It’s good to be a premium-class flier for reasons large (ample seating) and small (these amenity kits).
Among the small yet profound joys of flying in a premium-class seat is opening the amenity kit to see what’s inside. And these days, you can expect much more than a collapsible toothbrush and earplugs.
Amenity kits are just one of the many details attracting the attention of airlines—eager to entice those lucrative first- and business-class passengers. Some airlines are tempting them with collectible cases that can be snagged only on certain routes, while others are recruiting top designers and brands to create goodie bags worth keeping.
Luxury labels like Ferragamo and Bulgari often lend their cachet to the bags, whether supplying a travel-size bottle of cologne, an exclusive lip balm, or a cheeky eye mask warning flight attendants: “Beware, I sleep walk.” Etihad, meanwhile, has partnered with Sougha, a group that supports local UAE artisans, to weave bags given out to all fliers, even those in economy.
Since the first amenity kits appeared in the 1950s (then known as RONs, as in “remain over night” kits), travelers have been eagerly rummaging through them. This latest generation of kits is filled with items to surprise and delight—from international and domestic carriers who know just how to pamper the fliers in front.
American Airlines provides first-class passengers with practical yet stylish kits by Eames, the American design group known for chic office spaces. The padded 8×10 bag is printed with the iconic Eames dot design—and doubles as a tablet case. What’s inside? Dermalogica skin products, including nail treatment and hand cream, a minty lip balm, a moist toilette, plus a microfiber cloth to clean your device’s screen before stowing it for landing.
Jet-setters who book one of only four private suites on Air France’s new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft get to lounge on a 6.5-foot-long bed, swathed in merino wool blankets and cotton sleep suits. They’re also each gifted with a leather cosmetics bag by French brand Givenchy. It’s filled with Biologique Recherche products: face cream, anti-fatigue roll-on treatment for eyes, an eye mask, and an oshibori towel.
Air New Zealand embraces its laid-back, quirky personality—evident in its viral in-flight safety videos and its latest amenity kit. This slim, gray felt pouch holds Clarins HydraQuench cream and lip balm as well as Pippi Longstocking–esque striped socks. The eye masks feature witty messages ranging from “Sleeping beauty” to “Are we there yet?” and “Beware, I sleep walk.”
The sturdy wash bags in British Airways’s first-class cabins are stuffed with high-end beauty products (Aromatherapy Associates for women, London-based groomers The Refinery for men). Inside the women’s dusty-rose case, you’ll also find deodorant, a cotton wool pad, and a brush with a mirror attachment. The men’s steel-blue bag holds a similar arsenal of amenities, with the addition of a razor blade, shave gel, and eye cream.
When Cathay Pacific refreshed its first-class suites in 2013, it also revamped the amenity kits. The women’s Trussardi bag resembles a clutch purse; unfold the four-sided clutch to reveal hand, lip, and face creams from the Australian all-natural cosmetic line Aesop. There’s also a wooden compact brush worth pocketing. For men, Cathay Pacific supplies an Ermenegildo Zegna pouch full of Acca Kappa products along with a comb.
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