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 first- and business-class passengers. Some airlines are tempting 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.
Air France – La Premiere Amenity Kit
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 – Business Premier Class Kit
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.”
British Airways – Men’s and Women’s First Class Amenity Kits
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.
Cathay Pacific – First Class Kit
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.
Delta Airlines – Business Elite Tumi Kits
Luggage designer Tumi used its exclusive ballistic nylon for these amenity kits released in the winter of 2013. Malin+Goetz Neroli lotion and lip moisturizer and a Tumi eye mask are included in the sleek bag, as are a shoehorn and shoe polish—throwbacks to the golden age of air travel. The redesigned business-class experience doesn’t stop here: passengers feast on multicourse meals paired with wines by a James Beard–awarded sommelier and drift to sleep in Westin’s exclusive, hypoallergenic bedding.
Etihad Airways – Sougha Limited Edition Kits
Kudos to Etihad for giving amenity kits to economy-class fliers as well as those in first and business—and for partnering with Sougha, a group that helps support local UAE artisans and traditions. As a result, the bags are woven with bedouin patterns and feature tassels. A small coral version is gifted in economy class. Inside the Diamond First Class bag is a set of exclusive products by the upscale perfumery Le Labo, while Pearl Business travelers pocket a few choice Korres products from Greece.
Emirates Airways – First Class Bulgari Amenity Kits
Emirates is consistently ranked as one of the best airlines in the world, and its his-and-hers bags live up to that standard. The rugged, Italian-leather men’s kit contains Thé Rouge cologne, aftershave, and lotions as well as a reusable Trueffit & Hill razor. The silky women’s bag is also full of Thé Rouge products as well as a Bulgari travel mirror in matching satin. Can’t get enough Bulgari? The onboard Shower Spa stocks the brand, too.
KLM – Viktor and Rolf World Business Class Amenity Kits
Contemporary Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf are the force behind KLM’s new his-and-hers amenity kits. Timed with the debut of the fleet’s new business-class interiors in spring 2014 (with details such as carpets of recycled KLM stewardess uniforms and Scottish sheep wool), these blue and gold bags are stocked with matching-colored toothbrushes, slipper socks, satin eye masks, and a mini, branded pen. The women’s bag (topped with an adorable leatherette bow) could easily go with you to a dinner party upon arrival.
Qantas Airways – Business Class Jack and Kate Spade Amenity Kits
After designing a successful duo of modern, graphic bags exclusively for Qantas, Kate and Jack Spade returned with a new set of his-and-hers business-class bags in November 2014. The Kate Spade kit for women features an eye-catching geometric print that you’ll want to show off after landing; men receive a complimentary-colored charcoal bag with a bold red racing stripe. Travelers can freshen up with ASPAR by Australia-based Aurora Spa products in equally vibrant scents: sweet orange, rose geranium, almond, and cocoa butter.
Singapore Airlines – First Class Ferragamo Amenity Kits
Ferragamo tops off the Singapore Airlines premier experience with its white and black branded clutch for women, complete with a miniature set of Signorina products: the standout is a one-ounce glass bottle of eau de toilette, trimmed with a pink ribbon and scented with floral jasmine and sweet panna cotta notes. Men get a soft PVC wash bag complete with aromatic ACQUA Essenziale toiletries, also by Salvatore Ferragamo. The fresh-scented cologne, hand cream, and lip balm aid the fight against jet lag.
Japan Airlines – First Class Kit
In March 2014, Japan Airlines debuted a new first-class amenity kit—available to passengers on international routes. Japan-bound travelers get soft, corduroy bags; better yet are the canvas tote-style bags given on outbound flights. They can easily be reused as a hanging toiletry bag upon arrival. The kits come in seasonal shades: beige for spring and a rich chocolate brown hue in autumn. Inside, passengers will find an Agua de Loewe moisture mask and lip balm and a faux-suede eye mask.
Qatar Airways – First Class Dior Bag
These limited-edition first-class amenity kits—by French fashion house Dior—debuted with the new A380 cabins and redesigned Missoni pajamas. Bottles of Dior creams and perfumes (Fahrenheit for men, J’adore for women) are a perfect fit for the sleek, black bags. Women also take home Diorshow mascara. The airline’s youngest elite travelers are treated to memorable amenity kits: a doll-size SpongeBob with straps that serves as a backpack, stocked with in-flight entertainment for tykes. Included are an activity book, a SpongeBob pilot toy, and finger puppets.