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Though American Airlines rolled out brand new premium cabin amenity kits just last year, it seems the carrier is at it again, continuing its collaboration with American designer Cole Haan and doing away with its dark-colored kits in favor of something slightly more chic. Like the previous iteration, these amenity kits will be available to passengers flying in international business and first class, as well in business and first class of AA’s A321T transcon flights. Although all four kits are nice, the international ones — unsurprisingly — are superior in almost every way.
AA is planning a soft rollout for the new kits — they’ll be introduced across the fleet this month and should be available on all flights by the end of February. The kits will also change quarterly and will come in four color themes: navy, gray, black and maroon.
Overall, the new kits are pretty nice. They won’t blow your mind, especially considering the contents are practically identical to those of last year’s product, but AA and Cole Haan are clearly paying attention to detail. In fact, only one of the kits — the one you’d get in business class on a transcon flight — actually has “American Airlines” or its logo embroidered anywhere on the exterior, one of a few indications that both brands hope to see customers repurposing their goodie bags for other, non airline-related business.
Let’s start with the transcon kits. For these routes, passengers will receive one of two bags. The business-class pouch is similar to American’s previous generation transcon business kit, but slightly sleeker. It looks nice and shows off the Cole Haan name, but feels flimsy — an angled flap snaps into the front to replace the old version’s zipper, but the construction is too lightweight to feel worthy of the design. Not that I wouldn’t appreciate receiving a rather sleek-looking amenity kit on a domestic flight, but this one is better off seen from afar. This is also the only kit with any mention of American Airlines’ name on its exterior.
As for the contents, the business transcon amenity kits come with American-made C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries brand body lotion and lip balm (retailing in the $20-$40 range), along with a toothbrush, Crest toothpaste, an eye shade, earplugs and slipper-socks — nothing too out of the ordinary. The socks are quite comfortable, too.
The first-class amenity kit carries the same rectangular pattern, but feels heftier and more durable. I would still say Hawaiian Airlines’ new business-class amenity kits (offered domestically between Honolulu and New York) are the nicest available on any domestic route, but the contrast between the blue pattern and the dark beige leather on these is attractive. The kit even includes a handy exterior pouch for your boarding pass. Would I carry this around after the flight? Probably not, but it reminds me a little of Etihad’s super high-end aesthetic.
Instead of C.O. Bigelow, transcon first-class customers receive Clark’s Botanicals hand cream and lip balm (retailing anywhere between $20-$120), along with the same eye shade, toothbrush, toothpaste and ear plugs. Those traveling in first class also receive a pack of tissues and a pre-packaged hand wipe. I feel like it’s slightly ridiculous to only give out hand wipes to first-class passengers, considering it’s just a little disposable wipe. Nevertheless, these kits are nice to have on a five- or six-hour domestic flight, and demonstrate the airline’s commitment to premium transcon customers in today’s highly competitive market.
International flyers are in for a real treat with the rollout of these new amenity kits.
Business-class passengers on international flights will receive one of the nicest amenity kits I’ve ever seen, complete with a chic leather exterior and a handy zipper pull. This is definitely a pouch I could see myself using after a flight, too, especially to carry toiletries and other small items when I travel.
Inside, the business kit features more C.O. Bigelow body lotion and lip balm, a toothbrush, Crest toothpaste, an American Airlines eye shade, earplugs, slipper-socks, tissues, headphone covers, mouthwash and a pen. I noticed that the socks in the international biz and first kits are quite a bit heftier and better quality than those provided on the transcon flights. I also like that you’re getting a regular-sized travel toothpaste instead of the tiny ones I’ve often seen on other flights, meaning you can actually use it for the duration of your trip. Using the headphone covers also mean you don’t need to worry about germs on the reusable Bose headset that’s provided.
First class is the clear winner here, both when it comes to contents and fashion innovation. The two-tone zippered “pouch” folds over nicely into a stylish “clutch” — the bag can also be repurposed to fit any standard-sized tablet.
Inside, most of the contents are the same as with the international business kit, with two exceptions. This one comes with three 3Lab products: moisturizer, lip balm and hand cream (products that retail anywhere from $50-well more than $100)…
…and pajamas, which are quite comfy, and compared to the previous kits’, are a little more fashionable. You might even catch me next Saturday morning in those blue pants.
I do like the new amenity kits, and generally speaking, many passengers will find them to be an upgrade from the current offerings. Perhaps they’re a bit flashy, but only just as much as the ones you’d find on other airlines like Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and other industry leaders that American seeks to join the ranks of.
AA seems to be thinking more “outside the box,” even making the first international kit into a full-functioning — and stylish — tablet case. I’d wager that since these kits don’t actually say “American Airlines,” you might spot premium flyers using them around town long after the flight.
What do you think of the new amenity kits? Sound off, below.
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