First Look: Inside New American Airlines Premium Economy, Business, and First Class Amenity Kits

American Airlines debuts new amenities kits in advance of Memorial Day weekend, part of its premium cabin soft product refresh meant to accompany new business class suites that are delayed by Boeing 787 production problems.

I had the opportunity to get my hands on a first class, business class, and premium economy amenity kit. Here’s what’s inside of each.

A Look Inside New American Airlines Amenity Kits

Here’s the new premium economy amenity kit. I think it’s quite generous for the cabin. The bag has a nice feel. You have socks, so you can take off your shoes and not have your feet on the ground (or dirty your ‘real’ socks) as well as lotion, ear plus, and a tooth brush and tooth paste.

The business class amenity kit comes in a stylish bag, but for business class I don’t love that the bag doesn’t have a lot of structure to it.

Contents of the bag are almost identical to the premium economy kit. There’s no socks – American Airlines is adding slippers to all flagship business flights, though ultra-long haul will no longer receive pajamas – and in their place you’ll find eye shades.

I feel like this kit could have been more differentiated from premium economy, especially since you’re getting not just the same items but even the same brands.

Finally, the first class amenity kit comes with a more substantive bag. On top of business class kit contents, the socks are added back, and you get a single use hand towel and face mist. Using the same products for first class as premium economy, though, feels cheap.

How These New Amenity Kits Compare

Is it strange to say that I’m most impressed by the premium economy kit? It’s not that it’s the nicest – the business and first class bags are better and first class has more stuff – but I think they did a really nice job for premium economy. It’s a good premium economy kit – especially since it’s basically the business class products in a different bag.

The new business class kit is also an improvement compared to what we’ve seen recently. That’s not surprising.

I don’t love it like I did with the 2019 ThisIsGround kits. It’s not an EVA Air kit, and I personally prefer a leather (or similar) bag. I don’t foresee a big eBay aftermarket, like a Tumi kit, but it’s a respectable showing. It does feel like they could have invested more in the products, though, than they did for premium economy.

2019 Business Class Amenity Kit

The first class kit is nice, but I don’t think it’s better than the Shinola kits, nor as nice as the 2019 ThisIsGround bags which were nicer still.

I’m glad to see American Airlines continue to differentiate its first class product with a different amenity bag. Meals have been virtually identical in first and business (first gets a soup course). So having a first class kit that’s more or less in line with what they’ve been offering is something I’m happy to see.

And I guess seeing first class right next to the business and premium economy bags, and realizing that they’re almost identical in their contents is not surprising. Sourcing the same products is cheaper, and giving first class passengers products that the economics of a premium economy fare supports is in line with philosophy. But since this is a first class kit, where’s the comb, tissues, hand sanitizer, pen, mouth wash, and chap stick?

2022 First Class Amenity Kit

2019 First Class Amenity Kit

These kits are broadly competitive with what other U.S. and European airlines offer in business class and premium economy. They aren’t competitive with Asian and Mideast carrier kits, of course, and I wasn’t expecting them to be. There does seem to be less inside the bags compared to previous efforts though.

Why Amenity Kits Matter

Amenity kits make passengers feel cared for. When you have a house guest stay over, you might make sure the bathroom is stocked with things they might need – indeed, things they even could need but probably won’t. It shows thoughtfulness and hospitality.

And the kit isn’t just about delivering useful items for use inflight. It’s a nice branded takeaway. Key elements of an amenity kit are:

  • Useful inflight items. A good kit ought to include toothpaste and toothbrush; comb; tissues; hand sanitizer; perhaps cologne; a pen (for those countries that still require paper forms); mouth wash; moisturizer; chap stick; body lotion.

  • Premium brand partnership. Singapore Airlines always stood out to me for large-sized amenities, not just small sample sizes. For years they offered Ferragamo, hard to pick a more premium name. I really liked Ferragamo Tuscan Soul. Full-sized premium items are great for my home guestroom bath. Air Canada business class has an Acqua di Parma partnership. It introduces the premium passenger to the premium brand, and associates the premium airline product with high quality.

  • A useful premium bag as a takeaway. Not only is it a reminder of the flight, but it’s a cool giveaway that leads to telling stories about the flight and airline to loved ones at all, both spreading the word about the product and reinforcing positive emotions about the airline. For many years I used an ANA first class amenity kit as my shaving bag. For the past three years I’ve used an old Cathay Pacific one.

I’ll die on the hill that amenity kits matter more than you think they do for passenger experience, and play into each passenger’s experience more than they realize.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’m just unpacking from a trip and have my 2011 Air Canada business amenity kit bag three inches away from my left hand right now. It’s become my “drug” bag — not toiletry and not electronics — read that for face value. lol.

