As airlines cut costs at the back of the plane, premium customers are benefitting from an increased investment.
And, when it comes to First Class, airlines know that it’s often the thoughtful extras that capture our attention and win our loyalty. Whether it’s the type of Champagne served on board or the tableware meals are presented on, luxury travellers have a nose for detail and a penchant for quality.
That’s why, in recent years, the amenity kit industry has taken on a life of its own. Since their inception at the dawn of transoceanic flying in the 1950s, amenity kits have become far more than just bog-standard washbags filled with little more than toothpaste and an eye mask. Today’s stylish kits are often made by upscale fashion labels, packed with products from high-end cosmetic brands like Bulgari and La Prairie.
They have even become collectable keepsakes for many, something that passengers take with them and utilise far beyond their flight. For that reason, we take a look at which airlines are currently offering their First Class passengers the best amenity kits.
1. Air France
Since February 2017, Air France’s La Première customers have been enjoying brand new amenity kits, developed in partnership with luxury French skincare brand, Carita. Available on board long-haul flights, the new kits come in two colours, light blue and orange, and bear the La Première logo and the seahorse, the symbol of Air France. The new kits replace popular leather ones designed by luxury French design house Givenchy.
Along with the usual ear plugs, the kits contain a Lagoon face cream; a wrinkle solution for the eyes, to reduce circles and dark lines; a luxury hand cream; lip balm; a face pack; a comb; a pen; and, rather uniquely, an exclusive offer for a hair treatment and styling session with Carita.
2. British Airways
At the beginning of 2017, British Airways unveiled its brand new his and hers washbags, in collaboration with Liberty London, the world-famous West End department store which has been serving London’s creative community since its opening in 1875.
The new First Class kits – the first in a series which will be drip-released throughout the year – consist of a black-embossed men’s kit and a floral women’s version. Inside, passengers will find products from Aromatherapy Associates, including (in the women’s kit) Renewing Rose Cleanser, Triple Rose Renewing Moisturizer, Orange Flower Hand Lotion, lip balm, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrush, a brush, ear plugs, eye mask, socks and a pen.
3. Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific provides its First Class passengers with a number of premium goodies, including stylish amenity kits from boutique Australian skincare brand Aesop. The kits, which come in his (grey) and hers (camel) versions, feature Aesop-branded camellia nut facial hydrating cream, rosehip seed lip cream, and body balm, along with a dental kit, mouthwash, earplugs, a sleep mask, a screen-cleaning cloth and a wooden comb. Additionally, fly in First Class with Cathay and you’ll also receive comfortable pyjamas from fashion brand PYE. Matching slippers complete the ensemble.
In January 2017, Emirates teamed up with luxury Italian brand Bulgari to offer premium passengers a newly-designed amenity kit. The swanky new bags feature Bulgari’s woody floral fragrance, Eau Parfumée au thé noir, as well as a number of skincare essentials, a Bulgari travel mirror and Bulgari Face Emulsion for women, and Bulgari aftershave emulsion and a Taylor’s of Old Bond Street reusable razor for men. The First Class kits are made from fine leather and are available in eight variations – charcoal grey for men and pale grey for women.
Book a First Class ticket for overnight long haul flights with Emirates, and you can also look forward to sleeping in self-moisturising pyjamas. From manufacturer Matrix, the loungewear uses a technology it describes as “Hydra Active Microcapsule Technology” to prevent drying of the skin during the flight. The main ingredient is sea kelp, a brown sea algae known to be rich in nutrients. The moisturising effect of the pyjamas is said to continue working for up to 10 washes, just in case you fancied pilfering them.
Lufthansa has enlisted the expertise of one of Germany’s leading manufacturers of premium travel and carry-on luggage, Rimowa, to create their First Class amenity kit. The bags come in four colour – a deep red, dark green, black and grey. They are gender neutral and contain a shoe horn, an eye mask, earplugs, headphone covers, dental set, socks, a breath mint, and cosmetic products from luxury Swiss brand La Prairie, including Moisturizing Lip Balm, Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Cream and Cellular Hand Cream.
Etihad has teamed up with two leading brands from the worlds of fashion and beauty to offer its First Class passengers one of the most sought-after amenity kits in the skies today. Designed by fashion brand Christian Lacroix and features products from Hungarian skincare brand Omorovicza, the luxury wash bags come in a signature plum purple for women and grey for men, with a burgundy and black variant set to follow in a second phase of the range.
The womens’ bag is designed to be used as a “chic clutch”, while the mens’ bag is designed to be used as a wash bag when buttoned down, or can hold tablet devices such as iPads when opened. Inside, the kits contain four anti-ageing and rejuvenating items by Omoroviczaas, well as a lip balm, a facial moisturiser, ear plugs, a comb, a care pack (consisting of cotton pads, earbuds and an emery board), a dental pack, a sleep pack (with socks and eyeshades), and a relax pack (with pillow mist and pulse point oil). The men’s option also includes a shaving kit.
7. Japan Airlines
The amenity kit you get on JAL’s First Class is dependent on which route you’re are flying and the season. The airline has a wide selection, all designed by Spanish luxury brand LOEWE. Each variation contains a toothbrush set, mouthwash, earplugs, an eye mask, a towel, lip cream, a brush, a pocket tissue, and a moisture mask and lip balm from LOEWE. Smart-looking sleepwear with “odor-fighting properties” is also available for First Class passengers.
Qantas’ first class amenity kits have been designed by Paris-based couturier Martin Grant, who is also responsible for Qantas’ staff uniforms. His amenity kits for the airline’s First Class cabin come in navy hues and feature a range of bespoke hydrating ASPAR by Aurora Spa skincare products, including hand cream, lip moisturiser and facial moisturiser. They also feature Martin Grant-designed travel socks and 3D eye mask, a dental kit, ear plugs and deodorant. First Class passengers can also snuggle up in 100% cotton pyjamas when it’s time to sleep, and pop on a pair of matching slippers if they need to shuffle around the cabin. Oh so homely.
9. Qatar Airways
Qatar offers its First Class passengers a number of different luxury amenity kits on board its different routes. The one you’re most likely to come across on long-haul flights, however, is a bag that was launched toward the end of 2016, made in partnership with luggage designer BRICS and Italian skincare brand Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio. They come in four colours – black and grey for men, and white and burgundy for women – and are packed with products from Castello Monte Vibiano Vechio, “the environmentally friendly olive oil company,” including lip balm, hydrating facial mist, anti-ageing moisturiser, and night recovery cream.
Qatar’s most stylish kit is to be found on board selected A380 routes (including services to Paris, London, Bangkok, Guangzhou and Sydney). Developed in partnership with Giorgio Armani, the kits are designed in Armani’s signature black, with golden accents. The womans’ kit can double as a makeup or jewellery bag post-flight, while the mans’ kit has been designed as “a smart travel bag.” They are available on A380 , among others.
10. Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines’ current First Class amenity kits are designed by luxury Italian shoe brand Salvatore Ferragamo. The womans’ kits is a white and black branded clutch complete with cosmetic goodies from Signorina, including a one-ounce bottle of eau de toilette. Men a chic, black PVC bag complete with ACQUA Essenziale toiletries including cologne, hand cream, and lip balm.