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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!


Grab them while they're still steaming

Over 80 new bags to see in my Bag Gallery... and I've finally updated my swaplist too.

A fresh shipment of Skyline bags in from Nepal. They're going fast, so you'll have to be quick if you want to grab one.

Thursday, June 30, 2005 

The storm wind breaks the tender blossom

Der Sturmwind bricht die zarte Blüte,
es bricht das Blümlein unterm Schuh.
Der Fluggast bricht in seine Tüte!
Jedoch mein Herz, das brichst nur Du!!

Not sure if I can translate this ditty accurately enough to convey its full richness, but I'll try:

The storm wind breaks the tender blossom,
The flower breaks under the shoe.
The passenger breaks into his bag,
But the only one to break my heart is you!

Thanks to WS for this gem - and for the excellent 65th birthday party.

Monday, June 27, 2005 

1958 Lufthansa bag tops €100

This ancient Lufthansa airsickness bag has been auctioned for over €100.

That's over $US 121, or nearly £67. For a tatty old bag.

Tatty old bag? No, this is a piece of airline history. It's from 1958, when mass air travel was still in its infancy. This was an era when planes were smaller and flew lower, and passengers were less inured to the bumps and turbulence of flight, and so were significantly more likely to feel queasy.

So it's amazing that this bag ever made it out of the plane, let alone survived the intervening decades. Someone found it in his (her?) aunt's attic, folded up in a pile of old newspapers.

Claiming to know nothing about bagology, the seller offered the bag for auction on eBay. Bidding was fierce, with several collectors competing for the right to call this bag their own. The final price: €100.50, paid by a well-known German baggist.

Eye-popping triple-digit prices like this are bound to stimulate others to rummage around in their attics and basements in search of bags that can be turned into cash.

And perhaps it will inspire others to start collecting today's bags in the hope of leaving a nest-egg for their grandchildren.

Thanks to Janusz Tichoniuk for alerting me to this auction.

Monday, June 27, 2005 

Have sari, puke chapatti



Nepalese airlines are going wild over a sari-clad woman throwing up.

No fewer than five airlines from the Himalayan kingdom now feature this unnamed young woman depositing her stomach contents into a barfbag.

The airlines are Buddha Air, Sita Air, Skyline and Yeti, and most recently, Cosmic Air.

Confusion has arisen about the identity of the woman. Some baggists assume she is a member of the flight crew, demonstrating how to use bags instead of lifejackets (a landing on water is unlikely in landlocked Nepal). Others insist she is a passenger who has hired her services out to the airlines.

Always elegantly dressed, she changes her outfit on each airline: red for Sita, brown for Skyline, gold for Yeti. She seems to be using the same bag each time, though.

It must be fairly full by now, especially if she has used it in the other ways suggested in the fine print: "This bag can be used for vomitting, spitting, throwing the wrappers of chocolates, etc. and throwing baby's excreta in the flight period. Thanks!"

Thanks to Bruce Kelly for the Cosmic image. I don't have one of these Cosmic bags yet. Anyone want to send me one?




Thursday, June 23, 2005 

Sithbag prices gain sanity

prices since 5 June 2005

prices since 22 December 2004

Graphs show the highest prices reached each day.

Virgin Atlantic's four-bag Revenge of the Sith series has been selling like hotcakes on eBay.

Prices started off at over £5.00 per bag, but have since fallen back to a more reasonable £2.00 each.

That's still high compared to the levels attained by Virgin Atlantic's previous offering, the Design for Chunks series. Prices for this 20-bag series peaked at around £3.00, and now go for a mere £0.50 apiece.

Since their launch at the beginning of June, some 189 Sithbags have so far been offered for sale on eBay, from a total print run of 100,000. That still pales in comparison to the 1740 Chunksbags that have been auctioned via the eBay site since December 2004.

Market watchers say that several sellers who offered Chunksbags have also been auctioning Sithbags. One seller who goes by the alias kd1902 has sold more than 20 batches of the Sith items.

