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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, June 2007

Winner of the coveted Bagsite of the Month award for June is Christian Becker's site.

This German collector's attractively designed site features links to the airlines whose bags are represented.

So it you decide you'd like one of those attractive Air Vegas bags you see on his site, just click on the logo and you jump straight to the airline's site so you can book your flight.

Er, actually, you don't... Air Vegas ceased operations in 2004, and the link now goes to a the site of a firm offering tours of the Grand Canyon.

So it looks as if the only place you can see that Air Vegas bag is now on

A word of caution on the bagnumbers Christian claims to have. According to the site, he has 22 Air Berlin bags, though only 3 are displayed on (and according to exhaustive research by's indefatigable team of researchers, only 8 different Air Berlin bags exist). Perhaps Christian is somewhat unconventionally counting all the bags in his possession, not just the unique items?

For those sad souls who collect safety cards (thereby endangering their fellow passengers by depriving them of vital information that could save lives in an inflight emergency), also features a small safety card collection. Along with handy links to the manufacturers who build the airborne deathtraps that make safety cards such a vital part of your onboard experience.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 

Storing and displaying bags

June sees the start of a major new series on how baggists store and display their collections.

These topics bring up major technical issues (how best to store fragile bags from the dawn of commercial aviation?) as well as revealing deep psychological and social fissures in our society.

Perhaps fearful of dinnertime conversations turning to regurgitated stomach contents somewhere between the main course and dessert, baggist wives (inexplicably, most baggists are male) seem to banish collections from their living rooms to the more inaccessible recesses of the nuptial abode.

German baggist Walter Brinker has his collection in a different building.

Dutch baggist Niek Vermeulen even lives on a different continent from his collection - which is housed in a freezing basement on the Belgian/Dutch border, while Niek spends most of the time he isn't away stealing bags in sultry Manila.

My own collection is housed in the living room, but nearly caused a divorce when I used it to decorate the apartment one Christmas. Unimpressed by my plea that bags were aesthetic additions to standard festive fare, my wife refused to speak to me until all the bags I had lovingly strung up were safely back in their file boxes.

San Diego baggist Bob Grove has no such problems. He has framed much of his collection - some 632 bags - and displays them around his house.

"They hang on the walls of the three bathrooms", says Bob. "They have taken over a spare bedroom. I am pretty much out of wall space. I will not let them invade the dining room."

Sharp-eyed fellow-collectors will note a few prize items on display: ARP 410 Airlines, Surinam Airways, a bright red Empire, and ancient MAS and Gulf Air bags.

All this in San Diego - the new place of pilgrimage for the baggist confraternity.

Click here for more.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 

Want an old bag? Talk to your boss

"My boss (she comes from Iceland), brought me this bag - from 1950 - the first flight from Icelandair", says lucky baggist Oliver Conradi. "She thought it might enliven my collection."

Oliver is right about the bag - it's an exceptionally well preserved specimen for the period (something to do with Iceland's climate?). And it's the only known Icelandair bag to have something in Icelandic on it: Flugfélag Íslands H.F. (the firm's name).

Oliver's boss says she flew with the newly named Icelandair as a small child in 1950, and saved the bag between some books (hence the excellent condition).

The Icelandic name Flugfélag Íslands stems from 1943. I've been unable to trace when the winged horse logo on this bag was replaced by the current logo. Can anyone help?

Friday, May 25, 2007 

Nul points

"England is going to win the Eurovision contest this year, at least in the sick bag category, with his very kitsch song and videoclip," says French baggiste Gilles Beger. "It's here (you don't have to watch the whole thing as I did to see a bag, go to the end):
video/x1vb55_eurovision-2007-scooch It's going to happen saturday night in Helsinki. Good news for France indeed."

(Copy and paste the URL above into your browser: there's a block on putting a direct link into this posting.)

For those baggists unfamiliar with the Eurovision contest, "Nul points" is what you get for a truly awful song. This score has been achieved by a surprising number of countries over the history of the contest. See for details.

Thanks to Gilles for this item, and apologies if you had to sit through the whole 3 minutes in order to see the barfbag.

Come back Lordi, all is forgiven...

Update: The British song came second from bottom of the 24 entries in the contest. A richly deserved failure. But think of what might have been: if the song had not featured a barfbag, it would undoubtedly have clinched last place with the coveted nul points.

Another update: If you have broadband, you can also see a better definition video at I strongly advise you to turn the sound off before clicking on this link.

