Are We On the Verge of a Shift in First Class Amenity Kits?

It might prompt some existential questions on amenity kits themselves

American Airlines
American Airlines is experimenting with a different kind of amenity kit.
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

They might not be the primary reason anyone flies first class, but it’s not hard to see the appeal of amenity kits. The contents and design vary from airline to airline, but you can generally expect an array of items to make your flight a little more comfortable — everything from eye masks to fragrances. There’s also a thriving secondary market for them; an informal survey of some ebay listings suggests that Lufthansa’s amenity kits can command an especially high price, relatively speaking.

Part of the appeal of these kits are the kits themselves, reusable cases made by companies like Tumi and Shinola. What happens, then, if that part of the equation is swapped out? As Zach Griff writes at The Points Guy, American Airlines is currently experimenting with a modified amenity kit that foregoes a Shinola bag with a recyclable cardboard box. It’s a nicely-designed cardboard box, to be sure, but a cardboard box nonetheless.

According to Griff’s reporting, American is testing this kit on some flights from Europe to the United States. The reason? As an airline spokesperson told The Points Guy, not everyone who receives an amenity kit on a given flight ends up actually using it or taking it with them. Reducing the amount of waste involved seems like a laudable goal — and if a sealed cardboard box can be reused in a way that a zippered bag cannot, it isn’t hard to do the math.

Is First Class Dead?
American Airlines just announced its intent to scrap its first class offering on long-haul fights…and it’s not the first.

American’s spokesperson told Griff that the amenity kit tests represented just one of “several tests and improvements” the airline was experimenting with this year. It will be interesting to see if this change sticks around — and whether or not it will lead other airlines to make similar changes. And it poses a larger question as well: is the amenity kit a practical object or a status symbol? How this plays out could offer a revealing answer to that very question.


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