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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!


Collecting antiques

While we're on Steve Silberberg's collection, it's also featured in the August 2006 edition of the Journal of Antiques and Collectibles, along with such antiques as vintage cameras, comics and Spiderman paraphernalia.

Thursday, October 26, 2006 

Intelligent speech?

That's what BBC Radio 4 claims to broadcast... which is why the Broadcasting House programme carried an interview with US-based baggist Steve Silberberg on Sunday 22 Oct 2006.

Steve describes his Air Sickness Bags Around the World poster (left), which features 30 timeless bag designs from around the planet. A must-have for every discerning baggist.

You can listen to Steve's interview here: fast forward to 01:38:00. Hurry: the broadcast is available online only until 29 October.

Order your copy of the poster from

Thursday, October 26, 2006 

Airlines continue ‘airsick’ practice of selling ads

"If you thought US Airways' plan to sell space on its air sickness bags was enough for an upset stomach, get the medicine out: Spirit is about to embark on the same flight path", reports Travelmole, a travel newsfeed.

"Not exactly, though that could be the case.

"The Airline admits it plans to sell advertising inside its new Airbus planes. That could involve rental car companies or other brands.

"'We're feeling our way through it,' Barry Biffle, Spirit's marketing officer, told the Detroit Free Press. 'Some people want everything on the plane to be only them… some people are willing to share.'

"Airline advertising includes:

  • Southwest Airlines uses cups that have the Coca-Cola brand name.
  • US Airways already sells ad space on napkins, tray tables and ticket jackets from DirectTV and the National Guard, among others. The ads on airsickness bags are expected later this year."

Thanks to Bruce Kelly for this item.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 

Market analysis file online

Have some cash to invest in bags, and want to know the best way to invest?'s senior finance and markets correspondent Gerd Clemens watches the bagprices on eBay. As a special service for investors, he has made his bagmarket records publicly available.

Among the insights to be gained from a cursory glance at the data:

  • Baggists have invested over €10,000 in bags since the records began in May 2005.
  • The most expensive bag was an ancient Interflug item from East Germany, which changed hands for €201 in July/August 2006.

Now you can do your own analysis of price trends, check which airlines have risen or fallen in value, decide whether now is a good time to buy or sell, and even calculate the potential gains and losses on the bagderivative market.

Click here for the full dataset (Microsoft Excel format).

Thanks to Gerd for this valuable service.

Monday, October 23, 2006 

Sick bags are most appreciated airline freebie

"A poll conducted by has revealed that the most appreciated airline freebie is a sickbag", according to the Cheapflights website.

"Airline freebies have always been a perk of flying, but developments in the travel industry, such as the introduction of low-cost airlines and cost-cutting measures of full-service carriers, have seen freebies and giveaways dwindling. Recent restrictions placed upon hand-luggage capacity have made freebies an almost essential aspect of air journeys, but it appears that that the airline freebie that UK travellers are most thankful for is a small waxed paper sick bag.

"A staggering 49 per cent of respondents to the poll conducted by, the UK’s leading flight comparison website, opted to nominate the sick bag as the item most gratefully received on a flight.

"Other items listed in the poll include in-flight entertainment (21 per cent), soft drinks (10 per cent), pillows and blankets (9 per cent), snacks such as peanuts and crisps (5 per cent) and flight socks (2 per cent).

"David Soskin, CEO of says: 'These results are rather surprising; snacks would definitely have been my first choice. Freebies are thought to be an important factor by full-service carriers, but it seems that passengers expectations about flying are constantly changing. These findings show that the simple things in life are often the most under-rated.'"

Perhaps this research will lead airlines to offer passengers more inspired designs and a choice of bags for all their waste-disposal needs.

Thanks to Janusz Tichoniuk for this alert.

Monday, October 23, 2006 

The Clemens eBay Report for September 2006

Our Senior Finance and Markets Correspondent Gerd Clemens reports from Hamm am Rhein:

Dear Baggists,

following you will find some very interesting auctions which took place in course of September 2006.

Number 1 was three very old bags from Air France and Air Algerie, which look as they would come from the times of Mongolfiere with their hot-air balloon. Thanks to Bruce Kelly I became aware of these 3 bags, so I suppose that you want to know more about this auction with a final price of €201.10! The # at eBay was 140025452447, so have a look on your own.

Runner up was a bag from Capital Airline at a price of US$ 212.50 which is about €168. Capital Airline is an old US airline which had Pennsylvania Airlines and Central airlines as predecessors. It was launched in 1947. In 1961 Capital airlines was merged into United Airlines. At this time this was the largest merger of 2 airlines.

Air Senegal International from Africa came in as number 3 at a price of €42.50, followed by Hawaiian Island Air at a price of €40.60. Eight bidders were fighting for this bag.

A bag from Biman the airline from Bangladesh was slightly different in colour which brought price up to remarkable €31.60.

