101 Uses for a Delta Airlines Barf Bag: #93

Ten years ago, I used to get a little freaked out about airplane flights.  Perhaps because my children were younger and my mothering instinct was hyperactively feeding me thoughts prior to take off.  The sequence would go something like this: “I’m sure this plane is safe.  What if it’s not? They don’t even have those little kiosks for plane crash insurance in the airport like they used to…if they did, I would have gotten some.  If the plane starts going down, will I have enough time to write Mick instructions about all the kids’ activities at school and special circumstances regarding our mommy car pool? Why am I thinking this – of COURSE the plane is safe!…But what if it’s not?”

I also used to politely look at the flight attendant providing instructions for a “water landing” when they were giving their schpiel prior to take off.  I used to purchase airport food more often because I didn’t think about eating before I went in or about packing snacks in my purse.  I used to over pack.  I used to check my ticket fifty times each flight and think about what the next step might be when we landed, such as finding the baggage claim area or the bathrooms.

I used to do a lot of things that drained most of my mental energies and kept me from enjoying my trips when I flew somewhere for business.  Not any more.  A combination of grown children, flying three or four places per year over the past decade, and becoming familiar with most of the major U.S. airports has done wonders for my psychological state during business trips.

Yesterday I flew to Atlanta.  I normally allow myself one luxury item per trip and that usually takes the form of some fiction paperback I can finish on the first day.  I had already purchased my copy of John Grisham’s “Ford County Stories” for the flight (you know, Grisham – because I was headed to the South?) and was walking toward the Delta gate when I spied a small Sonic in the fast-food conglomerate past the bookstore.  “Sweet tea.  All I need to top off this delightful reading experience on my way to Atlanta is a Route 44 iced tea from Sonic,” I thought.  I careened left, changing lanes across the packed aisles of walking traffic in the airport and slid into the fast food line safely.

My ½ and ½ tea (I can’t drink straight sweet tea, I ask them to mix it with half unsweetened) was good for having been purchased at a place sporting 90% fried stuff on the menu.  I boarded the plane and began my book.  I don’t remember the flight starting.  I hadn’t really paid attention to the person who was sitting beside me.  I think at one point my right and her left elbows were jockeying for position on the arm rest.  And I was not cognizant of how long the flight would take or even that we had taken off.  I was already deeply entrenched in “Chapter One: Blood Drive;” I was being transported to a scene in a small town where three young men took a detour on their way to give blood for a local friend who had been injured.  I was in fiction heaven.

I was in the middle of “Chapter Three: Fish Files,” page 110 when the plane landed.  I reluctantly closed my book and said hello to the person sitting at my side.  She was from Norman, OK and was headed to Amsterdam to see her son.  I noticed she had a designer bag, perfect make-up and probably dyed her hair based upon the age of her face.  She looked cool and started a conversation with me; she talked cool too.  We chatted for a minute and I reached down to grab my tea.

Having rested in the magazine holder for the entire flight, a film of condensation had begun covering the outside of my Route 44 Sonic Cup and no sooner had I picked it up then it slipped from my fingers and fell to floor of the plane.  I sighed with relief as it landed because the cup remained in an upright position.  “Lucky break of the day,” I thought.  That thought had come too quickly, however, because when I picked the cup up an erratic stream of ½ and ½ tea began to leak out in two different directions.  Huh?  I looked at the bottom of the cup to see my extra long straw had somehow been harpooned right through the bottom of the cup upon impact.  I quickly thought about shoving it into my purse…no! I looked around and decided to put it back on the floor to utilize the pressure of the carpet, somewhat like you would when applying a tourniquet to a bleeding wound.  I turned around to look for any leftover cup the flight attendant missed and was met with a barf bag hovering right in front of my face.

“Barf bag!” my cool seat mate exclaimed, “Try this!”  Perfect.  I slipped the plastic coated bag underneath my Sonic cup and the situation was immediately contained.  I glanced back at my cool seat mate to thank her.  She winked knowingly.  “Those things are really handy,” she said, “For lots of reasons.”

