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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!


500th bag in 2005!

The 500th bag - courtesy of Niels Louwaars has an extra reason to celebrate this festive season: a record-breaking 500 new bags added to my collection in 2005.

Many thanks to all who have contributed over the last year - to friends and relatives who have overcome their ethical and hygienic scruples to purloin bags for me, to fellow baggists who have engaged in this trade in stolen goods, and of course to all those airlines (and hotels and local authorities) which have contributed to our visual, literary and sanitary heritage.

A barf-free festive season and a happy, successful and bagful New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2005 

Another ditty for the Christmas poetry contest

Ach du meine Güte!
Wie sieht es hier denn aus-
Tüte neben Tüte
füllt das kleine Haus.

Oh my good Lord!
Just look at them all–
Bags – a whole hoard
Fill the house so small.

Gepflastert sind die Wände
bis auf den letzten Platz,
die Gattin ringt die Hände
über des Gatten Schatz.

Walls are lined with bags
No more space to move
The poor wife only shrugs
Over her husband’s love.

Will man genauer gucken
bekommt man einen Schreck:
Die Tüten sind zum Spucken,
und dann schmeißt man sie weg.

The closer you are looking
And you may well shout:
The bags are for puking
Then you throw them out.

So eigentlich braucht man sie
im Flugzeug in großer Höh,
doch sagt man das Paul Mundy,
ist er empört: O nee!

You really ought to use all
In a plane up high,
But try telling that to Paul:
Oh no! He’s wont to cry.

Die Tüten sind ihm teuer
und kommen aus aller Welt,
er hat schon ungeheuer
viele zusammengestellt.

He sees gold reflected
From round the world they come,
For he has collected
Lots – and not just some.

Es sammeln noch sehr viele
Verrückte um die Wett,
verkünden ihre Ziele
sogar im Internet.

Many other weirdoes
Grab all the bags they get
They announce their goals
Even on the internet.

So fliegt denn in die Ferne,
so oft es eben geht -
Paul nimmt die Tüten gerne,
die ihr im Flugzeug seht!

So fly into the blue yonder
As often as you care –
Bring back all the plunder
You find up in the air!

Barbara Kneiding

Friday, December 23, 2005 

Plain white bag fetches $125

Who says that plain white bags are worthless?

It just depends who has written on them.

This bag has a personal note from Robert Kennedy, a former US Attorney General and brother of President John Kennedy. The note is to Phil Potter, an American journalist. Handwriting from Phil's wife explains "Bobby Kennedy writing notes to Phil, because he lost his voice. March 29, 1968 In flight from Tucson to Window Rock, Arizona on campaign trip".

Kennedy's note says, "You haven't changed in 15 years - even when I was David + struck down McCarthy". "How is your nice wife? Is she with you or me".

The bag was sold on eBay to a collector of memorabilia of dead US politicians. It fetch the princely (sorry, senatorial) sum of $125.86.

Thanks to Bruce Kelly for alerting the bagworld to this item.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 

Virgin auctions bags

Limited Edition Boxed set

Yours for only £11,400!

A cheaper alternative.

Why have Virgin Atlantic bags suddenly been going for astronomical prices on eBay?

A boxed set of 20 Design for Chunks Limited Edition bags has fetched £155. Four Revenge of the Sith bags have changed hands for £56.

Even though the same bags have been going for a fraction of these prices in recent auctions - or have even failed to find a buyer. What's going on?

Turns out that Virgin United, Virgin's charity arm, was auctioning off these items. All proceeds went to a good cause.

Besides bags, you could also bid for a scale model of the Virgin Global Flyer (winning bid £465), or your name on the nose of an Airbus A340 (winning bid £11,500).

If you must have your name on a plane, you can save money by using time-honoured graffiti approach: write your name in the toilet, or sneak a can of spray paint onto the airbridge and spray the door while the stewardess is not looking.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 

Digging up old news

I've finally got round to converting the Old News section of this site into blog format.

To get to the old news, hit the Old News link on the menu (logical, eh?).

You'll see a list of dates with links to news items from each month. Browse through the links to find the item you want.

I know it's not great, but Blogger doesn't allow me to categorize blog items. I'm considering shifting to another program that will do everything automatically.

You can also use the upgraded Search facility to search for your favourite olds - once Google's database has caught up with the revised structure.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 

Looking for dead bags?

Are bags of defunct airlines cropping up in unexpected places?

Distressed sales (forced sales of bankrupt firms' assets) could be the reason.

Baggist Oliver Conradi reports that cartons of Sabena bags have been on sale in the Hamburg suburb of Glinde. A shop owner there bought the bags at the knock-down price of €5 a box, and is offering them for €7.99.

Assuming that Sabena had a stock of (say) 10,000 bags, and hazarding a guess at 500 bags in a box, the sale would have brought the airline's creditors 20 x €5 = €100.

Hardly a king's ransom, but still enough for four flights across the Channel on VLM, one of the low-cost carriers that helped drive Sabena out of business.

