Airsickness paper bag, also called barf bag, motion sickness bag, or disposal bag, has been a constant companion of travelers, tucked in the seat pocket. And despite the developments in the airline industry — like before 1970, nobody checked luggage and smoking was allowed on board — this bag has been one of the most useful inventions since 1949. So, whenever travelers feel nauseous, the airsickness bag saves the day. Aside from its usefulness for people who have motion sickness, they use it to store food or as a waste bag.

There are other benefits of using the airsickness bag — an irreplaceable bag for adults and children. Let’s find out what they are below.


The airsickness bag is lightweight and compact, tucked in the seat pocket in front, and accessible. It brings convenience for passengers, especially for those who suffer from motion sickness or feel nauseous due to the claustrophobic setting inside the plane.

If there’s no need to use the bag for vomiting, passengers can use the airsickness bag for other purposes like keeping trash and wrappers. The bag is also present in boats, which helps passengers who suffer from seasickness find relief from it in case they want to vomit.


It was in 1949 when Gilmore Schjeldahl invented the plastic-lined airsickness bag for Northwest Orient Airlines. Previously the bags were made from waxed paper or card. Furthermore, the modern versions are made from plastic-lined paper that can hold everything else inside — vomit, urine, and waste.

One of the benefits of paper bags is that it’s environment-friendly. Since the packaging material is made from paper, it decomposes quickly after use. There are manufacturers in India that produce airsickness bags that have an absorbent coating — made from natural ingredients — that quickly melts when exposed to 50 to 65 degrees celsius.

Brand building

Airline companies can show excellent service through small gestures like providing these airsickness bags in the seat pocket. It’s one of the best ways to communicate with their passengers how much they care that using this small bag can significantly impact customer experience.

Other brands even use these bags as memorabilia for airsickness bag aficionados. It’s a way to build the brand and connect with people creatively.

For example, Virginia Atlantic partnered with designer Oz Dean of ‘forcefeed:swede’ in 2004 and issued a limited edition of half a million bags. Dean was known for his online gallery of sick bags, and his project is “Design for Chunks.”

Do people collect sick bags? Yes. Niek Vermeulen, a dutchman who’s been collecting since the 1970s, has the most extensive collection in the world — 6,290 of them from 1,191 different airlines.


To increase their income, the airline companies can print advertisements on the bags, and it can help with your brand marketing. Like how bake shops have customized bread paper bags, airlines can print their logos on the bag and even include a slogan or promotional lines that can boost brand awareness for the passenger.

Advertising doesn’t need to be aggressive, too. Sometimes, even these airsickness bags can help them subtly communicate a message or prompt them to act or call someone.

In the age of social media, customers often share unique experiences online with friends. They take photos of almost anything they find interesting about the company. A beautifully designed airsickness bag that evokes emotions is an attention-grabber, making it easier for companies to promote products subtly.

It may not be as aggressive as it seems, yet the goal of engaging with passengers by prompting them to promote the company is a sure win — thanks to a professionally designed bag.

Final thoughts

The airsickness bag offers quite good benefits for passengers, especially when it comes to convenience. It’s lightweight, compact, and easy to use for anyone struggling with motion sickness on board. It is also available in different paper bag sizes. Aside from serving its purpose during the travel time, it can also be used to build the company’s brand and as a tool to advertise and connect with customers creatively and in subtle ways. It’s one of the most irreplaceable inventions that people can’t ignore and live without in any season of the year.

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