The demise of the amenity kit

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  • Anonymous


    It doesn’t seem that long ago when taking a Business or First Class flight meant looking forward to a nice “take-away” in the form of the onboard amenity kit.

    BA’s Concorde had the Smythson diaries, wine notebooks and sterling silver Port labels and you could certainly be assured of receiving at least name branded ‘luxury’ creams and products from other airlines.

    Recent changes of course have seen Molton Brown be replaced by the inferior (IMHO) Elemis at British Airways and my Business Class flights to/from Asia on Finnair last week saw the amenity kit literally in a brown paper bag (that looked like an postal envelope) that contained only socks, ear-plugs and eye-shades.

    Qatar Airways still sports a decent kit (Molton Brown with cologne, bottles of hand cream and full sticks of lip balm) and a not-too-recent flight with Emirates in First Class yielded a nice leather bag full of Bulgari products.

    Of course flying from A to B safely and in comfort sits at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs when it comes to airline travel. But, spending considerable amounts of cash (many times 10 times what the person sitting only a few rows behind has spent) also means that premium passengers should rightly have elevated expectations when it comes to the softer side of the product.

    Which airlines are currently providing the best amenity kits?

    Which airlines have cheapened the product beyond recognition?


    I recently had the pleasure of flying on a private jet owned by a corporate customer. They provided a company branded sleep suit, a lovely leather bag containing shampoo, shower gell, soap, moisturiser as well as a mini ipod with noise cancelling headphones as a gift.


    South African Airways trialled Clarins products in their Premium Class amenity kits back in 2007/8 (which I was delighted about), however after less than a year offering them, now it’s just cheap creams and lotions not by any reputable brand. I believe it was a cost issue. However their kits remain colourful (the bags they’re in a certainly nice enough to take away).


    I agree – my collection, only dating back a few years has seen the amenity kit offer drop off considerably. My Emirates First leather washbag with Bulgari amenities which they give to you, together with slippers, PJs and eye shades, in a hessian carrier bag really does make a nice take-away. That said, even they have slimmed down the offer only providing this on night flights or longer day flights, meaning on a day flight LHR-DXB you only get the slippers and eye shades, though when you request a sleep suit they will give you one and products are still available in the bathroom, especially in the A380 shower spa.

    The offer at the back of the plane has also been slimmed down, it’s now more the exception rather than the rule to receive socks and toothbrush etc on a long haul flight – though at least BA and VS still do.


    QR use molton brown, thier 24hr moisture lock is the only cream in the world I have found does not give me a reaction rash, I have sensative skin on my face after I lost afight with a can of petrol as a kid!

    trouble i i go into the molton brown shop and cannot buy it!


    Agree that amenity kits are getting a little mean, with some airlines e.g.Virgin and Singapore completely removing them from business class. I love amenity kits and genuinely use the items in them, I agree with Stevecoots that QR have a good amenity kit, as do Cathay although they do change products frequently. Love the BA business one but the first one is now only OK for me I loved the previous Dr Harris products especially the cleanser.


    What do you mean by Virgin removing them? They still have the Upper Class snooze pack.


    Yes but… what do you end up doing with all of those amenity kits…? Courtesy of the senior member of the partnership, we’ve now got a fine collection of BA, Cathay and Aeroflot kits (the latter are truly unpredictable in terms of contents) and I am now having, politely, to suggest to senior partnership member (okay: wife) that to add to the collection of old BA First and Concorde kits that are still in circulation (!) we really don’t need any more. This has provoked some raising of eyebrows…


    Just don’t rely on BA’s Gatwick fleet to have them on board. My last three flights (2xTPA, 1x BGI) the kits coming back across the Atlantic in J have been on request only as they have been short loaded at Gatwick.


    Oman Air Business has a great amenity bag offering products from Amouage, the up market Omani fragrance house, and I think it won Best Bag, at the Airline Bag Awards…yes they do have this category…


    Hmmm, I do like Molton Brown, but don’t you think it’s gone downhill? They pour it from big vats to fill up the shower gel at my gym!

    IMHO Elemis is a much better brand, but I agree that having flimsy little sachets rather than mini bottles is pretty declasse…


    I’ll use the toothbrush and give all the creams to mrs. LP. She uses the socks round the house and the eye mask when I want to read in bed and she wants to sleep!

    I use the Qatar bags for phone chargers, cables and such like. Then another for a small medical kit with vitamins, aspirin, pain killers, savlon and plasters.

    My Swiss F bag takes my razor, deo, toothbrush and paste. It’s a perfect fit.

    The Swiss business class kit makes a perfect passport, document, cash holder and everything fits very nicely into my carry on.


    Sorry to have alarmed you Kiwibrit, yes the snooze pack is still there, i.e pjs socks eye mask but the potions and creams went along time ago.
    I use my favourite products and then pass the rest on, the small lotions are ideal for travelling. I always travel with a BA first eye mask unless as they seem to be the best, adjustable with velro rather than the elastic ones that cause skin to wrinkle while you sleep.
    The bag I find the least useful is the BA one, the qatar ones are a good size for chargers and the Cathay ones are big enough to use as toiletry bags although they have shrunk a little recently. Oh and AnthonyDunn your wife is of course quite right you can never have enough of them.


    Well I keep the cases for phones and cables and that is about it. Ba was good once and JAL was great. Nowadays everything is cheap and nasty. Air France business ( no first on route) was shiny plastic, very nasty indeed.

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