When it comes to swag bags the airline industry calls 'amenity kits' for its VIP flyers, Middle Eastern carriers pack the fanciest products, with luxury brands like Bulgari, Christian Dior and Salvatore Ferragamo lining canvas and leather bags.
That's the assessment of online booking site Cheapflights.com, which examined the on-board amenity kits handed out to first and business class passengers flying 27 airlines around the world.
While most of us schlep it in economy class cabins, fighting for the last blanket or pillow, and throwing a silent fist pump in the air after scoring a leftover newspaper at the front of the plane, the other half is freshening up with 'pulse point oils' and misting their pillow with special slumber sprays.
Of the airlines examined, five were given a full six-star rating, three of which hail from the Middle East: Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad, Japan Airlines and United Airlines.
"For many of us, First Class and Business Class are a mysterious place and we wanted to get a better idea of what life is like in that rarefied space. The kits are glorious examples of life's 'finer things' and a peek into a lifestyle that maybe, on a special occasion, we can achieve as well," said Oonagh Shiel, Cheapflights editor.
"After examining all these kits, though, we were struck mostly by the attention to detail and the touches of local cultures and craftsmanship that are a reminder of how diverse the world is and how exciting travel can be."
Passengers flying Etihad, for example, receive a kit created in collaboration with Emirati enterprise Sougha, which promotes local artisans. Bags feature patterns of an ancient Abu Dhabi weaving craft, Sadou, that evoke Bedouin tents.
Japan Airlines collaborated with Spanish luxury brand Loewe to create its amenity kit, while Qatar bags are filled with diversions for kids -- Spongebob backpacks, coloring books, and a toy -- and adults get ultra-luxe products from Dio and Ferragamo.
In addition to Bulgari products, what makes the Emirates kit particularly special is its dark brown leather bag, soft and "ever so slightly distressed."
And while not nearly as fancy as its Middle Eastern rivals, United Airlines scored a six-star rating -- classified as 'fly me to the moon' -- for its value.
Aside from the usual suspects -- toothbrush, toothpaste, eye mask and earplugs -- the kit also includes a shoe horn, hand sanitizer, floss, mints, comb, wiping cloth, pen and Philosophy products.
Check out how other carriers kit out their VIP customers at http://bit.ly/1sYjfa1.