8 Ways to Marie Kondo Your Excess Airline Amenity Kits
Sometimes, an AvGeek can have too many perks. The swag from traveling first class either reminds you of a great experience, like one TPG reader's luxury-travel trip around the world for just $273 in cash, or reminds you to clean house -- Marie Kondo style. Excess tubes of toothpaste, earplugs, eye masks -- and so many kit bags. If these kits no longer bring you joy, they might bring some happiness to others.
Here's what some of TPG's top travelers are doing with their amenity kit surplus.
Collect and display them with pride
Amenity kits can range from generic, soft black pouches to limited editions, discontinued brands and exclusive collaborations. If you have some unique pieces, show them off! Your favorite amenity kits make great AvGeek or travel fanatic keepsakes. TPG Lounge member Lara S. stores her prized amenity kits on a shelf in her office as a reminder of cool trips she's been able to take. "Can’t wait to add my United 747 commemorative container to my Olympics [trip amenity kit]," she said.
Some of the best kits become heirlooms. "I'm pretty sure I have a Concorde amenity kit my dad got," Lounge member John S. told TPG.
Repurpose the kits
Many travelers told us they save and reuse amenity kit cases, pouches and bags to sort small travel items.
"They are excellent travel organizers," TPG reader Brian S. said. He uses the kits to hold everything, including "cords for my electronics, medicines/vitamins, amenities when I’m in economy, even instant coffee and snacks." TPG Lounge moderator Ross Binkley agrees. "The hard-shell ones are great for keeping small items from getting crushed in your bag as you're traveling."
Large pouches are perfect for storing electronic devices such as tablets.
A number of travelers told TPG they use zippered pouches to keep track of small items inside luggage or bags. "I use the soft ones to corral loose things in suitcases and my purse," said TPG reader Carry B.
Give kits to someone who will appreciate them
Do you know someone who loves aviation, but doesn't get to fly very often? Share the love! A friend made TPG reader Daniel L.'s day by gifting him an unused Delta One Tumi amenity kit. "Guess I need to find a store to get this pretty thing personalized!" he shared with TPG Lounge in June 2018.
Another TPG Lounge member asked the community to help make her AvGeek son's dreams come true. "My son is turning 9 at the start of April," said Bevin C., "... what he really wants is to fly flatbed first class so he can 'experience it and get the fancy amenity bag.' I can't make the first part of it come true right now, but I thought there may be a few frequent flyers who could pop one in the mail and make his birthday wish come true — well, part of it, at least!" More than a dozen kind TPG readers sent leftover kits from their own travels, with Clare footing the bill for postage.
Clare isn't the only traveler whose children appreciate the kits. They make "great souvenirs for the kids," said reader Bryan S. Gema F. added that her kids enjoy "collecting the best kits."
Omar A. shares in another way: "I normally give them away to a patient at a hospice center with a little note and souvenir," he told TPG.
Donate them to charity
"I volunteer at Walter Reed [Army Medical Center]," said TPG reader Lisa A., who suggested donating extra amenity kits to the Red Cross branch of military hospitals for patients and their families, who often travel long distances on short notice. "I ask all of my family and friends to bring me shampoo, conditioner, soap and all the travel size stuff from hotels — it all really comes in handy. At Walter Reed, we maintain a stock room for families and patients of these types of supplies, and we also provide a welcome bag to patients [who have been medically evacuated] from overseas. There are many patients and families living in dorms for extended treatment which we distribute these to as well."
Other donation recipients include facilities that serve victims of domestic abuse, who "almost always have to leave with nothing," said TPG reader Jane R., who donates her extra kits to the local shelter. Another reader concurs: "I had to use a domestic violence crisis center," said Lounge member Jan T. "Even though I stayed in my own home, I didn't have extra cash for little luxuries to pamper myself."
Homeless shelters can use individually packaged supplies. A number of New Yorkers — including many at the TPG office — donate unused kits to the Bowery Mission on the Lower East Side. On the West Coast, TPG reader Janet K. and a number of community members donated their time and amenity kits to a 2018 supply drive for personal hygiene kits for 17,000 homeless students in the greater Los Angeles region.
Holidays are a good time to pass along unused kits, some TPG readers told us. "I amass these items to give to my local charity's annual holiday drive to give to cancer patients at Miami's county hospital," said Caroline B., who said she also shows proof of her charity work to collect additional unused products from airlines and hotels.
Hand them out to someone in need
"Fill them with basic toiletries and a few granola bars [and] keep them in your car," suggests TPG reader Jack V., "and pass them out whenever you encounter homeless people."
Cindy H. agrees. "I keep amenity kits and hotel toiletries for homeless people," she said. "I make goodie bags that I keep in my car and hand them over to homeless people at traffic lights."
One reader told TPG about a teacher who creates feminine hygiene kits for young girls and slips them discreetly into backpacks and purses for unexpected emergencies.
Save them for house guests and Airbnb rentals
"I give them to friends and family who might appreciate having a nice kit for their luggage," said TPG Lounge member David B. "I also keep a bunch of the amenities for when guests stay over at my home. It's great if they forgot to bring something!"
Fellow reader Chris M. does the same. "I load up my guest bathroom so that anyone coming over is covered for the basics," said Martin.
Some frequent flyers resell their kits online. "I sell mine on eBay," Kenny L. told TPG. "They usually go for anywhere from $15-$30, depending which airline and what's in the bag."
It isn't illegal to sell your frequent flyer amenity kits so long as they are part of the airline perks for premium cabin passengers. The bonus income can pad the change jar toward your next vacation or suitcase splurge. Be sure that you bring home and resell only the items that were expressly given (such as pajamas). As a general rule, airline blankets, pillows and bottles of champagne are not yours for the taking.
Politely decline them
If you don't need the amenity kit and just want to simplify your travel experience, simply decline or return your unused amenity kit. Frequent flyer and TPG Lounge member Drew J. leaves behind 90% of his amenity kits, he said, adding, "I just leave them on the plane at this point!" Fellow TPG reader Andrew M. agreed, "I don't need more stuff to travel with."
What do you do with your amenity kits? Do you have a tip to offer that we overlooked here?
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