The bag that Scooch member Russ Spencer offers to a passenger in the video appears to have a Scooch logo on it - the same as on the tailfin of the plane that appears at the beginning and end of the video. The bags also appear in the seat pockets during one of the choreography sequences during the video. Anyone know if this bag is available for collectors?

Thursday, May 24, 2007 

Not to be thrown out of the air-craft

Denmark-based baggist Homer Goetz's 60-year-old SAS bag comes with evidence of the flight it was stolen from - a log for a flight from Copenhagen to New York on 17 May 1947.

The flight log says that the plane flew at a height of 8000 feet (that's under 2500 m - right in the middle of the weather) at a speed of just over 200 miles an hour. Taking the headwinds into account, that converts to a 23-hour trip. Not counting stopovers in Scotland and Newfoundland. It's a miracle this bag survived unfilled.

Click on the bag for full details.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 

World's biggest bag seen in wild

US baggist Steve Silberberg has spotted the famed Virgin Atlantic giant bag in New York.

Actually, he hasn't been anywhere near New York. Someone called Emily sighted them there, and uploaded these photos to Flickr, an image-sharing site. Which is where Steve saw them. Thereby saving himself the cost and hassle of a journey from far-off Massachusetts all the way to the Big Apple.

These bags are displayed on an advertising hoarding in West Village/Meatpacking District, which despite its name is neither a village nor does much butchery these days. A hip neighbourhood, full of trendy restaurants and clubs, it is an ideal place to place a barfbag this size in the hope of filling it quickly.

In the words of a Wolita proverb from southern Ethiopia: Chori chuchede olie kuntes (The spit of many will fill up the hole).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 

Conradi's Vacuum-Packed Bags Inc.

More on the bag conservation issue:

"My idea is to put the very old bags into two plastic sheets and seal it with a vacuum machine. This machine is built to put food into the freezer without air. Then the bag is 100% sealed from air, which can damage the paper and also from any liquid and fingers. I had bought such machine and will try it with the bags from the 40s and 50s. I will inform you about how it works.

Finally to keep them away from daylight, I try to find a plastic stuff which keep UV-light away - something like a sunblocker. Any idea if that is available?

The other idea would be to laminate them, but I found out it would stick the bag and there would be no chance to open it anymore and not to destroy it. Maybe the very last way to preserve the bags for the next 100 years."

Oliver Conradi

Click on the picture for an idea of how Oliver's idea might work.

Friday, May 18, 2007 

Yet another use for plain white bags

Try using them to collect the signatures of the cabin crew.

Air Baltic now have plain white bags, but your disappointment might be tempered somewhat by their charming cabin crew.

Hamburg-based baggist Oliver Conradi says that the crew member on the far left signed the bag with a kiss.

Thursday, May 17, 2007 

The Grove Institute of Bag Conservation

Baggist Bob Grove responds to queries on bag preservation:

"I display most of my bags in frames with the bag just sandwiched between a piece of glass and acid-free mat board. Many have been displayed like that for years with no noticeable deterioration. I keep other bags, not displayed, in archive quality Mylar sheet protectors [the kind that go into three-ringed binders].

I have had a problem with two different plastic bags just disintegrating over time. One was the mega size National Airlines and the other Southern Winds. When I noticed this, I placed the bag into an archival quality Mylar sleeve and placed it back in the frame. That seems to have arrested the deterioration. The other plastic bags have shown no signs of deterioration. I figure this must be attributed to the various chemicals used to manufacture the bags.

The only other problem is with very old bags where the plastic lining is glued to the bag. Over time the glue will turn yellow and show through the paper. I have no resolution for this problem other than to take the bag off display and put it in a Mylar sleeve. Doing this does have the benefit of limiting exposure to light, air and moisture which I assume are the culprits in dreaded bag disintegration.

Anyone have any different strategies?"

Thursday, May 17, 2007 

Battle for seventh place

Ascension Day, 17 May 2007, is a public holiday in much of Europe. It's also Father's Day, which means that male baggists have an excuse to disappear into their bagrooms undisturbed for a couple of hours.

And what better way to spend their time than lovingly counting their bags?

At least, that's the only reason I can give for a flood of emails received by on this day with fresh numbers for the Bagcount®.

And they boil down to a race for seventh place in the charts: just 141 bags now separate tenth from seventh place.

Coming in at number 10, Steve Silberberg, who has just surpassed the landmark 2000 bags, thought he had overtaken German baggist Walter Brinker, who responded within hours with a new figure of his own: 2038 bags. But Walter was in turn trumped by fellow German Gerd Clemens, who claims 2141 bags, so shooting up from tenth place to no. 8.

