January 16 2018  |  Jeremy's World

Jeremy’s World: What it takes to be properly kitted out

By Jeremy Clark

I was clearing out my drawers in the office the other day and came across some airline give-aways collected over the years. This included a BOAC cigarette lighter, a Trans World Airlines metal letter opener and a Swissair Swiss Army Knife that features a device for removing stones from a horse’s hoof (an essential on any flight you will agree) and a four-inch blade. How things have changed.

What to put into an airline amenity kit shouldn’t be a challenge – unless those tasked with this don’t actually ever fly. I am beginning to believe this is the case because I rarely get anything useful in them.

On one flight from the Middle East my kit contained a map/guide of Sydney. I checked with the crew to see I was on the correct plane as I was expecting to go to London.

“They just put random guides in the kits” I was told. What’s the point of that?

On another flight from Frankfurt I found a handy notebook in the kit, but no pen.

Of course my own choice of items is unlikely to get full approval but I am sure many would agree that a set of tranquilizer darts, some duct tape and half bottle of the 1986 Château Lafite Rothschild in my shoe-bag would guarantee me a peaceful a long hauler.

The standard toothbrush/paste, eye-mask and socks are all very well so long as the brush doesn’t snap the second you apply pressure, that the paste isn’t Polyfilla. Socks should be cotton and not electrically pre-charged nylon that sparks as you take them off.

I also want to know who’s head they measure to make the eye mask. The ones I get make me feel like my head is in a vice.

Moisturizers and other creams are a problem as most people have preferred brands so it is a huge gamble what to put in. And they’re not cheap. So we often end up with industrial grade grease in fancy tubes.

So what should be in an ideal amenity kit? Well, we all have to fill in a form at some point so a proper pen would be nice – one we will gladly hang on to. A mini can of WD-40 is an ideal gift for unfreezing car locks at airports in the winter or loosening jammed suitcase locks. A family pack of Ibuprofen to ease the pain of sitting on a 1 centimetre thick mattress for the past 12 hours, and some Fisherman’s Friends. That thick glass that separates you from the immigration officer is nothing to do with security.

I’d love to hear from you about what you’d like to see in your kits – maybe we can lobby the makers - as for me, I can take care of my own stuff although I’d appreciate a large straw from the galley. Those tranquilizer darts don’t fly by themselves.

— Editor’s Note: Perspectives and observations from Jeremy Clark of JC Consulting will be featured periodically on PAX International’s Blog, Website and print issues.

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