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Behind the curtain: Airline amenity kits unpacked

Have you ever wondered what it's like on the other side of the business and first class curtain? The VIP treatment, the free-flowing drinks, gourmet meals/fine dining, the comfy seats or, better yet, beds. Ahhhh...the good life. And what about those secret perks in the complimentary "airline amenity kits" - your own personal in-flight "swag" bag?

The team of travel experts looked through, tested, photographed and rated 48 economy, business and first-class kits from 27 of the world's leading airlines to reveal the "secrets of the VIP experience".

Part Hollywood A-list swag bag and part practical travel accessory, amenity kits are where airlines roll out the red carpet for their elite customers. So, it was no surprise to learn that the First-Class kits are stuffed with luxury brands (Loewe, Tumi, Chopard, Bulgari, Dior, Ferragamo, L'Occitane) - and contain everything from eye masks and shoe horns to "pulse point oil" and "pillow mist".

In total, just five of the 27 airlines achieved a six-star review, with Middle Eastern and Far Eastern airlines dominating, as kits from Emirates, Etihad, Japan Airlines, Qatar and United came out on top.

Lufthansa and Royal Brunei took joint top honors for the "Best Male Accessory"; Lufthansa for its German football kit-themed bag and Royal Brunei for its super luxury slippers.

Polish airline LOT grabbed "Best Female Accessory" for its nail file; while Qatar was - literally - the comfortable winner for the "Best Kids' Accessory" with a Spongebob Squarepants backpack (in a Qatar captain uniform) that also doubles as a pillow or booster seat.

Amenity kits, you could say, are the icing on the proverbial cake, and every airline has its own recipe.

See all the airline reviews:

Air Berlin: 4 Stars

Air Canada: 3 Stars

Delta: 5 Stars

Emirates: 6 Stars

Etihad: 6 Stars

Iberia: 3 Stars

Icelandair: 5 Stars

JetBlue: 4 Stars

Lufthansa: 4 Stars

Qantas: 5 Stars

Qatar: 6 Stars

Royal Brunei: 5 Stars

SWISS: 5 Stars

TAM: 4 Stars

Our star rating system:

One star = Taxiing

Two stars = Approaching cruising altitude

Three stars = 35,000 feet

Four stars = High life

Five stars = Edge of space

Six stars = Fly me to the moon

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