"Only my respect for David Bradford [in seventh place, only 2 bags ahead on 2143] prevents me from overtaking him", says Gerd.

Thursday, May 17, 2007 

Chris to give up bags, focus on music

Young British baggist Chris Hays has announced his retirement from baggery to focus on his music career.

Chris is drummer in a band that plays "rock / indie / screamo". He wishes to sell his bag collection to raise cash for a first album.

According to's bagdatabase, Chris's collection consists of at least 724 unique bags.

Chris's website,, is also on offer to the baggist who wishes to carry on his collection.

Chris will be missed on the bagscene. Over the last few years he has brought a unique mix of energy, inside bagsources at Virgin Atlantic, and inovativ speling to the sector. His departure means that the bagscene is now even more dominated by boring, myopic middle-aged farts. Who will look forward to receiving free concert tickets when he is a rock megastar.

Interested in his fine collection? Contact Chris directly.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 

Preserving bags for posterity

Barfbags are designed to be sturdy enough to survive for months in seat pockets, and are supposed to hold a range of acerbic solids and liquids for long enough to allow them to be disposed of without endangering the health of the cabin crew or travelling public.

Bags typically are made of plastic or coated paper, or contain a plastic insert to cope with biohazardous and acidic materials.

But let's face it, they are not intended to last for eternity.

Papers yellow and become fragile. Glues harden and lose their stickiness. Inks fade, and metal ties rust. Plastics degrade when exposed to light. Even without ever coming into contact with regurgitated foods and stomach acids.

This poses a problem for collectors. Valuable bags from the early decades of air travel can crumble when handled. Unique items can become too delicate to display. Airline history can disappear faster than you can say "Chosonminghang Korean Airways".

So how best to preserve your collection in tip-top condition? In archive-quality Mylar envelopes? Airtight containers? Humidity-controlled atmospheres? Lamination? Deep-frozen in liquid nitrogen?

Are any of these better than stuffing your bags in a shoebox? welcomes your storage and preservation tips. Email me and I'll post them on this page!

Responses so far (in order received):

  • "Send them to me." (David Shomper)
  • "Send them to me. I will treat them with tender loving care and use a little bit of Botox." (Walter Brinker)
  • "Try a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Oh wait, that's where Michael Jackson sleeps." (Steve Silberberg)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 

Any hope for Air France?

I've given up hope that Air France will ever change its bag design. I've even given up expecting them to provide me with a bag at all - they seem to have decided that passengers can do without this most vital of in-flight amenities. So it's always with a certain resignation that I board a flight at Charles de Gaulle.

Last week I was even more disappointed than usual. There was a bag, to be sure, but it was crumpled up in the bottom of the seat pocket. Totally worthless as a collector's item - I wouldn't even offer this one on Ebay.

But I did eventually find a use for it. My free copy of Le Monde had a particularly difficult sudoku, and I needed to have a second go at it. What could be more useful than the acres of white space on an otherwise useless bag? (Click on the bag for evidence.)

Monday, May 14, 2007 

The Clemens Ebay report for first quarter 2007

"Our hobby to collect barf bags wins more and more recognition", says special correspondent Gerd Clemens in his most recent market report.

"One indication which makes this obvious is the increasing number of participants at Ebay which bid for the offered barf bags. This is really a good sign on the other hand higher demand leads to rising prices.

During the last 18 months I tried to supervise the Ebay auctions with final bids exceeding a value of 10 Euro. As mentioned above due to higher prices number of this type of auctions became too much to follow them all. As I was
asked to continue with my reports I would like to do this at a higher limit of minimum 20 Euro.

Following I would like to inform you about Ebay auctions with a final bid of more than 20 Euros for the months January to March 2007.

Winner was a bag from the African airline Rwandair at a price of €75.84. This airline was established in 2003. Unlike other African airlines Rwandair is in compliance with international regulations and a registered IATA member.

Runner up was a bag from the defunct Spanish airline TEA which stands for Trabajos Aereos y Enlaces, which operated from 1967 to 1981. Price for this bag was €67.57. About 6 weeks later same bag was on auction again and
came up to €26.59.

A very old bag from Cubana from Cuba came in at # 3 at €56.55.

Allegro is a Mexican airline which is in operation since 1992. They run a variety of routes, usually charter between USA and Mexico. Each time when such a bag is offered it goes over 50 Euro, also this time, when final bid was made at €55.10.

Bouraq is a defunct Indonesian airline. In 1970 it was formed as a private airline corporation and wholly owned by the Sumendap family, which was also owner of Bali Air. After prolonged financial problems Bouraq and Bali Air
ceased operation mid of 2005. The offered bag was old so price came up to €54.03.

