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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!


Preserving bags for posterity

Barfbags are designed to be sturdy enough to survive for months in seat pockets, and are supposed to hold a range of acerbic solids and liquids for long enough to allow them to be disposed of without endangering the health of the cabin crew or travelling public.

Bags typically are made of plastic or coated paper, or contain a plastic insert to cope with biohazardous and acidic materials.

But let's face it, they are not intended to last for eternity.

Papers yellow and become fragile. Glues harden and lose their stickiness. Inks fade, and metal ties rust. Plastics degrade when exposed to light. Even without ever coming into contact with regurgitated foods and stomach acids.

This poses a problem for collectors. Valuable bags from the early decades of air travel can crumble when handled. Unique items can become too delicate to display. Airline history can disappear faster than you can say "Chosonminghang Korean Airways".

So how best to preserve your collection in tip-top condition? In archive-quality Mylar envelopes? Airtight containers? Humidity-controlled atmospheres? Lamination? Deep-frozen in liquid nitrogen?

Are any of these better than stuffing your bags in a shoebox? welcomes your storage and preservation tips. Email me and I'll post them on this page!

Responses so far (in order received):

  • "Send them to me." (David Shomper)
  • "Send them to me. I will treat them with tender loving care and use a little bit of Botox." (Walter Brinker)
  • "Try a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Oh wait, that's where Michael Jackson sleeps." (Steve Silberberg)

Wednesday, May 16, 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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