WHETHER you’re the person who gives the airline amenity kit a cursory rummage before stowing it away or you drool over deluxe eye masks and luxury cosmetics, the first class amenity kit is an essential part of luxury flying.
Amenity kits promote the airline’s brand image as well as promoting the brands that make the goodies. Ultimately they colour the whole flying experience. So who makes the best amenity kits?
Back in the glory days of the Concorde, you used to get beautiful gifts. I still have a lovely Concorde wallet that I use when I’m travelling. These days, first class is top of the line for BA and their amenity kit is less glamorous but still high quality. Inside the Gladstone style bag you’ll find a toothbrush, an eye mask with adjustable straps, cotton socks, and a number of cosmetic products from Ren. Unfortunately, the bag is perhaps too small and rigid for effective reuse.
Etihad won the 2012 TravelPlus award for the best first class male amenity kit, and it’s easy to see why. Contained in a soft leather box you’ll find La Prairie toiletries (which are available in Australia), a Schick razor and shaving cream along with the typical items. When you’ve finished with the contents, you can use the kit as a cufflink box. The female version is presented in a clutch bag designed by Swarovski, complete with a little grid of Swarovski ‘crystals’.
The Bulgari-designed brown leather bags contain a wealth of Bulgari products. The female kit features Bulgari au Thé Rouge perfume and a small mirror alongside the usual goodies, while the male kit includes a razor, aftershave, a comb and body lotion. Nestled among these, however, are Colgate toothpaste, Gillette shaving cream, and Axe deodorant, all of which sit awkwardly among the high end products.
Qantas’s latest first class amenity kits feature products from SK-II, a beauty brand often considered to be one of the most expensive in the world. The female kit, enclosed in a red clutch bag, includes a face cleanser, face cream, small mirror and all the other usual amenities. The male kit (pictured) features two sorts of moisturiser, a razor, Gillette shave cream, and Rexona deodorant.
Singapore Airlines’ kit is atypical in that it only contains skin care products, with the rest of the usual suspects provided separately. The products, however, are all from Sothys – a worldwide skin brand which has a shop in Australia – and include body lotion, lip balm and moisturiser to combat the tight, dry skin and puffy eyes of air travel.
To accompany the recent redesign of its first class suites Cathay Pacific is rolling out its latest first class amenity bags. The bag for men, designed by Ermenegildo Zegna, a luxury Italian fashionhouse, contains skincare products from Acca Kappa, while the clutch bag for women (pictured), designed by Trussardi, includes products from high-end Australian brand Aesop. You can also expect a shoehorn, a compact hairbrush or comb, mouthwash and the usual trappings. (But hey, Cathay Pacific, I’m still waiting for my Marco Polo Diamond card, after nearly three months!)
Despite rather lacklustre offerings in the past, Virgin Atlantic’s new Upper Class amenity kits are a step in the right direction. Although still featuring the basics – socks, toothbrush, Colgate toothpaste, earplugs, pen and eye mask – the kit, made from recycled plastic bottles, has been spruced up taking the form of a tablet-sized soft case on outbound flights and a travel wallet on inbound flights.