Airlines have perfected the art of the miniature 40,000 feet up. One-use size toiletries have been standard in Business Class for many years, presented as an amenity kit on boarding. Thankfully their contents have come on in leaps and bounds over the years and have adopted the trend for big-name brands and celebrity collaborations.
It was not many years ago that amenity kits were pretty prosaic - comprising the basics of an irritating half-size toothbrush, minuscule toothpaste with tiny silver foil seal that you could never open, a welcome eyeshade, and a brown plastic comb, a pen if you were lucky, all stuffed in a dull zipped bag.
In the 1990s, passengers were lucky to find any amenity kits at all on their seats - as most airlines only offered basic toiletries in a basket in the washrooms. Up until 1994, for example, passengers on KLM Royal Class found toiletries loose in a straw basket in the washrooms!
Fast forward to today and the humble amenity kit has become yet another of the items in the airline’s armour on which to compete with rivals. Luxury lifestyle brands that would sit comfortably in the grand shopping floors of Tokyu Hands, Galeries Lafayette, Kaufhaus des Westens, YME, Saks, Illum or Harvey Nichols will be nestled in the high-end array of toiletries offered to you.
Amenity kits have caught the coattails of the trend to upgraded food, drink, cabin interiors and sleepwear. The tiny tube of toothpaste has grown to a decent size adequate for more than one use, the eye pad is now padded and branded, the toothbrush is full-size, and you will find high-end toiletries to help puffy eyes, tired and dehydrated skin, dry lips and something to splash on to help you wake up. The airline amenity kit is now a fully-fledged wellness pack geared to counteract the effects of long-haul travel.
And let us not forget the dull vanilla bag holding the contents; this has evolved into something special too, often branded, lined and one that you don’t mind taking home with you.
Clearly amenity bags have become collectables and justify a sales tag. Just take a look on eBay and you will see the top-end airline amenity kits for sale.
The BusinessClass.com selection of five of the best airline Business Class amenity kits:
EVA Air Royal Laurel and Premium Laurel Class
Fly EVA Air in a premium cabin and pick up Salvatore Ferragamo goodies before take-off. Passengers flying long-haul from Taiwan receive a hard-case amenity kit containing Bianco di Carrara series skincare products: 33 millilitres (ml) body lotion, 20ml hand cream and 10ml lip balm. In addition, the kit contains an eyeglass cloth, 2-in-1 mirror/comb set, eye mask, earplugs and Colgate dental kit.
Soft bag amenity kits are given to passengers on return flights and are filled with Ferragamo Convivio series skincare: 33ml body, lotion, 20ml hand cream and 10ml lip balm, plus the aforementioned other items.
Hurry if you want one of these collectables as the airline normally changes amenity kits each year but Covid has interrupted the changeover.
Also, while you are up in the clouds, look out for the Jason Wu sleepwear and passengers can also ask flight attendants for mouthwash and a shaving set if required.
British Airways Club World
As part of the airline’s Sleep Well in the Sky initiative, it started collaborating with The White Company in the UK in 2017 to provide not only the content but the elegantly-designed bag for Club World passengers.
The contents come from the company’s Restore & Relax Spa Collection and comprise Spa Relax Pule Point Oil, Spa Restore Gentle Moisturiser with Vitamin E and Jojoba oil, Spa Lip Balm and a super-soft jersey eye mask.
Club World passengers can also make use of a day cushion which doubles up as lumbar support, satin-trimmed woven blanket, padded mattress and duvet from The White Company when they want to get some shut-eye.
United Airlines Polaris
This American airline has chosen Sunday Riley skincare to keep passengers feeling relaxed and refreshed in its Polaris cabins.
It is a sustainable, cruelty-free, female-founded, and owned brand - so ticks many of the boxes for planet-friendly passengers.
Premium travellers will find the kit on their set on boarding and inside is a Sunday Riley lip balm, face cream, hand cream and facial cleansing cloth. United Premium Plus passengers also get a few Sunday Riley treats, namely the lip balm and hand cream. Polaris passengers also receive more standard items including a dental kit, earplugs and ergonomic eye mask.
Singapore Airlines Business Class
This award-winning Asian carrier has collaborated with British perfumer Penhaligon’s to launch new amenity kits.
Infused with Quercus, a refreshing and citrus and basil scent, passengers find what Singapore Airlines call an “inspired selection” of goodies - a 30ml hand lotion, a 7ml facial mist, a 4-gram lip balm and while stocks last, a 5ml roll-on perfume oil Luna, all in a green branded goody bag. Other amenities are available on request including socks, earplugs, slippers and eyeshades.
While this seems like a generous offering, it is the first time the airline has provided them on demand, in individual bags, preferring up until now to keep Penhaligon’s toiletries for all to share in the toilets.
But hold on, even though the toiletries are in bags, they are not waiting for you on your seat when you board; instead the airline asks that you request them and, furthermore, they are only available on selected flights - those longer than six hours.
Emirates Business Class
Long-haul passengers on overnight flights on Emirates are in for a real treat as the amenity kit bag is a bona fide wash bag available in multiple sizes, and much fuller too. The Middle Eastern airline has long partnered with luxury Italian brand Bulgari to create separate kits for men and women. This includes luxury items from their fragrance, Aqua Pour Homme for men and Omnia Crystalline for women. Aqua Pour Homme is a citrus and fruity fragrance with top notes of mandarin orange and petitgrain, while Crystalline is a delicate floral fragrance with notes of Japanese fruit.
Men receive the Bulgari moisturiser and aftershave balm plus useful items such as deodorant, shaving foam and razor. The women’s washbag contains a hand mirror plus the Bulgari body lotion, hand cream, and the Eau de Toilette. All passengers will also find toothbrushes, toothpaste, tissues and a fold-up brush.
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