Depending on your perspective, American Airlines’ latest move may be good or bad news.
This month, the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier started trialing a new type of amenity kit for business-class passengers, as first flagged by View from the Wing.
This new amenity kit, dubbed an “Amenity Box” by the airline, replaces the traditional Shinola-branded reusable bag on select flights from Europe to the U.S. The box will be available on select westbound flights during the first few months of the year. Depending on the feedback received, it might become a permanent fixture on American flights.
Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free biweekly Aviation newsletter.
But what’s the big difference between an amenity kit and an amenity box?
Well, the latter is simply a non-branded cardboard box that holds all the inflight essentials. The contents are largely the same as the Shinola-branded kits; it’s just the packaging that’s different.
Inside the amenity box, you’ll find socks, ear plugs, a sleep mask, a dental kit, a pen, hand lotion and lip balm. The box also features a new-to-American product: an Oshibori hand towelette.
As for why American is pursuing this trial, a carrier spokesperson explained that “around 70% of our customers get excited about the inflight amenities we offer, while around half don’t reuse the kits, in which the amenities are contained in, after their flight is over.”
As such, the airline is testing this amenity box that’s more sustainable than simply discarding an unused pouch at the end of the flight. Presumably, the airline can recycle the leftover cardboard from the amenity box, whereas it used to put the unused pouches in the trash.
Reward your inbox with the TPG Daily newsletter
Join over 700,000 readers for breaking news, in-depth guides and exclusive deals from TPG’s experts
Plus, the airline rationalizes the move by still offering a traditional amenity kit on transatlantic flights departing from the U.S., so customers flying round trip can still take a pouch home with them for future use.
During the trial, American says that it will solicit feedback on the new amenity box as it seeks to “learn even more about our customer amenity preferences and inform future experiences.” (If you have a strong perspective on American’s move, reach out to the airline’s customer care department so that your feedback can be routed to the appropriate team.)
If you’re a frequent traveler who has already collected a stash of American amenity kits, this move might not bother you. However, to others, especially those who might be traveling with American on a one-way ticket, the amenity box will likely seem much less luxurious than receiving a Shinola-branded pouch.
As for me, I’m all for American investing in a more sustainable inflight service (an industry-wide trend that’s been popularized with recent moves from Alaska Airlines and United Airlines). I just wish the amenity box looked a little bit more premium and better reflected something you’d expect to receive in international business class.
For American, this is only the beginning of what may come for the carrier.
“This is just one of several tests and improvements you’ll see this year as we continue to elevate the customer experience,” an airline spokesperson shared.