I agreed and made a note to myself to Remember The Barf Bags.  As we headed down the plane aisle I glanced back at my seatmate.  She was reading as she walked in line out the door.

“She must have been flying for TWENTY years,” I thought with admiration.  I saluted her in my head while gripping my barf bag and headed into the airport.


Editor’s Update: 12/7/2010 – make sure and check out our Barf Bag “Throwdown” follow up post written later this fall.



54 thoughts on “101 Uses for a Delta Airlines Barf Bag: #93”

  1. Nice story, thanks. Red Dirt, if you email me your postal address I will send you a free pack of the best barf bags ever made. No, I’m not joking. I own chunderbag.com 😉

  2. I have to admit (and will only admit it to you not in general to people I know) that I have become a nervous flyer. I try to immerse myself in a book, and oh, how I would love to be able to sleep on a plane, but both to no avail… I keep staring at the clock… counting the minutes to landing… you are so lucky having cracked the nervous flyer thing…

    1. Dear Krista – well I say…if you’re going to count, it might as well be something fun. So, if you get tired of the clock try counting the weird ways people navigate their space around their seat, the funky shades of gold and red so frequently used within the interior of a plane, the number of seat liners in the airplane bathroom…then at least you get can your mind of that ever-lovin’ clock! Take care, Red Dirt Kelly

    1. Dear Paula – I can’t think of more cool art to frame than the puppet faces you’ve drawn on barf bags to pass the time. You must indeed be a fun, fun person. All the very best to you, Red Dirt Kelly

  3. I miss riding the airplane. I always think of it as a roller coaster ride when it’s about to take off and when it’s about to land. I can still vividly remember my insides being forced to be pushed up or down.

  4. Nice post. I’ve never been a ‘good’ flier either. Too bad they don’t sell barf bags to the general public. Sounds like they could have multiple uses.

    1. Dear Matt – true. It’s interesting that “they” do not, eh? I wonder if “they” know what “they’re” missing by merchandising such a versatile household item?! Take care, Red Dirt Kelly

    1. Anna – I think there must be something to that. A couple days later, I’m getting search phrase data that reads, “what to do with a barf bag” or “other uses for barf bags.” Silly, huh? Thanks for reading…take care, Kelly

    1. Perhaps barfing and all associated paraphernalia , in general, is just contagious. I’ve seen more than one movie where one starts another, which starts another….

      Here’s to a barf-free season for you! Take care, Red Dirt Kelly

  5. Love it! I recently grabbed a couple off a flight to give my daughter for her car. She told me she had to drive a friend home one night.She had too much to drink and the girl got sick in her own purse! I was so grossed out and said, “you’re the daughter of a flight attendant. At least you could have a barf bag in your car! (Not that I encourage that behavior) But hey, it’s transportation and even with kids, it’s a good idea.

    1. Ah, flygurlual – you have armed your daughter’s car, now, with a highly versatile inventory for sure! So true…who knows where the vertigo will take us…or that which lies in our tummies? Take care, Red Dirt kelly

  6. They say people come into our lives for a reason.

    That was why she was sitting there. And only for that reason.

    You will probably NEVER see her again.

    1. Dear Irene –

      So many human beings…so many one-time chance encounters or reasons. Perhaps your comment held a reason for you and I as well.

      All the very best to you, Red Dirt Kelly

  7. I have to admit, I have only ever used barf bags for barfing and spitting out my gum before the disgusting meal. You have given me a lot to thing about! 😉

    <3 Milieu

    1. Dear Milieu:

      You’d be surprised and perhaps a little shocked at the “secondary uses” I’ve found for various household objects over the years (smile). Good luck finding fun alternative uses for every day stuff in your life!

      Take care, Red Dirt Kelly

    1. Hey you…that thought crossed my mind this morning when writing. I was thinking, however, that it might be even more fun to do a “101 uses” series on those horrific plastic retail bags that fill our oceans, trees, rivers and garbage dumps… I appreciate your comment. All the very best to you, Red Dirt Kelly

  8. Fun reading. I’m thinking about printing out this thing and read it the next time I hav to go somewhere by plane. I usually hate flying (I get the most terrible headaches) and it would lighten my mood to have something to make me laugh 🙂

    1. Dear SynLar:

      Nothing would please me more than knowing something I created helped reduce your horrific headaches, even if just a wee bit. Here’s to eventually feeling okay during those flights!

