This page is devoted to those oft-maligned, always misunderstood, but heroic individuals who have taken on themselves the onerous task of preserving the world's bag heritage for future generations.

Want to nominate a baggist to the Hall of Fame? Send me a photo of your favourite baggist doing something remotely connected with bags, plus something scurrilous (or at least mildly interesting) about him or her. In the interest of maintain the edgy tone that pervades this site, I retain the right distort what you write, almost to the point where the baggist concerned considers libel action.

Hungry for publicity? Yes, you can nominate yourself. Just send me a photo, and I'll see what I can do.

A baggist's gotta do what a baggist's gotta do

"Bob Grove and I were at the Los Angeles airline collectible show last week-end", says hard-ridin', hard-drinkin' baggist Bruce Kelly.

"We scored a few bags and got a few more after a brief excursion to the Tijuana airport. Here we are standing next to John Wayne, well his statute at least at the John Wayne International Airport in Orange County between San Diego and Los Angeles."

Our photo shows a bronze Duke peeing into a trio of Bruce's newly won bags: First Choice, Egyptair and Indian Airlines.

Hardly worth a trip to LAX from Bruce's home in Alaska, but maybe he was trying to avoid the January snows.

Bruce also visited the Grove ranch: "I can say that I have observed Bob Grove's very tastefully done home decor with dominant barf bag themes", he says. "He has some very rare bags indeed and it is a joy to see them proudly displayed. Unfortunately my wife will not allow such a decor in our home."

Forensic science reveals that Bob is proudly clutching a Gulf Air, plus two other bags I can't identify.

To misquote The Duke: “A bag is a bag, it ain't make a difference what color it is.”


The 2008 Guinness World Records book doesn't mention barfbags. Nor does the Guinness website.

But try typing "sick bags" into Guinness's search box, and up pops a picture of our very own Niek Vermeulen, sporting a Guinness sweatshirt and his trademark "barf bags wanted" baseball cap.

According to Guinness, Niek's collection boasts 5180 bags from 1003 airlines, and he has held the world record since 1970.

Mile-high? Not quite: there are 5280 feet in a mile. Niek should let us know when he hits the magic number so we can induct him into the Mile High Club.

Baggists in the bar

Want to know what your favourite baghero looks like? Here's a shot of some heavyweights from the world of baggery, celebrating in the pub after the November 2007 Internationale Tauschtage der Luftfahrt in Frankfurt.

From left to right: Oliver Conradi, Thorsten Hecht, Aidan Stradling, Jaromir Kral, Gerhard Lang, Dr Walter Brinker, Gerd Clemens, Dr David Bradford, Roger Macrae. Click on the photo for a closer view.

Chris flies Galaxies

Beware: 15-year-old British baggist Chris Hays has started flying lessons. Here he is preparing to steer a Galaxy C5B down the runway. Chris refuses to admit how many bags he managed to purloin from the cockpit before military police turfed him onto the tarmac.

Chris brings amazing energy to the art and science of bag-collecting. He began collecting bags only in early 2004, and has already amassed a very respectable 400+ bags. Visit his collection at

Baggists scrap in Milwaukee

Appearances can be deceptive. The three staid-looking gents in the photo, standing next to the sign "This is not a museum: This junk", are Niek Vermeulen (in hat), Bob Grove and Bruce Kelly (with beard) - three of the world's biggest baggists.

The three bagchamps met in July 2005 at the Airliners International show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

"I was able to grab a few good bags but the competition was intense, as you can well imagine", reports Bruce.

One can only assume that the photo was taken before the bagfight began. No news as to how many bags were damaged in the process, or who managed to land the most punches.

Thanks to Bruce for this news.

Baggist aims for the moon

Here's a 1969 photo of American baggist David Shomper (circled) trying to sneak into the nosecone of a Saturn V rocket to steal the astronauts' barfbags. Or maybe he's queuing up to go to the loo - the shack he's standing near.

David used to work on the Apollo moon program. The black-and-white photo below shows the whole rocket, with a person circled to give you an idea of the scale. Click on the photos to enlarge them.

David tells me that he doesn't in fact have any Apollo-era bags: he wasn't collecting back then.

Walter celebrates

German baggist Walter Brinker celebrates Lufthansa's switch from plain grey bags to marginally less-boring dark blue. The bags you'd love to get

That's Niek Vermeulen on the left, and he's holding three bags on every baggist's wishlist: an ancient KLM, the ultra-desirable reindeer-barfing-icecubes from Finnaviation, and Continental's "bowser" dog-cum-barf bag.

If you want to see more of Niek (no more bags, sadly), you can click on the image on the left. Or you can visit the Open Air Museum, at Arnhem in the Netherlands, which features an exhibit of Niek's bags hanging from the ceiling. Plus a full-length photo of the man himself holding these bags. The 800 bags Niek gave to the museum now have little frames inside them and have been sprayed with a fire retardant at the government's behest. Making them useless to collectors. Niek assures me that he still has plenty of swaps left, though. More than 11,000, in fact. Hmm... Niek probably has more bags in stock than most airline caterers do.

Walter at headquarters

Famed German baggist Walter Brinker paid a long-overdue visit to the headquarters on 14 February. He met the senior management, inspected the archives, and shared bag-collecting gossip with staff.

Walter (left) is pictured here with's Senior Baggist, Paul Mundy. Paul is seen holding a prized item from Walter's collection: an ancient German bag saying "Nach Gebrauch, nicht aus dem Fenster werfen, sondern auf dem Boden stellen" (After use, do not throw out of the window, but place on the floor).

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of's caterer and wine cellarer, Walter remembered to take this bag back home with him.

Denir at Frankfurt bagfest

If you've ever been to the International Air Transport Exchange Days in Frankfurt (which I haven't), you'll be sure to recognize Brazilian collector Denir Camargo. Denir is the source of many of the lovely Latino bags in the bagophily collection. He says he's been at every Frankfurt bagfair since 1993. He's also hoping to go to Gatwick 2005 (a British planelovers convention?) and Frankfurt later this year. You can reach Denir through the barfbags egroup.