14, 2005 

The sad tale of the absent bag

There was a young lady from Delhi
She flew out with pain in her belly,
Had a barfing attack
And grabbed for a bag,
It was taken again by Bruce Kelly.

Contributed by Walter Brinker to the Christmas Poetry Contest.

Walter's codicil: "Sorry Bruce, didn't find a city that rhymes with Brinker, Vermeulen or Mundy."

Monday, November 14, 2005 

The baggist from Boulder

And an entry from David Shomper, who lives in Boulder, Colorado, USA

There once was a baggist from Boulder,
Whose collection took up a huge folder.
His wife soon rejected it,
And later ejected it,
So he up and went out and sold her.

Sunday, November 13, 2005 

Christmas poetry entries come flooding in

Steve Silberberg, who fancies himself as a stream-of consciousness poet, has sent in this entry:

A cadre of middle aged Caucasian men
Educated outcasts who find solidarity in irony
Misunderstood, undersexed, and wholly unattractive
Monetarily comfortable and gusset obsessed,
Their personal hells have become a beacon of hope
To a new generation of starry eyed tyros
On the path to one day amassing a collection
Which the wise know can never be completed.

Such is the Circle of Barf.

Personally I can relate to the "misunderstood" bit, but the management wishes to dissociate itself from the phrase "undersexed and wholly unattractive".

Send entries to the Christmas Poetry Contest to this address. Entries can be in any language, but I'd appreciate an English translation. As Steve's entry shows, rhyming is optional.

Sunday, November 13, 2005 

Top price for sanibag

A sanitary bag signed by German conceptual artist Joseph Beuys has been sold on, a specialist auction site.

The price of €850 makes it the most expensive bag ever.

The bag was bought by a newbie buyer who goes by the pseudonym Neustadt.

His/her prize is a standard sanibag with instructions in German, English, French and Russian. Two handy icons instruct pregnant women with spindly legs to apparate through the cubicle wall and then into the nearest waste bin.

Plus, there's an enigmatic rubber stamp that says "Hauptstrom" along with what appears to be a drunken smiley.

Beuys's work can perhaps be described as "avant-garde": his 1980s exhibit of a dirty bathtub was mistakenly scrubbed clean by an artistically challenged gallery worker.

It's too late for Beuys to enjoy the fruits of his valuable signature: he died in 1986.

I have decided to sign and date all the sanitary bags in my collection in a bid to boost their value for collectors.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 

Poetry in motion

Announcing the first Christmas Poetry Contest!

There was a young baggist from Crewe
Who collected barfbags whenever he flew
He searched his seat pocket
There's a bag? Then he took it
So his neighbour had nowhere to spew.

Feel the urge to write poetry? Want to have your poem published? Then send me your ditty, and I’ll put it on the new Poetry page at

You can write in any language, but the poem must be about barfbags. I’d appreciate an English translation as well.

A prize (a bag of your choice from my Swaps list) for the best poem received.

Monday, November 07, 2005 


Now you've arranged a bagtrade, how best to ship your precious bags to your trading partner?

Here are some options, in reverse order of advisability:

  • Write the address on the bag, stick on a stamp, and drop in the mail.
    Not recommended: The writing and stamps reduce the value of the bag as a collectible, and the mail carrier may be tempted to add an attractive bag to his own collection.
  • Fold bag in several places and stuff into small envelope before mailing.
    Not recommended: The creases are hard to remove. Try ironing the bag with a damp cloth.
  • Put bag into envelope just large enough to hold it. Tape firmly all the way round to make sure it can't escape.
    Not recommended: Desperate to get at the contents, the recipient may damage the bag while opening the envelope. Best to leave a gap in the tape to allow access without risking damage.
  • Insert bag into new envelope with sheet of card to prevent folding, then write address in giant letters.
    Acceptable. New envelopes are nice if you can afford them, and the card stiffener preserves the contents in mint condition. But the extra weight of card can make mailing expensive, and the giant lettering means the envelope is hard to re-use.
  • Place unfolded bag into large, used envelope, stick on address label, then mail.
    Recommended: This is the approach I use. Saves on mailing costs, and is in the recycling tradition of bag connoisseurs.
  • Hand delivery. Bring the bag in person to the recipient.
    Highly recommended. Don't bring just one bag: bring a boxful to trade. Also enables you to exchange bag stories with the recipient, as well as check out his collection (and perhaps steal a few bags in the process).

Saturday, November 05, 2005 

Bagsite of the Month

Winner of this prestigious award for November 2005 is German baggist Rolf Thalmann, for his amusing bagsite.

It's worth learning German just to appreciate the poem at the start:

Wenn du in die Tüte kotzt,
von links und rechts wirst angemotzt,
wenn du in die Tüte göbelst
von vorn und hinten angepöbelt,
dann fehlt dir wohl etwas Glück
und leider auch ein Sammlerstück !

Doch die Stewardess zeigt Güte,
bringt dir eine neue Tüte
ohne Knick und nicht beschmutzt,
sozusagen unbenutzt.
Fehlt sie dir, dann ist das fein,
andernfalls tausch sie doch ein...

... denn Sammler gibt's wie Sand am Meer,
die Tüten klau'n im Flugverkehr.
Sammeln ist doch kein Verbrechen,
die Tüte nicht nur für's Erbrechen.
Die meisten geben das nicht zu,
sie sind nicht so wie du und ich!

For those who do not have the ability to read the language of Goethe and Schiller, here's a rough translation:

If into the bag you must puke
And from right and left comes rebuke,
If you chunder into the sack
And curses come from front and back,
Then you feel pretty miserable,
And you're damaging a collectible!

But there's mercy from the stewardess
She brings a new bag, no less:
No crease, no stain of ethnic food
You might even say the condition's "good".
Don't have it yet? That's cool
If not - then trading is the rule...

For bag collectors are everywhere
They steal bags while in the air
Collecting bags is no offence,
They're not only for gut contents
Most collectors hide their identity,
They're not as brave as you and me!

Thursday, November 03, 2005 

Baggery goes mainstream

Bag collecting is growing in popularity, reports German bagwatcher Gerd Clemens.

Germanwings distributed a fine bag (shown on the left) with the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper, advertising the Cannstätter Wasen festival.

Gerd asked his secretary to ask the newspaper publisher for some more bags - but the staff member there was overrun with requests - more than 300 people pleading for extra bags.

"I don't expect the paper will ever do another offer like this", says Gerd.

That's why more and more people are offering bags on eBay, and prices are going up, he says.

Is baggery attracting a bigger group of aficionados? Or is it just that more and more baggists are coming out of the closet, now that our noble avocation is beginning to shed its tawdry reputation?

Wednesday, November 02, 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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