In early 2019, American introduced new amenity kits in both the international and transcontinental premium cabins. Los Angeles-based shoemaker Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL) now supplies the American Transcontinental First amenity kit. Last April, I flew American Flagship First from New York to LA, giving me the chance to pick one up.
Welcome to another installment of our amenity kit review series. As in previous reviews, I will be reviewing this amenity kit on a scale from 1 to 5 (being the best) and will rate it based on five categories:
- Bag/container: design, quality and reusability/collectibility of the bag.
- Product: quality, size and variety of the facial and body products.
- Comfort items: eye masks, ear plugs, etc.
- Miscellaneous: pens, tissues and everything else.
- Extras: additional items that make your flight just a tad more comfortable including pajamas, slippers, etc.
American Transcontinental First Amenity Kit – APL
I must say, I remain conflicted about this bag, even nearly seven months later. On the one hand, it’s a clear improvement over the Cole Haan kits from 2018. On the other, I’m not enamored by the design; it screams “gym bag” to me, which isn’t terribly premium. It’s also rather flimsy feeling, though it did survive multiple beatings at the hands of my son. So I suppose it’s sturdier than it seems at first glance. Also, there’s nothing distinguishing on the bag to suggest it’s an American-supplied product. That seems strange. Score: 3.
American replaced its long-time C.O. Bigelow products with Amsterdam-based Zenology items in this kit. Personally I don’t care for the peppermint scent, but they otherwise seem like good quality products. There’s not much here, though, with just a tube of lip balm and hand/body lotion. Also, I again find it odd that American didn’t pick products based in one of its hubs. Perhaps a subtle way of throwing shade at Delta? Score: 2.5.
American did a nice job here. Front and center is the oversized eye mask. It actually fits quite comfortably around the eyes and back of the head, and blocks out light well. I figured the giant size would make the fit awkward, but that wasn’t the case here. Also included are earplugs, a toothbrush, and a good-sized tube of Crest toothpaste. Some socks would be nice, but overall, it’s a nice mix of items. Score: 4.
Finally, a clue that it’s an American amenity kit! The kit includes a small pack of tissues with the American logo on the wrapper. Given that American provides (excellent) headphones onboard, the kit could use a pair of headphone covers, in my opinion. Score: 2.
American includes a couple of interesting extras in its new amenity kits. The first is a 20% off coupon for APL or Zenology purchases. The APL coupon especially might offer value if you need a new pair of athletic shoes. (The flip side is, even with the coupon, prepare to pay $150+ for running shoes, for example.) The second is a FlyFit hydration packet, basically a vitamin powder that claims to prevent jet lag. I’m personally not a believer in these “jet lag fighter” drinks, but I give AA credit for thinking creatively. Score: 3.
Final Thoughts – American Transcontinental First Amenity Kit
The new APL kit scores an average of 2.9/5. It’s not quite up there with Delta’s Tumi kits, but still pretty good for a domestic kit. The main oddity here is American basically ignoring itself when it comes to branding. Then again, given the state of American’s reputation right now, maybe that’s not a bad thing…
Other Amenity Kit Reviews
- Japan Airlines First Class
- ANA First Class
- British Airways First Class
- Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
- Qantas First Class
- Thai Airways First Class (Rimowa 2014)
- Japan Airlines Business Class
- Lufthansa First Class (Escada)
- Cathay Pacific Business Class (new Seventy-Eight Percent)
- United Airlines BusinessFirst (Cowshed Kit)
- United Airlines BusinessFirst
- American Airlines Transcon First Class (Reno Air Heritage Series)
- United Airlines BusinessFirst (new TEAM USA kit)
- Lufthansa Business Class (Bree)
- Etihad Business Class (LUXE)
- Qatar Airways Economy Class
- American Airlines Business Class (Cole Haan 2016)
- American Airlines Business Class (Cole Haan 2017)
- Austrian Airlines Business Class
- Delta One Domestic Tumi
- Air France La Premiére
- Qantas First Class Martin Grant
- American Airlines Business Class (Cole Haan 2018)
- Lufthansa Business Class (Reisenthel 2018)
- American Airlines First Class (2019)
- Swiss Business Class (Victorinox 2018)
- American Airlines Business Class (This is Ground 2019)
- American Airlines Premium Economy (STATE 2019)
- Cathay Pacific First Class Travel Kit
- SAS Business Class
- jetBlue Mint (Hayward & Hopper)