The Chinese bag from CAAC with a Boeing 737 design came in as number 6 at a price of €49.70.

DO Air is one of Japan’s first low cost carriers which was established in 1996 and started operations in Dec. 1998. This bag was offered together with a safety card, came up to a price of €44.82 and went to a collector of bags whereas the safety card collectors had given up at prices below 10 Euro. This is a good example that generally speaking, prices for barf bags are higher than for safety cards.

MEA Middle East Airlines is not offered at high prices, but a bag with a size of 32x15 cm was an exception and sold at a price of €43.95.

A set of 3 bags from Brazil contained a bag from TAF Taxi Aero Fortaleza with a new design. The bag from this airline which was established in 1971 and operates regional passengers and cargo services came up to a price of €38.64.

The French airline UTA came in at # 10 at a price of €38.08.

An old Northwest Orient Airlines was sold at a price of €34.39.

Yeti Airlines from Nepal was offered in 2 different varieties as the puking lady on the bags were wearing clothes in different colours. They came in on the ranks 12, 35 and 37 at prices of €33.83; €21.72 and €21.18.

The south Indian airline Paramount Airways was still around as # 13 at a price of €32.94.

The Peruvian airline Ecuatoriana is available in different variations. This time a bag came in as # 14 at a price of €32.78.

The state airline of Guatemala is Aviateca, which is now a subsidiary of Grupo TACA of El Salvador. Their barf bag was sold at €31.67.

Air Transat is a Canadian airline has a plastic bag which was not known to most of us. This rare bag was on sale at €38.50.

The Angolan airline Sonagol serves the petrol industry in this country. A plastic bag came in as number 17 at a price of €30.48.

Webjet Linhas Aereas is a low-cost airline based in Rio de Janeiro which started operation in June 2005. Their bag was offered together with 3 other Brazilian plastic bags. All 4 bags were sold at a price of €29.55.

From Kabul International Airport operates an airline which was founded in August 2003. The name is Kam Air, which was sold at a price of €29.26.

Number 20 is a generic bag with the information “Für Abfälle”. Nevertheless bag came up to a price of €26.60, followed by the TEA bag, which was described as # 2.

In May 2004 Air India established a low cost carrier as a subsidiary in Mumbai which started operations in April 2005. There red bag with the name Air India Express found its final bid at €26.17.

SCIBE-Zaire is a quite unknown bag in Europe which was sold at €26.00.

Walkers Cay Airline comes from Bahamas and price for their bag was €25.89.

Royal Nepal Airlines has removed the Royal from its name. Consequently they have issued a new bag with the revised logo as Nepal Airlines. Price was €25.90.

On the ranks 26-42 we find 2 different bags from Tanzanian airline Precision Air at prices of €24.60 and €24.45.

An old bag from Taiwanese China Airlines at €24.44.

A nice yellow bag from Air Jamaica showing route map in red which was founded in 1969 and since 2004 is totally owned by government. Price was €23.50.

Fuerza Aeronaval is part of the Argentinean navy. Their airplanes are equipped with a plastic bag with a black logo. Price for such a bag was €22.94, which is # 30.

Pluna, the Uruguayan airline, has a lot of different bags in paper and plastic. A plastic bag with blue printing was sold at €22.85.

Conviasa from Venezuela as plastic bag was at a price of €22.72.

Blue Wings is a German Airline based in Düsseldorf which was found in 2002. Their bag came in at €22.72 and €22.22.

TAPSA Aviacion is a small Argentinean airline which has a new logo. The new bag was sold at €21.66, followed by another airline from Argentina, Aerovip, at a price of €20.70.

At a price of €20.50 we find Aero Condor from Peru, a bag which was on sale many times during the last few months.

On rank 40 we find the Japanese airline AMX which started in March 2000 operating regional services from Amakusa Islands at a price of €20.49.

Last bag in this list is AeroGal from Ecuador, a bag which was on sale very often, but this time due to a small variety in the logo at a price of €20.05.

I hope you enjoyed this report about the activities at Ebay for the first quarter of 2007.

Keep care and all the best from Germany - Gerd Clemens"

Saturday, May 12, 2007 

Breathing bags

Always at the forefront of avant-garde art, barfbags are the centrepiece of an exhibition mounted by the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

"Detritus", an exhibit by two student artists at the university's Interactive Telecommunications Program, features eleven barfbags that start breathing when visitors approach. The bags shake violently if they are opened.

Artists Pravin Sathe and Andrew Doro say that the exhibit explores the question "Do inanimate objects have a life?"

