Air Sickness Bags of the World

Rohit Khare (
Thu, 12 Feb 1998 17:36:37 -0800


Now here's a 'site' you don't see every day. It's a private
collection of air sickness bags from airlines around the world. The
carriers, organized alphabetically into five galleries of 25 airlines
each, include British Airways, Cyprus Airways, Iran Air, LanChile,
Kenya Airways, Qantas, Royal Nepal and many more.

Airlines: looking for ideas to make your air sickness bags
attractive? There are plenty of ideas here. Looking to start a
collection? The site features both a catalogue and a swap shop.


RK gives it a thumbs up ... er, sideways. Pretyt obsessive littler
vomitorivm he's got there.


You still haven't said why you collect sick bags instead of other cheap
or free

Look, I was sitting on an airplane with my two pet newts and thought "I
have been
flying for over fifteen years and what have I got to bloody show for it?
I know, I'll start
collecting these sick bags. Bet nobody else does that!"

And were you correct?
No, there are dozens of like-minded weirdos out there.

Do you have much of a social life?

Do you only collect bags from planes that you have been on?
No, friends collect them for me and sometimes kind folks who visit my
web site on the
Internet are sufficiently motivated to send some new ones.

So you do have friends?
A few. I really meant colleagues.


There's a German site he links to with a fasinating history of the

The airsickness bag.

2.6 million of these bags are consumed by the passengers of Lufthansa
every year. The
numbers for Swissair are 1.2 million, and Air France 3.4 million.

The rumours say that the airsickness bag was invented after a flight
from Moscow to Berlin
in stormy weather, sometime in the 1920's. The big breakthrough for the
bags came in the
1950's, when new technology allowed paperbags to be made without the use
of untrustable

News from the Bags-scene

These simple bags from trains, buses and airplanes are known as barfbags
or airsickness
bags. The activity of collecting these bags is now slowly coming out of
its existence in the
shades of social acceptance. The self-confident bagologist doesn't
shamefully ask friends to
bring bags from their trips anymore, but advertises for bags in travel
magazines, calls the
airlines and asks if they can send some bags, or uses the Internet to
find others with the
same interest to swap bags with. On hectic swap exchanges bags are sent
around, and
sometimes people even pay money to extend their collections. Since the
founding of this
hobby in the 1960's, the hobby has become more and more widespread. One
proof of this is
that the largest collection can be found noted in the Guiness Book of
Records: 1.785 bags
from 405 airlines.

The collector of today has, like before, a big task to do by himself. He
or she has maybe a
couple of people helping him find bags when they travel to faraway
places. Airplanes from
new and exciting airlines are efficiently emptied for bags whenever the
collector can get on
a plane like that. The collector keeps in touch with like-minded people.
For every acquired
bag, the list of bags is kept up to date. Trade lists are kept, under
the principle "One new bag
is worth another new bag". If I sent you 12 different bags. No matter
how many bags you
send back, there must be 12 different ones. Collectors of other items,
like safety cards or
other airline items, may also be willing to trade bags against what they
collect themselves.
Before the end of the millennium, we should see a world-wide
organization for exchange of
airsickness bags.

The modern collector doesn't use shoeboxes to keep the bags in. The bags
are put in
transparent keeping folders, and neatly put in some kind of system.
Doubles of bags come in
handy when you want to trade yourself to more bags from others. The
numbers of different
bags are carefully kept. The bags are not only sorted alphabetically,
but also after what
countries and regions of the world they come from.

Keeping the overview of one's collection is done with the help of a PC.
Different tables with
date of acquiry and other data are kept about all the airsickness bags.
As the airlines every
now and then change the design of their bags, there must also be a
system for keeping track
of this: Bags with/without a logo, variations in colours, what material
is used (paper,
carton, plastic, etc), closing mechanisms for the bags and so on.

While the airsickness bag collector scene has changed a bit in the
latest years, the actual
bags haven't seen many changes. The plain, white bags are not so often
seen anymore. The
instruction "Please put the bag on the floor and close it after use" is
also disappearing. The
standard is changing into bags having plastic cover on the inside. More
colours are being
used, and the logos are getting bigger and more detailed.