Vinyl Class

The vinyl carry bag was a very popular item in the airline industry in the 1960s and 1970s. Today recreations are a popular retro item as well as originals (as seen here) for sale on e-Bay, Etsy, Gumtree and similar sites.

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I had one identical to this Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) one that had been given to me as a small kid, probably by my grandmother who’d no-doubt flown with TAA at one time. Then they were a status symbol, given that, while air travel had expanded enormously, it was still exceptional for most people and thus having one ‘casually’ slung over your shoulder was a social point to score. I don’t have my own any more, and if I did, it’d probably look more like the one below:

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I’m sure almost every airline had them (I presume they were sold rather than part of a ticketed gift) and even if you just stick to TAA of the era, there seems to be a fair number of different designs, two seen below.

I’m guessing that the popularity in the era was also a factor of being able to print block colour onto vinyl successfully. (The process has proven remarkably colourfast – the subject TAA bag’s white is still good a half-century later, though the ‘gold’ has transitioned.) Bright airline logos and type-based insignia were going to work well – the TAA ‘727 ‘T Jet’ and DC-9 pictures, are artistically, I think, less successful.

And for the inevitable social media questions. Did you have one? Do you still have it? How did you get it?

James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.

Image from various transient internet sales sites. A search on ‘airline vinyl bag’ throws up a vast array from numerous airlines. Did your favourite airline issue them?

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