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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!


Bagsite of the Month, February 2007

A small but fine collection is this month's recipient of the prestigious Bagsite of the Month award.

Frederik Witte's site has only five pages, but it has all the baggist in a hurry needs: clickable images of Frederik's bags, a swaps list (also with images), and a Hall of Fame listing benefactors.

Unusually for a bagsite, Frederik's images are shot with a digital camera (on a luxurious red background) rather than scanned. That lends the bags a unique three-dimensional feel: it is a lot easier to imagine picking up and puking into one of Frederik's bags than, say, the sanitized images here on

The site is in German, but that should not be a problem for the polyglot baggist fraternity. Terms such as "Kotztüten" and "Aktueller Stand" should already be part of the baggist's everyday vocabulary, while most airline names are in English anyway. If you can't work out this site, then you probably shouldn't be bagging.

Frederik's swaps list will be an ideal starting point for beginner baggists, though might leave bagophiles with larger collections looking for more. encourages bigger baggists to donate part of their surplus stock to collectors like Frederik in order to boost their collections.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 


Ever wondered why some airlines provide free postcards of their aircraft?

Let's face it, there's little to do on lengthy flights. You've flipped through the inflight magazine, looked at the duty-free perfumes your wife wouldn't wear even if you could afford to buy her a bottle, and checked the contents of the barfbag. Your in-seat entertainment system doesn't work, your seat neighbour is snoring, and the stewardesses aren't in a chatty mood. What is there left to do?

You pull out that barfbag again, flip it over to reveal the plain white reverse, reach for a pen, and start composing a letter to a faraway loved one.

Yes, one person's barfbag is another person's communication opportunity. What most passengers see as a convenient way to dispose of unwanted personal waste can also become a way of expressing your deepest thoughts to people who are important to you.

That's why airlines provide postcards: to stop passengers from using up valuable barfbags.

Rigorous financial analysis reveals that a stack of postcards costs less than the the equivalent number of bags.

Plus, bags are multifunctional. Let's face it, it's hard to throw up into a postcard.

Why is this important to world baggery? Two reasons:

  • The presence of postcards increases the likelihood that bags will remain untainted by ink.
  • Some airborne muses, frustrated by the lack of postcards on which they can pour out their souls, decide to use bags instead.

While some baggists frown at less-than-pristine bags, other collectors have turned them into a minor sideline - as shown by the 1985 Monarch example above, from Homer Goetz's collection.

A bag that has been inscribed has two advantages over a mint-condition item. It normally shows the date - so helping to determine the age of the bag. And the text can give a unique insight into the human condition - like the marriage proposal described on the bag above.

Surely that is worth collecting?

Anyone got any more examples of this genre?

Thanks to Homer for contributing to this item.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007 

Easyjet "pioneers" use of barfoto bags

Easyjet is pioneering the use of barfbags as photo mailing envelopes, according to this article in USA Today from 2003.

Easyjet's bags (top picture) are colourful, though rather wordy - a single bag contains enough reading material to last an entire short-haul flight. And recently, the budget carrier has given up on "barfoto" bags - it has reverted to plain whites.

But have USA Today's journalists never been Down Under? Qantas and Ansett have both used bags as photo mailers for years - the second bag on the left is from 1987.

So have a smattering of Swiss airlines - Balair is one.

USA Today also seems to have forgotten that Stateside carriers have done bags too: both American Airlines and TWA had photo mailers in the 1970s and 80s. The TWA bag (third bag on the left) has the date 1974 in the gusset, though I have another TWA bag with an even cheaper offer - $1.59 - that is presumably older still.

Anyone know who invented the barfoto bag, when, and for which airline?

Thanks to Earl Waibel and David Shomper for contributing to this item.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007 

The Clemens eBay Report for December 2006

"For barf bags the year 2006 has come to a very silent end," says veteran Ebay watcher Gerd Clemens.
"Not very many auctions took place, and one got the impression that people were too much bothered by Xmas preparations.

The bag with the highest price in December 2006 came from South America. The name of the Venezuelan carrier is Conviasa at a final bid of €56.10. The history of this carrier is the following. In Jan 1997 flag carrier of Venezuela VIASA ceased operation. But soon the idea came up to create a new flag carrier. In Nov 2004 Conviasa’s inaugural flight was made. Just recently Conviasa partnered with Air Europe for its flight to Madrid.

Runner up are 3 vintage bags from Cathay, 2 of them are really old, one in brown with the old logo of the Swift Group, the other with blue waves and the name in red. All 3 came up to a price of €35.42.

Rank # 3 is a number of bags again of which one, namely Mahalo Air, was the important one which brought price up to €35.01. Mahalo Air was an airline which provided inter-island service within the state of Hawaii. They started operation in 1993, but in Sept 1997 Mahalo Air ceased operation because of financial problems.

At rank 4 we find 3 bags again. This offer comprises Cebu with the blue smiling airplanes, Oasis Hong Kong and a third but irrelevant bag. The winner of this auction paid €29.06, and the runner up still €20, which is rank #12.

An old bag from China South West Airlines, CSWA, came in as number 5 with €27.60.

Against all reason, LAM from Mozambique were bought at a price of €27.50.

