Amenity Kit Review: United Airlines BusinessFirst (May 2012)

United Airlines recently refreshed their amenity kit offerings and I picked up their new BusinessFirst kit on my trip to Ireland this month. The pre-merger United version scored poorly, but Continental’s BusinessFirst kit did pretty well. How will this one rank? Check out my review below in this installment of Amenity Kit Reviews. For a better description of each category and the 7-point scale for scoring, please review my introductory post.

a close-up of a bag with a variety of itemsBag/Container: It’s a rectangular gunmetal gray zipper bag made of some type of synthetic fabric in a twill pattern. A small navy blue “United BusinessFirst†logo tag is sewn into the front lower-right edge of an exterior pocket and the logo is also engraved into the zipper, which operates very smoothly. The reverse side of the case is mesh and reveals one of the kits two interior side pockets. Fabric on each edge of the interior prevents the 1-1/2†wide case from opening flat and allows it to hang easily without spilling the contents. I’m not too keen on the mesh exterior on one side, but otherwise it’s an attractive bag. Would I reuse it? Yes, but other kits offer more space. Score: 4

a small black bag with a white label and two small white bottlesSkin Care: United went with the philosophy brand of skin care items this time around and the BF kit includes “hope in a stick†lip balm, “hands of hope†hand cream and a “purity made simple†facial cleansing cloth. The scentless, gel-like hand cream absorbs rapidly and was surprisingly un-greasy. The lip balm, too, lacked any scent or flavor, but the moist facial cloth had a slight aroma of sandalwood and sage. My germ-phobic self was very happy to find a Purell sanitizing wipe in the kit. The enclosed product information card for philosophy offers 20% off any purchase of $50 or more on their website using an offer code. Score: 5

a zipper on a bagOral Care: I’m thrilled United changed out the toothbrush that’s been making the cut the last several iterations of the kit and this one is soft-bristled and one of those where you pop the brush into the case. A tube of standard flavored Colgate toothpaste was also included along with a package of two no-name peppermints. I’m bumping the score up in this category because of the toothbrush and mints, much improved from United’s last kit. Score: 5

a close-up of a bagComfort Items: The typical eyeshades, socks and earplugs are included, all fine for single use. The eyeshades are similar to the previous kits by being “one size fits all†with elastic straps. The socks aren’t the type you’d reuse, nor would they hold up in the wash, but I can’t really expect more… they do the job. Unlike the last kit, the earplugs are soft (yay!) and are the cone/cylindrical style large enough so they don’t pop out of your fingers when rolling them. A small packet of three facial tissues and a comb with the United BF logo are also included. I’m notching the score up because of the comb. Score: 5

Intangibles: While I wasn’t impressed by the pictures of it on United’s Facebook page when I first saw it, the kit managed to impress. I’m a branding dork and like that United’s logo appears in multiple spots while avoiding being overdone. It’s a useful kit and contains what I’d expect for a nice business class offering. The full-sized pen was an added plus. Score: 5

Total score & comments:

a yellow and blue rectangular box with numbersBesides the bag coming in at just adequate, every other category had something I found good enough to bump it up a notch. Perhaps I kept United’s old kit in the back of my head too much, but I feel 4.85 is a fair and deserving score for a nicely done amenity kit. United’s old version scored 2.90, while Continental’s BF version scored 4.75. Do I really think this kit is better than its CO predecessor? It’s a close call, but overall no. My uber-specific ranking system does, though. 😉



  1. @ melvin – No airlines ever give out a kit for the distance of NRT-ICN or NRT-TPE. Even TG won’t give a kit at least the minimal distance of NRT-BKK !

    @ Darren – I would give this kit a 5 instead, base on the bag (with a hook, and several compartments), also sanitizing wipe and a real comb with a handle, unlike those generic ones (like the one in AA kit). Are you going to do a UA Global First kit review as well ?

  2. TG (Thai Airways) do give out kits on longer intra-Asia flights. I received one last week between ICN-BKK, but did not receive one between HKG-BKK. But in all cases, the food in Thai business class was nearly inedible. Skip the kit and just give us a decent meal service, TG!

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