New American Airlines Amenity Kits Launch Today

American Airlines introduced new amenity kits in 2015 and 2016 as well as 2018 and 2019.

The 2015 aviation junkie kits were cool, and the 2019 bags from This is Ground were great though the contents of the bags could have been better.

Today American Airlines introduces new amenity kits with Shinola bags and fragrance items from D.S. & Durga. These are available now on London Heathrow flights (Dallas-Fort Worth; Miami; Chicago O’Hare; Los Angeles; Charlotte; New York JFK; Philadelphia; Seattle) and “will roll out across other long-haul international and transcontinental flights throughout the summer.”

first class amenity kit
First class amenity kit, Credit: American Airlines

Business class amenity kit, Credit: American Airlines

Premium economy amenity kit, Credit: American Airlines

In addition, there are limited-edition MD80 desk clocks for sale from Shinola with the American Airlines logo and without. Shinola wall clocks will appear in some Admirals Clubs this summer.

This puts the Shinola brand on my radar and I would never have heard of it otherwise. I didn’t know Shinola still existed, and in a way it doesn’t. The current Shinola was launched in 2011 and uses the name of the Shinola shoe polish company (1877-1960) which gave rise to the phrase ‘you don’t know shit from Shinola’ meaning someone is ignorant. Some may remember it from Steve Martin’s “The Jerk.”

Amenity kits matter beyond what a passenger may use inflight. Almost no one buys tickets on the basis of what amenity kit an airline is going to offer, but it’s something that contributes to the overall sense of the product which matters for reputation and repeat business.

The kits also serve as a takeaway. I still use a first class ANA kit from 2006 as my shaving bag. It’s getting tattered but I’ve never found one quite as perfect for my razor, my electric toothbrush, and some allergy meds.

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.

And since the kits go to premium customers, a highly desirable marketing demographic, airlines can get the bag brands and contents brands to contribute towards the cost. I use toiletries at home, for instance, that was I introduced to during travel years ago.

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. Great to see AA featuring 2 US-based boutique brands. This wasn’t specifically covered in the press release, but are they streamling kits for transcon flights – meaning international kits are going to offered on flagship transcon routes, or are they going with the Air Canada route, where they hand out premium economy kits for transcon business?

    Also, FWIW, Shinola has a branded hotel in Detroit.

  2. Cool. So the wasteful products that end up in the trash, unused, at the end of every business class flight I take have a new brand? Cool.

  3. I truly don’t get the obsession over a small bag that contains a cheap pair of socks, an eye mask, some stinky lotion and a toothbrush. If you really think that the brand of toiletries you use makes you special, you are more vain than I can imagine. Most of this crap gets tossed in the trash anyway.

  4. Love the wall and desk clocks. The bag is a big improvement and always nice once we start to travel again. AA’s premium product hard and soft is improving.

  5. @Jcil you have captured the essence of the “new” AA. I hope you don’t mind if we appropriate them for our branding statement.

  6. I’m still using the iPad holders from several years back. Just pulled a new on out for my new iPad Pro in the black motif 🙂

  7. For those of you who disparage the amenity kits – don’t take the damn things – oh, I forgot, you’re not in the cabin in which they’re offered…

  8. Airlines are in the transportation business, not the retail, entertainment, or restaurant businesses. These kits are cute and fun to debate about, but I really think getting where one is going safely and on time is far more important than a bunch of trinkets.

  9. @ Gary
    President Obama promoted Shinola as an American brand, wore a Shinola watch, and gave one to PM David Cameron (who doesn’t wear a watch). Would have expected you to have heard about them.

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