Sellers have also adopted new techniques to shift bags. Perhaps wary of the anemic prices achieved in Chunks auctions, some sellers have been offering bags only via eBay's Buy It Now option, which forces buyers to accept a fixed price.

Players such as kd1902 have also taken to listing multiple sets of bags at the same price. One recent listing of 40 bags sold out to 10 different buyers well before the eBay offer was scheduled to expire.

Veteran baggists are dismayed at the legions of new buyers who are bidding for the Sithbags. They suspect that these wares are attracting fans of the Star Wars movie series as well as serious baggists.

"It looks like Virgin Atlantic is ruffling the feathers of the cosy baggist community - just like they've done with the airline industry," says one insider.

How long will current trends last? One eBay seller who picked up Sithbags on a flight to Los Angeles reports that there were none on the return flight. The flight crew said they were limited to "one week only".

Wednesday, June 22, 2005 

Leonardo invents the barfbag

In 1496, Leonardo da Vinci invented the barfbag.

"Now for the rest."

Click on the cartoon to enlarge. Thanks to Niek Vermeulen for this scan.

Sunday, June 19, 2005 

Second World War barfbag?

Walter Brinker paid good money on eBay for what the seller said was a barfbag from a Second World War plane.

It's made of stout canvas, and has a metal opening with a couple of screw holes, presumably to bolt it to the cockpit. A zipper opening in the canvas allows access to the interior.

My wife says it's an ancient vacuum cleaner bag. So does Silke, Walter's partner.

Anyone else have an opinion? Click on the picture for a closer look. Let me (and Walter) know what you think at

Comments so far
Courtesy David Shomper's WW2 US Air Corps buddies

I hope that you get some e-mails agreeing with me on this. I NEVER saw or heard of a barf bag during the war. Helmets. caps, clothing, floor! but never a special item for this operation.

No one gave a damn if someone got sick as long as it was not ON the guy next too him. If you notice the "grommet" at the top, it looks like it was made for a permanent installation.


I have ZERO KNOWLEDGE of this object; however I would have to agree with the naysayers on this one.

First the steel rim looks heavy and with those sharp edges would be both dangerous and tear up an airline seat. Second, this thing looks like it is big enough to handle a barfing Hippo!

My 2 cents for what it's worth!


Regarding the WWII bag, is this a serious question? It appears to have flange that would attach to some kind of machine. It appears to have been used, how does it smell. Is it waterproof, having some sort of water resistant lining? A vac bag is porous so that air can flow through it and so would moisture. Is there any history in the barf bag industry that could offer some info on WWII use?


Walter, I think you better start shopping for an old vacuum cleaner!

Maybe it is an engine air filter for a very inexpensive airplane?


Monday, June 13, 2005 

Bagdebts mount at Walter's

Good news for me (on the right), bad news for German baggist Walter Brinker.

I've gone through his swaps, and have pulled out no less than 41 that fill gaping holes in my collection. So far.

Walter (on the left) has sifted through my extras, and has found only six that he wants.

Looks like I'll be owing him bags for the foreseeable future.

Either that or I'll have to mow his lawn for at least the next five years...

Saturday, June 11, 2005 

Stellar prices for Star Wars bags

prices since 5 June 2005

Limited Edition
prices since 22 Dec 2004

The first few Virgin Atlantic bags advertising the movie Revenge of the Sith have been snapped up on eBay for prices not seen for at least three galactic revolutions.

The four Sithbags have been fetching prices of between £5 and £8 each.

Compare that to the maximum price of £3.20 per bag bid for Virgin's previous Limited Edition offering during a particularly frenetic period in April this year.

Serious baggists might be advised to wait until this overheated market quietens down - as occurred with the Limited Edition.

Prices for the 20 Limited Edition bags are now hovering around £0.40 per bag - though desperate bidders have occasionally pushed prices for individual bags up above the £2.50 mark.

Saturday, June 11, 2005 


The first Virgin Atlantic Revenge of the Sith bags are now on offer on eBay. See eBay item 6536926193 to view this auction. The current offer is £2.20 (with a day left for bidding) for two of the four bags in the series. It will be interesting to see how prices evolve for these items.

Friday, June 03, 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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