Singapore Airlines' all-new business class amenity kit is only available 'on request', but it's a request worth making.
Developed in partnership with British perfumers Penhaligon's, the kit is a first for the Star Alliance carrier, which has long resisted following other airlines down the well-trodden path of handing out amenity kits to business class passengers.
Instead, Singapore Airlines chose to stock its lavatories with essentials such as combs and dental kits – although Penhaligon’s made an appearance in 2017 with a selection of washroom amenities.
Now the highly-regarded Brit brand has stepped out of the lav and into business class cabin – a move planned several years ago, but delayed by the pandemic.
Betty Wong, Singapore Airlines' Divisional Vice President of Inflight Services and Design, tells Executive Traveller the kit was being developed "more than a year" before the pandemic hit.
"We were pretty ready to launch it with a big bang, but then Covid hit and dragged on for longer time than we all expected."
"So we soft-launched it on certain routes, and now we have launched it on most of our flights, where it's available on request as part of our new sustainability drive about reducing wastage," Wong says.
"So instead of us giving it to every customer and having them leave it behind, because we don't want to recycle things that people leave behind, we much rather a customer will ask our cabin crew for it because we know that they want it and they will bring it home with them."
And this is very much a product designed to be taken home, Wong explains.
"When we thought about how we want to position this and give something to our customers that they can take away and continue to use in their journey."
"it should look so pretty that you want to take it with you and reuse it, not just when you travel, but on your everyday life... it's a great size for your phone, your cables, and of course during travel your passport can go in there."
The elegant green zippered folio-style bag contains a trio of unisex products – hand lotion, lip balm and a facial mist spray – from Penhaligon’s oaky-green Quercus range, which leads with citrus and basil underpinned by notes of jasmine, cardamom, lily and amber.
As a 'surprise and delight' touch, some kits also contain a small bottle of Luna perfume oil which is applied to the pulse points.
"We think the fragrance is pretty unisex and very fresh," Wong explains, "so it's a little bit of a 'market test' to see if this goes well with our customers, a hint that perhaps the next range (of kits) could have that fragrance."
Founded in 1870 by William Penhaligon, the firm is a suitably premium brand for Singapore Airlines, Wong explains.
"In looking for a business class amenity kit we wanted to be different from what I suppose our competitors are offering... we were looking for someone that was unique, with a rich history."
"We found that Penhaligon's was actually it's a pretty good match in terms of its philosophy and branding."
And the bags contain only that handful of Penhaligon's products – dental kits, razors and combs are still to be found in the washrooms, while eye shades and earplugs remain available on request from cabin crew.
"We have always believed that we need to put the right things at the right place for our customers," Wong says.
"You need different things at different points of your flight – if you need a toothbrush, you're going to go to the lavatory to use it anyway."