Airlines lose bags. That’s just a fact of life. If you fly enough, and check a bag, eventually the statistics will catch up with you.
Now to be fair, most of the time airlines don’t actually lose your bag, they just misplace it for awhile. It ends up on the wrong plane, sits in baggage purgatory, or whatever. That is to say most of the time you’ll eventually be reunited with it. Even so, it can be kind of annoying in the interim to not have your stuff.
Most airlines recognize this and have some form of distressed passenger amenity kit that they offer to passengers who have had their bag get lost. The contents of these kits tends to vary, however, as airlines seem to have different concepts of what is “essential.”
We had the chance to learn what United Airlines considers essential when our bags got delayed on our trip back from Europe. After being the last ones standing at the baggage carousel, we headed over to the United representative to report our bags as missing. The agent was sympathetic and said that they’d do their best to get the bags to us as quickly as possible. After taking all of our information, she handed us five distressed traveler kits, one for each member of our family.
United Distressed Passenger Amenity Kit
Not only is the bag small enough to fit in your coat pocket, it’s also eco-friendly. Here’s what it contained:
Shampoo, conditioner, and lotion
Well sure, these are useful. But pretty much every hotel is going to provide you with shampoo and such without even asking. So unless you were planning to stay at a hostel, or camp, I don’t really see the point.
United Distressed Passenger Amenity Kit Bath Products
Definitely no argument there. And they even give you two packages.
United Distressed Passenger Amenity Kit Deodorant
OK, I keep my hair short, but this will still be useful for some.
United Distressed Passenger Amenity Kit Comb
A shave kit
Again, I’ve frequently had to ask for a razor and shaving cream from hotels when I forgot mine, so like the shampoo, this seems to be of less value.
United Distressed Passenger Amenity Kit Shave Kit
United Distressed Passenger Amenity Kit Laundry Detergent
A dental kit
Most hotels have toothbrushes for guests who have forgotten theirs, but I’ve never been offered a flosser. Plus, my dentist says that oral hygiene is one of the first things to go during times of stress… like losing your bag.
United Distressed Passenger Amenity Kit Dental Kit With Flossers
Because if I’m missing my bag and only have the clothes on my body, I’m totally worried about making sure my shoes aren’t scuffed.
United Distressed Passenger Amenity Kit Shoe Polish
Here’s the complete kit:
United Distressed Passenger Amenity Kit Complete Kit
How would I improve this kit?
It’s always amazing to me how just a clean pair of socks can boost my morale after stumbling off of a red-eye flight. If I could request one clean item of clothing, I’d probably ask for a pair of socks. Well, maybe underwear, but I don’t really want to think about a one-size-fits-all version of that….
Most airlines have some sort of distressed passenger amenity kit for those who have been separated from their checked baggage. United’s kit has about a dozen items of varying degrees of usefulness.
I suppose it’s the same kit they offer to passengers who get stranded at the airport during snowstorms when the hotels are fully booked. In those situations, I can see some of these items having more value. But for those that are headed to a hotel, you’ll probably have access to many of these items anyway, making much of the kit redundant.
Still, the deodorant and laundry detergent is somewhat unique and certainly appreciated. The shoe polish on the other hand — well, let’s just say that shiny shoes probably aren’t at the top of my list of priorities when I’ve been wearing the same clothes for three straight days….
What would you like to see included in a distressed passenger kit?