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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!



Ever wondered why some airlines provide free postcards of their aircraft?

Let's face it, there's little to do on lengthy flights. You've flipped through the inflight magazine, looked at the duty-free perfumes your wife wouldn't wear even if you could afford to buy her a bottle, and checked the contents of the barfbag. Your in-seat entertainment system doesn't work, your seat neighbour is snoring, and the stewardesses aren't in a chatty mood. What is there left to do?

You pull out that barfbag again, flip it over to reveal the plain white reverse, reach for a pen, and start composing a letter to a faraway loved one.

Yes, one person's barfbag is another person's communication opportunity. What most passengers see as a convenient way to dispose of unwanted personal waste can also become a way of expressing your deepest thoughts to people who are important to you.

That's why airlines provide postcards: to stop passengers from using up valuable barfbags.

Rigorous financial analysis reveals that a stack of postcards costs less than the the equivalent number of bags.

Plus, bags are multifunctional. Let's face it, it's hard to throw up into a postcard.

Why is this important to world baggery? Two reasons:

  • The presence of postcards increases the likelihood that bags will remain untainted by ink.
  • Some airborne muses, frustrated by the lack of postcards on which they can pour out their souls, decide to use bags instead.

While some baggists frown at less-than-pristine bags, other collectors have turned them into a minor sideline - as shown by the 1985 Monarch example above, from Homer Goetz's collection.

A bag that has been inscribed has two advantages over a mint-condition item. It normally shows the date - so helping to determine the age of the bag. And the text can give a unique insight into the human condition - like the marriage proposal described on the bag above.

Surely that is worth collecting?

Anyone got any more examples of this genre?

Thanks to Homer for contributing to this item.

Tuesday, January 23, 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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