      All the very best, Red Dirt Kelly

  9. My husband works for an airline, so we fly many, many times a year. I used to entertain my kids (I flew often by myself with 3 kids under the age of 6 to visit my parents) by making hand puppets out of the barf bags. Just drew some faces on the bottom and stuck my hand in. Thankfully, we didn’t need them too often for their intended use! I guess being a person of great faith helps one to fly. I figure if it’s my time, it’s my time, no matter whether I’m standing on the ground or in an airplane – why stress yourself? Glad you’re more comfortable with it now; it’s definitely a great time to enjoy a good read!

    1. Sue:

      You’re certainly right about that. I didn’t write that in, but it has always been my faith that helps me “let go, and let God” about the time we get into the air…at least it used to. Now, God just gets to enjoy the ride with me 😀 So glad you and your family get the gift of much flying and exploring together.

      All the very best to you, Red Dirt Kelly

  10. Thank God she saved the day! Ha, Ha, ha! Great use, and I’m sure there are so many more…now everyone will be taking the bags and there won’t be any for the poor sick people!! Funny, Congrats on being FP’d!


    1. Dear Evie:

      Ah – the negative consequences of positive thoughts! 😀 True, true. Yes – SO grateful for that extra-cool, head-on-straight seatmate! All the very best to you, Red Dirt Kelly

      P.S. Thanks for the congrats as well. What a happy surprise today!

    1. Women-who-find-alternative-uses-for-barf-bags, unite! Thanks for your comment…and, SO glad you found a new place for your 3oz shampoo. Women-with-clean-hair, unite! Sincerely, Red Dirt Kelly

    1. Man, that would be a huge tragedy, wouldn’t it? “Duty-free perfume & cigarettes, beer, pretzels, snacks and barf bags.” Knowing me, I would always rationalize that I didn’t need one, of course, filling something else when I got sick on a plane! Thanks for the comment…all the very best to you, Red Dirt Kelly

  11. You know, I always listen attentively to the “schpiel” at the beginning — out of guilt, mostly, as no one else does.

    But it always makes me laugh when they tell you to that, in the unlikely event of a change in cabin pressure, you should put your own oxygen mask on before your children’s masks. Um. Yeah…right…

    My favorite airline is Southwest, as they always come up with something quirky. On one flight, the attendant said, “If you have 2 children on the flight, look at each, determine which one has a better chance of attending college, then put his or her mask on first.”

    I heart Southwest.

    Nice post, and congrats on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

    1. Mikalee – I heart Southwest too! Who DOESN’T love an airline that fills their telephone line “on hold” banter with jokes? And, the fact that you “honor the schpiel” makes you that much more endearing! All the very best to you, Red Dirt Kelly

  12. Is that why the last delta flight I was on had zero barf bags on the plane? 🙂 Turns out, that was the flight I got sick on. I had to vomit in plastic drink cups for the entirety of the one hour flight. The people sitting around me were very helpful, though, quickly dumping their drinks onto the floor so that I could have an empty cup to vomit in 🙂 (true story, by the way)

    1. Dear “Gates,” – – wow! Way for the brother and sisterhood of airline passengers to step up for your queasy stomach! All the very best to you…and, may all your airline seats have barf bags for you from this moment on….Red Dirt Kelly

  13. Nice read, I love airplanes, just the fact that since I don’t have much books I resort to the tv screens on the seats. And about tea.. I love them, too. I remember once having 7 cups of them during a two hour flight while watching the Simpsons! 😀
    *whispers* The barf bags.. Are really useful.

  14. I hope to one day become as comfortable on a plane as you! I am at the point of refusing to fly unless my children are with me! I loved your post. Barf bags are awesome. Alicia Clark once took a bunch of them for little Brody so that he would have bags with him when he got sick. Boy have those come in handy!

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