Inspired by a newspaper report on Rune Tapper's collection, here's my own selection of the biggest, the smallest, the ugliest and most boring bags.


National Airlines: a whopping 25 x 38.5 cm, big enough for your duty-free as well as your stomach contents.


Indonesian bags are consistent tiddlers. This one from Riau Airlines is a petite 11 x 16.8 x 7.9 cm: just over 1.2 litres when filled to the brim. The standard size for a bag? 12.4 x 24 x 8 cm: just under 2.4 litres.

Best design

Finnaviation. Collector Graham Curran has even turned this design into a Christmas card. The designs at DesignForChunks are awesome... but as far as I know, no airline has ever used them on a real bag.

Most boring

American bags are consistently the planet's most boring. Fly anywhere in the USA, and chances are you'll find a plain white bag in your seat pocket. How come US airlines care so little for their corporate image? This insult to the travelling public is from American Airlines.

Most chic

Has got to be AeroLyon's. Would not look out of place in the spring fashion collections in Paris or Milan.

Most original design

This dogshit bag from Dispoz-A-Scoop features a wire frame that retracts into the cardboard handle (which has a punch-out hand-hole). In fact, most of the bags on the Doggy bags page are pretty nice...

Most thoughtful

TUI wishes you a quick recovery.


The crown goes to Air India. China Airlines and Varig are runners-up.

Most luxurious

Emirates' two-tone gold bag? No, the prize goes to GMG's exquisitely designed masterpiece.

Most uses

TWA's bag can be used as a gin-rummy scorecard, as a photo-mailing envelope, and to puke into. But not all three.

Most useless

Someone has punched holes in this Gorkha Airlines bag. It's translucent pink plastic, so you can inspect the contents after use.


Flight Care Aviation -- this item consists of a piece of paper stuck to a sample bag, edited by a Flight Care executive. A unique insight into the process of bag design.

Most sought-after

This Air Force One bag -- used by George Bush in those queasy moments. Sought-after by collectors worldwide (the bag, not Bush). Goes to show that the most precious things are not always the prettiest. The one bag hotter than this is from the Space Shuttle. Want to send me one?


The Oscar goes to this photo bag from Qantas. It's even got text in the gussets. Puke into it, or put a film in it and send it off processing. Best not to do both. Qantas also wins the prize as the most prolific bag-producer. I have no less than 15 different Qantas bags in this collection.


Before and after pictures from Aviateca.

Most languages

British Airways, with 11, including Greek and Hindi.

Most upsetting

Mark of the Devil's film bag: makes you want to puke just looking at it.

Most educational

The British Government's Food Standards Agency came out with this bag showing restaurateurs how to avoid spreading food poisoning.


JMC's bag features the text "sick as a...", followed by a picture of a parrot.