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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!


Beg, borrow or steal?

Bagsurvey question

In the last year, how many new bags (ie, bags of a type you did not have before) have come from the following sources?

  • Stolen: Collected yourself from aircraft or airports
  • Requests: Requested from bag manufacturers, airlines, etc.
  • Gifts: Donated by friends, relatives, etc.
  • Swaps: Exchange with or donations from other collectors
  • Ebay: Purchased via Ebay
  • Bought: Purchased by routes other than Ebay (eg at collectors’ conventions)
  • Other: Other (please specify).

Where do all those bags come from? Out of aeroplanes, of course... but how do they get from the seat pocket in front of you into a bag collection?'s first ever survey asked baggists the question on the left.

Eight baggists have responded so far: hardly a representative sample, given the zillions of bag aficionados out there, but obviously most baggists are too busy, or too shy, to respond. Responses varied widely: one miserable baggist admitted to having enriched his collection by only six new bags in previous year. Another summarized the provenance of over 2000 bags in his collection.

The results depend, or course, on how you view the world. Interested in total numbers? Then look at this diagram.

Ebay auctions are clearly the main source, followed by swaps and theft. But these results are skewed by two respondents with large collections who bought heavily on Ebay.

The diagram below shows the same data, but treating all eight respondents equally. Here, swaps and gifts are the main sources, while Ebay drops into third place.

Thanks to those baggists who responded. If you haven't answered yet, send me your responses to the questions above, and I'll update the analysis.

Saturday, February 16, 2008 


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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