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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, April 2008

Bagsite of the Month for April 2008 is the little-known Needful Things site of Bjørn Christian Tørrissen.

"Ever since the Vikings left the shores of Scandinavia in their small, unsteady boats, people from the north-western part of Europe have had a special relationship to travelsickness bags," explains Bjørn.

The site has only a limited number of bags on display. But is definitely the place to go if you want to see a 1988 BusyBee bag.

What it lacks in eye candy, this site makes up in terms of witty text. There is a list of handy phrases to use when requesting a bag. Try this one next time you fly:

"Excuse me, miss flight-attendant. Would you be able to help me with a device for regurgitating, somewhere in the immediate future?"

Then there's a list of translations and euphemisms for vomit in various languages. Follow that with readers' stories, a set of after-dinner jokes, and an instruction manual on how to puke.

Monday, March 31, 2008 

Hello Kitty, Goodbye Lunch

Hello Kitty, a moon-faced cartoon cat beloved of Japanese teenies, has invaded Eva Air.

The Taiwanese carrier has branded an entire plane with the cartoon pussycat. The image of the furry feline is licensed by the Japanese firm Sanrio.

"EVA Air introduced the Hello Kitty aircraft last year after two years of negotiation with Sanrio," reported the Asia Times Online in January 2006.

"The aircraft now operates daily between Taipei and Fukuoka, Japan. The Hello Kitty theme is pursued with mind-boggling thoroughness: the airline issues pink Hello Kitty boarding passes and luggage tags to passengers, and serves Hello Kitty meals and Hello Kitty duty-free shopping. Even the airsickness bags are Hello Kitty-themed (bidding starts at US$9.99 on eBay)."

Images on the left are from the News on Japan blog.

Sunday, March 30, 2008 

Altitude sickness?

Halfway up Everest and feel the urge to hurl?

There are several fellow climbers are hanging on the rope below you, unable to dodge falling vomit. And close behind is a team of mountaineering lawyers who have paid the Nepalese government a hefty climbing fee. They are unlikely to be amused by being plastered with gobbets of semi-digested lunch impacting them at terminal velocity. They have a litigious reputation; you fear having to pay out millions in damages.

Fortunately you have with you just the item for this occasion: a Black Diamond Barf Bag.

Crafted from durable, water-resistant polyethylene tarp material with Hypalon®-reinforced dual handles, this bag is big enough to last you to the top of the Himalayas. You can even tie a rope to the handles and lower it to your altitude-sick colleague struggling up the rock face below.

There's a separate compartment for your mobile phone, in case you need to call in a helicopter ambulance.

Get this item from Moosejaw, a Michigan-based outdoors outfitters, for only $29.95. Order two to avoid having to pay for shipping. You get 299 Reward Points along with the bag.

If you don't have much cash spare after paying that climbing fee, you could plump for a cheaper alternative: the Moosejaw Barf Bag.

This plain paper bag comes with a thumbhole to ease opening with frostbitten fingers, plus 19 Reward Points. But unusually for a barfbag, it's neither windproof nor waterproof, and has no ventilation. What do you expect for a mere $1.95?

Sunday, March 30, 2008 

Lamborghini bag

Considering that its cars cost as much as a small aircraft and can go nearly as fast around corners, it's surprising that it has taken Lamborghini so long to produce its own range of barfbags.

Like many of the firm's vehicles, the Lambo bag comes in a stylish glossy black, a colour not seen in any bags available on board commercial aircraft.

The maker's bull shield marque is printed at the top right.

A real bag, or a marketing gimmick? Lamborghini itself is "currently out of stock". Visit the Lamborghini site and click on "merchandising" to see for yourself. The bag acts as a splash screen to the firm's merchandise outlet - which doesn't mention barfbags.

If it's a real bag, this item could become a new Holy Grail for collectors.

Saturday, March 29, 2008 

Bags as a fashion accessory

Discerning collectors are of course familiar with sundry secondary genres of barfbags - apart from their use to prevent unpleasantness on board aircraft. These subsidiary genres include offering a way for cinema operators to maintain hygiene during screenings of third-rate horror flicks, a vehicle for preserving free speech and expressing opinions about politicians, as book-promotion vehicles, and so on.

Now here's a bag from a completely new genre: social commentary.

The enigmatic Jezebel Fashion Week bag carries the text "Celebrity, sex, fashion. Without airbrushing."

