When I fly internationally, I prefer business or first class. That's the main reason I got into the points and miles "hobby." My primary rationale is simple: if I am going to be on an airplane for at least seven hours, I want to be comfortable and, on overnight flights, actually get some sleep. Being a big man, comfort means large seats that preferably lie flat when its time to get some ZZZs. That being said, the other perks that come with international premium cabins are more than welcome and certainly enhance a flight's comfort. To that end, I am excited about yesterday's announcement that American Airlines is partnering with Cole Haan to upgrade amenity kits in international first and business classes as well as domestic transcontinental first class.
From the AA press release:
Here are the details on the three kits.
- Featuring perforated detail and available in six different colors, this kit’s bag is inspired by Cole Haan’s design and innovation collection, ZerØGrand.
- 3LAB Skincare products (M Cream, Perfect Hand Cream, and Perfect Lips (Balm), tissues, hand sanitizer, mouthwash, pen and foam headphone covers
- This Dopp Kit design is versatile and is available in eight different color combinations.
- C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries products (lip balm, Lime & Coriander body lotion and mouthwash), tissues, pen and foam headphone covers.
Domestic Transcontinental First
- This kit’s bag resembles an envelope with its folds and stamped exterior and is available in six different colors.
- Clark’s Botanicals skincare products (Smoothing Marine Cream, Ultra Rich Lip Balm, as well as Moisturizing Hand Cream and Refreshing Hand Wipe, both created exclusively for the American Airlines kit), toothbrush, toothpaste, eyeshade, socks and ear plugs.
Thoughts on the kits
I really like the looks of these kits in terms of the bag designs and color (at least the turquoise color that is shown). I love Cole Haan shoes - hopefully the $75 discount can be used on shoes! - so I would assume its accessories are of similar quality. As for the skincare products, I have no clue about any of those brands. Give me a Gillette razor, Carmex lip balm, and Old Spice body wash and I am good to go. In fact, I am not sure I have much need for some of these products, though lotion would be useful after a long flight in the dry air of an airplane cabin as well as a toothbrush and toothpaste (which is a run-of-the-mile brand, Crest!).
My favorite bag design is the international business version. That's fortunate since I am booked for an AA business class flight in September from London to New York. The kits "will be distributed in four rotations of various colors, ending in March 2017. The first rotation of colors will last four and a half months beginning with the gray, blue and red kits." We don't have a full list of colors, but as long as I don't get red - no self-respecting Georgia Tech alumnus wants anything in red! - I will be pleased to get one of these kits for my flight!
From a business perspective, this is a good move given the intense competition from global carriers that offer far more luxurious premium cabins than the U.S. airlines. I recently read a blog post complimenting "a globally competitive first class product" on a Sydney-Los Angeles flight, feedback that has been rarely heard in recent years. Enhancing the amenity kits is another small piece of the enhanced service puzzle for American Airlines. Small things matter and often baby steps are required. It will be interesting to see what other changes come from American over the course of the next year and the impact of the airline's competitive positioning relative to its international competitors.