Another old piece from USA was sold at a higher price namely a bag from TWA at €31.50 which was rank # 6.

Two new bags from Israel from ISRAIR came in as # 7 and 8 at prices of €29.55 and in a direct sale at €29.05. is a new airline from Cyprus. The former name was Helios Air, but after a very severe and mysterious accident, which took place beginning of this year, it seems that this carrier wanted to change its name. But it will not help to much as European authority is considering to cease their activities. Maybe for this reason bag will become even more expensive as it was in September when the bag was bought at €24.73.

City Express Air from Canada came in as # 10 at a price of €23.87 a real bargain compared to last year when this bag was bought at €59 and €35.

Air Kazakstan was bought at a price of €21.50.

Grand Canyon Airlines is believed to be the world's oldest and most experienced air tour company in continous operation since 1927. Despite this they have air sickness bags on board and one of them was taken and finally sold at a price of €21.50.

TAF Avioes Executios is an airline in Brazil I could not get information. Final offer for their plastic bag was at €21.50.

Chungiu-Spring Airlines is a low cost carrier based in Shanghai, but their bags remain to be very expensive, maybe more expensive than the fare for the flight? Despite the fact that their bag was on sale very often now final bit was still €20.70.

Another old bag from USA namely from PAN AM came in as # 15 at €19.05.

On # 16 we find the the Panamanian airline COPA, which was described last month, at a price of €17.35.

Icaro is from Ecuador and they run some helicopters and Fokker F 28. They are still very high in price as their plastic bag was sold at €14.14.

Air Philippines from Philippines with a bag with a different design was sold at €12.84 and at the same price we find a bag from JAS which is a sister company of Japan Airlines.

Iraqi Airways came in as # 20 at a price of €12.13.

The Russian carrier Transaero is offering a bag with a new design at €11.61 and the same with the Bulgarian Hemus at exactly €11.

It is good to see that a lot of airlines do us a favour by changing the designs of the bags regularly. If not I suppose it would by disappointing for us just to collect old stuff. Old stuff is a bag from British Airtours at a price of €10.75.

At a price of €10.60 we find an Israeli bag from Sun d'Or and then PanAm again slightly varying from the other one at €10.52 and just behind at €10.51 and at rank # 26 we see Interflug from former GDR with a red airplane as logo.

Then we have a number of bags at a price of €10.50 namely Uzbekistan Airways, Finnaviation, a former sister company (1970 -1996) of Finnair flying domestic routes, Bellview from Nigeria and a bag from a ferry Irish Continental Line.

On rank # 31 we find a PanAm bag, but different again, this time at €10.47 and then Air Florida at €10.18.

Finally at rank # 33 we have the Taiwanese carrier China Airlines with a new design at €10.02.

This was all for September as far as I could monitor it. If I missed some please send me an email.

Kind regards

Gerd Clemens

Friday, October 20, 2006 

Unbeige gem of the week

"It's only Wednesday, but it's probably going to go downhill from here on because we've already found our precious, little gem this week: air-sickness bags!"

Thus enthuses a June 2005 posting on Unbeige, a blog for designers.

The blog enthuses about Air India's and Finnaviation's designs, but pooh-poohs the Design for Chunks competition. I admit it's a bit of a shame that the most recent Design for Chunks drew on so many established Japanese manga cartoon characters for inspiration. Time for some fresh, amateur designs?

Anyone know where Unbeige got its bag images?

Thanks to Rune Tapper for this alert.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 

Bag history pushed back millennia

The history of barfbags predates powered flight by more than 3200 years, according to new research.

When he excavated the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1923, archaeologist Howard Carter discovered a remarkably well-preserved Egyptair bag in the pharaoh's gilded sarcophagus.

A previously suppressed photo (left) shows Mr Carter and an assistant examining the bag.

The pharaoh died in 1324 BC: 3227 years before the Wright brothers' first powered flight, and 3250 years before barfbags began to be used on board aircraft in the late 1920s.

More information in the Education Section of the Bagistan National Museum of Bags.

Photo courtesy of the museum's curator, Reiner Schulz.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 

The world's most widely travelled bag?

This humble South African Airways bag, painted green as part of an art event by Reiner Schulz's colleagues in Erlangen, Germany, is making a bid to become the world's most travelled used bag.

So far I've taken it to be photographed in Cologne, Tehran, Funchal, Lisbon and Paris. In the next few months it's due to go to the UK, South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Dubai and India.

Check out the photos at Reiner's Vertissage site (turn off the video buttons to stop the sound, and scroll down to the bottom to see the travelling bag). See if you can spot which photo is in fact a montage - in one city I left the bag in my suitcase, so posed without it. A free bag from my swaps list for the first baggist to guess correctly.

Vertissage? A combination of vert ("green" in French) and "vernissage". Try looking that up in Wikipedia.

Sunday, October 15, 2006 


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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