What do you want in a business class amenity kit?

What do you want in a business class amenity kit?

TALKING POINT | Almost every airline hands out amenity kits to business class passengers, but the more you travel the more selective ('fussy' would be a less-kind description!) you become about their contents.

As regular business class flyers, Australian Business Traveller readers have undoubtedly seen their share of amenity kits across airlines and throughout the years.

What began as a touch of luxe at the pointy end – with their little tubes of skin care products, dental kits and eye masks – continually run the risk of becoming normalised in the competitive market.

As a result, airlines turn to brand-name partners for everything from skin care to the bags themselves. Indeed, in some instances it's the bag itself which has the greatest appeal because it can be re-used for other flights or repurposed as a handy bag for make-up or digital doodads such as USB keys and phone charging cables.

(Of course, complete amenity kits are often gifted to colleagues, family and friends who only fly in economy for that once-a-year holiday).

But how many business class amenity kits really nail the needs of the frequent flyer?

We were impressed by Singapore Airlines' recent offering of a special amenity kit built around fabric care products from The Laundress range including a 'crease release' spray to remove "moderate wrinkles" from clothing; a scented antibacterial fabric-freshening spray; and even a 'wash and stain bar' to spot- treat stains and use for on-the-go handwashing.

This pack is especially notable because Singapore Airlines usually doesn't offer any amenity kit in business class – the most necessary items such as a comb, dental kit and shave kit and are tucked away in the business class lavs.

(It's only when flying in first class that you'll score the Singapore Airlines PJs and Salvatore Ferragamo wash bag.)

The most frequent flyers tend to favour a DIY approach to amenity kits, customised to their specific personal and professional needs.

For example, my own kit contains a few of the essentials – such as the mandatory toothbrush and toothpaste – plus moisturiser lifted from the kit of earlier flights.

(At the moment I’m on the last of the Payot men’s range from the older Qantas first class kit).

I’ve also added small travel-friendly sized tubes of Kiehl's eye firming gel, a facial mist, sample-sized fragrance spray, eye drops plus Aveda hair product and a comb to help me look and feel a little more human at the end of the flight.

The final ingredients: some herbal valerian sleeping pills to help nudge me off to sleep and a tube of Berocca for a pre-landing pick-me-up.

Of course, it should all fit into a single zip-lock plastic bag with no liquid or gel more than 100ml.

What do other travellers pack in their BYO bags? Eyeshades, lip balm, breath mints and roll-on deodorant are common items among regular travellers.

A nasal decongestant spray or Vicks inhaler can help defray the drying effects of air conditioning.

A shoehorn can be handy to wedge yourself back into your shoes when your feet have swollen at the end of a long flight, although I find slip-on shoes avoid this as well as being easier to take off for airport security checks.

What should airlines include in their business class amenity kits, and what do you pack in your personal inflight amenity kit?

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

45 comments

  • Jim Horscroft

    jhor

    7 Sep, 2017 08:09 am

    I've never seen eye drops or glasses cleaning wipes in an amenity kit but I would use them every time if they were there.
    Member who gave thanks

    ErinB

  • mviy

    mviy

    7 Sep, 2017 08:18 am

    If flying Business/First I'd take what they provide on the flight. My key needs would be the eye mask and socks (and getting PJs is important to). I would like it if the toothpaste provided by QF was larger more in line with what you can get in the EK lounges in DXB.
    No member give thanks

  • Victor Teng

    victort

    7 Sep, 2017 08:39 am

    1 - PJ's is one that isn't consistent with all airlines that i would like to see standard. 
    2 - Toothpaste & brush
    3 - Comb
    4 - Eye mask and socks
    5 - Moisturiser
    6 - Hard carry case. (My preference) - it just feels more luxurious.
    No member give thanks

  • Victor Teng

    victort

    7 Sep, 2017 08:41 am

    7 - Eau de Toilette spray. Can't forget that!
    No member give thanks

  • Kin Ho

    KinHo

    7 Sep, 2017 08:44 am

    When reading this article at the start, I was scratching my head trying to think of what else would be good? Then some ideas came.... here's one.
    How about a good travel size refillable perfume/cologne spray bottle? Let's face it, we don't all like the same fragrance. This way we can fill it with our own for future flights. And with the extras from subsequent flights? Keep as spares, as they don't last. Give them away or good for different 2nd cologne that you use. Or even the same fragrance but stored in check-in luggage. Original cologne bottles are rather heavy. 

