Last month both Etihad Airways and Emirates introduced new amenity kits for their business class cabins.
While Etihad teamed up with Luxe City Guides to offer stylised kits that contain travel guides to six destinations and natural facial products from the London-based toiletry brand Scaramouche + Fandango, Emirates rolled out The Private Collection, a set of 16 exclusive kits – eight for men and eight for women – in partnership with the luxury brand Bvlgari.
Alena Kirzner from Buzz Products, a global creative agency that helps airlines find brand partners for their comfort bags, says several factors determine whether an airline will offer a kit or not.
“Differing customer demands, demographics and the average length of flight time often determine whether comfort items are offered to passengers,” she explains.
Amenity kits have been around since the 1950s, but the latest trend is to offer passengers something they can reuse.
“It is about intelligent design, functionality and providing them with products which are attractive, natural, useful and reusable,” says Calum Laming, Etihad Airways’ vice president guest experience, of its new kits.
Robust and reusable micro-luggage kits have been adopted by many carriers in the past year. While Delta Air Lines partnered with Tumi, a US-based travel bag manufacturer, in June, the Australian airline Qantas renewed its partnership with Kate & Jack Spade for its business class kits.
“Many tell us they use the kits long after their flight as make-up bags or to store their phones and chargers,” said Kylie Morris, head of Qantas International customer experience.
Several Asian carriers have also adopted mini-suitcase kits this year such as Malaysia Airlines with its Porsche Design-branded hard case, ANA’s Samsonite bag and both Thai Airways and Eva Air with Rimowa, a German travel luggage manufacturer.
But not all carriers think they are necessary. Singapore Airlines and Finnair stock their washrooms with products instead.
“I ask myself: ‘Do I want to spend $6 million to $8m just on an amenity kit?’” Tan Pee Teck, senior vice president for product and services at Singapore Airlines, said earlier this year.
q&a remedies and amenities
Jonny Clark reveals more about the new amenity kits offered by the UAE carriers:
When were amenity kits first rolled out by global airlines?
During the 1950s when flights became longer and overnight sleeper services were introduced. In the 1920s and 1930s, passengers used to receive a “travel packet” that contained cotton balls to muffle the noise of the engine and chewing gum to help flyers adjust their ears to unpressurised planes.
What is in the new Etihad business class kit?
The comfort kit contains a facial moisturiser enriched with vitamin E and made with antioxidants and essential oils. There is also a honey and shea butter lip balm enriched with vitamin E, a sleep pack containing socks and an eye mask, a care pack of cotton pads and earbuds, and a dental pack and earplugs. There are also Luxe City Guides available for six different destinations.
And what does Emirates have to offer?
Emirates Indulgence by Bvlgari for Men in business class includes a drawstring bag, foldable hairbrush, dental set, rexona deodorant, Bvlgari body lotion, shaving foam and a T&H razor. Women receive a Bvlgari nourishing face emulsion, a mirror and refreshing towel.
What did these new kits replace?
Etihad’s previous offering was its Sougha Enterprise kit featuring patterns of Sadu, a centuries-old Abu Dhabi weaving craft; inside was an all-natural moisturiser and lip balm from the Athens-based Korres. At Emirates, the products haven’t changed, but the bag has.
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