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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!


Use the bag

Interested in starting a metabag collection? Not a collection of real bags, but a collection of bag memorabilia. Stuff like newspaper articles about barfbags, magazine covers with bags on them, or books about bags. There are even postcards about barfbags - like the one on the left. Snap this one up on eBay (item 6181401942).

Alas, I don't buy or sell bags (or bag memorabilia, for that matter). But if you want to buy this one on eBay, I'll be pleased to trade it with you for a bag in my swaps list.

Check out my modest collection of bag memorabilia here.

Thanks to Bruce Kelly for this alert.

Monday, May 30, 2005 

The empire strikes bag!

"It looks like the rumour of Virgin putting more special barf bags on their flights to commemorate the Star Wars latest release is correct", says Senior Alaska Correspondent Bruce Kelly. "I got the following email today... hopefully there will be bags for all."

The empire strikes bag! Virgin Atlantic provides passengers with Star Wars sick bags onboard Virgin Atlantic passengers could be forgiven for meeting Barf Vader during flights from June as the airline is joining in Star Wars mania by putting 100,000 sickbags, which have been specially designed for the new sci-fi blockbuster, on its planes. With millions of Star Wars' die-hard fans across the world, the airline expects these designs to be very popular with passengers.

The limited edition Star Wars sick bags have four different designs with tongue-in-cheek instructions for would-be Jedi knights. One gives spoof instructions on the right way to hold a light sabre (without cutting your head off), while another shows how to master Jedi combat. Another gives a detailed diagram of a light sabre, while a fourth splits an airplane into a light and dark side depending on where certain passengers are seated. A total of 25,000 of each of the designs is being printed and they will be available on all routes from June.

Sir Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Atlantic, said: "We think our passengers will love them. Star Wars has a very big cult following among all age groups and we believe it is something that will bring a smile to the faces of our passengers.

"Of course, we hope that our flights are as smooth as normal so that passengers don't need to use the sickbags - we want them to see the funny side of these sickbags not the inside." ...

Last December, Virgin Atlantic commissioned a competition for designers to put their artwork on a limited edition range of sickbags in conjunction with 'Design for Chunks'.

Lysette Gauna, Head of Media for Virgin Atlantic, commented: "After the success of the 'Design for Chunks' sickbags, we became aware of the number of people out there who collect sickbags - we even had a sickbag museum contact us! They became instantly popular and a bidding war even starting up on Ebay. We believe one even reached a price of £85.

"We anticipate an even bigger demand for our Star Wars sickbags because of the cult following of the films."

Source: Virgin Atlantic

Click here to see Virgin's Design for Chunks bag series.

Saturday, May 28, 2005 

Paris bagshow

In Paris on 4 June, and got nothing to do?

Then visit Avimage 2005, the 22nd Airline Memorabilia Convention at the Roissy Holiday Inn. Only €5 to get in (less than the price of your airfare to Paris!), or €22 to reserve a table so you can display your bags.

More information here.

Thanks to Brazilian baggist Denir Camargo (who will be there) for this info.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 

Bagfeed for baggroup

The barfbags egroup now features RSS.

What's RSS, you ask? It stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it's a way to get the latest bagnews on your desktop as it happens.

You'll need an RSS reader, such as FeedReader. You can download this freebie program from Install it on your computer, click on Add Feed, then enter this address in the dialog box:

Every message sent to the barfbags egroup will then pop up automatically on your desktop.

No more frantic downloading of your email every 10 minutes to keep up with the latest in the fast-moving world of bagology.

More information here.

You can also subscribe to the blog (that's what you're reading at the moment) using the same RSS reader. Just add to your FeedReader feed.

Monday, May 16, 2005 

Walter celebrates

German baggist Walter Brinker celebrates Lufthansa's switch from plain grey bags to marginally less-boring dark blue.

This is the fourth of a series about bagophiles in their natural habitat. Want to have your picture on Send me a jpg, and I'll put it on the web!

Sunday, May 15, 2005 

Virgin Atlantic prices stablize

Prices of Virgin Atlantic Limited Edition bags on eBay seem to have stabilized at around £0.45 per bag.

Bidding madness in mid-April saw individual bags sold for over £3.00 each. Prices have since fallen to levels more affordable to the average penniless collector.'s team of market observers have tracked the eBay fate of 1626 Virgin bags since December 2004. The 1429 bags that have been sold fetched an average of £0.76 each. That total includes 62 full sets of 20 bags, and 169 individual bags.

