**Updated** Several commenters have suggested the donation of amenity kits to shelters and others in need. I think this is a noble cause and I don’t want to take credit for their great idea by adding it to the post, but it should be noted that unopened, unused amenity kits could serve a higher cause.
Amenity kits are like toiletry gift bags distributed to business and first class passengers on long-haul flights. But a single roundtrip could include as many as three in each direction (six kits from one trip). If you’re like us, they probably stack up around your house and annoy your family. Not to worry, this post will show you how to get more from your amenity kits.
We have a ton of amenity kits
Seriously, too many. In storage bins alone we have exactly 61 kits and that’s not including the others floating around our house. My husband started this hoarding of kits when he would go on mileage runs and return home with multiple kits. I would become annoyed at the fast growing collection, mostly because I would find them all over our home and I didn’t see the value in taking them off the airplane. My view has changed a bit in the last couple of years since I started flying long-haul flights more often and now with a toddler-in-tow. I wouldn’t say we have a full on hoarding problem just yet, but when it comes to airline amenity kits (and travel magazines), we just have trouble letting go.
As we typically fly on oneworld airlines, the kits we collect are often from carriers like American Airlines to Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Qatar. In the past we have collected others like Korean Air and Thai Airways. Next year we have decided to try United Airlines and give Star Alliance a chance and while I’m not sure how that transition will go for us as a family, I know that we will at least gain some new kits for our collection.
The first kit I really loved was the Cathay Pacific Agnes B. Collection. The bags were attractive and I loved that they had gender specific bags with varying products. At this point in time, my favorite has to be the Qatar Airlines Brics kit. I love the hard shell on the kit and the inside mesh pockets. The products are great too. I didn’t even fly this airline, but I was pleased when my husband flew multiple legs with Qatar this summer and brought home 4 kits.
I haven’t always been pleased with the piles of airline freebies my husband collected, but over time and after receiving my own kits, I have grown to appreciate their value and even found ways I enjoy repurposing them.
They pile up
It is easy to go from zero to sixty, and even easier to fill three bins full of airline swag.
When you fly a multi-leg long haul ticket in a premium cabin, you can easily add 3-4 kits one way, now times that by three since we often travel with my daughter who sometimes receives her own special amenity kit in addition to the kit given to all passengers. When American Airlines rolled out their limited edition Heritage Collection, we managed to collect at least one of every airline and then some. What still remains of our collection is 15 kits and the majority of them are Air Cal.
It’s not just about grabbing the kits just to stock up on “freebies” that you actually have paid for (in the fare), but we see alternative value in them. For flights we take that are not in Business or First class, having a stocked kit or two for those longer journeys in coach can really come in handy. We also grab them to gift to friends and family members for their travels.
Whatever the reason we just can’t seem to throw them away.
They should be repurposed
Amenity kits can serve multiple purposes and once their initial purpose has been fulfilled, there are numerous ways to repurpose your kit.
In an effort to be more eco-friendly, Cathay Pacific’s designer Seventy Eight Percent, encourages passengers to repurpose their kits or pass it along to someone else who will enjoy the kit by including a note that reads: “Please keep it or pass it on to others. We would love to see it being reused.” This is the first time I have seen this message with any kit, but I haven’t been paying attention for very long. This is a great an easy push of encouragement for passengers to collect and repurpose their kits.
My repurposed Kits
Here are some of my favorite uses for old amenity kits:
- Adapters – We keep all of our power adapters in an old amenity kit for convenience at home and away.
- Camera Bag – The older Cole Haan bags fit our camera and accessories perfectly. We have also used one to store a pico projector and cords- keeping everything in one secured place.
- Make-up Bag – For me, this one is the most useful. I used to buy make up bags and hated when they got dirty from broken powders or leaked liquids. The kits are the perfect travel size and I don’t worry if I ruin the bag, I just grab a new one from our collection.
- Mini Diaper Bag – When my daughter was little, Cathay Pacific would hand out mini diaper kits for the flight which included 1-2 diapers, cremes and other useful items. I loved this idea and adopted it for times when we weren’t flying Cathay, or just to pop in my purse for quick trips out of the house when I didn’t want to lug around a full size diaper bag.
- Mini Activity Case– Pack a kit with fun surprises for your child I like to include stickers, small toys or treats and an item item or two that is new and hasn’t been played with before. These are helpful for car trips, airplane rides or instances where you just need to hold your child’s attention for a little while.
- School/Offuce Supplies– some kits are perfect for pencils, post-it’s, and other office supply item
- iPad Case – the American Airlines Eames tablet case amenity kit was a brilliant use of giving passengers an easy, greener way to repurpose their kit outside of the plane.
Kits I Still Want to Collect
The Rimowa amenity kits are highly sought after and you can add me to that list. I am a fan of the luggage and would love to add one of these kits to our collection. Lufthansa, ANA and Eva Air are all on my radar this year for this reason as well.
Singapore Airline’s new kits partnered with Laundress are also high on my want list. I am already a paying customer to The Laundress and use their products at home on a daily basis. When I read this post about Singapore Airlines new amenity kit, I immediately wanted one. Before our slow travel through Thailand I purchased two of the three items offered in the kit specifically to make my travels easier.
I think brands that partner and supply items for the kits are quite smart. The companies have a captive audience of high-end customers and it gets products in the hands of target customers. Dual-purpose amenity kits are really clever. They take into consideration making passenger travel easier even after the flight has landed.
Singapore Airline’s kits have featured Salvatore Ferragamo designed bags in the past with cologne for men or perfume for women among other items. I am not sure that I would want The Laundress kit instead of the Salvatore Ferragamo kit – so here’s hoping that future trips will allow us a selection to our preference.
Do you re-purpose your amenity kits? Which one is your favorite?