Hygiene Bags


Some collect banknotes, women, or movables. Others specialize in postcards, badges or artwork or butterflies. Few are those who collect hygiene bags, called in our specialized slang “vomiters”. Yes, indeed, you may think being disgusting is a special trademark, but we can take pride in keeping hygiene bags in good clean condition and only a handful may pretend to be the protectors and keepers of these indispensable items from the interior of modern airliners. We consider that these bags devoid of their unpleasant content are sometimes even expressing the artistic inclinations or the lack of it of the airlines´ heads.

            However, the fans of this hobby are few and thus, real connoisseurs of these lovely recipients who are at once the pioneers of a new stream of science – bagology, are not many either.

            Often, it is easy to appreciate the overall level of an airline by the level of the hygiene bags. Some airlines are trying to divert the attention of the passengers from their weak services and put diverse frames on the bags to keep canasta scores or play other games.

            This lengthy introduction indicates that this area of collecting was considered at first as a practical joke, but soon it has developed to be a true collecting branch for dedicated followers. It is known that even the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. has its own department where materials used onboard of aircraft are stored and 25 collectors in the US and Europe are today devoting their time and effort to this area.

            This type of collecting is not at all easy. Nobody would keep “these things” and it is quite difficult to find older ones. Customer Relations Departments of airlines do not keep these items on stock and collections are most often enriched through exchanges or swaps from different parts of the world. In spite of all the hardships, Czech collectors have in their collections a few true gems. We could name the hygiene bag of the Èeská Letecká Speleènost of 1938, a plastic hygiene bag of the American carrier National the size of which reminds us of a true shopping bag. Another special bag is the Mongolian MIAT hygiene bag folded on request from a sheet of paper by the flight attendant without using glue. TWA, American Airlines, Qantas, Air New Zealand and others use their hygiene bags as advertising for Kodak products. You put inside a film a send it for processing (you get a rebate on the processing). Other airlines would remind you that you might use it to bring food remnants for your pet. On some hygiene bags you may find the following text:” Sometimes even the nicest boys and girls feel phooey”.



Jaromír Král


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