    Hope I'll get the interesting SQ amenity kit on my next J class. 
    No member give thanks

  • simon drakeley

    drsimon50

    7 Sep, 2017 08:51 am

    ear plugs - always forget to take own and fly EK alot without any in their kits

    No member give thanks

  • Shaun Ewing

    swewing

    7 Sep, 2017 09:33 am

    My personal inflight amenity kit contains: a dental kit, lip balm, moisturising face wash, anti-perspirant, and cough drops (sometimes with the dry air on long haul I develop a mild cough).

    I also travel with Quick-Eze in case the airline food causes indigestion, and paracetamol+ibuprofen. There's nothing worse than indigestion or a headache when you're stuck in a metal tube.

    Generally speaking anything from the airline provided amenity kit gets put back into my rotation to restock the personal amenity kit.

    A fresh pair of socks and slippers also accompany me - slippers are worn to and from the lavatory to save putting my shoes back on.

    No member give thanks

  • grumpytravel

    grumpytravel

    7 Sep, 2017 10:02 am

    1)Good ear plugs 2)A comb 3)Hand Sanitizer 4)Good toothpaste/brush 5)Alka Seltzer 6)Pyjamas that fit large people!

    No member give thanks

  • Tancho

    Tancho

    7 Sep, 2017 10:09 am

    For me, just the basics - Moisturiser, hand sanitiser and mouth wash.
    I quite like the MAS hard amenities case, I will be reusing that quite a bit I think.
    I remember flying Emirates quite a few years ago and they gave out a full sized Eau de Toilette. Can't remember the brand but it was one of the high end fashion houses, nice touch but I don't think necessary.
    No member give thanks

  • aniljak

    aniljak

    7 Sep, 2017 10:26 am

    A couple of pens as you can never find one when you need one;
    A cover  of some sort for passport  and ticket,
    Comb,
    Ear plugs,
    Eye Mask.
    Should give to Economy  passengers  as well!
    Member who gave thanks

    melbtraveler

  • mviy

    mviy

    7 Sep, 2017 11:01 am

    Oh yes pens would be a big help. It's a nuisance needing to ask for one to fill out an arrivals card.
    Members who gave thanks

    melbtraveler, Elsa

  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    7 Sep, 2017 11:05 am

    Yes, it's astounding how few airlines include a simple pen in their kit, I know that Virgin Australia does this and it's super handy for filling out those arrival cards for different countries.
    Members who gave thanks

    reeves35, melbtraveler

  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    7 Sep, 2017 11:07 am

    I really like some of the suggestions on this page and will be revising my own amenity kit based on them! My kit is pretty similar to David Flynn's (article author) plus others here who have cited good-quality earplugs and a decent eye mask. Some hotels provide a small 'sleep spray' for your pillow which I always add to my kit and gently spritz my eye mask, that plus 5mg of Melatonin always does the trick to get me off to sleep.
    Member who gave thanks

    melbtraveler

  • Say Mee

    mspcooper

    7 Sep, 2017 12:06 pm

    I would appreciate if they had mints/altoids. The new emirates kit is pretty awesome with shaving cream and even their razor is just incredible. I forgot the company they use for their moisturizer, it is one of the best i have had.
    Ear plugs and pen as mentioned before. Travel floss would be great too. 
     