The bag comes with a box of TicTac mints, a pack of Ex-Lax (a laxative) and a tongue depresser.

Why? Something to do with the New York fashion week, I guess.

As far as I can make out, Jezebel is a blog aimed at East Coast American women with nothing much to do. Except distribute barfbags to eager collectors. See if you can work it out yourself:

Thanks to Steve Silberberg for the bag.

Thursday, March 27, 2008 

"A problem for politics, environment and health"

Fresh dogshit is a hot topic in hygiene-conscious Central Europe.

The veterinary magazine VetImpulse recently highlighted the problem in a two-page feature article devoted to precluding pavement pooch poo pollution.

Click on the images on the left to read the article.

Among the fascinating tidbits avid readers can glean:

  • 132,000 Viennese have protested against dogshit in the city.
  • Germany's 5 million dogs produce 2500 tons of poop a day - 55 tons in Berlin alone.
  • Swiss shit analysts found that 7.1% of canine excreta contain dog roundworm eggs, which then get tracked into nurseries and dining rooms for toddlers to consume.
  • The city administration of Wolfsburg in Austria has deployed a converted Yamaha scooter to suck up poop into a special on-board container.

The best cure for dogshit? Provide bags for dog owners to pick up their dogpies and take them home. And impose a hefty fine on dog-lovers who do not clean up after their canine companions.

Check the Gallery on the left (scroll down past the airline bags) for the world's largest collection of doggie bags.

Friday, March 21, 2008 

At last - a use for plain white bags

Plain white bags (the sort supplied by American Airlines and other uncaring carriers) normally find little resonance among passengers.

But they have a secret coterie of admirers: professional photographers.

For bags make excellent flash diffusers. Open the bag, check that it contains no foreign matter, then tape it upside down over your camera flash.

Plain white bags are best for this purpose, according to this article in The Global Photographer.

"Just one barf bag (a/k/a: 'flight discomfort bag') stuck onto the top of a flash head will mellow out the light dramatically — especially for more 'close in' sort of work", says the author, Matthew Monroe. "And the way that light gets sprayed in all directions can really help in raising the overall brightness of a room and background."

Photographers who wish to avoid unpredictable colour casts or special effects should avoid the decorated bags beloved of baggists. "Bags that are some color other than white are not really suitable for diffusing a flash", says Mr Monroe. "Bags with lots of colored printing are also not suitable."

So if you board an aircraft that carries plain bags but find none in your seat pocket, perhaps a photographer got there before you.

Thanks to Steve Silberberg for this alert.

Thursday, March 20, 2008 

Wikipedia bag entry emasculated

The Wikipedia grinches have been busy on bags.

The online encyclopedia's entry on Airsickness bags has been severely trimmed by fastidious editors.

Gone are the references to barfbags in popular culture - descriptions of bags in film and song.

Gone are links to bagsites, including, described by the discriminating editor, "Thumperward", as being "utterly unnotable".

Thumperward, whose real name is Chris Cunningham, is not known to be a baggist.

This editorial vandalism reflects the internal debate currently wracking Wikipedia between "deletionists" (who promote selectivity) and "inclusionists" (who aim for wide coverage).

Judging by the entry on airsickness bags, it seems the deletionists are winning.

Here are some versions of the entry as it has evolved.

Click here to see the full history of how the entry has evolved.

Want to contribute? Wikipedia says "Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources." obviously doesn't count as reliable.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 

Belgian bagfest dates fixed

The Brussels Aviation Convention is scheduled for 18 October 2008, reports Belgian baggist Tom de Kort.

Click here for's list of airline shows where you can buy stuff that has been stolen from airlines.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 

Bagfashion on board

German bagauthor Gerd-Otto Rieke has done it again - while the rest of us publicity-hungry baggists are happy for a measly half-a-column-inch of press coverage, Gerd-Otto has landed a full half-page in the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.

His article in the Bavarian paper's 5 February 2008 issue is an ideal introduction to the science of baggery for budding baggists and barfsceptics alike.

Gerd-Otto opens a new window on the world of baggery: the placement of the bag in the seat pocket: just like in men's fashion, "a corner of the bag must peek out of the seat pocket".

Click on the picture to read the full article (in German).

Thanks to Juergen Klein for this item.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 

The Clemens eBay report for 4th quarter 2007

"Not too much is to report from the 4th quarter of 2007", says our correspondent Gerd Clemens.

