Behind the curtain: Airline amenity kits unpacked

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Have you ever wondered what it’s like on the other side of the business and first class curtain? The VIP treatment, the free-flowing drinks, gourmet meals/fine dining, the comfy seats or, better yet, beds. Ahhhh…the good life. And what about those secret perks in the complimentary “airline amenity kits” – your own personal in-flight “swag” bag?

Our team of travel experts looked through, tested, photographed and rated 48 economy, business and first-class kits from 27 of the world’s leading airlines to reveal the “secrets of the VIP experience”.

Part Hollywood A-list swag bag and part practical travel accessory, amenity kits are where airlines roll out the red carpet for their elite customers. So, it was no surprise to learn that the First-Class kits are stuffed with luxury brands (Loewe, Tumi, Chopard, Bulgari, DiorFerragamoL’Occitane) – and contain everything from eye masks and shoe horns to “pulse point oil” and “pillow mist”.

In total, just five of the 27 airlines achieved a six-star review, with Middle Eastern and Far Eastern airlines dominating, as kits from EmiratesEtihadJapan AirlinesQatar and United came out on top.

Lufthansa and Royal Brunei took joint top honors for the “Best Male Accessory”; Lufthansa for its German football kit-themed bag and Royal Brunei for its super luxury slippers.

Polish airline LOT grabbed “Best Female Accessory” for its nail file; while Qatar was – literally – the comfortable winner for the “Best Kids’ Accessory” with a Spongebob Squarepants backpack (in a Qatar captain uniform) that also doubles as a pillow or booster seat.

Amenity kits, you could say, are the icing on the proverbial cake, and every airline has its own recipe.

See all the airline reviews

  1. American Airlines: 4 Stars
  2. Air Berlin: 4 Stars
  3. Air Canada: 3 Stars
  4. Air New Zealand: 5 Stars
  5. Austrian Airlines: 4 Stars
  6. British Airways: 5 Stars
  7. Condor Airlines: 3 Stars
  8. Delta: 5 Stars
  9. Emirates: 6 Stars
  10. Etihad: 6 Stars
  11. Garuda Indonesia: 5 Stars
  12. Iberia: 3 Stars
  13. Icelandair: 5 Stars
  14. Japan Airlines: 6 Stars
  15. JetBlue: 4 Stars
  16. LOT Polish Airlines: 4 Stars
  17. Lufthansa: 4 Stars
  18. Malaysia Airlines: 5 Stars
  19. Qantas: 5 Stars
  20. Qatar: 6 Stars
  21. Royal Brunei: 5 Stars
  22. SWISS: 5 Stars
  23. TAM: 4 Stars
  24. Turkish Airlines: 5 Stars
  25. United Airlines: 6 Stars
  26. Vietnam Airlines: 4 Stars
  27. Virgin Atlantic: 5 Stars

Our star rating system:

  • One star = Taxiing
  • Two stars = Approaching cruising altitude
  • Three stars = 35,000 feet
  • Four stars = High life
  • Five stars = Edge of space
  • Six stars = Fly me to the moon

The top 10 most popular amenity kit items (“=” denotes tie):

  • 1 Brush/ comb
  • 2= Eye mask
  • 2= Toothbrush
  • 3 Socks
  • 4= Earplugs
  • 4= Moisturizer
  • 4= Toothpaste
  • 5 Lip balm
  • 6 Tissues
  • 7 Shoe horn

Behind the curtain: Airline amenity kits unpacked  2

And then we created our dream kit:

  • Etihad’s kit bag
  • Japan Airlines‘ toothbrush
  • Garuda’s hair brush and shoe horn
  • Turkish Airlines’ two-tone ear plugs
  • SWISS’ La Prairie moisturizer
  • Air New Zealand’s “Beware I Sleepwalk” eye mask
  • Vietnam Airlines’ Chopard lip balm
  • Turkish Airlines’ non-slip socks
Behind the curtain: Airline amenity kits unpacked was last modified: September 3rd, 2014 by Oonagh Shiel
Author: Oonagh Shiel (3401 posts)

Content Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!