We’re mighty excited to test drive Virgin’s new A350, especially that stunning Upper Class cabin, but yesterday our excitement got cranked up a notch as Virgin revealed a brand new amenity kit for its premium passengers, a kit which they have dubbed ‘the most sustainable amenity kit in the sky’.
To make the kit greener, Virgin have chosen things like vegan beauty products, bamboo instead of plastic and even a pen made from recycled paper. The whole thing is wrapped in a bag made from Kraft paper, perhaps a small disappointment for Herschel lovers, but clearly a more sustainable alternative.
Introducing the Virgin Atlantic Goodie Bag – the most sustainable amenity kit in the sky ✈️
We’ve revamped our Upper Class and Premium amenity kits and packed our Goodie Bags with sustainable products and a lot less plastic 😍
— Virgin Atlantic (@VirginAtlantic) September 5, 2019
Product manager Katerina Orfanidi commented in a blog post,
“We wanted them to be the most sustainable airline amenity kits in the world. Our new aircraft have been a catalyst for change which has enabled us to question everything we carry and look at a new set of products that are sustainable but not a compromise on quality. We know our customers are going to love these items, and as a result, will be more likely to keep and reuse them.”.
The kit will make its debut on the Airbus A350 first, but will start to appear on other services once the stock of old amenity kits starts to run down. Virgin says that the move to more sustainable products will save 945 tons of plastic per year, the equivalent of six and a half Airbus A350s.
What’s in the ‘Goodie Bags’?
There are two main kits being rolled out, one for Upper Class and the other for Premium Economy.
In the Upper Class amenity kit, passengers will find REN skincare products, all vegan and natural, which include a hand cream, face cream and a lip balm. Rather than a plastic toothbrush, Virgin has gone for a bamboo brush, full sized and capable of being composted after use.
As well as this, there’s an eye mask and real socks in a range of funky designs. Unlike regular flight socks, which nobody really wants to wear after the flight, these look appealing enough to take home and enjoy long after landing.
Finally, the amenity kit has ear plugs and a pen. Virgin says that the pen is made mostly from recycled paper, another method of slashing the plastic content. Upper Class passengers will also be able to enjoy the new loungewear, which the carrier premises is so comfortable and stylish, passengers will want to wear it again and again. Instead of coming in a plastic package, these will now be delivered in a washable drawstring bag.
It’s not only Upper Class who get the new Goodie Bag treatment, as passengers in premium economy get one too. This kit lacks any REN skincare products but does have a bamboo toothbrush, eye mask, earplugs and pen.
Virgin has said that, in the ideal world, the amenity kits will be personalized to each passenger, so that everyone gets only what they want or need. However, until this is possible, making the standard amenity kit more ecofriendly is a step in the right direction.
What about economy passengers?
While the economy and economy Delight passengers won’t be getting an amenity kit per-se, Virgin has confirmed that some sustainable items will be made available on request. These include eye masks, ear plugs, dental kits, socks and pens. The decision to only give them out on request has been made to further reduce the use of single use plastics and waste.
While plenty of passengers have applauded Virgin for its foray into sustainability, some have called them out for downgrading the quality of the bag itself.
Sorry, that pouch is sad. I’ve kept every single Herschel bag and reuse them all (and I have a lot). Love the toothbrush and the wild socks. But… squeeze lip stuff sucks compared to a stick and a lot of those bags are going in the trash, I suspect. 😞
— Lindazilla (@Lindazilla) September 5, 2019
Sorry! I like the contents and socks being more green but I agree the Herschel bags are great and get reused! Looking at the pic I am afraid to say the bag will probably end up in the bin 🗑 and then into landfill! Looks like more cost cutting to me.
— Colin (@TheLightFish) September 5, 2019
Negative comments aside, we think this is a great move by Virgin, adding to the environmentally friendliness of its transatlantic ops. With the fuel efficiency of the A350 and the reduction in single use plastics, it’s a step in the right direction for the British airline.