"Bags offered were of not too much interest which led to very low prices.

Most spectacular auction was a collection of about 140 different bags. Seven bidders fought for it and after 17 bids price came up to 101 GBP which is about €135.

Much to my surprise an Italian airline Alpieagles came in as winner for this quarter at a price of €65.20. Alpieagles was founded in 1979 as aerobatic team. In 1996 they started transport activities and passenger services. Their main hub was at Venice. Financial problems let to a loss of the licence and from 1.1.2008 on their operations came to an end.

Santa Barbara Airlines from Venezuela was often mentioned in this report during the last quarters. Unfortunately their name appeared in news now because of an accident of one of their planes. This time a bag was sold at €41.60.

Avior Airlines was on sale in the 3rd Quarter too and described there. Price now was €39.23.

Caledonian/BUA is named the Scottish International Airline. For a short period of time both names Caledonian and BUA were used then just the name Caledonian remained. A rare bag from this time came up to a price of €36.

At the ranks 5 and 6 Allegro from Mexico was on sale again. Prices are keeping very high at €35.50 and €35.

Travira Air from Indonesia is another bag who is on sale for the last few months, and again price was €33.15.

Air Cairo is an Egyptian airline. Air Cairo was founded by a consortium of Egyptian travel agents and started operation in 1997. In 2003 Egypt Air acquired 40% of the shares and operation was transferred to a new company with name Cairo Aviation. Finally Air Cairo was repositioned as a new low cost Egyptian subsidiary, which operates domestic and international charter services. Price of the bag was €32.50.

TAF Linhas Aereas is a Brazilian airline which started operation in 1971. Their former name was Taxi Aereoa Fortaleza = TAF. Their base is the town Fortaleza. Price was €32.00.

At rank #10 we find a maritime sea sickness bag from SMZ which stands for the Dutch Stoomvart Maatschappij Zeeland N.V. Price was €27.10.

A small collection of 3 bags was offered of which one bag, namely a rare Air Pacific bag was of most interest. This brought price up to €26.97.

From the same seller another collection of 3 bags was offered including a bag from the Lebanese carrier MEA with a different printing. Price came up to €25.62.

Passaredo is another regional airline in Brazil. It is based in Ribeirao Preto, Sao Paolo State. They started operations in 1995. After a suspension of operations in April 2002 it restarted operation in 2004. Its fleet includes 3 Embraer planes. Bags were sold at prices of €25.55 and €25.05 which are ranks # 14 and15.

On rank # 16 we find and old British Caledonian bag at a price of €24.50. British Caledonian came into being in Nov. 1970 when the Scottish charter carrier Caledonian Airways took over British United Airways BUA and became the largest independent British airline. End of 1987 after financial difficulties British Airways gained control of its erstwhile competitor.

Next rank is a bag from Syrianair at a price of €23.20.

Go Air is an Indian low cost carrier which is based in Mumbai and established in 2004. Their bag was sold at a price of €23.85.

Pluna is an airline from Uruguay. A bag with 3 colours was sold at €23.75.

On rank # 20 we find the black plastic bag from the Kenyan low cost carrier fly 540. Also this bag was on sale very often during the last half of the year. Despite this price was exceeding 20 Euro again, this time at €22.50.

Another row of 3 bags was on sale including a bag from the US airline Arrow Air, which was sold at €22.25.

Last but not least from a disappointing quarter and at rank # 22 we find the new brown bag from Japan Airlines at a price of €21.50.

This was all I detected in the 4th Quarter 2007.

With my best regards - Gerd Clemens"

Sunday, March 09, 2008 

Winnibag Free Press

"It's not just queasy riders who relish a good airsickness bag", says this article in the 1 March 2008 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press.

The article in the Canadian newspaper is based on an interview with Swedish baggist Rune Tapper. Rune pines for an Air Force One bag, enthuses about movie bags, and berates North American airlines for providing plain white pukepacks.

The article reveals that Rune keeps his collection in shoe boxes - an unusual storage format for serious baggists, who generally prefer acid-free archival-quality mylar envelopes in a climate-controlled environment.

How do people react to his preoccupation?, the reporter asked Rune.

"'Are you kidding? My wife left me and my neighbours hate me,' he says half-jokingly."

Which half is the joke, Rune - the bit about the neighbours, or the wife?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008 


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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