Bag it

Onboard Hospitality - - Galley Gossip -

Ge­orge Banks won our 2016 Life­time Achieve­ment Award fol­low­ing a long ca­reer in

in­flight ser­vice. Here he looks back at the pre­mium gift of­fer­ings of the past

The range of gifts given to pas­sen­gers has con­stantly changed and was strictly gov­erned by IATA rules in the six­ties and seven­ties. Pre­mium pas­sen­gers could only be of­fered items that could be termed ‘for use in­flight’, as gifts in the cabin. Never the less a huge ar­ray of items was of­fered from ad­dress books and pa­per fans to pic­ture prints and flow­ers, wal­lets, pens, ties and scarves, watches, china or­na­ments, crys­tal glasses and shop­ping bags.

Grad­u­ally this gift be­came dom­i­nated by toi­letries for use on­board and the amenity bag be­came a stan­dard gift across air­lines for pre­mium pas­sen­gers at least.

Style and qual­ity were key from the start with the likes of Malaysia Sin­ga­pore Air­lines (MSA) of­fer­ing Chris­tian Dior toi­letries in a pack of three small glass bot­tles in the early seven­ties, and fa­mous de­sign­ers such as Anya Hind­march be­ing com­mis­sioned to de­sign orig­i­nal styles by the early eight­ies.

The con­tents be­gan with slip­per socks, eye mask, comb, tooth­brush and tooth­paste, and grad­u­ally be­came far more so­phis­ti­cated with costly per­fumes, aro­mather­apy prod­ucts, branded fa­cial and body creams and lux­ury brands such as Bul­gari on­board.

Today al­most ev­ery air­line of­fers amenity bags. Many change them up to four times a year with ex­clu­sive col­lecta­bles adding a rea­son to book for some pas­sen­gers.

Bags now boast post-flight uses too from iPad case to clutch bag, make-up case to gad­get store, and new items in­clude charg­ing ca­bles, guide books and items tai­lored to spe­cific jour­neys. Prints and colours are vivid and styles con­stantly evolve. With this year’s launch of the Lalique aro­mather­apy can­dle in a crys­tal glass and full bot­tles of per­fume or af­ter­shave on Sin­ga­pore Air­lines we seem to be back to where we be­gan with the fo­cus once more on true gift­ing. KLM has of­fered its col­lec­tion of Dutch minia­ture houses since the 1950s. This sou­venir re­flects the home des­ti­na­tion and has be­come very pop­u­lar with pas­sen­gers. The Anya Hind­march retro bags for First be­came very pop­u­lar and col­lectable for Bri­tish Air­ways in the nineties. De­signer Anya Hind­march clearly

had fun with the beau­ti­ful BA Her­itage col­lec­tion fea­tur­ing black and white pho­tographs of fly­ing boats, Stra­tocruis­ers and vin­tage

pas­sen­ger cab­ins.

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