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Dear Airlines, Give Us Better Amenity Kits

Like a mint on a hotel pillow, an amenity waiting on premium cabin seat is a subtle signal that someone out there is at least trying to pamper us during our time away from home, but not everyone considers the humble airline amenity kit to be a symbol of luxury. Wasteful kitsch or essential swag – the FlyerTalk community has ideas on how to improve this staple of air travel.

For many of us, exploring the amenity kit provided on a long-haul business class flight is as much fun as opening a birthday present. Other frequent flyers have a decidedly more jaded view of the complementary, but sometimes hastily packed goodie bags.

“Dear airline executive,” Boogie711 wrote in an open letter of sorts on the FlyerTalk TravelBuzz forum. “I’m flying in Business Class. I don’t want yet another pair of useless tube socks. I don’t want yet another cheap and ineffective eye mask. I don’t want a tiny fake-leather bag or tin can that’s effectively useless for any other purpose.”

Other members of the expert traveler community were quick to offer suggestions for improving the sad state of amenity kits. Still, other FlyerTalkers defended the amenity kit in its current form. While some members admit to occasional browsing eBay to purchase unique amenity kits, others say they have turned a tidy profit from selling their unused kits online.

Put a Sock in It!

Although some frequent flyers are completely befuddled as to why an airline would hand out a pair of tube socks before a long-haul flight, just as many say they often depend on the gesture and are disappointed when a change of footwear is not provided. Nearly everyone agrees on one thing: Slippers would be better.

Eye Masks and Ear Plugs

While there are a few passengers who swear by the one time-use earplugs and eye masks, those most likely to benefit from these sleep aids are also the air travelers who are most likely have their own, better quality sleep masks and noise-canceling headphones on hand. Of course, it is remarkably easy to forget to pack these items in an easily accessible place, occasionally making in these amenity kit finds especially welcome.

Sample in a Jar

When it comes to inflight moisturizing needs, the high-fashion products on offer in amenities can be hit or miss. Some frequent flyers, however, appreciate the chance to stress test the sometimes pricy products under real-world conditions.

It’s the Pens, Stupid!

In another case of rare consensus, nearly everyone agrees that finding a pen in an amenity kit can sometimes feel like winning the lottery. Based on an informal tally, it seems likely that if an airline simply handed out slippers and couple ballpoint pens in a brown paper bag most flyers would be more than happy.

Let’s Just Bag it

Speaking of bags, amenity kit cases maybe the most controversial element of the entire debate. While some flyers consider the reusable bags, metal tins and designer cases to be nothing more than future clutter, a few aviation geeks would rather have a collectible United Airlines airport series amenity kit tin than a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie baseball card. On a more practical note, the examples of ingenious uses FlyerTalk members have found for that perfect-sized amenity kit container deserves a show on NatGeo.

Be Careful What You Wish For

“Complaining about something provided that you don’t need is how economy travel had become so miserable,” member Gig103 cautioned. “‘I don’t need a meal. I always carry on, who needed checked bags. I don’t need advance seat assignment included, I can sit anywhere for a few hours. Drink service included? What a waste. I already bring my own water.’”

It seems there are a few passengers out there with the good sense not to look a gift horse in the mouth. On the other hand, the elite flyers most likely to be receiving an amenity kit have likely paid thousands of dollars for the right to complain about the decline of the amenity kit.

“Dear airline executives,” the FlyerTalker countered. “Please ignore the OP Letter, I very much like the kits. The mask is basically essential and easier to use yours than remember one. I often use the socks (prefer airlines that give slippers though). The pens are nice for landing cards. The lip balm is great in low humidity. OH! and the toothbrush is great so I can leave my dopp kit packed. Your bags themselves vary in usefulness. The older soft Tumi ones from Delta hold camera accessories and cables. The BA ones hold tiles for various games, or shoes. KLM was useless but my Delft house is on the mantle at home.”

Are amenity kits simply wasteful bags of useless junk or essential travel luxuries lovingly placed in cases worthy of collecting? FlyerTalk is unpacking the perfect amenity kit right now in the forums.


[Featured Image: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
Transpacificflyer August 25, 2019

I too donate my amenity bags. There are many emergency shelters who appreciate these items and they are put to good use by people who need them.

Gringa August 24, 2019

I love amenity kits. Here in Mexico there is an old people’s home that is thrilled to receive them but more often than not, I use most of the items in them. Not everyone is a jaded road warrior and with airlines always looking to save pennies, if people keep complaining about them, they will quit stocking them. ‘Leave them unopened on the plane if not needed.

fotographer August 5, 2019

I give away all my kits to Children's hospitals

jrpallante August 4, 2019

I am always amazed to hear that some people actually give a damn about amenity kits. Everybody I know who flies Biz class jokes that they have a dozen unopened amenity kits sitting in a box at home, or collecting dust under the sink. Many kits just get left on the plane or thrown into the nearest airport trash bin. When my children were little, I would bring them home for the kids to tear apart, but they are too old for that now. The whole amenity package just strikes me as very wasteful. Personally, I would be happy to see a menu of amenities that are available in the Biz cabin. If I happen to need a toothbrush, eye shades, socks, or some other miscellaneous item, I will ask for it.