On a recent trip across Europe to sample two-dozen airline meal options I found myself without any inflight entertainment (gasp!), and in need of some serious distraction. So like any good passenger I headed straight to the seat pocket to browse the assortment of offerings in the inflight retail magazines.
Inflight retail is a huge industry; a lot of thought and planning goes into each airline’s inflight retail offerings. Most airlines will update their inflight retail magazines at least three to four times per year in order to keep frequent travellers interested in their range. I bet you didn’t know that cabin crew undergo specific product training when a new inflight retail magazine is due out. As the face of the airline and the seller it’s imperative that cabin crew are aware of what is being sold and how to sell it.
Personally, in the past, I’ve usually gravitated towards purchasing products that carry an airline’s brand (yes an #AvGeek here). However, lately I have really taken a closer look at what is available. It’s not all about cosmetics and fragrances; there are some truly innovative and quirky items, which are not typical of airline retail offerings. So here are my top picks on European carriers!
Did you leave your pet at home whilst on holidays? Feeling a little guilty? Well don’t worry Condor Airlines has a gift for your pet that may assuage some of the guilt associated with leaving them behind! The Perro Negro snack pack for dogs, which retails for €19, includes a cute carry case and 200 grams of treats for your pet. Another item that I just love and hasn’t really been seen elsewhere is Condor’s history book, which describes the last five decades of the German carrier’s past. Most of the photos have been restored and the book contains many unpublished photographs. Published in 2011, the book contains 264 pages of pure #AvGeek heaven!
Whilst I didn’t have a handy €24,000 to purchase my own airBaltic Mini Cooper car, something else did catch my eye – the first chocolate postcard ever to be sent from the sky. That’s right, simply purchase this inflight postcard (complete with a 100g chocolate bar) add your greeting, address it and give it to the cabin crew who will post it on your behalf. Delivery times vary and you can post it anywhere in the world within Europe. It can take up to eight days to deliver; allow up to one month for other continents.
There is no need to head to Thailand to get your dead skin cells eaten by a school of hungry fish. On board Amsterdam-based operator Transavia.com, you can purchase a beauty pack courtesy of Dr Fish, which has stores across the Netherlands. Included in your beauty pack is: an intensive cream for your feet, hand cream, and a credit card which entitles two people to a foot and hand treatment (it’s not just any type of foot/hand treatment; rather, it’s a treatment that involves small fish nibbling at your hands and feet). The folks at Dr Fish assure me that this is a fun and relaxing experience, though it does feel strange at the beginning. Normally valued at €68, you can purchase this fabulous deal on board your flight for only €20!
I stumbled across this fantastic little device, and it truly saved my life on many occasions during my travels. It’s a solar energy phone charger that is slim and easy to use. I can use it on my iPhone and iPad, and it comes with an assortment of tips so that you can use it on various devices. It even works on a cloudy day! For just under €20 it was one of the most practical devices I have purchased so far, and your doing your bit for the environment whilst using it too.
If travelling to a mosquito-infested destination I would highly recommend purchasing the “Theye” Mosquito Repellent Band. It sells for around £6 and can be worn on your wrist or ankle to provide relief from mosquitoes. It contains tourmaline, which is known to be helpful for relieving stress, increasing mental alertness and strengthening the immune system function. These bands actually work, but if you plan on using them for more than one week I would recommend purchasing two, as over time they lose their strength.
So there you have it, my top picks for inflight retail on European carriers. Many of these products and services are actually top sellers for the airlines. Could their appeal be attributed to the simple fact that they are quirky, and passengers don’t generally expect to see such offerings in inflight retail?