Aviation and Luxury: The New Cosmetics Collaboration?

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Luxury cosmetics for airlines

Related tags: Cosmetics

As Etihad Airways announces its collaboration with leading fashion and beauty brands, we spoke to Vivienne Rudd, ‎Director of Global Insight and Innovation, Beauty & Personal Care at Mintel on how luxury is coupling up with aviation.  

Etihad Airways, the second-largest airline of the UAE, will deliver amenity kits containing luxury cosmetics to its first-class passengers.  

Etihad Airways has partnered with two leading brands, global fashion designer Christian Lacroix and Hungarian skin care brand Omorovicza.

The new luxurious amenity bags will be introduced on Airbus A380 flights between Abu Dhabi and London, New York, Sydney, Melbourne and Mumbai. These will then be extended to the complete fleet in 2017.

“The advantage of allying with first class and business class passengers is that the number is relatively limited and so costs are kept as low as possible. Few, if any, of these brands​ produce their amenity kits themselves. Most license their products to specialists to supply hotels and airlines, so additional partnerships can be factored into their production runs,"​ said Vivienne Rudd, ‎Director of Global Insight and Innovation, Beauty & Personal Care, Mintel.

Two varieties of the luxurious bags will be offered to men and women For men, this will feature a wash bag and convertible flat case, which can double up as a wash bag or as storage for tablet devices. Women will receive a fold-over bag that can also be used as a clutch bag.

The bag also contains four anti-aging and rejuvenating items - a key trend in the APAC region - from Omorovicza‘s Gold collection. A lip balm, Queen of Hungary face mist, a face and hand wash and a face lotion will be available to first-class passengers.

Calum Laming, Vice President of Guest Experience, Etihad Airways, said: “The new kits perfectly balance fashion and style with beauty and wellbeing.”

Luxury-loving consumers

"Supplying amenity bags to first class airline passengers is a great way for beauty brands to access high income, high spending consumers for a relatively minimal outlay. It puts their hero products directly into consumers' hands and supports their image as luxurious and effective brands,” ​said Rudd.

“Many also put vouchers in the bag that can be used to offset future purchases or spa visits, driving further consumer engagement and yielding valuable CRM material,” ​Rudd went on to say.

Will there be an economy equivalent product range?

It’s unlikely. Rudd emphasised: “Image is everything for these brands so it doesn​'t make sense for them to supply kits to economy class passengers, particularly at a time when the airlines are trimming their services to this cabin.”

Therefore, not all airlines are implementing this luxury trend on their planes, and are, instead, even reducing their basic amenity kits: “British Airways, for example, has cut even its basic amenity kit of socks and eye masks to economy class passengers on long haul flights, so it is unlikely that either they, or their suppliers, would hand out even basic toiletries,”​ Rudd explained.

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