    No member give thanks

  • Kin Ho

    KinHo

    7 Sep, 2017 01:49 pm

    About 10 years ago I flew EY on Kingfisher in India to Delhi. Their amenity kit had pen, earphones with the adaptor for aircraft seat, and a packet of spice "grain" as the mouth freshener, a per the country's culture. You get these spice freshener after dinner in India. 
    No member give thanks

  • John Geromoschos

    JTG

    7 Sep, 2017 12:38 pm

    I am sure many viewers of this site are in a similar position as I am, in that we have several drawers of these products in our bathrooms and don't know what to do with them. My wife is an early childhood teacher and she recently took over 200 creams, hair brushes, eye masks, etc and used them in a lesson to her 3-4 year old's.  The parents also appreciated the left over products and amenity bags.
    No member give thanks

  • kimshep

    kimshep

    7 Sep, 2017 01:15 pm

    If you have oodles of these surplus kits, consider donating them to women's homeless shelters or charities. They are always welcome donations and you will be actually helping someone anonymously who may have had to leave their own home without the benefit of taking many possessions.
    Members who gave thanks

    ACM, aniljak, Axl, JJJJJJJ

  • Andrew Laughlin

    Axl

    8 Sep, 2017 03:50 pm

    Brilliant idea re donating!
    No member give thanks

  • Arcanum

    Arcanum

    9 Sep, 2017 04:47 am

    I do this as well.  Sealed dental kits and shaving supplies are particularly useful I'm told.
    No member give thanks

  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    7 Sep, 2017 01:18 pm

    Pen, PJs and sleep socks, eye mask... earplugs are less necessary on modern jets (A380, A350, 787).

    As for cosmetics, these are also becoming less necessary on modern jets due to better cabin humidity. But a lip balm is pretty much essential. The rest of the cosmetics are probably best kept in the lavatory. 
    No member give thanks

  • Adam T

    AT

    7 Sep, 2017 01:35 pm

    I know it's a nice touch for premium classes but honestly I'm fairly done with them by now with the amount of flying I do, I make up my own with tooth brushes/paste I take from last hotel i was in and an old eye mask from BA and I just ask the FA for ear plugs. If I forget I just ask. I think these kits are far more important in economy to help with overnight flights. 
    No member give thanks

  • Matthew Liu

    gapmatt

    7 Sep, 2017 01:43 pm

    A hard case like the Rimowa's that are given on some airlines would be nice!

    I wish the toothpastes were more minty than the standard Colgate white ones!
    No member give thanks

  • Kin Ho

    KinHo

    7 Sep, 2017 01:58 pm

    Just googled it, and it looks like Thai Airways amenity pack is Rimowa. Looks nice. May have to fly J with them soon. 
    Other airlines mentioned ... 
    J class - EVA
    F class - Lufthansa, ANA
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  • Ashley C

    AshleyC

    8 Sep, 2017 04:15 pm

    I recently flew Delta and received their new Tumi hard cases and was able to get mine monogrammed too. Really cool idea
    No member give thanks

  • Arcanum

    Arcanum

    9 Sep, 2017 04:53 am

    Thai only gives out Rimowa kits in F.  Eva is the only airline giving out Rimowa kits in J.
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  • kimshep

    kimshep

    7 Sep, 2017 02:30 pm

    Seems to me that airline amenity kits have devolved from the 'practical' (of years ago) to the trend of 'product placement' (some of which is useful, some of which I could easily live without).

    By all means, include the usual fluff but bring back the really 'useful' items please:

    1. comb
    2. a 'useable' toothbrush
    3. pen
    4. earplugs (protection from your neighbour, not engine noise)
    5. small pack of tissues

    In reality, if airlines wish to play the 'product placement' game with included items, surely they should represent little or no cost to the carrier .. since it's generally possible to do contra or low-cost deals for 'sample' size product. With a captive audience, a well-stocked amenity kit represents good exposure for various goodies, especially when catering to premium classes.

    Member who gave thanks

    ozind95

  • Erin Beck

    ErinB

    7 Sep, 2017 03:03 pm

    Glasses cleaning cloth!
    Also useful on touch screens with finger prints.
    Member who gave thanks

    aniljak

  • Dredgy

    Dredgy

    7 Sep, 2017 04:01 pm

    Toothpaste is all I want. I travel only with carry-on most of the time and since I can't take a full size tube...