Naturally, bags at such a deep discount attracted media attention: the German TV programme Spiegel TV extra picked up the story on 1 November 2005.

Forget eBay: if you want to pick up bags from belly-up carriers by the boxful, head up to Hamburg!

Thanks to Oliver Conradi for this lead.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 

Bagsite of the Month

Bagsite for December 2005 is one of the web's very finest: Swedish collector Rune Tapper's

Rune's nicely designed site features nearly 900 bags from 396 airlines and 123 countries. There's a Newbie bag (currently a Sterling bag that offers advertising space), barfbag stories, halls of fame and shame, plus all you'd normally expect from a bagsite: gallery, swapshop, and links to other sites.

Saturday, December 10, 2005 

Go generous on the gusset glue

When I get a new bag, I carefully (nay, eagerly) examine it for those little design details that make baggery such a worthwhile waste of time. I check the logo, gaze at the choice of typeface and colour, flip the bag over, eye the base, and open up the gusset to see if there's anything hidden there.

But what's this? The gusset on this Laoag International bag doesn't spring open? I suspect a wad of chewing gum left by an inconsiderate non-collector.

But no, it's both gussets... Hold the bag up to the light, and you see a wire tab concealed in the top of each gusset - all the better to seal the bag after use. But someone has been rather over-generous with the glue: they've sealed the gussets closed, reducing the size of the aperture and trimming the maximum capacity of the bag.

Passengers are faced with an unenviable choice: puke into the half-closed bag, and risk spillage during violent retches. Or pull the gussets open, and risk ripping the bag and spilling the entire contents.

Saturday, December 10, 2005 

The Clemens eBay Report for October 2005

"With a short delay here are the highest bids at Ebay for October 2005 (as far as I could monitor them)", says bagwatcher Gerd Clemens.

  • Let me start not with an auction for one bag but for 5 bags from the 80s, as they got the highest bid at US$ 91.20 (about €77). The airlines involved were Balkan Bulgarian, Antillean Airlines, American Airlines and 2 from JES Air.
  • Not very spectacular in price but the second time very high in ranking and in October # 1 a bag from Aero Galapagos at €46.50.
  • Not far away at rank #2 was Air Liberte from Tunisia at €41.60.
  • Third place goes to a bag from Egypt, namely Cairo Aviation at €37.39. This bag is still around and if somebody is lucky he will get the bag at a price far below €10 within a short time.
  • The same is happening with the bag which has rank #4: Deccan Air from India, which came up to £20 (about €29). In November some of us bought it at about €10 but one of us was lucky to get it at £0.99 (€1.50), because the others missed it for some reason. Well done!
  • British was #5 at a price of £19.53 = €29.
  • Omni Air International is also a bag which was offered very often during the last few months and it is still on sale. In September you had to bid $45.44 to win the auction. Now in October it is not as high but still very costly at $30.00 = €25.43. In November you can get it in a direct sale at $19.95. If this decline in price follows a mathematical formula I will wait for February 2006, then I will get it for €5!
  • Rank #7 went to a bag with an unknown airline. BUEN VIAJE is written on it, but nevertheless price was €21.60.
  • A bag from World Airways came up at #8 for $20.50 (about €17.38).
  • Not from a real airline but a bag more for promotional purposes was Darkness Airlines at a price of GBP 10 (about €15).
  • The next two ranks #10 and #11 went to India for a red bag from Air India. 11 bids were given and at the end $16.01 = €14 were necessary to get this bag. In a direct sale the second bidder got the chance to gain this bag at $15.51 = €13.15.
  • Surprisingly a bag from Netherlands Transavia at a price of $15.50 = €13.14 came in at #12, followed by a good old friend Livingston Energy from Italy? at a price of €13 at rank #13.
  • Also Fly Niki is a very new bag which went over the counter at a relatively high price of $12.62 = €10.70. Also here we can expect a sharp decline in price within a short time.
  • And now we come to 2 bags where the seller has made a fortune for quite a long time: Viking Airlines from Sweden and Dubrovnik Airlines from Croatia. This month 2 Vikings at €10.51 and 3 Dubrovniks, two for €10.51 and one for €10.25. I do not want to add up all the auctions which took place with these 2 bags which are offered by the same seller, but I would guess that earnings are far higher than travel expenses to get the bags.
  • In terms of prices one bag is among these Viking and Dubrovnik bags namely an older bag from KLM at a price of €10.50.
  • The list of bags with a higher price than €10 is closed by 2 bags sold at a price of exactly €10 namely BH Air from Bulgaria and a fake from Germanwings which never saw an aeroplane but a lot of beer and wine. A bag which was a supplement to a newspaper in Stuttgart making promotion for Germanwing and a funfair in Stuttgart called Stuttgarter Wasen. But as it looks like an air sickness bag we seem to collect it, because 12 bids, the highest number this month, were made. In the meantime I suppose every collector has a specimen. If not I have some spares at a price far below €10 if necessary.

This was all what I could find during October. I can tell you in November we are on course for a high level of activity.

Gerd Clemens

Friday, December 09, 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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