At rank # 7 we find a very old German bag. Bavaria Fluggesellschaft is the name of the carrier, one of the former West German short-lived air carriers. Bavaria was formed in 1977 after a merger of Bavaria Fluggesellschaft, which started at the beginning of the 70s and Germanair. The hub of this carrier was Munich. At the end of 1978 the carrier ceased operations and merged with Hapag-Lloyd. The price for this old bag was €26.65.

Tikal Jet is operating in Guatemala. The deep blue bag came in as # 8 at a price of €25.60.

At rank # 9 we find the Philippines carrier Cebu again. The friendly smile of the blue plane was attractive enough to bring price up to €25.20.

A very old bag from the 70s from the UK Court Line was bought at €23.67.

Sonair from Angola is a Subsidiary of Sonangol Group, which is the national petroleum company of Angola. Sonair provides direct transportation of passengers and cargo between Angola and USA. Their barf bag changed hands at €21.05.

Bags from Sudan Airways have a lot of variations. In December the bag was slightly different to the other bags which most of us have already. Because of this price came up to €16.16.

Thai Pacific is an airline most of us do not know. Start up of this Thailand based airline was in August 2003, with plans for a Bangkok–Sydney service starting in Oct 2003. But in July 2004 everything was over. Financial problems forced them to cease operation. So bags are rare and price for the bag was €16.05 for the winner of this auction,but the runners up took their chance and bought bags at prices of about €15. This bag is ranked on 14 to 16.

Star Peru is still around. This month at a price of €14.62 which is rank # 17.

Corair fly with a smiley TUI is a new bag but not a new carrier. Most of us know this airline as Corsair, which was founded in 1981 by a Corsican family. In 1990 Corsair was acquired by a French tour operator and in 2000 TUI took over into their TUI fly group. Because of marketing reasons TUI renamed the name Corsair to Corsfly in 2005. The bag itself was bought at a price of €14.03.

Another group of 3 bags including the rare Garuda bag with red circles was sold at €12.07.

And last but not least at rank # 20 a bag from Cebu again, this time with a green bar with name and logo in white and in addition some information on the flat base which is new compared to the older ones. Price of this bag was €10.40.

This was all for December which I could find. All the best to you with kind regards and mit freundlichen Grüssen."

Sunday, January 14, 2007 

Finally, a reason to fly on a US carrier

The beginning of the end for generic bags in the USA?

US Airways has started issuing bags carrying advertising. This is the first I've seen - it advertises a hotel booking service in Las Vegas. Handy if you are heading for Sin City, but perhaps frustrating if you're on a dreary commuter flight in the frigid Northeast.

Flip the bag over, and we learn that barfbagvertising reaches 4.2 million passengers a month. Bagverts can be combined with a plethora of other advertisement types, from in-flight magazine or video, to tray-table ads and vacation planners.

There's even a link to the relevant place on the US Airways corporate website. This site is strangely silent about barfbags, which are presumably categorized under "Offline Opportunities".

An interesting aside to this bag: it's the second one I know of to feature Las Vegas. The other is Virgin Atlantic's one-armed bandit bag.

Has any other city appeared on more bags?

Saturday, January 13, 2007 

Yet another use for plain white bags

Use them to tell tales about mile-high experiences...

From ّFound Magazine.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007 



"Could this be the future of airsickness bags?" asks British baggist Chris Hays.

US Airways has made a splash - or perhaps a splatter - with its plans to sell advertising on its bags. Media reaction has been mixed, from admiration at the boldness of the carrier's vision, to doubts as to the effectiveness of its advertising nous.

Sunday, January 07, 2007 

April bagfest beckons baggists

LGW2007, a major sales and exchange fair for aviation collectibles, is scheduled for Sunday 22 April 2007.

Located near London's Gatwick Airport (ideal for quick getaways with your bagloot), this event is expected to attract baggists from across the globe.

Click here for details.

Thanks to Tom Singfield for this info.

Sunday, January 07, 2007 

Battle for fourth place

Close watchers of the Collections Bagometer will know that the world's three biggest collections - belonging to Niek Vermeulen (5034 bags), Oliver Conradi (number withheld, but claimed to be massive) and Bruce Kelly (3643) - are in a class of their own.

A fierce battle has broken out for fourth place, though.

I was preparing a triumphant report announcing that the collection (2561) had eased from sixth into fourth, and uploaded my new figures to the Bagometer - only to get a sympathetic email from Homer Goetz: he has spirited a hundred or so new bags from somewhere and has elbowed his way back into fourth (2677). "Without counting boat, bag or busbags" he says. "Anyway, Gerhard Lang (2379) is breathing down my neck", he adds.

Looks as if I'm going to have to do some serious collecting this year to regain my rightful place behind Bruce.

Want to move up or down the tree? Send me your latest figures!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007 

Bagsite of the Month, January 2007

First laureate to be awarded the coveted Bagsite of the Month accolade in 2007 is Milan-based baggisto Fulvio Dossena.

Fulvio's site features scans of many of his 600-strong collection, including the hard-to-find Livingston and the not-really-worth-having Bahamasair.

Visitors are advised to email Fulvio for his latest swaps list.

This site has attracted 8057 visitors since 1998.'s team will be monitoring Fulvio's visitor counter in the expectation that this number doubles over the next few days as a result of this award.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007 


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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