    Pen is also super handy, though years of working as a waiter means I always have a pocket full of pens
    No member give thanks

  • Blair Coull

    Notso Swift

    7 Sep, 2017 09:01 pm

    Ear plugs,

    Eye Mask

    Socks


    PJ's and Slippers on demand, but honestly, I save mine and give them away these days

    Everything else can (should) be in the toilet as a help yourself including Toothpaste and tooth brush, mouthwash,  hand cream, face cream, face refresher, lip balm, comb, and an in flight midget to give massages

    No member give thanks

  • Simon Obendorf

    OzMikado

    7 Sep, 2017 09:32 pm

    A security sized resealable bag for if you are on connecting flights and want to take the LAGS in the kit with you. 
    No member give thanks

  • Joe

    Joe

    7 Sep, 2017 09:41 pm

    mouthwash and deodorant on top of the standard.
    No member give thanks

  • Fqtv

    Zac

    7 Sep, 2017 10:30 pm

    My ideal amenity kit would have:
    - a classy case you can reuse
    - dry shampoo (for getting rid of "headphone hair")
    - mouthwash
    - small vial of cologne
    - toothbrush & toothpaste
    - pen
    - hand sanitizer
    - glasses/phone wipe
    - lip balm
    - misting spray (love CX's)
    - eye drops


    Member who gave thanks

    ozind95

  • Fqtv

    Zac

    7 Sep, 2017 10:35 pm

    ...and just to add, got SQ's fabric freshening kit on a flight today - what a fantastic idea
    Member who gave thanks

    Axl

  • oldfolky

    oldfolky

    8 Sep, 2017 05:44 am

    I'd rather they didn't hand them out at all. It is so wasteful to hand out all of these plastic doodads that most of us neither use nor need. Much better to have a central point for passenger to grab the things they actually need, or just ask cabin crew. I only need a new pair of PJs or a face mask once in a blue moon. 
    No member give thanks

  • flyer5000

    flyer5000

    8 Sep, 2017 09:25 am

    It would be great if airlines gave you the chance to hand over items you don't use and they then donated them.
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Howarth

    parischris

    8 Sep, 2017 12:03 pm

    My long-haul (9 hour+ plus flight) list:
    (1) reusable case for cables, USBs, plugs etc
    (2) rich hydrating moisturiser
    (3) rich handcream
    (4) emery board
    (5) pen
    (6) cleanser
    (7) toothbrush and paste
    (8) tissues
    (9) eye mask
    (10) earplugs
    (11) mini deodorant
    (12) slippers (Cathay's first class slippers are excellent)
    (13) PJs

    I sound high maintenance don't I :-)

    No member give thanks

  • sumayya

    sumayya

    8 Sep, 2017 03:15 pm

    Moist tissues for cleaning glasses along with mouth wash and lozenges
    No member give thanks

  • Andrew Laughlin

    Axl

    8 Sep, 2017 03:49 pm

    My must-haves that I always carry on:
    1. Toothbrush and toothpaste
    2. Clearwipe lens cleaners and microfibre cloth
    3. Vicks inhaler
    4. Lip balm
    5. Comb
    6. Emery board
    7. Chanel Hydra Essence Beauty Mist (trust me - it's worth it)
    8. Mouthwash
    9. Slippers
    10. Cotton tracky-dacks and long-sleeve T (for when you don't get pyjamas)
    11. Bose Quiet Comfort 35s (standard in AY Business - make QF's headphones look really low rent!) because I can't use earplugs.

    While the amenity kits are a nice idea, I agree with the comments suggesting amenities be available on request or in the loo (socks/tooth-kits/mouthwash/comb etc).   The SQ fabric care kit is a nice touch - I would have included a good sewing kit too!