    It is finally going to break apart, and this trusty little bag has done probably 50x more miles than the original YYZ-NRT flight where we met on that fateful day. I can’t seem to let it go and I have told many stories when someone sees the Air Canada logo on it.

    Anyone have an image of the current AC kit? I may just book a flight on them just to get a replacement. Now that’s marketing. 🙂

    RE: AA — why are they investing in Flagship First stuff when it’s all going away soon?

  2. Its an improvement on the cardboard box I got on a London trip earlier this year. But the two things that I have been grateful for over the years: The AA/BA washbags from the 1990s/early 2000s and the socks. Regressive step to eliminate socks from Business – fortunately I carry spare (United Airlines) socks with me.

  3. I wonder why they don’t include a quart sized Ziploc or equivalent plastic bag so you don’t have to throw away your left over travel sized liquids and gels when you go through the next security check.

  4. I agree that they matter. We had our first time on airfrance recent and was so disappointed. I expect AA to give me something simple, but france has so many luxury brands. They could really so something special and very French if they wanted

  5. Gary, gotta agree with you about “dying on the hill” that Amenity Kits DO matter. I’m happy to see new kist from AA. BIG BUT THOUGH: If they were expecting these to go along with their new “Flagship” seats, they sorely missed mark. Having Biz only have a slightly different bag and “sometimes” slippers is a mistake. With the amount AA is asking for/charging for business these days, the kit SHOULD BE nicer and more differentiated.

  6. So the bag of useless junk is still a bag of useless junk?

    Oh, and the business class kits have always included eye masks. They aren’t “in the place of” socks.

  7. Gah, such another mAAjor letdown from American leadership. At this point (as a very loyal EP for over a decade) I’m only flying AA if I have to or want to clear a Systemwide Upgrade (rare). Excited for the new hard product but agree with other comments that this is a far cry from luxury and doesn’t even warrant a press release. In case anyone from AA is reading comments, let me offer some (American) brands that would be great for your next attempt at this:

    Toiletries: Tom Ford, Kiehl’s, Le Labo

    Bags: Coach, Michael Kors, Tory Burch

    One additional suggestion for AA: maybe fire whoever is leading these decisions and start paying more for focus groups or maybe try doing a focus group? Your loyal and business customers expect more. Your oneWorld partner airlines (Qatar, JAL, Cathay, hell… even BA) are laughing at you and wiping the floor with these continued bad decisions. If you’re going to brand something “Flagship” then LFG and step it up.

  8. I’ll take my Emirates amenity kit, thank you. Plus the Emirates pajamas which are amazing and soft. And the slippers.

  9. Amenity kits are the worst application of single-use petrochemicals on the planet. They are worse than plastic water bottles. Bring your own crap in 3.5oz containers. The money spent on these ecological waste stream abortions should be spent on food quality.

    Plane socks are the single item that does have merit.

    Buy them in bulk, in lots of 100k. Buy THICK DURABLE poly-cotton socks. Collect them in trash bags before landing. Launder, bleach and recycle for next use.

    Come on people. It’s 2024. The planet is dying. Give up your forking wastestream kits.

  10. Today it reads (article & comments) like really spoiled children. Amenity bags? Are you kidding? Just get me where I’m going in one piece. Especially when so many are flying on the corporate dime.

  11. Personally I love the amenity kits because I reuse the bags for everything when I travel. But I’m most entertained by the fact they’re trying to put lipstick on their Spirit pig of an airline with socks and refreshed sachels.

  12. I don’t want or need an amenity bag. What I do want:
    1. Decent, edible food.
    2. Fresh fruit/snacks
    3. Drinkable hot tea and coffee
    4. Earplugs

    Notice I did not list booze, socks, or fancy lotion.
    While I do like a good cocktail or nice wine, I can go the distance of most plane trips without them.

    I have socks. I learned early in my career the compression socks are the best for air travel.

    I don’t want your lotion or other face/skin products. I know what works for me and I don’t want your chemical-packed samples.i broke out in a rash once due to some elevated fancy cream from an amenity kit. Made for a really great business trip.

    Please put the money into basic that will actually make the passenger happy.

    The only thing most of these bags are good for is donating to homeless shelters.

  13. Seat comfort, ok food, video system and wifi are what I desire in business class. If airlines eliminated Amenity kits tomorrow, I would not care. I don’t understand the emphasis on these things.

  14. I can’t become as exercised as some about amenity kits. All i want is ear plugs, mask and socks. The bags/boxes are occasionally good enough for repurposing.
    Other than that this article emphasizes, in my opinion, what we already know: American continues to major in minor things.

  15. Really a pause vs an unsubscribe.? Yeah I just canceled. It’s a bit silly. And pausebis illegal. Why am I shocked.

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