Airlines Gaga Over Hawaii Amenity Kits Including Economy. But…

BOH editors recently flew United from and to Hawaii in business class and received their just-released amenity kits pictured here. There’s a chance we’ll keep the Hawaii themed bags. We have reviews upcoming on those flights, as well as a series of United Airlines Hawaii economy, extra legroom, premium economy, and Polaris reviews.

Now, back to airline amenity kits.

We probably wouldn’t have written about these at all had it not been for an email we received recently from Hawaiian Airlines. That was announcing their new amenity kits. Several months ago, United’s Hawaii amenity kit announcement was similar.

What’s in the latest Hawaiian Airlines amenity kits?

In a word, not much. In the Hawaiian Airlines new business class amenity kits, you’ll have tooth toothbrush (now wooden) and toothpaste, eye shades, creams of various types, eye shades, ear plugs, tissues, and a pen.

Flights feature these amenity kits.

On flights to and from Austin, Boston, and New York, Hawaiian’s new kit is from Hawaii Lifestyle Brand Noho Home. The airline proclaimed these are with a “focus on sustainability and rooted in aloha.”

The designs are paired with the airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner premium cabin, the Leihoku Suites. Starting November 6, domestic passengers on those routes, plus international ones, will be provided these kits featuring”Amenities made with responsibly sourced materials. Guests will receive a recycled plastic canvas bag containing essential items and will be offered an assortment of additional amenities a la carte to minimize waste.”

Beyond the amenity kits, Hawaiian is upgrading its other business amenities with plush quilts featuring signature Kilo Hoku and Olali designs, with mattress pads and sleeping pillows. Quilt and mattress materials are made from recycled plastic fabric.

Economy class Hawaiian Airlines amenity kits are offered for the first time.

Guests seated in Extra Comfort and Main Cabin on these flights will also receive new amenity kits, according to Hawaiian’s announcement. That’s a first.

For the very first time, as far as we know, on any airline, there will be amenity kits for all passengers. Neither Hawaiian nor any airline has ever provided all guests with some form of amenity kit. It wasn’t clear from their announcement what the economy amenity kits would look like or what they would contain, but we assume they will be different and a downgrade from their business class ones.

United Airlines Hawaii Amenity Kits

New United Airlines Hawaii amenity kits launched this summer.

In August, United announced that business/first-class customers on flights between the mainland and Hawaii, including flights to and from the West Coast, would receive kits featuring products from Hawaii brand Ua Body. United said, “These kits, customized for our transcontinental and Hawaii-bound travelers, are just the latest way we’re working to make the travel experience even better at United.”

The new United Hawaii amenity kits use Ua Body products, which is a brand owned, operated, and made in Hawaii. Kits contain lip balm, hand cream, and face mist with local scents. Also, an eye mask with recycled materials, a bamboo toothbrush, toothpaste, and ear plugs. These are our own photos of the United Airlines amenity kits that we received when flying First Class from LIH to DEN and LAX to LIH.

Do amenity kits like these seem like a good idea? They’re fun and nice to receive, for sure. We’re always curious about what is inside, but even if positioned as environmentally friendly, create hundreds of kits of items that will soon be disposed of.

Airline amenity kits aren’t new, but to Hawaii, they are.

In-flight amenity kits have been a staple of premium international air travel for as long as we can recall. But in today’s world of refillable shampoo bottles in hotels, for example, being more sustainable, with less waste, is in many people’s minds.

Hawaii air travel, more than ever, is focused on premium and luxury. So it isn’t entirely surprising to see these amenity kit offerings expand.

These are, however, the embodiment of unsustainability. Even while the airlines choose to characterize these as being ever more sustainable, that just isn’t the case. These all end up in the trash at some point, well, perhaps with the exclusion of the little pouches.

Should airline amenity kits be on the chopping block?

The gesture of a gift from the airline, for your loyalty and often extra payment, is notable. It’s also a way for the airline to use up-and-coming brands they feature. And for passengers to try new products with high hopes by the perhaps underpaid provider that you’ll seek out their products in the future.

Millions of amenity kits hit the trash.

The new buzzword is clearly sustainability with recycled products. Small plastic bottles, however, are anything but sustainable. No matter what the products are made from, unfortunately, they all end up in the same place.

Not to mention that if you are heading on a business trip with multiple flights, you could end up with many such kits. We received six recently from United Airlines on a single trip. Jeff has a box that has 100 or more of these he’s collected over the years.

Some airlines head in another direction.

Singapore Airlines, for one, has largely eliminated amenity kits but still provides products either on request or in their lavatories. Saudia has taken a similar approach and even provides incentives for not receiving an amenity kit.

Even the largest provider of amenity kits says that change is needed.

“The future of the amenity kit requires re-thinking…Change is needed, and various airlines are working to shift to more personalized, sustainable, and socially responsible amenities programs with a focus on both passenger experience and passenger expectations.”

Will the environment, competition, or public relations win out?

While airlines focused on sustainability, including SAF fuel, the reality is that these kits aren’t in any way sustainable. Yet, there are substantial pressures to keep these kits flowing.

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12 thoughts on “Airlines Gaga Over Hawaii Amenity Kits Including Economy. But…”

  1. I guess not a lot of people flying Business class to Hawaii are actually going to do business, but I’ve found amenity kits SO wonderful when flying from the US to Europe, and being expected to roll right off of a 14 hour journey into an 8 hour workday. I once got a pajama top on a Lufthansa flight and I still wear it at home! So soffffftttt.

  2. Everyone likes a gift for paying extra $$$. I received a beautiful gift when I flew to Japan many years ago. I cant afford to fly only in economy now, so I doubt there will be any passed out to us!

  3. Every now and then I get bumped up to First on United. I appreciate the contents and actually use them, if not on the flight, then at home or while on my trip. I especially like the eye mask for sleeping on the flight or in a hotel room where every element has a lighted digital clock glowing in the dark. My granddaughter loved the mini-suitcase I passed on to her, and she packs it with small toys to take on her own trips, whether a flight or car ride. If I know I’m not going to use the contents, I don’t touch it, so I doubt it goes to the landfill.
    I like the idea mentioned by Mignon of donating extras to a women’s shelter.

  4. Two weeks ago we flew British Airways business class to London and back. Their amenity kits were very nice and also useful. Last week we flew American Airlines first class and we’re also given a smaller amenity kit. The items we didn’t use (wrapped toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand lotions) we will donate to charities that put together gift boxes for women shelters during the holidays.

    Receiving the amenity kits from the airlines is a nice and special touch. They are appreciated. We hope they are not discontinued because we are not (long haul) frequent fliers and we do use them during our flights.

  5. A lot of everyday things hit the trash, no need to single out amenity kits.

    What’s sustainable anyway – in our home we reuse plastic straws, plastic water bottles, and plastic bags (many, many times). Instead of trying to outlaw these products, we should spend more dollars on educating people as to re-use.


  6. I don’t see that as the main concern with regards to the environment. As you mentioned, the toothbrush is in wood and your college collects (not trashes) the pouches. I would like to have one! On the other hand, getting a new plastic cup for every drink is much more worrisome. I usually keep my glass and go for more water and that should be the norm. Better yet, bring your refillable bottle or pay extra!

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