    No member give thanks

  • Keen Poon

    Keen

    8 Sep, 2017 05:11 pm

    I always find it weird that Emirates always pack a decent canister of shaving cream in all packs. 
    No member give thanks

  • Arcanum

    Arcanum

    9 Sep, 2017 05:06 am

    The most elaborate kit I ever got was (believe it or not) in Global First on United.  The bag itself was a blue United-branded trifold shaving kit with a hook and multiple zippered compartments.  In addition to the standard toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, earplugs, eyeshade, and socks, they included mouthwash, tissues, a shoehorn, dental floss, a comb, 2 pens, a microfiber eyeglass cloth, and both a sanitizing wipe and a small bottle of hand sanitizer.  There was also a separate zippered pouch with 3 or 4 Cowshed creams and mists.  About the only thing missing was a travel-sized cologne or perfume.
    No member give thanks

  • Toottifruitti

    Toottifruitti

    9 Sep, 2017 08:55 am

    Pjs is a definite. I'm travelling with Singapore Airlines in December bus class from BNE no 1st class is available from BNE with any airline and would love Pjs.
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    9 Sep, 2017 11:55 am

    "No first class is available from Brisbane with any airline."

     
    Both Emirates and Korean Air offer first class on all flights from Brisbane (Emirates to Auckland, Singapore and Dubai, and Korean to Seoul).
    No member give thanks

  • Toottifruitti

    Toottifruitti

    9 Sep, 2017 02:31 pm

    I've never been aware of this as on a few occasions I've looked to no avail. 
    No member give thanks

  • Dr Al

    Dr Al

    9 Sep, 2017 04:21 pm

    Compiled from various 1st and Business kits received over time I have made up my own 3 kits

    Kit 1: (essentials) currently in an EK business case
    1. eye mask (QF first have become my favourite)
    2. Pj,s (not in the kit, but part of the essentials)
    3. ear plugs (for Qatar - in a little black hard case)
    4. lip balm (aesop)
    5. hand sanitiser (aesop)
    6. moisturing face cream (aspar)
    8. Tooth brush
    9. Tooth paste
    10. dental floss
    11.Pen
    12. small stick deodorant (doesn't leak like some of the role ons).

    Kit 2 (medical) also in a EK case - newer squarer model
    1. anti travel sickness medication
    2. gastrostop
    3. gaviscon chewable
    4. neurofen
    5. panadol

    Kit 3 (electrical) - in a qatar business pack (small black one)
    1. travel adapter
    2. iphone plug and cable
    3. in ear headphones
    4. Bose QC noise cancelling headphones (not in the case but goes alongside)
    5. usb stick (you never know when you will need one

    No member give thanks

  • Ian_from_HKG

    Ian_from_HKG

    12 Sep, 2017 02:39 pm

    I have a whole load of stuff I take with me - a carry-on bag full, in fact (much of which, to be fair, is reading material!).  What I would like airlines to provide as a basic kit (and yes I know this seems like a lot, but they are all things I would use inflight):

    Toothpaste & brush
    Mouthwash
    Comb or hairbrush
    Dental floss or toothpick
    Antiseptic moist wipe
    Shoehorn
    Pen (why is that so rare?)
    Throat lozenge (as you say, dry air...)
    Lip balm in the form of a stick (I hate those gels or pots)
    Moisturiser - but not a whole tube, a sachet would be fine
    Decent earplugs
    Slippers (not fussed about socks - not fussed about eyeshade either but that's a personal thing)
    Stickers to let them know if I want to be woken for meals or left alone (if indicators aren't part of the seat function)
    Solid deodorant stick (Finnair used to provide these and they're brilliant - non-staining, less sticky than roll-on) or spray

    Other things I have received in the past which I really appreciated (all in first class):
    Retail size bottle of cologne/aftershave (SQ)
    Full set of aromatherapy sprays (BA - these were from Aromatherapy Associates, IIRC, and were fantastic)

    I also really like the idea of the laundry set you mention by SQ - what a brilliant alternative, and so very useful.

    And, having said all that, I would be very happy indeed if airlines just left help-yourself trays.  I do use things in amenity kits but am acutely conscious of the fact that anything I don't use is just unnecessary waste.
    No member give thanks

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26 May, 2019 03:34 pm

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