"It is a statement on the life embedded within the objects we buy, use and ultimately discard", says the exhibit's website. It "in particular addresses the anxiety associated with travel."

The exhibit runs on 8 and 9 May 2007.

The bags, supplied by Swedish baggist Rune Tapper, are animated by tiny computers and powered by batteries. So they don't really have a life.

Unless someone has puked into them first, in which case they probably contain quite a few lives.

Thanks to Rune for this alert.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 

Want to buy stolen property?ٌ

Then head for the annual Airliners International exhibition at Kansas City, Missouri, on 5-7 July 2007.

What claims to be the world's largest airline collectible show will have oodles of stuff borrowed, purloined, nicked, pinched, or otherwise appropriated from aviation firms across the globe.

Amazingly enough, they seem to support this pilferage. Midwest Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines all offer discounted flights to Kansas City for people attending the show.

No, I won't be there, but Brazilian collector Denir Camargo will be, offering his unique selection of Latin American bags.

Thanks to Denir for this info.

Monday, May 07, 2007 

Heave Ho, the first bookbag

"I must take exception on your statement that the Langescheidt bookbag is the first publisher to have realized the value of barfbags as an advertising medium", says Alaskan collector Bruce Kelly.

"Back in 1992, Heave Ho! My Little Green Book of Seasickness was published to...well...a limited audience. It was authored by Charles Mazel as a personal thesis of his experiences with motion sickness drawing on both personal and historical topics and... yes, it had a barf bag as a bonus tucked between the pages of each book.

"In addition, there are two known designs issued (I have both). The first bag was a longer version and the second (perhaps as a cost-saving device) was smaller. Both used identical stickers on white generics."

You can admire Bruce's scans of these history-making bags on the left.

The book comes in two editions, pictured on the left, identical except for the covers. The book is full of interesting and witty tidbits about seasickness through the ages. Order your own signed copy, including the bag, direct from the author at The ideal present for the baggist looking to round off his collection with some supporting literature.

Thanks, Bruce, for the correction. And apologies to Dr Mazel for not checking my facts before allocating the kudos for the first bookbag to Langenscheidt.

Anyone want to dispute their claim to be the first German dictionary publisher to use bags as an advertising medium?

Breaking news: Charles Mazel, author of the Heave Ho tome, says the first edition sold about 12,000 copies. That means there are that many of these bags washing around waiting to be added to someone's collection.

Friday, May 04, 2007 

VIP bags

Hamburg-based collector Oliver Conradi has what must be a baggist's dream job.

He works at Hamburg airport, where he gets to board planes belonging to visiting VIPs. He shakes their hand and asks them for one of their barfbags.

The bag on the left used to belong to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, owner of the Chelsea football team and 16th on Forbes' rich list.

The former home of the bag, a Boeing 767, is also shown on the left. Unlike the bag, it still belongs to Mr Abramovich.

Niek Vermeulen tells me that the bag is the same as one used by NetJets UK.

Thanks to Oliver for these images.

Thursday, May 03, 2007 

Nix wie weg

Barfbags must be the hot new advertising medium. Here's another example - this time from L'TUR, a German last-minute holiday travel agency.

"Welcome back to normality", says the big type. This bag mailer (there's postage on the reverse) is aimed at a specific segment of the travelling public: holidaymakers who have just returned from an L'TUR vacation and now must face the strains of their humdrum everyday existence.

"Stress in your job?" it asks. "Tons of ironing? Annoying neighbours? If you're already feeling bad again, we have something for you here." (All that's in German, of course: I translate it for you as a free service from

Inside the bag is an insert offering you free bonus points on your next L'TUR booking.

"Nix wie weg"? That's L'TUR's slogan. Roughly translates as "Nothin' like away". Snappier in the German, I think you'll agree.

Thanks to Juergen Klein for lending me this bag so I can scan it. Such is his level of trust in me that he thinks I'm actually going to send it back to him...

Thursday, May 03, 2007 


In a bid to knock Niek Vermeulen off his perch as the world's biggest baggist, Virgin Atlantic has issued a bag big enough for you to climb into.

This latest Virgin advertising stunt takes a sideswipe at budget airlines. The text is a bit longer than most baggists are used to reading, but I do recommend you read through to the bottom (click on the photo to enlarge it) - it mentions our noble avocation!

Interesting to see that Virgin have chosen a bag design with horizontal wire tabs - typical of US bags but now pretty rare in Europe - perhaps because it is more instantly recognizable as a barfbag than their standard straight design.

Thanks to Rune Tapper for this image.

Wednesday, May 02, 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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