Virgin Atlantic has stopped distributing the Limited Edition bags on its fleet, so eBay is one of the few places collectors can still pick up these desirable items.

Top buyer has been German collector "19lange81", who has acquired at least 7 full sets for a total outlay of £82.68. Even that's not enough, it seems: 19lange81 still bids on almost every new set of bags that is offered for sale.

Top seller is British-based "kd1902", who has sold 19 full sets of 20 bags. This seller has so far netted £306.49 in profit (minus eBay's fees, but not including income from mailing costs).

Although eBay sales seem to be declining, baggists still without a Limited Edition should not despair. Virgin Atlantic is reported to have printed 500,000 bags in all, and less than 0.33% (one-third of one percent) have so far come onto the market.

Sunday, May 15, 2005 

Bagsite of the month

Chris Hays, a young British baggist, has one of the world's fastest-growing collections.

Chris began collecting as recently as early 2004. He has amassed nearly 300 bags in this short period.

Admire them at May 2005's Bagsite of the Month:

Saturday, May 14, 2005 

Wearable bag

You're on the Space Shuttle, and you feel queasy. What to do?


  1. Take out this sturdily designed plastic-and-linen combo manufactured by Boeing.
  2. Clip the rubber bands over your ears, so the bag fits over your face like a horse's nosebag. Hard to breathe, but it does avoid most spillage.
  3. Recover one of the rubber bands, which has zinged off your ear and has lodged behind a $500,000 experiment testing how sea slugs react to zero gravity.
  4. Puke into bag.
  5. Inspect contents through the transparent base.
  6. Call Houston if you see anything that looks as if it belongs in the movie Alien.
  7. Place bag into the second, larger bag provided.
  8. Wipe your mouth with the thoughtfully attached linen flap.
  9. Wait till the Shuttle is over the next country that George Bush wants to invade (Iran, perhaps?), then jettison the bag through the airlock.

That's my wife, Evelyn, attempting this procedure with assistance from the bag's owner, Niek Vermeulen.

Yes, highlight of our year so far has been a pilgrimage to that Mecca of bagdom, a freezing basement where Niek keeps his mammoth collection.

We thought about trying to smuggle out some Nigerian Airlines bags (and of course the Shuttle bag), but I'm sad to say that our consciences got the better of us.

Sunday, May 08, 2005 

Air Frank?

Alaska governor Frank Murkowski thinks he ought to have a jet to help him carry out his gubernatorial duties. The Anchorage Daily News thinks that the turbo-prop already assigned to him is sufficient. Governor Frank has threatened to use the general fund to lease the jet anyway.

So the newspaper has helpfully printed these instructions on how to make a barfbag bearing his new airline name.

Thanks to Bruce Kelly for this item.

Sunday, May 08, 2005 

Beware of museums

If you've ever thought of lending your collection to a museum, you might want to consider Steve Silberberg's experience.

He lent most of his bag collection to the short-lived Terminal Five art exhibit at JFK Airport in New York. The exhibit was closed before it opened because the inauguration party got out of hand, so Steve's bags never got seen by the bagloving public.

And Steve hasn't seen some of them since either. Several folders of bags have gone missing, so he now has gaping holes in his collection.

Sadly, Steve's experience is not unique. in 1998, baggist Niek Vermeulen lent a stack of bags and a display to a museum in Las Vegas. The bags and displays were returned to him damaged, and no compensation has been forthcoming.

If you do lend your bags out, the lessons seem to be:

  • Don't lend out anything valuable
  • Make sure the bags are displayed behind glass (so they don't get damaged or swiped)
  • Pay for a full-time security guard to keep an eye on your valuable cultural artefacts.

Sunday, May 08, 2005 

Het laatste nieuws

17-year-old Belgian baggist Tom de Kort was interviewed by the newspaper Het laatste nieuws about his collection. The interview appeared in the newspaper's 23-24 April 2005 edition.

Tom says he's also been interviewed by three radio stations (Radio Donna, Studio Brussel and Radio2) and by another local newspaper, the Gazet van Antwerpen.

Read an English translation of the interview here.

Sunday, May 08, 2005 

A fresh look on bags

A report on Salt Lake City TV station KUTV features prominent baggists Niek Vermeulen, Steve Silberberg and Walter Brinker talking about their avocation.

Reporter Peter Rosen didn't have the budget to jet from Utah to Europe, so he got the bagophiles to shoot video of themselves and their collections. Check out his report at

Sunday, May 08, 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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